Mar. 9, 2015 | By Alec

Cycling can be a very expensive hobby, as high-quality bikes can be extremely pricey. This can, of course, be expected when you take all those detailed aluminium and titanium into consideration. Now Normally we expect that the introduction of 3D printed components lowers the prices without sacrificing quality, but in the case of the latest innovation by CeramicSpeed it's the other way around.

Hardcore biking fans will have probably heard of CeramicSpeed before, but for those of you who haven’t: the Danish company CeramicSpeed is reknowned as one of the world’s leading suppliers of ceramic bearings. Founded in 2000 by Jacob Csizmadia, CeramicSpeed specializes in applying NASA bearing technology to high-quality bicycles perfect for professional racing. While their parts are usually too expensive for recreational users, their 3D printed titanium derailleur pulleys – crucial components on any bike – come with the mind-blowing price tag of $1000 for just two.

But of course, these aren’t ordinary parts. Just unveiled for the first time at the National American Handmade Bike Show, they have been specifically designed to meet the most extreme applications in professional cycling. Developed in collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute, these special pulleys are in fact extremely light hollow structures (which would be unable to make without 3D printing technology) and last up to three times longer than other parts. They are also suited to be used in road, tri and off-road cycling, and are compatible with Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo, 10 and 11 speed.

It reportedly took CeramicSpeed four years to design them, including an extensive prototyping process, to reach the best possible 3D printed product. The final pulleys have been made using laser sintering technology on titanium powder to create perfectly accurate shapes. As Eskild Herskind, the project’s supervisor revealed: ‘the 3D printed pulley wheels passed the tests with flying colors, overtaking the results of standard ones. We are continuously looking to improve our methods in order to offer the sports industry the best guarantee of a high-end product.’

These pulleys are in fact hollow.

And that is, in a nutshell, the entire reason behind these cool pulleys. CeramicSpeed is the first to acknowledge that these components have been made to explore new technological options, rather than to take a new product to market. ‘We like to always keep ourselves up-to-date with the novelties within the tech world. Once we do that, we have the freedom to experiment with design in a creative way, at the same time upgrading and optimizing our products’ features. We now introduce no less than the world’s most innovative pulley wheel, and we owe it to our belief that modern technology and innovation is what describes us best’, Managing Director Martin Banke revealed.

Therefore, they will only be making ten pairs of pulleys for now, all of which will be sold in needlessly expensive cases more suited for jewellery than for bicycle parts. However CeramicSpeed has said they are planning to incorporate their findings into further projects. 

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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