The CeramicSpeed Driven system created an enormous amount of interest and debate.

Debate Continues Over CeramicSpeed ‘Driven’ Chainless Drive System

CeramicSpeed have continued with their pursuit to ‘innovate and disrupt the bicycle drivetrain industry’ through showcasing an updated version of their ‘Driven’ chainless drive system.

First unveiled in 2018, Driven is a drivetrain concept that eliminates the chain and derailleurs. At the 2019 Eurobike show in Germany, CeramicSpeed showed a collaboration with Specialized, the chainless system fitted to a top of the range Venge.

Chris Yu of Specialized said the company’s motto is “Innovate or Die” and Specialized were constantly looking at new concepts that offer true performance benefits.

“Significant innovations in drivetrains don’t come around often,” he said. “So we were eager to test the aero performance of Driven in our Win Tunnel.” (Yes, that’s ‘win’ not wind, Ed).

How Does It Work?

Driven uses a pinion-drive-shaft design and 21 CeramicSpeed bearings and was custom designed for the experiment by CeramicSpeed’s R&D lab and led by Jason Smith, CTO of CeramicSpeed. Driven was then retrofitted to a Venge for the tests, pitting it against a standard Venge in the renowned ‘Win Tunnel’ at Specialized’s US facility.

The results revealed that the Driven equipped Venge was the most aerodynamic road bike ever tested in the Win Tunnel. The concept bike showed an aerodynamic improvement over the current day Venge of approximately 3%, consistently across all yaw angles. 

According to Ingmar Jungnickel, Aerodynamics R&D Lead at Specialized, the aerodynamic improvements seen with the Driven drivetrain could be as much as 8 seconds over 40km.

“The results we measured are comparable of the aerodynamic improvement of the Venge ViAS to the current generation Venge,” he said. “On a flat course, the aerodynamic gains made are in the same order of magnitude as the gains through the reduced drivetrain friction. Considering that was the first attempt, it seems that the system has the potential of further aerodynamic gains in the future.’’

CeramicSpeed say they have set out to establish a new benchmark in drivetrain technology by increasing optimal efficiency to 99%. 

Lead Engineer at Ceramic Speed Jason Smith said “when we first embarked on the Pursuit of the 1% Drivetrain initiative, the Product Engineering and Design team’s focus was to achieve the utmost level of mechanical efficiency,”

“Aerodynamic efficiency was always in the back of our mind. During the early phases of development, it became pretty clear that Driven might very well turn out to be the most aerodynamically efficient drivetrain.  But speculation means nothing without quantitative testing. Thanks to the rigorous aero testing at Specialized’s Win Tunnel, it has been proven that significant aerodynamic gains can be captured with Driven.  It is quite an incredible R&D accomplishment to achieve the most efficient bicycle drivetrain ever developed…both mechanically and aerodynamically.”

How Does It Shift?

Head of CeramicSpeed’s Cycling division Martin Banke said rideability and shiftability has been the primary R&D focus. Not surprisingly, it is also the centre of almost incessant online debate.

“We have made incredible advancements in only 10 months,” Mr Banke said. “We’ve surpassed a speed of 45 km/h during rider load testing at the velodrome, and have had major breakthroughs in a shifting mechanism that we’re excited to unveil in due course. We’re now looking forward to showcasing how Driven and the developments we’ve made can truly shift the future of bicycle drivetrains.”

Over To You

What are your thoughts on the CeramicSpeed ‘Driven’ system? Have your say below!


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