HomeNews & FeaturesCommutingEurobike Highlights and the Truth behind the Ceramic Speed bicycle drivetrain

Eurobike Highlights and the Truth behind the Ceramic Speed bicycle drivetrain

In 2019 Eurobike is returns with better timing (in September rather than July) and again the worldwide cycling industry convenes in Southern Germany on the edge of Lake Constance which borders Austria and Switzerland. Exhibitors and visitors become oblivious to the beautiful sailing conditions on the lake and instead focus on 11 massive halls in Friedrichshafen with 1,400 exhibitors. Wrapping-up the first day of Eurobike this year, these are some of the highlights along with the Truth about Ceramic Speed and their Shaft Drive.

For the photo highlights, scroll down… first, Ceramic Speed.

Ceramic Speed – Marketing or Innovation

One of the hot topics of the show follows the 2018 release by Ceramic Speed of a fascinating shaft drivetrain touted as an almost zero resistance drivetrain, not only was the shifting innovative, it was also eyecatching. The catch, it was very much a concept and didn’t actually work yet, let alone did it solve the issue of torque and how direct power und load could be transferred into the drivetrain.

In 2019, Ceramic Speed again announced innovations and breakthroughs such as the most aerodynamic drivetrain and that they now had a rideable version that can work up to 45kmh. Have they finally cracked it and will we all be soon riding with the Ceramic Speed drivetrains? Not quite.

jason smith ceramic speed

The Danish company with about 80 staff has two main locations, Denmark and the UK. The development happens across both locations and the Chief Technical Officer in the UK, Jason Smith has a twinkle in his eye and delivers straight answers to some direct questions about the viability of the drive.

ceramic speed shifting
ceramic speed shaft drive shifting

Currently there are three simultaneous developments evolving from the original shaft drivetrain, the first is to solve shifting. A hand-held demonstration unit showed how the rotating shaft will be electronically controlled and timed to synchronise with the cassette. As the teeth in the cassette are not always aligned the driveshaft has to be timed to engage correctly.

At this stage, the shifting has progressed but it is still in development and not yet suited to actual use as the current drive units (in the prototypes) are not fast enough. As the main demonstration bike actually broke on the first day of the show, a live demonstration is still pending.

ceramic speed shifting mechanism

The second development is that of the ‘most aerodynamic drivetrain’. There are two things involved, first, the shaftdrive is already compact in comparison to a derailleur drivetrain. Secondly, the Ceramic Speed version for windtunnel testing was inside a plastic case. From the brand perspective, it is an affirmation that they can deliver further riding benefits however I see this as a secondary factor as it needs to first work in practice.

The third development was that Ceramic Speed announced they have tested their drivetrain on a working prototype up to 45kmh. There were two hitches however, first is that it is a single speed – there are no gear changes. And secondly, the rideable version was not available to see or test.

As cycling consumers bombarded with marketing, there is a natural scepticism among riders who are promised more innovations only to realise that it is still conceptual. But Smith suggests the challenges are almost solved and anticipates that in 6 months the remaining hurdles will be overcome and then they can work on bringing it to market. It doesn’t mean that you will be able to buy it in 6 months… rather, the Ceramic Speed team really believe that it will work.

One of the most interesting suggestions from Jason Smith is that the concept of the cassete, hub, spokes and wheel can be reimagined. When the cassette will no longer wear, it can be permanently connected to the wheel and a disc brake could be incorporated.

Until then, the marketing has been great, media and consumer interest in the regular Ceramic Speed bearings and coated chains is booming.

Photos: 2019 Eurobike Highlights from Day 1

poc solar switch cycling sunglasses
poc solar switch sensors

The new POC Solar Switch road cycling sunglasses look cool, like most POC gear. The highlight is that they are self-charging sunglasses that automatically tint with a LCD in sunny conditions and lighten in darker conditions. They switch tint rapidly when the sensors detect that light conditions change. As batteries and recharging is not required, this is a massive plus.

bliz cycling sunglasses

Why do high quality sunglasses need to be expensive? The Swedish brand BLIZ have three decades of experience in sports eyewear and say that they can produce distortion free, high quality lenses and frames with better features at a lower price.

briko cerebellum one camera helmet

Although the Australian brand Cyclevision have a helmet with front and rear camera, the new (Italian) Briko Cerebellum One delivers further features such as live broadcast of the rearview camera on your smartphone (rearvision) along with a ‘safety’ upload on the last 2 minutes of footage into the cloud in the event of an accident. This helmet is due to be launched soon however for Australia it will likely take a while due to the Australian/NZ helmet regulation which are different to all other international standards.

bont cycling shoes

Australian cycling shoe brand BONT maintain their focus on peak performance with heat moulded anatomically fitted cycling shoes.

elastic interface chamois

Elastic Interface chamois are fitted to a number of premium cyclewear brands and under the covers the complex construction is revealed. Foam of different densities is used to provide the require rider performance and comfort. Women’s comfort also features with specially constructed padding and relief-areas in the chamois.

hunt aero dynamic wheels

UK brand HUNT could still be described as a newcomer… but they are newcomer with a new worldclass 48mm carbon fiber disc aero wheel called Limitless. They designed and measured it in the windtunnel as one of the most aerodynamic disc wheelsets. Whether customers purchase online or from a bikeshop, they boast a much more attractive price-point than all competing wheelset brands.

luigino verducci cycling shoes

Luigino Verducci presents one of his cycling shoes which follow an interesting concept; his factory in Italy produces for European cyclists while an Asian partner produces the L. Verducci cycling shoes locally for Asian customers. Using modern technology they encapsulate both traditional and contemporary styles… just beautiful.

northwave cycling shoes revolution 2

On the website, the Revolution 2 road cycling shoes from Northwave look great, in the flesh they are truly delightful.

samuele bressan pirelli bicycle tyres

Pirelli have already established the P-Zero range of road cycling tyres, recently added the Scorpion MTB range and have just launched a gravel range called Cinturato. The tyres are designed as all-weather and differentiate themselves with Soft, Medium and Hard terrain optimised treads.

tannus armour bikecorp

Tannus previously concentrated on foam style tyres and this year added the Armour to their range. This is a foam insert that helps a tyre retain structure while significantly reducing punctures. The brand say that this is taking the MTB world, particularly downhill riders, by storm who can now run lower tyre pressures and get the traction they want but without the increased risk of flats.

wd40 curved nozzle

Some bike mechanics will cringe if you let WD-40 near a bike, but this lubricant is still a favourite in the DIY workshops. A new innovation is a curvy nozzle as an alternative to the plastic tubes which tend to fall off or get lost. Now you can lube in places you never thought possible.

Stay tuned for more highlights and insights from Eurobike on Bicycles Network Australia over the coming days.

Christopher Jones
Christopher Joneshttps://www.bicycles.net.au
Christopher Jones is a recreational cyclist and runs a design agency, Signale. As the driving force behind Bicycles.net.au he has one of each 'types' of bicycles.
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