Ceramic bearings are nothing new, we already stock a fair few brands and products which feature them. What makes these ones so different is that they are completely ceramic, not just ceramic balls in metallic races or ceramic balls, races and metallic rings still. No, these are full ceramic, every part of the bearing is made from the highest quality ceramic available.
UCB have “over 15 years in the trade of high end bicycle product design and production means we know what makes our customers tick”. Just to confirm that this really is how they spin here is our own PBK test of the jockey wheels in a Dura-Ace 7900 rear mech, with the top one standard and the lower a UCB version:
Full ceramic bearing technical details:
After a bit of hunting I’ve read a lot of facts and figures about the differences between these and regular steel bearings. In an effort not to bore you too much I’ll keep it short and sweet, here are the ones which grabbed my attention:
- Apparently in our video demo above the Dura-Ace jockey wheel uses 0.78w to spin at 500rpm (I guess a typical rpm for a jockey wheel?) while a ceramic one requires just 0.06w. (CC)
- Ceramic is very rigid, think almost of your Grandma’s old bone china, in a deformation test against steel bearings the ceramic deformed by 0.55 micrometres, a steel one by well over 0.70 (my eyes aren’t good enough to tell and the important part is the difference!).
- According to Campagnolo if you use this sort of bearing in your wheels if you were rolling along nicely at 25mph you would save around 0.8 to 1 watt. Transfer this 1 watt to an 8% incline and it’s the equivalent of removing 340g from your bike!
These are suitable for all rear derailleurs, we’ve checked that they run on Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM just to be sure.
They are expensive, but that’s the price of ceramic bearings. The wheels themselves are relatively simple, the wheel and bearing covered by two aluminium caps which can be purchased in various colours.
Weight wise ceramics are lighter than their steel counterparts, Nick weighed the pair in at 18g on our office scales.
Maintenance is minimal, the bearings require no lubing and with the ceramic being so strong and dense any dirt which does enter is simply crushed.
Next are the bottom brackets, please make sure you buy the correct fit shells. These spin just as impressively as the jockey wheels.
We have the Shimano/FSA/RaceFace option or the SRAM/Truvativ/Bontrager GXP option. Campagnolo bearings will be available but we haven’t had them delivered yet. Set’s of BB30’s are in as are the adaptor cups which allow you to run a regular Shimano chainset on a BB30 equipped frame.
If you’re feeling the need for the ultimate in bike efficiency you can’t deny that these will reduce friction to its bare minimum. For some the cost will be prohibitive and that’s understandable. For the bling factor and the knowledge that none of your hard earned watts are going to waste will sway a fair few people I expect though.
Please get in touch with us if you’re unsure of compatibility or want to find out more about these awesome little things!
Image source: http://www.ultimateceramicbearings.co.uk/