Over the last few years we have been frequently asked our opinion on using ceramic bearings. Is it worth the extra cost for the possible gain in performance?
To be honest, I have always been a bit sceptical, seeing the marketing hype. Just another component to sell as an upgrade.
However, the pounding given to a hub bearing by a racing wheelchair athlete is entirely different to the smoother and more predictable loading from a cyclist or within a machine. Add to this the twisting forces caused by the wheel camber and side loads during cornering on racing chairs and handcycles, and the result is often poor performance and short bearing life.
The market is flooded with cheap ceramic bearings which are generally fragile and unreliable. We have seen ball races cracked and sometimes the balls themselves.
Like all bearings, there are many grades, qualities and manufacturers. Finding the right balance between cost and performance can be a lottery. We have spent 6 months researching different bearings and have settled on CeramicSpeed. A small specialist Danish manufacturing company who hand build high quality ceramic bearings at a reasonable cost.