The word “unchained” fits here both literally and metaphorically. CeramicSpeed’s new drivetrain removes the ubiquitous chain that’s synonymous with two-wheelers for a drivetrain that’s mess-free, low on friction, and amazing looking. A rotating shaft replaces the need for a greasy chain, and it works spectacularly well, say the people at CeramicSpeed, reducing friction by as much as 49%.
Where chains usually wrap around toothed gears, pulling individually at each tooth, causing sliding friction at each point, the ‘Driven’ chainless drivetrain has just two points of contact, where the pedals interface with the rotating shaft, and where the shaft transfers the rotation to the rear wheel. At these points, CeramicSpeed introduces ceramic ball bearings on the shaft, causing less friction as the bearings push against the teeth of the gears and rotate too, resulting in an extremely smooth movement. With a shaft made from carbon fiber, the mechanism is incredibly lightweight, hardy, and is also capable of working at different speeds (for instance the images below show a whopping 13-speed arrangement). Still in its prototype stages, the Driven remarkably achieves 99% efficiency and is poised to radically change bicycling as we know it!
Designers: CeramicSpeed & University of Colorado Mechanical Engineering Dept.