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.
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