CeramicSpeed is Crowd Funding Its Driven Chainless Drivetrain

Apr 26, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  

CeramicSpeed, a company best known for its drivetrain accessories, is offering riders the chance to back its Driven chainless drivetrain concept to bring it to market.

In 2018, the brand first introduced the concept of its chainless drivetrain as a single speed only at Eurobike, then in 2019 it showed off a mountain bike design that included a telescoping driveshaft to solve the problems presented by rear suspension.

In simple terms, the cassette and chainring on the drivetrain are in the same place you'd expect but the teeth are perpendicular to a traditional setup. The big difference is that the chain is replaced by a carbon-fiber driveshaft with a roller pinion on each end that engages those teeth. The design was created alongside the University of Colorado Mechanical Engineering Department and it is claimed to offer 99% efficiency alongside being more aerodynamic, cheaper to produce and less complex than a traditional drivetrain all while being fully enclosed. CeramicSpeed described it as having the benefits of a gearbox with none of the drag that comes along with it.

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Of course, the drivetrain comes with a number of downsides too. The biggest is that the rear triangle of a bike has to be redesigned to accommodate it and the system will only work on a bike where the pivot is above the axle, on something like a Horst link bike this simply wouldn't be possible. Finally, we also never saw a shifting version of the mountain bike set up, it was only running as a singlespeed only at the brand's Eurobike stand.


In the two years since we last saw the concept, CeramicSpeed has apparently continued working on the design and has spun off Driven into a new company, Driven Technologies Inc. It is now offering riders a chance to own a slice of a pie and help bring the product to market via crowdfunding. Jason Smith, Driven's CEO, told Cycling Tips, "We realized we needed to continue the development of Driven, but we couldn’t put all of the eggs – as in CeramicSpeed R&D dollars – into the Driven basket. This is where CeramicSpeed made the decision to carve out ownership of Driven to assist with development funding."

Driven is hoping to raise a minimum of $300,000 up to a maximum $1 million from investors with investments in the project starting at $1,000. For that money, you don't get rewards, as in other crowdfunding ventures, but you will play the role of an angel investor and will receive equity-based convertible notes, with the hope the project will grow and increase the value of your investment.

If Driven accrues $300,000 of investment, it is expecting to cover six to nine months of research and development operations before another round of funding would be required. Meanwhile, if the maximum figure is raised then the company expects to have enough funding to see the product through to manufacturing. Either way, the company expects its value to increase as the timeline progresses.


Of course, no investment comes without a level of risk and there's no guarantee your investment will grow. It's also worth noting that Driven is expecting it won't have a product until 2023 and there's no mention of the mountain bike drivetrain in any of the press materials - if you do invest, you could simply be helping a triathlete have a fancy drivetrain in 18 months time.

Martin Banke, Executive Vice President of CeramicSpeed, said: “I’m immensely proud of how far we at CeramicSpeed, Jason, and his small group of creative engineers have been able to develop Driven in such a short period of time. It’s been deeply meaningful to be involved in the fruition of such a revolutionary idea since innovation is at the center of every thought and process we carry out. Now, as Driven enters its final stages of development it needs a bigger scale of production to be finalized, so it’s only natural that we get other parties on board to help drive the development forward. CeramicSpeed will always be a part of Driven as I truly believe it will become the benchmark within drivetrain technology”.

The seed funding is first-come, first-served. The offering is first being promoted to those in the cycling world, and will then be opened up to SeedInvest’s user base. You can learn more here.


211 Comments

  • 367 11
 Oh they don't have enough money from selling $1000 derailleur pulleys, $200 single bearings, and $400 bottom brackets to fund this themselves?

Get bent Ceramic Speed.
  • 90 10
 Henry Ford supposedly once said, “If I asked people what they wanted they would have said ‘a faster horse.’” I kind of feel like that’s what’s happening here. Gearboxes seem like a much better evolution of the drivetrain than re-imagining the existing system with some potentially much more finicky and complicated.
  • 52 9
 @gnarlysipes: It's a nice quote and all - but doesn't apply to bikes and derailleurs vs. gearboxes. Gearboxes have been around for a very long time, and have been mass produced for a very long time in all kinds of different form factors. So they're mature product - something that couldn't be said of cars in Henry Ford's time. He pioneered mass production and cars to a degree of everyday usability good enough and cost low enough to where they could then replace horse drawn wagons, opening up way more functionality.

In contrast, gear boxes - despite their maturity, do not deliver on their undisputed advantages at a price point (and weight) that would make them a compelling alternative to the "good enough" chain/derailleur drivetrain.
  • 2 3
 @gnarlysipes: yes and these bikes are pretty much cars but human powered
  • 6 7
 @gnarlysipes: why does this seem more finicky to you? it objectively has less moving parts....
  • 10 2
 @g-42: actually price point probably has more to do with volume than anything. If every bike tomorrow needed a gearbox instead of a derailleur, the price point would start getting better. Whether the price could ever be as good I couldn't say.

The weight issue could be resolved if you marketed them to something not caring about weight. E-bikes and downhill bikes are good examples where the heavier weight would not be a big deal.

Also, the bike market isn't that sensitive to price point when you consider that bikes costing more than $10k are fairly common. A bigger issue is that a derailleur bike frame is incompatible with a pinion bike frame. I can't convert my derailleur bike even if I wanted to.

It would be interesting if shimano and brose sold an e-bike motor with an integrated gearbox in the same form factor.
  • 22 0
 It’s like Tesla and the $100 to reserve a spot to place an order. Hello interest free micro-loans!
  • 1 0
 +100
  • 26 17
 @gnarlysipes: Henry Ford was a douche, shitty overlord of an employer and traits passed onto his spawn. Not interested in his wanna be human quotes. They used Dodge Bros. drivetrains in the beginning of their so called existence by the way...
  • 18 3
 @curendero: 100%. Most of his business practices have paved the way to employee exploitation.
  • 2 3
 @g-42: no, heavy weight gear boxes for motor driven high torque applications are mature.
  • 17 8
 @curendero: big time Nazi as well. Enthusiastic eugenics proponent. Donated all the profits from Ford's German operations to the national socialist party.

Not a good capitalist as he is somtimes portrayed.
  • 10 0
 @mdinger: 2 French companies are joining efforts on the gearbox/motor integration. Effigear & Valeo. Valeo is not known yet as a motor supplier, but has a long track record in automotive industry. Effigear has previously delivered gearboxes to DH world cup racing bikes on the Dorval AM team.
  • 1 0
 onder what the rrp will be :/
  • 5 0
 @conoat: Something's 'finicky-ness' is not defined by the quantity of parts it has...
  • 3 0
 @larr: small gear boxes have just not been used in bikes but they have been around in heavy use things like power drills and kitchen mixers for many decades. When I can pedal and shift at the same time at the same price point as a derailleur setup I’ll be interested.
  • 1 0
 @thisspock: FWIW I have an 8 speed transmission in my rear hub that’s amazing on my E bike made by General Motors. Not sure how well it would convert to a MTB but for the street, surprisingly awesome. Look forward to the tech swapping in the future but this design is just wack. Doesn’t Rohloff offer some already?
  • 2 1
 @curendero: Doesn’t make the sentiment of his quote any less true. People know what they want but often have a hard time visualizing anything beyond simple evolutionary steps. It’s real visionaries who creat revolutionary technology. Gear boxes probably aren’t that thing—the point is, these folks are, in my OPINION too focused on the existing drivetrain paradigm.
  • 3 1
 @g-42: You’ve missed the point. Gearboxes may not be the best example, agreed on that. My point was I think this company is focusing too much on the existing established technology and simply pivoting from there instead of looking at a revolutionary next step. Just an opinion.

I don’t know why everyone commenting on Pb is so hell bent on “proving” everyone else wrong. Opinions used to be welcome.
  • 1 0
 @JeanChristopheB: That sounds very interesting! I really hope a gearbox/motor integration will come out to the market in the near future Smile
  • 1 0
 @OwenDowning: That’s Right
  • 126 3
 Dualcrownaddict is gonna be pumped...
  • 11 0
 yeah i cant wait to see waht he has to say about it
  • 22 4
 Let's not go down this road please.
  • 17 0
 Paging YT to be an early investor
  • 25 0
 For sure because we all know people that died from defective derailleur.
  • 10 0
 Yeah where the Eff is DCA, lets start calling him that.
  • 178 26
 I'm super pumped and I'll be investing a chunk of my lifetime savings

This could be great and a big improvement for all forms of racing

One less thing on the bike for the possibility of failure

Gettin rid of that archaic old failed rear derailleur

Shimano is gonna be pissed and so is SRAM

If they go out of business I don't give a damn

They missed out on an opportunity

By sticking with outdated technology

It's not exactly a sealed gearbox I was hoping for

But it's a step in the right direction and a promising door

Let's finally kill the rear derailleur and let it be

I hope this doesn't end up in the hands of YT

The only other thing that I have to say

Is they should name it after me: DCA
  • 30 4
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Thank you for coming through. You made my day... DCA fanboy for life
  • 30 3
 @DoubleCrownAddict: thanks in advance for posting a screenshot of your investment ala r/wallstreetbets loss porn
  • 4 0
 @sjma: looks like Canyon is already in judging by that frame lol
  • 10 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: "I'll be investing a chunk of my lifetime savings" RIP
  • 27 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I still think you're a tool, but credit where credit is due. That's funny stuff
  • 10 0
 @TheLookingGlass: That's what we do. Mending relationships one upvote at a time. @DoubleCrownAddict do got bars...
  • 8 9
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Hope you know this isn't new technology. This concept has been around for over a hundred years, but was outlawed due to how inefficient, and the high wear rate.

It might seem cool and all, but it's impractical and worse than the current standard out there (mechs)
  • 4 0
 @NorCalNomad: that chunk is about $3.50. Just another $996.50 to go.
  • 2 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: "One less thing on the bike for the possibility of failure" can you give me a list of thinks that never fail on a mtb? my previous bikes and parts do have a different opinion about that.
  • 5 3
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I recovered my lost password only to thumb you up
  • 59 0
 It's a cool idea, but I don't think the design is robust enough for the real world. I'm out.
  • 9 0
 maybe in the road side it might have something, but here?
  • 2 2
 Joma cba
  • 7 0
 @browner: Is that a question or a statement?
  • 8 5
 @jomacba: Look up HAMBINI - he has made some very good observations. I am out too BUT great job of thinking outside the box.
  • 5 0
 @dldewar: I am familiar with hambini. I believe he has some very interesting anecdotes. While I appreciate his perspective, it is often focused one a single derivative, and typically more geared towards road cycling. This drivetrain I think woukd work well in that world, but as a downhiller, I more hindrance than help. That being said, the idea itself is brilliant, and I give 100% credit to ceramispeed for their concept and design.
  • 3 4
 @jomacba: are you a question or a statement!
  • 11 0
 Its been a few years; have they yet demoed a working prototype? At all? Just give me video of someone riding one of these in any context.
  • 22 0
 It's like they took a gear box, stripped away the low-maintenance advantage (by not having it sealed), stripped away the advantage of having the weight at the bottom bracket (because it's still on the rear wheel, messing with your suspension performance - and then that's of course compounded by putting limits on pivot position because you need the fixed chain stay length...), and are now making a bunch of wild claims on efficiency (which, just like with MTBs driven by chains and derailleurs, will of course vary with grit...) and lower cost to produce (which, until they've actually set up any real production at scale, is pretty much theoretical). Let's just say it's not surprising they've not been able to attract anyone inside the industry and had to resort to crowd-funding.
  • 5 0
 @g-42: they claim their "offroad" version (I have yet to see a road version working) uses a telescoping driveshaft and would therefore allow for a growing chainstay length.
  • 2 0
 @jomacba: "brilliant" isn't exactly an adjective I would think of when simultaneously thinking of this contraption. If anything they could have simplified it a lot merely by moving the "geared" part at the cranks instead of the rear wheel.

Also, synchronization is a PITA on all accounts with that disposition.
  • 2 0
 @southoftheborder: Agree to disagree. While I don't like the execution, I do like the concept. I never stated I felt the idea as a whole is brilliant. As many people have stated the inherent flaws to the system, it has its place in the cycling world as is. I appreciate innovation in such a convoluted world of componentry.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: its visible in the video and looks like it will develop allot of play and allot of friction points.
  • 2 0
 @TobiasHandcock: so i have seen those clips before.... far away shots, where you can't see the details, you can't tell how gingerly the rider is pedaling, you only see it for a brief few seconds, and the one kinda close up of them standing next to it makes it clear its running as a single speed, but the exact implementation is obscured. Ringing endorsement!
  • 2 2
 @jomacba: I do not think I was too clear -Hambini questioned whether it could even work on a road bike let alone a mountain bike. The small bearings being an issue. Not a chance I would ever consider on a mountain bike.

But like you said - it is brilliant thinking. Hopefully they can prove us wrong.
  • 2 0
 I think the design is very clever and sure it might not be for a Dh or enduro bike but I'd imagine there would be other massive markets for something like this.
I wonder what happens when a grain of dirt lands in that thing though?
  • 3 0
 @dldewar: I honestly don't follow Hambini too closely, as again, his perspectives don't necisarily align across all genres of the sport. I am familiar with him, and do enjoy the insight from time to time. What I have to go by is a photo. The photo shows me from a sheer operational standpoint, it's a clever design. By clever, I refer to more of a paradigm breaking idea. In no way shape or form do I feel it is superior. I do however feel the idea may lend well in a gearbox design. One thing I feel is an option that has yet to be mastered. I'm intrigued, but not at all sold. I stand by my original statement when I said I'm out.
  • 2 0
 I mean anyone with a tiny little bit of understanding of the forces and stiffnesses involved knows that this cannot work. We're talking about 3kN of Force (100kg rider, leverage ratio 3:1 from Pedal to chainring) on about 2 bearings in contact, with a diameter of approx 10mm, 4mm wide. Such a bearing has a dynamic load rating of ~0.5kN, so this would exceed the dynamic load rating by a factor of 3. But actually this is more of a static load, and that rating as approx. 1/3rd of the dynamic load rating. So this bearing is overloaded by about an order of magnitude.
And then there is the bending torque of the cassette. No way is that thing stiff enough to not bend away once there is any torque on the drive shaft.
All in all just a stupid concept.
  • 47 0
 Ah yes the pto shaft driven bicycle
Pity the Russians showed it off fist at eurobike 1899

www.pinterest.ie/pin/822399581932935849
  • 36 0
 You see Ivan, if you want cyclist strong like tank, you must make bicycle heavy like tank
  • 27 0
 In mother Russia, drivetrain shift you!!
  • 1 0
 Haha this awesome. 99% efficiency. Unfortunately no human is actually capable of pedaling it.
  • 32 0
 Hard pass. I'm all for innovation, and progress, but this isn't either. It doesn't solve any problems and it doesn't improve upon existing technologies in a meaningful way. You'd be better off investing in gearbox or another drivetrain product that actually offers improved performance, better weight distribution, reduced maintenance, or a tougher, more robust product.
  • 8 0
 My first thought was that I’d rather buy a gearbox setup.
  • 17 0
 They definitely lost me at "more aerodynamic".
  • 1 0
 hard bass, yeah
  • 32 2
 Some of these ideas a cool, but at the end of the day the cheap cost, easy setup, and relative reliability of current derailleur/chain setups is going to be hard to beat when it comes to selling to the average rider.
  • 9 0
 This! Way too complicated for fs mtb and waaay too expensive for commuters. Cool idea, but I don't really understand who should be the target audience
  • 12 0
 @pakleni: Roadies that want to go faster but achieved in a way that doesn't require losing their 10kg beer belly, like all ceramic speed products
  • 28 0
 @pakleni: I honestly think that Ceraminc Speed must somewhat feel the same. They don't even have the confidence to invest their own money
  • 13 0
 @L0rdTom: I ride with roadies quite a lot and more than half of them are still not convinced that disc brakes are good idea.
This thingy doesn't have a chance with them
  • 9 2
 @pakleni: bUt RiM BRaKeS aRe LiGHtER aND no BlEedinG!!1

Say the chubby doofus riding to the coffee shop once a week ready to throw down for the local KOM of apple pie eating. He doesn't do any work himself other than lubing his chain after every single ride, naturally
  • 3 0
 @pakleni: well I think the advantage of discbreaks on roadbikes is much smaller then for MTBs. Having seen quite a few delaminated ICEtech superlight roadie disks I'd happily stick with my rimbreaks I've used the last 15 years
  • 3 1
 Yeah... had a friend who fancied himself an inventor, but he was really taking concepts (the actual invention) and thinking of alternative methods of achieving the same thing. Of course the actual invention already explored these alternative methods and chose the most efficient one for production. This would have been right up his alley.

Sure, maybe you could get this to work, but the simplest method has been in use for a hundred plus years.
  • 2 0
 @ESKato: That is the whole point. Ok, personally I don't have doubts about disc brakes, but I also dont see the point in changing my 10 years old racing bike (with rim brakes, of course).

I could burn 6 or 7k on new bike with electronic shifting and discs brakes but since I don't race and I ride mostly in the same group of riders my Strava feed would look exactly the same. Ok, my Instagram would benefit a bit.

On mtb after 3 years you are ready to start searching for something new, but road bikr can last forever
  • 1 2
 @pakleni: I haven't ridden a rim brake since the mid 90's BMX days. Are the rim brakes on road bikes any better than what we had back then? Because I remember those BMX brakes being essentially useless if it rained. If not I don't think I'd ever get on a road bike without disc brakes.
  • 6 0
 @sino428: With alloy rims, road rim brakes these days are pretty awesome. They have nothing in common with those old BMX side-pull pieces of crap.

With carbon rims, it depends on how the braking track is manufactured, what pads are used, and the weather. Perfect pads and perfect wheels are acceptable in the wet, barely. Shitty carbon rims and/or shitty pads are absolutely death in the wet. I separated my shoulder in a road race due to fresh pavement, shitty Reynolds carbon rims, and rain. No brake, no brake, no brake, all the brake, crash.

I've also tried carbon rims and canti brakes for cyclocross. Fine in the dry, but not many dry CX races in the northeast... that experiment ended quickly.
  • 4 0
 @Auto-XFil: Good to know there has been some improvement. But it still baffles me that people would prioritize weight (or anything else) over being able to stop and slow down. I feel like brake function is just a non-negotiable no compromise area. I just feel like "barely acceptable" braking performance would be a complete deal breaker for me.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: On an MTB (XC, DC, or maybe EN), would you consider sizing down in rear rotor size to save the weight of a larger rotor and adaptor... and have adequate stopping power. Or would you add that weight for the additional stopping power?
  • 3 0
 @sino428: In dry weather with good carbon rims, road calipers are very good. With aluminum rims, you can pretty much always overpower your traction limit if you so chose, but honestly, the modulation is really good. Unless you ride carbon rims in the rain (ie. you are racing because who TF chooses to do this) road calipers are perfectly fine. To the point, that I would say they are excellent. CX and MTB clearly show the benefits of disks in the wet though...
  • 2 1
 @TBaldwin90: I don’t ride road bikes but I always figured people go on fairly long rides which could easily lead to getting caught in the rain once in a while.
  • 2 0
 @Baller7756: I’m not sure exactly what you are asking but yes there are different situations where you’d use different rotor sizes. It’s not always about having the most power. I could throw some 4 piston brakes with 8” rotors on an XC bike but that would be silly. There would be no benefit to all that added power when a 2 piston brake with a small rotor would provide all the power you need.
  • 2 0
 @sino428: True. I never go out for a ride when raining or with bad weather forecast but anyway I end up with a rainy ride at least 10, 15 times a year.
  • 31 2
 Wait, so the company that sells little derailleur jockey wheels for a bazillion dollars a piece needs to raise more money to bring a product to market? What did you guys do with all the money from like your last 3 sales?
  • 16 0
 *only 3 sales
  • 8 1
 They seem to realize its a niche idea or at least dont have enough faith in it to fund it themselves. So they offset the risk by gauging the publics interest in the product and making the consumer pay for production up front.
  • 6 0
 @kcy4130: you'd be surprised by how many mid-pack triathletes down here, on a third world country, sport those those voodoo talismans they sell as derailleur cages.
  • 6 0
 @southoftheborder: "voodoo talismans" that's a great way to describe them! Yeah, I think a lot of these companies exist only because of the placebo effect.
  • 5 0
 Cocaine
  • 5 0
 They were always on the cutting edge, in this case its cutting edge scamming.
  • 27 0
 Neat? Check.
It shifts now? Cool.
It's got a shield now? Great.
Would the "cassette" NOT flex and spit the bearing the first time I stood and mashed? No way.
Would the tiny bearings stand up to the slightest bit of rain or even road grime? Nope.
Want my money to continue development? The f*ck outta here.
  • 3 0
 That pretty much sums it up, Mate.
  • 48 22
 Man, it's almost saddening how much negativity there is in the comments. Just because you personally wouldn't want or pay for a system like this doesn't mean no one else will. Plus the irony of everyone complaining over CeramicSpeed/pricing/marginal gains while most would happily run Kashima coating or things like XX1 where you pay extra to save a few grams on a carbon derailleur cage.
And sure there are a few 10kg overweight roadies with CS products (good on them btw, do whatever the heck makes you happy) but they're also absolutely huge in the tri scene and a ton of super fast riders chasing seconds run their stuff.

Regarding the dirt argument about Driven, they've already made a magnetic snap-on cover for the rear cluster which will keep it cleaner than any traditional system and they're also working on a wireless shifting system hidden inside the drive shaft. No, it can't yet shift the full range or function under full load, but who knows how it goes if they get to work on it a few more years.

Each to their own but I sure enjoy seeing weird and wild super expensive motorsport tech even if I'll never have it in my own daily driver of a car. Same thing with this.
  • 18 25
flag JoshieK (Apr 26, 2021 at 15:55) (Below Threshold)
 Terrible take on this dude. Just because they give you free crap for your over the top builds doesn’t mean this isn’t snake oil. This isn’t just over priced it’s literally a terrible design from start to finish.

Tech in motorsports doesn’t exist unless it actually works. This doesn’t even function properly let alone solve a problem or improve upon an existing system. It’s just different and awful
  • 23 11
 @JoshieK: Come on, I'm literally saying that it doesn't currently work but that it would be cool if they could make it work. And I'm also acknowledging that things like ceramic bearings are just marginal gains, which some people chose to call snake oil. I've stated in the past that things like that is probably the last upgrade to do on a bike, that there are cheaper options and that there are great regular steel bearings out there.

So I would say the same thing no matter what brand was behind this. It's a cool piece of tech and if they can make it work - good for them and for whoever wants to get a bike with it. If there actually is a 3% aero gain from this and someone deems that worth spending on, to some it will still be snake oil but the person paying can be fully aware it's just 3% at a steep price and feel that's okay. Or maybe 10-15 years from now there's a good value alu/steel option, well sealed and perfect for a commuter instead of traditional/internal - I don't know but that's my point, if it works in the end and people want it then why not.

And I'm sure there are plenty of examples from motorsports/cars that didn't work out in the end or that took quite a few years to develop and actually put it in production. It's part of the game. I'll be the first to admit I've bought expensive bike stuff that didn't work well at all, yet here I am still excited about bikes.
  • 12 12
 @dangerholm: normally adults don’t believe in Santa Claus or the Easter bunny.
  • 14 2
 It's not so much that they're trying to make it, as much as they're trying to develop it on YOUR dime. Paying for a product before it's even been invented, what a time we live in.
  • 32 2
 @spaceofades: well they have already been “developing” it for years. They’ve made some rather bold (lies) claims given they don’t even have a properly functioning test unit to make the claims they do.

Here is something i wrote about snake speed years ago:
“1. the pinion bearings (the little ones) will have a tiny axial load rating. much much less than the main shaft bearings even though they are subject to the same forces. the separation forces caused by load will wear those bearings in no time at all.
2. the rigidity of the shaft main bearing housings and the size of the shaft bearings needed to keep the "gears" in mesh would negate any claimed effiencency.
3. the seal friction on the main shaft bearings adds to the the equation.
4. the lack of seals on the pinion bearings will soon invite dust and dirt leading to premature wear.
5. adding seals to these bearings will add friction to the system adding to the equation again.
6. ball or roller bearings require a certain amount of rotation for the balls to actually start rotating under load. before this they are sliding on the bearing races. the pinion bearings are only making small and interrupted movements with each tooth engagement. this will lead to increased bearing wear.
7. The rear pinion bearings are installed in single shear. this will provide lower rigidity making it harder to maintain gear mesh under separation loads
8. The larger "cassette" gears provide a longer leverage for seperationn forces to deform the cassette. To maintain rigidity each larger gear needs to be of heavier construction than the previous.
9. His idea of switching out pinion sizes to change overall gearing isn't so easy as he explains. those pinion changes would require lateral position change of either the shaft or the mating gears to maintain correct (or any) gear mesh.
10. the single tooth engagement places massive loads on that single tooth leading to higher tooth wear and possibly total tooth failure.
11. over time the rear pinion sliding drive spline (required for gear changes) will wear and develop both play and backlash. the play will make the rigidity required for gear mesh worse.
12. tooth wear will create back lash in the the system. combined their will be four stages of drive delay on commencing peddling a: freewheel hub pawls b:front pinion to gear c: rear pinion to gear d: rear pinion spline interface. could it be possible to have as much as 1/2 turn of the cranks before drive engagement on a worn system?
13. The axial load or separation forces generated at both ends puts side load on the bottom bracket bearings and the rear axle bearings. Not so bad for the rear axle bearings if they are angular contact bearings (though most now spec deep groove bearings) but its extra side load for the deep groove bearings in the bb. this will lead to faster wear of these bearings. This load will increase friction with in these bearings also. Also the preload on these bearings will need to be exact (maximum recommended by the manufacturer) to maintain system rigidity to maintain gear mesh.
14. gear mesh needs to be carefully setup and maintained as the system wears. too little mesh and the toe (tip of the gear) receives all the load and backlash increases. Too much mesh and the bearing pushes into the heal of the tooth creating load on all bearings int the system leading to premature wear.
15. His argument seems to be based on friction area (8 sliding points vs 2 rotating points). There is no area component to the friction equation, only force and coefficient of the materials involved.
16. There is going to be a hell of a lot going on in the twisting, bending and harmonics of the shaft under high load and speed that is too much to write about here.”
  • 10 1
 @JoshieK: Finally a response with some thought and backup
  • 15 0
 The bit that truly pissed me off is where they openly admit to spinning this into a separate company so as to protect Ceramic Speed's interests. It's not good enough for them, but it's fine for crowd funding...
  • 10 0
 @spaceofades: Yeah wtf is it with all the begging, sorry, "crowdfunding" in the bike industry. This, sick bikes, even Atherton bikes, lots of others... I have more issue with this than the crappy product itself.

Here's a crazy idea: we give a company some money and get products in return.

Ceramic speed is not some new startup that needs to raise capital to get going and even if they were, how about finding actual investment funds or a good old fashioned loan. This is an established company selling high margin products and them "crowdfunding" anything is insulting.


@gkeele Exactly this. It's not good enough even for Ceramic speed themselves to invest in. It's too risky to fund with a bank loan. It's sure as hell not good for investment firms to take a stab at - I bet my left nut they tried. So what do we do? We sell fairy tales to the small Average Joe and keep our fingers crossed that unlike pro investors he's naive enough to risk his savings. Oh, it'll hurt Joe relatively more when he loses? f*ck Joe, right?
  • 9 0
 I'm also very enthusiastic about random cycling innovation, but this concept has moved from being a fun fantasy to a predatory investment scheme, and that's where it becomes negative for me, and I would assume the majority of the other commenters.

Nobody should waste money on this. It should speak volumes that CeramicSpeed is not willing to risk their core business on this venture, and no industry partner has shown any interest.

CeramicSpeed has been flogging this concept for years, and still don't have a prototype capable of withstanding even the weakest human power, and they never, ever will.

-No small industrial bearing in existence is capable of withstanding the forces required to act as a roller between the shaft and the 'cassette'.
-The cassette is impossibly under-built to withstand the axial load of said roller bearing attempting to skip teeth.
-Rectifying those simple issues will negate any supposed weight or friction advantage, while remaining seriously compromised in longevity.


Shaft-driven bicycles and motorcycles have existed for a century, but have never achieved the performance of chain-driven competitors, even with fully sealed assembles, and perfectly machined, hardened-steel angle gears. While it could be argued that the cycling industry does not have a history of investing in driveshafts as a performance option, motorcycles have, and the technology is only viable on slow city scooters, and heavy, powerful cruisers where the weight and efficiency problems are less noticeable.

Outside the cycle industry, trillions of dollars and have been spend on shaft and gear technology since... 300 BC. Nowhere in recorded history has a similar mechanism as fragile and under-built as CeramicSpeed's "Driven" concept come anywhere near to withstanding more than a few pounds of force.

Ask yourself- How can a simple mechanism, produced out of soft alloy and resin defy physics and history? This is not computing. There is no 'Moore's Law'. The basic chain-drive displayed all the same performance advantages in 1900 as it does today. While there is still some room for bicycle drivetrain optimization, it has been diminishing returns since the 1970s. Any serious bicycle drivetrain progress (if possible) will come from established industrial giants. Think Bosch, Mahle, Shimano, etc. Not a small company that sells overpriced derailleur pulleys.


I just wanted to say I am an avid fan of your instagram, and I'm looking forward to your latest build! It's shaping up to be quite stunning.
  • 1 3
 I want them to make it so I can see what a dreamy build you'd make out of it. Keep in mind what's old always comes back in style. Best of luck convincing those without vision to seeSmile
  • 24 0
 Chainless drive trains have been around for ages. They're called strider bikes.
  • 9 0
 And they're the future!
  • 6 0
 Pinkdandyhorse
  • 25 0
 They know their idea is so shit they don't want to risk their own money
  • 20 0
 Sounds like a scam. For those reasons, I'm out.
  • 4 0
 You're out? For that reason, I'm out.
  • 16 0
 Finally another ceramic speed post pissed me of so much, I had to create an acount Big Grin

This concept is not new as others said, just usage of some fanzy materials and parts. This is nothing else than marketing for some crazy expensive parts, that may (I don´t think may) not even deliver the claimed benefits. But lets´s get to the technical stuff, that will hopefully burry this concept for most of you (Sorry for the non technical people):

Bearings will fail instantly. I tried to do this at the eurobike, but the guys from ceramic speed seemed to know what I wanted to do Big Grin . The bearing size right now looks like a 12mm bearing, Let´s say my eyes are crap, take a 14mm bearing:
- The SKF W605 bearing can handle a dynamic load of 761N (In this case you should even use static 260N)
- If you take 250Nm of torque (A 80-90kg rider can easily generate more) this will still be 2380N with a 52t chainring
- 761N vs 2380N. poof --> instant fail

The chainring and cassette will wear (even with perfect lubrication) really really fast, because:
- The roller of a chain gets in contact with a tooth and sits their until it runs out. The movement and thus friction/wear is manily in the chainlinks that are rotating to each other at run in and run out
- At this concept the bearing will constanty rub (movement rectangular to the load direction) on the loaded tooth. Which will wear the tooth and the outside of the bearing pretty fast
  • 9 0
 Agreed, who ever is designing this garbage has not a single clue about bearings. It’s not marginal, it’s not under developed, it’s not innovative it’s just plain crap. They make some slick videos some marketing garbage recycled from other rubbish they make and now they are trying to scam the public to the tune of 3.3 million.
  • 1 0
 Came here to say this, should be top pinned comment. End of discussion, end of project. The little bearings aren't even remotely close to having the necessary load rating. For a company that is supposedly a specialist in bearings this is a ludicrously obvious sign that something is very wrong. Not only should they not have moved this on to crowdfunding they should never even have made a prototype without doing the numbers.
  • 1 0
 "- At this concept the bearing will constanty rub (movement rectangular to the load direction) on the loaded tooth. Which will wear the tooth and the outside of the bearing pretty fast"

slaps forehead. I didn't even consider that. Both of your points are a deal breaker.

I think the biggest part of this design that screams "scam" to me is that they made a mockup (I won't even call it a prototype because it doesn't even work) using high grade bling materials. Nobody intent on design dev does mockups using custom carbon fiber parts, total waste of money.
  • 15 0
 Why do you think motorbikes still use chains?

Two words:

Energy Loss.

Driveshafts suffer from horrible losses, this is also why the power in cars is different on wheels vs from the engine.
  • 1 1
 Not sure it's ever been verified but they claim this is more efficient due to the bearings on the roller end.
  • 4 1
 lots of motorcycles in fact don't use chains. Drivetrain losses isn't from the driveshaft it's frictional losses in the gearbox & differential.
  • 3 0
 @ryan77777: A chain drive can achieve that level of efficiency too. Strip all the lubricant out, and many things become very efficient.
  • 5 0
 I think everyone can see that in its current form the most infantile amount of power would destroy this thing, hence we've never seen video of it in use in anger. By the time they have to beef the shit out of everything in order to be able to handle a human amount of watts, I think the friction would be no less than a chain/derailler system.
  • 14 0
 I don’t think this huge number of very little bearings fits well with riding in deep mud.
  • 11 0
 What a useless invention...it more seems like a way to grab money from investors than anything else. This doesn't solve the issue of sprung mass on the rear wheel which gearboxes do. It uses tiny bearings that will be shot in no time. It requires manufacturers to jump on board and design the bike around a drivetrain that won't sell. It's still not sealed from the elements like a gearbox. It's expensive as hell. The watts gain is negligible and for mtb use totally pointless. The idea is clearly so stupid that after 2 years they still can't show a shifting prototype probably because it doesn't work as intended and is riddled with problems. This has so much going against it and gearboxes will be the final nail in the coffin for it. Give me a low friction CVT gearbox over this any day of the week, hell even a regular Pinion gearbox is better.
  • 13 0
 lol... everyone thinking they're a judge on Shark Tank all of a sudden
  • 9 0
 ...and for that reason, we're all out.
  • 8 0
 Anytime you change the direction of forces perpendicular to drive force, you get more losses. Your doing it twice here. A chain is much more efficient. What problem is this solving?
  • 7 0
 Potential for unintentional ankle-shifting with every pedal stroke. Stand up to pedal and watch the shaft get pushed outboard and skip due to rear triangle flex
  • 4 0
 Good observation. I was also thinking about that limestone tech section that once only endangered my chainstay paint job now could crash my carbon drive train!

There's going to be a lot of stress on those little arms that hold the rollers.

Cassettes are going to cost $1000

There are four wear parts - chain ring, chain ring roller set, sprockets, sprocket roller set. A chain drive has three, and new chains are $30.
  • 4 0
 I would like it to work, but that's something I would strongly bet against. See how quickly the small cog on a cassette loses the ability to retain the pulling force of a chain, and that's with it being distributed by 5 cogs (those in contact with the chain at a given time). And here the same force would be concentrated on a single cog? No metal would withstand that torque or provide sufficient durability. It might be worth a try, and thank you for trying, but I'm more skeptical than not.
  • 2 0
 I meant "the small ring on a cassette", not cog.
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra: I think you meant 5 teeth on the smallest cog. You make a good point though the amount of contact between cog and the pinion is very minimal with the ceramicspeed design. The shifter mechanism would have to be really stiff since the tendency would be to deflect away from the cassette under load.
  • 4 0
 "For that money, you don't get rewards, as in other crowdfunding ventures, but you will play the role of an angel investor and will receive equity-based convertible notes..."

As a software engineer with a background working for many early stage, seed/Series-A round, etc. This is hilarious! It's like that recruiter trying to get you to come work for a company with a shitty product that is "disrupting the industry" (when they're not and they know it) and they can only offer "equity based" competitive salary. So what's X shares worth when the value of the stock is $0 p/share?
  • 3 0
 I was all set to comment how this crowdfunding fad is a great ploy by any company looking to defer it's risk and not give up any equity. Let John Q public assume all the financial risk...That's how these things usually work but then i kept reading and realized this actually is an equity offering. Albeit a risky one.
  • 7 0
 Thats got ‘jammed up with gravel’ written all over it
  • 1 0
 Yea, I want to see how it shifts after a year of riding on scandinavian trails ;p
  • 1 0
 @JanB: I just want to see how it shifts.
  • 3 0
 Make sure they shift electronically and wirelessly and you got a new product for the dentists and doctors of the world to vie for. I say make it. It has no chance of making it onto mainstream bikes, but I'm certain high-end boutique brands would jump on the opportunity. Some people seem to have no issue buying a $10,000 bike so why not.
  • 1 0
 "It has no chance of making it onto mainstream bikes" You may have just Jinxed the Universe in their favor, We will see...
  • 2 0
 @rosemarywheel: Perhaps, but I fear those many bearing would just get destroyed in mountain biking. One pebble in the drivetrain and it would be toast.
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam: Oh, yes. I said you may have jinxed it but that doesn't mean I think it won't still be doomed to fail Beer
  • 1 0
 @rosemarywheel: CeramicSpeed has lots of potential in road and triathlon. For MTB I think the whole cassette and derailleur would have to be protected behind some kind of cover to be viable. Funny thing is that that is probably possible to do. One fundamental issue I see with the CeramicSpeed drivetrain system is that it is not a drop-in replacement system. It looks, very much, like a frame would have to be built around it. That inherently means it won't be on mainstream bikes. Major manufacturers will have to make sizeable investments to accommodate the system. That's probably why CeramicSpeed is starting by making their own line of bikes. From there they will probably try to license their tech to other companies.
  • 3 0
 A team mate of mine offered me a ride to Sea Otter once and of course I accepted. A few days later other team mates shook their head and said "go ask AP about his cruise control". I asked AP about his cruise control, a broom stick handle that was "the perfect length" jammed between the seat and wedged on the gas pedal.

this thing reminds me of that.
  • 4 0
 "The biggest downside is that the rear triangle of the bike needs to be redesigned to accommodate it"...that's because they haven't announced the price yet
  • 5 0
 I'd love to see a pro put 1000 watt on this and watch the thing disintegrate like if Thanos snapped it
  • 2 0
 My only experience with crowdfunding a product comes from 3D printing. A lot more companies are using crowdfunding and so far, the reputable companies are making good on it but older companies from a few years did not make good on their promises. As with any crowd funding money, only ever donate the money if you could toss that money in a fire and not miss it.
  • 2 0
 I’m all about dicey investments but this reads more like “give us free money so we can continue development to even gauge if this is possible; at which point we will ask for money with still no timeline on an actual product. If all guesses go right, 2023 we’ll have something.”

Sounds a lot like a Ponzi scheme to me. Bruce Boone gave me some sexy Cranx to fund his next project. Seems like a much more legitimate way to run business
  • 5 0
 did they ever figure out a way to shift gears?
  • 2 0
 Doesn't seem like it.
  • 2 0
 @seerclaw: yeah.....that is kinda what I was afraid of.
  • 5 0
 Minimum Investment: US $1,000 per investor

I'm out.
  • 5 0
 Perfect drivetrain for UK winter time... Oh wait...
  • 4 0
 Maybe in 2023 some lucky person can miss a shift and break off a tooth on that cassette and be out $3000.
  • 4 0
 "You should invest in this product because all of the prototypes so far *checks notes* havent worked"
  • 1 0
 I'm flying my curmudgeon flag and going on record saying that for its combination of cost, weight, simplicity, and performance it's going to be really hard to improve on the traditional chain and derailleur drivetrain. An improvement in one area isn't going to offset deficits in others. Can you imagine trying to jury-rig this thing on the side a road or trail?
  • 2 0
 CeramicSpeed 5 years in the future: CERAMICSPEED RELEASES FUNCTIONAL CHAINLESS DRIVE
Me: Looks cool, I want it.
CeramicSpeed: That'll be $4999.99.
Me: For that reason, I'm out
  • 1 0
 It's a nice design but think of this: On a traditional transmission, the chain applies to multiple teeth every time you put the power down. On this system, there is only one tooth in every sprocket that has to take all the load. I can see so much wear right there.
  • 4 0
 Seems too roadie focused based on their website. Nope.
  • 2 0
 "cost analysis with Human Powered Solutions shows target cost of goods of $500 with target sale price to OEMs of $1400 to $1600"
  • 4 0
 this sounds like a terrible investment.
  • 3 0
 I see this going about as well as the CoolestCooler, when it comes delivery time..
  • 4 0
 I fail to see how this is cheaper and less complex than a chain.
  • 4 0
 Only Ebike riders would be dumb enough to buy this crap.
  • 2 0
 If the opportunity was that good, they would'n't be crowd funding. Money isn't exactly hard to come by with a solid idea and plan.
  • 1 0
 They will scam lots of people who haven't used any non-toy-grade bicycle drivetrains. The derailleur system is very good, but low end parts are so bad, non-enthusiast people think that's how all derailleur systems are.
  • 1 0
 I simply can't understand how it could be an improvement to change the direction of the rotational force of the pedals twice before it gets to the back wheel.

It is different, but better?
  • 1 0
 I just want it to see if it makes it down the hill and they should have made it attach to the Shox link so as the bike pumps down the hill it turns the wheels.
  • 2 0
 Cool design but can’t see it holding up over time. It would get so full of gunk and sand.
  • 1 1
 You need a special frame for this? What about pinion or the other gear box designs?
With all the nay-saying, I hope that they will crush it and come up with a working solution!
  • 1 0
 If people are willing to pay the prices asked by CS for their normal products, I can totally believe why CS thought people would fork over cash for this idea.
  • 1 0
 Curious what ludicrous retail price this will carry if taken to production....
  • 4 3
 It's weird, it's different, I like it. In before all the pissy knee-jerk comments. Oh wait...
  • 1 0
 every time I see this thing, it looks like it simply wont fit in the highest gear. can it actually shift?
  • 1 0
 At last update it did shift but not under load and not all gears.
  • 2 0
 No pretty much just making bikes into cars i feel chains are more reilable
  • 1 0
 So am I right in thinking I don’t need a ceramic hyperdrive gear pulley now
  • 1 0
 Swap the places of the Chainring and the cassette and it looks like a nice way to package that technology into a gearbox.
  • 2 0
 Hope none of the supporters get shafted if they shift their focus.
  • 2 0
 Sell 2 of your bearings, that should cover it
  • 2 0
 I thought we all agreed this wouldn't work?
  • 1 0
 All of the components are still exposed to the elements and thats why its pointless. Gear boxes are the future.
  • 2 0
 As bugs bunny used to say
“What a Maroge”
  • 2 0
 Yet - No video of it actually shifting.
  • 1 0
 If their cheapest jockey wheels are €200, i will need a 100% remortgage to afford this.
  • 1 0
 Soon they'll put gas motors into the bikes then call them MOTORBIKES!! Whoa!!
  • 4 2
 DCA WYA!
  • 9 0
 I'm not sure what your comment means, but I'm pretty sure that Google's guess--that you're referring to a flight from Washington, DC airport (DCA) to Whyalla, Australia (WYA)--is incorrect.
  • 4 1
 @barp: DoubleCrownAddict Where You AT
  • 3 0
 @barp: going with this HAHAAHAH
  • 2 0
 @Spencermon: haha, thanks
  • 4 0
 Thou shalt not encourage the TroubleClownAddict.
  • 3 1
 No.
  • 2 1
 CeramicSpeed is like Robert Space Industries of bike brands.
  • 1 0
 But does it shift wirelessly.....?
  • 1 0
 This smells like a project for DangerHolm…
  • 9 0
 I know he likes to polish stuff, but I wouldn't ask him to polish this turd...
  • 3 0
 @southoftheborder: he did shill for it in these comments and by recent endeavours he is some sort partnership with ceramic speed.
  • 2 0
 Terrible
  • 1 0
 i would rather go with a Pinion gear box and gates belt.
  • 2 0
 No, just no.
  • 1 1
 Don't be giving me the gears. Stop de railing the question. Will it actually work on a mountain bike?
  • 1 0
 mmmmmm I will stick to my AXS thanks.
  • 1 0
 Good luck with that............
  • 1 0
 I just went to the bathroom before I rode. Saved me a few watts and lbs.
  • 1 0
 This is really cool tech but surely there is a better application for it.
  • 1 0
 So basically, they don't want to waste their own money on this. Got it.
  • 1 0
 Hmm this maybe can knock AXS off the #1 spot. Very futuristic design.
  • 3 2
 25 days late
  • 2 2
 if i had cash,,, this would be the 1 option for investment
  • 19 0
 This is probably why you have no cash Jk
  • 2 2
 Overpriced absolutely bull**** ceramic crap wants MORE of your money
  • 1 1
 I love seeing real innovation in the bike industry!
  • 1 0
 hmmmm...pass
  • 3 4
 cant wait to hear what @DoubleCrownAddict has to say...
  • 2 2
 Ah, you must be one of his fake accounts I heard about that spreads fake positive messages relating to him (why else would you bother writing out his whole name?) Wink

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