Here's our long term test of Ceramic Speeds top spec mountain bike components!
Words and Photos: Mike Blewitt
Previously, we have looked at three Ceramic Speed products that were fitted for testing. From a coated ceramic bottom bracket, to some fancy Titanium jockey wheels on coated ceramic bearings, to a full complement of coated ceramic bearings for DT Swiss 350 hubs.
Ceramic Speed back their products up with a 6 year warranty, but you still need to service the bearings. Here's a look at how everything has been working over the past few months.
The bottom bracket bearings and jockey wheels were smooth from the get go, running noticeably smoother than the stock units after fitting. Of course, without a lab testing for friction it's hard to quantify. But with a clean drivetrain with a fresh, light lubrication, and the clutch on the Shimano XTR rear mech adjusted to be just tight enough, but not too tight, the drivetrain ran like a dream. In a workstand, spinning the cranks backwards the lack of resistance was very noticeable.
The hub bearings were a little problematic at first. They hadn't been fitted correctly, being pushed in not completely square and with very minimal grease inside the bearings. This was rectified by a different workshop – and they were spinning smoothly.
On the trail
This collection of top spec Ceramic Speed bearings were put through their paces on the bike of an elite cross-country and marathon racer, to make sure they really got a good run. They were used in the dry dust of Tropical North Queensland, across the wet pine forests and fast farm roads of the Black Forest in Germany, on the gritty trails of Zermatt, the high alpine trails in St Moritz, and in the rain in Livigno. They were also used for course practice and racing at the the XCO World Championships and XCM World Championships.
“With the CeramicSpeed bearings installed I experienced a new level of effortlessness,” stated our tester. “Every pedal stroke gave a sense of silent, buttery smoothness, with my feet gliding around the pedal stroke. The feedback from the bike was incredible - it felt a lot faster.”
Where the biggest difference was noticed was in the wheels. They really changed how the bike maintained speed, even above the normal high-quality DT Swiss bearings.
“They took freewheeling to another level, as my bike would pick up speed and gain momentum like never before. It’s hard to put a number on it but I can definitely say for a racer there are noticeable advantages to having these bearings installed - especially if they continue to last this well.”
No item missed a beat during three months of use, when following the maintenance instructions.