I will be building up a new TT bike this winter. Does anyone have an opinion on getting a BB set with ceramic bearings? Is there any significant difference in performance are there any drawbacks?
Any advise is appreciated.
I did not myself choose to go with ceramic bearings, as I had quit TT racing just as our 2CC team sponsor, the Pony Shop of Evanston, Illinois, began to install. However I can report on the team's experiences.
1. Lou Kuhn, our team sponsor, shop owner and chief mechanic, installed two types of ceramic bearings, with a wide price differential between the two, on a number of team bikes. Users reported significant improvements in performance, and notably faster time-trial performance, with both sets. However the less expensive set did wear out much more quickly, suggesting that the cost-benefit ratio favored the more expensive sets.
2. installation is important. high-quality, experienced mechanics are recommended.
3. fellow team members were extremely enthusiastic about this upgrade, though the cost was high.
That's good to hear. Now I'm leaning toward the ceramic. I will probably get the SRAM upgrade - good quality is likely with their set. I'll see what other feedback I get on this site.
I have a Giant TCR Advanced and ride everyday to work. When I got the bike, it had Shimano Dura Ace BBs and was just a smooth as anything I've rode...so I thought... I've been upgrading my bike, SRAM Force Shifters, SRAM Force Derailleur, and then went all out and got the SRAM Red Crank set. Well, to my surprise, the Shimano Bearings didn't fit the SRAM cranks. I did a ton of research and found that I needed a BB86 press-fit bottom bracket for a SRAM crank set. Jeeezzzz, I looked everywhere for a set of BB86 bearings and could only find them in Europe. I almost gave up when I finally found SRAM Red Ceramic Bearings on Masherz.com. I was not even looking for ceramic bearings but thought to myself, they were awesome when I used to race R/C cars, why not? (Not to mention I had to pay more money for international shipping on the regular bearings anyways) So, I bought them and had them professionally installed at my local bike shop, Roy's Cyclery, Upland, CA.
OH MY GOD! THEY ARE AMAZING! It’s a night and day difference between the two sets. It’s so smooth to peddle and stepping on the gas never transitioned to so much direct unadulterated power. I'm so happy that I stumbled into ceramic bearings. I'm a 190 lb rider with the legs of a Mediterranean Climbing God... OK, maybe not that good but I can bend the crank arms on anything less than my SRAM Red Crank Set after every stoplight. You will not be disappointed spending double the money on ceramic BBs. They are smoother, lighter and last longer than regular bearings also.
Good Luck with any decision you make!
I have several bike and I installed the ceramic bearings on my Colnago. The crank feels noticeably smoother than my other bikes. Having said that, I must admit that I don't know if it is the Colnago itself is doing that or the ceramic bearings. I am getting ceramic bearings for my Ridley and I will get back to you on that.