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Our view on CeramicSpeed’s Driven: A chainless bike

Hey folks, Fernando over here with something new I just found while doom-scrolling on X, and let me tell you, it was so worth it. it’s time to Talk about something that’s been buzzing in the cycling world and apparently I missed. I recently got wind of Driven Technologies, a spin-off from CeramicSpeed, known for their low-friction bearings. These guys are shaking things up with their game-changing drivetrain system, and I’m here to spill the details.

Driven first showed up in 2018. That prototype was a showstopper. Imagine a bike without a chain, replaced by a carbon fiber telescopic universal joint. Yeah, that caught everyone’s attention, including the big names like Specialized. Fast forward a bit, Driven Technologies has branched out on its own, helmed by Jason Smith, the brain behind this whole deal.

Driven Explained

So, what’s the big deal with this drivetrain? It’s all about efficiency. We’re talking about a system so slick it cuts down friction like it’s nothing. The drivetrain uses 21 CeramicSpeed ball bearings, making for super smooth engagement. It’s a breath of fresh air from the typical chain and sprocket system.

The real beauty of this drivetrain is its dual-pinion design. Check this out: a fixed front pinion and a shiftable rear split pinion. This setup is controlled by wireless electronic shifting. Inside the hollow carbon fiber shaft, there’s a rechargeable battery, an actuator, and a shift mechanism. This mechanism controls the rear split pinion, which follows a step and follow shift pattern. It’s kind of like a dance, where one half steps forward, and the other follows, ensuring a seamless gear change.

Now, let’s talk about aerodynamics. When Driven took this baby to the wind tunnel, the results were jaw-dropping. They managed to create the world’s most aerodynamically efficient road bike. How cool is that? It’s like scoring a touchdown in the tech world of cycling.

Driven - Pursuing One Percent

Fast forward to today, Driven Technologies is making waves at Eurobike with their new Orbit Drive drivetrain. This new kid on the block is designed specifically for electric bikes, and let me tell you, it’s pretty slick. They’ve kept the universal joint system and added an integrated electric motor and planetary gears. Think of it like a car differential but for bikes.

What’s impressive about this Orbit Drive system is how low-maintenance it is. We’re talking about a system that needs a check-up maybe every 15,000 kilometers. As for its debut, it might still be a couple of years away, but the anticipation is real.

So, what’s the Orbit Drive all about? It’s a compact, 4.6-kilo drive system with all the necessary gears and electronics. It’s a dream for e-bike manufacturers because it simplifies the whole drivetrain package. No more fiddling around with different components – it’s all there in one neat package.

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Driven’s gone all out with the design, inspired by hybrid cars and trucks. They’re using a variable speed ‘bevel differential configuration of planetary gears’. In simpler terms, it’s a smooth blend of rider and motor power delivery to the rear wheel. The system is so efficient it boosts battery range and promises almost zero maintenance. Plus, it’s got regenerative braking – a nice touch for the eco-conscious.

Three variants of the Orbit system are set to hit the market: Direct Drive, Chain, and Belt Drive options. Each brings something unique to the table, catering to different preferences.

While Driven Technologies hasn’t launched a product just yet, their journey has been nothing short of fascinating. With the e-bike sector growing, their Orbit design seems like a smart move. Competing brands like Pinion and Valeo are also in the game, but Driven’s approach is unique.

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