This Ultra-Efficient Bike Has No Chains and No Derailleurs

A new no-chain and no-derailleur bicycle won the prestigious Eurobike Award, beating 365 competitors.
Loukia Papadopoulos
CeramicSpeed bike CeramicSpeed

A chain and derailleur-free bicycle called blew away audiences at the 2018 Eurobike trade show in Germany. The novel prototype by CermaicSpeed won the coveted Eurobike Award, beating 365 other entries. Typical bikes use chains and gears along with kinetic energy to keep moving, but this bike offers a much smoother ride. 

Striving toward efficiency

The team behind the bike wanted to design the "most efficient drivetrain imaginable."  Partnering with the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Colorado, they created a drive shaft concept called 'Driven' that utilizes "21 CeramicSpeed Bearings and sets a new benchmark as the world’s most efficient drivetrain," according to the company's website.

This Ultra-Efficient Bike Has No Chains and No Derailleurs
Source: CeramicSpeed

The 21 CeramicSpeed Bearings refer to the 21 bearings featured on the bike. These bearings transfer torque from the front ring through the drive shaft, then onto the 13-speed rear cog.

Driven, in essence, functions through a pinion-style driveshaft system instead of the traditional and somewhat inefficient chain and derailleur models. The company claims their new system creates 49 percent less friction when compared to the market-leading chain and derailleur drivetrain, achieved by removing the eight points of sliding friction on traditional bikes.

Furthermore, replacing the metal chain with a carbon driveshaft resulted in a bike with a two-dimensional more aerodynamic profile that reduces drag and enables a lower weight.

This Ultra-Efficient Bike Has No Chains and No Derailleurs
Source: CeramicSpeed

CeramicSpeed conducted tests that indicated that their first model achieved 99 percent peak efficiency. The system was also found to have 32 percent less friction than the CeramicSpeed optimized DA drivetrain and 49 percent less friction than a stock Dura-Ace group, both impressive already high-performing models from the company.

A range of options

The 2018 version of Driven could not be ridden and it could not shift. Shortly after Eurobike, the company developed the first rideable version of a single-speed Driven bike. Today, there are three Driven bike concepts: The Hero, The Venge, and The Lux.

The Hero improved on the original concept unveiled at Eurobike. Driven now comprises a fixed front pinion and a patent-pending, wirelessly controlled, electronic shiftable rear split-pinion.

In collaboration with Specialized, CeramicSpeed took the aerodynamic Specialized S-Works Venge and outfitted it with their chainless Driven drivetrain. 

The LUX MTB concept explores what the future of mountain bikes could look like. A telescoping driveshaft was produced and is capable of transferring high torque through the driveshaft while it lengthens and shortens to follow suspension.

These bikes aren't readily available for purchase yet. Until then, we'll have to deal with our chains and dream about a ride with less friction. 

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