Monday, March 23, 2015

Must Have Item: CeramicSpeed Hollow Titanium Pulleys

Just think how much of your pedaling effort gets wasted by derailleur pulleys on a typical bike ride. All that weight. All that friction. Sapping your energy, and as a result, your speed. I know I think about it all the time, and I find myself wishing someone could come up with a solution -- at any cost.

Well, that solution is finally here.

CeramicSpeed, a Danish company which is known for their high-quality ceramic bearings for bicycles has just introduced the latest must-have weapon for racers and triathletes -- hollow titanium ceramic bearing derailleur pulleys. Made in cooperation with the Danish Technological Institute, these 3D printed pulley wheels are the result of 4 years worth of R&D, and are said to last 3x longer than their standard aluminium pulleys, while weighing 10% less! And with their cutting-edge ceramic bearings, just think about how much speed a person could gain by switching to these. I get excited just thinking about it.

"Big dreams belong to the ones who dare," says the company's press release, "and the team of professionals at CeramicSpeed dared to shatter the way expert gear for high-end bicycles are made." I know these are like a dream come true for me. I'll never look at derailleur pulleys the same way again.

According to CeramicSpeed, the 3D printing process, also known as "additive manufacturing" builds up thin sequences of titanium dust, heated by laser light and "imprinted in layers of perfection." But that is only the beginning, as the pulleys then go through a series of "after-treatment processes to highlight a design and finish studied into detail by the most creative minds."

But a secret weapon like these pulleys isn't for everyone. Nope - the company says its first production run of these exclusive speed enhancers is limited to only 10 marked sets, individually numbered, and each one delivered in an exclusive case. And the price of admission is only $1000.

Some people might scoff at $1000 derailleur pulleys, but they just don't get it. Speed doesn't come free, and the kind of performance gains these things would just have to deliver is worth every penny.


  1. The original objection to double-pulley rear derailleurs was the friction that additional pulley would add. Of course, those who objected weren't thinking about the vast increase in gear range and improvement in shifting double-pulley derailleurs offered over most single-puilley mechanisms.

    Then, when Campagnolo went to two pulleys, those people realized that an additional pulley wasn't going to keep someone from winning the Tour de France.

    Now, three pulleys, that's another story. Remember when SunTour made such a derailleur in the early '80's? I never actually rode one, but I get the impression that third pulley didn't make any difference in shifting or anything else. And it looked weird.

    1. You're right that early cyclists were very much concerned with the friction of pulleys (and also practically obsessed with having chainline run as straight as possible) so that numerous gear-changing mechanisms were designed to allow for those concerns (such as Campy's early designs, pre-Gran Sport). Ultimately, they found the difference to be negligible.

      Now - those 3-pulley SunTour derailleurs. I remember those. Always thought they looked a bit weird. Wasn't the idea that they would help wrap more chain, but without as long of a cage? Totally unnecessary, though, wasn't it?

      Good to hear from you Justine!

    2. Thanks, Brooks! Always great to read your posts.

      I think you're right about the three-pulley derailleur, especially since the few I saw were on mountain bikes, where they might have--at least in theory--made sense. But now it just seems like one of those things SunTour did while it was losing its way.

  2. My sarcasm detector reached maximum warp speed whilst reading the article.

  3. Outstanding business model- $10k net revenue and 4 years of R&D

    Is my calendar wrong? I didn't think it was the 1st of April yet.

  4. Ever tried the alloy jockey wheels? Sounds like you're being chased by an angry zipper

    1. That's a good description.

      I've always figured nylon/plastic pulleys were good enough -- particularly if they have ball bearings as opposed to bushing sleeves. No need to go crazy with the weight savings, etc.