Eurobike gets underway today, and probably the biggest news will be the unveiling of the latest development of the CeramicSpeed Drive drive shaft that we saw this time last year, with 1.6 million of you watching our YouTube video showing the early prototype.
Undeterred by the technical challenges and online scepticism, the company has continued working on the project, focusing it says on rideability and shiftability. The concept it showed a year ago was not intended to carry load or shift gears, just that the 99% efficient drivetrain could be achieved by stepping away from the current love affair with the derailleur.
It was recently tested in the wind tunnel with Specialized helping to test it on a Venge aero road bike. Data shared suggest it is faster than a conventional groupset.
CeramicSpeed has been testing the new Driven concept on a velodrome, where a singlespeed prototype was able to sustain loads involved with being pedalled up to 45kph. That’s an impressive achievement, but gear changing seems a bigger problem, but one the company reckons it has solved.
It has developed a fixed front pinion with a split rear pinion that can be electronically shifted via wireless control. This patent-pending system can change gear even under load, claims the company.
The system works thanks to a split pinion. The pinion has been split along its centre creating two halves, with each half able to move independently to perform a gear change. A self-aligning “Torque Decoupler” means the system can shift anywhere on the rear cog and shifts happen within one rotation of the driveshaft.
“The rear split-pinion is a novel method of changing gears, even under rider load. With this rear split-pinion, shift speed has the potential to outperform a traditional electronic drivetrain,” explains Project Lead and CeramicSpeed’s CTO, Jason Smith.
“It’s been so impressive to see how far our small team of engineers has come in such as short space of time,” he adds. “When we were at Eurobike last year, we knew that rideability and shiftability were soon to become a priority. It seemed like the entire bike industry wanted Driven to shift and we had a theory on how we could do it, but by the time Eurobike came around, we had yet to commit to the challenge. However, within a short period of time, and thanks to support from the University of Colorado’s Mechanical Engineering Department, we nailed it. The Driven shifting challenge was solved.”
That’s not all, the company has even developed a mountain bike version. At Eurobike this week it will unveil a mountain bike Driven concept to show it is able to work on a full-suspension bike.
With such rapid development seemingly overcoming some of the clear hurdles present a year ago when it was first unveiled, can the company really take the Drive all the way from concept to a full production product that you can buy and fit it to your bike? Proof of concept is one thing, but manufacturing it on a large scale and offering it at a competitive price point is a whole other challenge.
More on this soon as the team over in Germany will be taking a closer look.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.