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Ceramic Bearings: Are They Worth It?

Ceramic Bearing Options

There are two different types of ceramic bearings. A full ceramic bearing has both ceramic ball bearings and races. The type of bearing that is more commonly found bicycle hubs is in fact a mixed ceramic one. The races are made of steel, and the balls are ceramic. This combination allows bearings to run at higher speeds

The Benefits of Ceramic Bearings

Ceramic bearings have two main benefits. The first is that they can reduce rolling resistance. The other is that they can increase the lifespan of components. There is another minor benefit, which is they can weight up to 50% less than steel bearings.

When it comes to rolling resistance, ceramic bearings can be made to be more spherical. This means that they can carry rider loads without stressing balls or races, leading to better less need for lubrication and better performance. Ceramic balls are also 3-5x harder than steel bearings and can therefore withstand more force. Furthermore, they insulate steel races. When using steel bearings, if there is contamination inside for a prolonged amount of time, corrosive wear can occur. Mixed ceramic bearings do not suffer from this problem.

Not All Ceramic Bearings are Created Equal

In theory, ceramic bearings should offer lower rolling resistance and an increased lifespan. However, that is not always the case considering bearing brands, quality level, and riding conditions. Some ceramic bearings are worse than steel bearing counterparts. Some brands don’t use high-quality ceramic balls or meet the ISO 9001 manufacturing standards. These require heavier grease and perform poorly. Elitewheels only chooses high-quality ceramic bearings for its hubs, for example S&S. Information on each wheelset’s bearings can be found on their individual product pages.

Not All Hubs Are Created Equal

Most of the issues riders have with ceramic bearings has nothing to do with the bearings. Instead it has to do with machining accuracy of hubs. Lower-end hubs with poorer tolerances can lead to issues, namely damage to the bearings and races. Because of our 5-axis CNC machines’ 0.02mm tolerances, we are able to manufacture hubs with higher concentricity, reducing the likelihood of uneven pressure on the bearing, extending their service life of bearings and reducing rolling resistance

As a result of this precision machining, the feedback from our more than 5,000 riders using ceramic bearing wheelsets since 2019 has been overwhelmingly positive. The wheels continue to run smoothly.


  • Diego
    Posted November 12, 2023 at 6:21 am

    Salve, sono interessato ad acquistare ruote Marvel 38D. La mia domanda è questa: i mozzi che vengono montati su quelle ruote sono di tipo abbastanza silenzioso (tipo Shimano) o molto rumorosi? Mi riferisco al rumore che fanno quando si smette di pedalare. spero di essere stato chiaro. Grazie per la risposta.

  • Sergio
    Posted August 24, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    Hola, estoy pensando en comprar unas ruedas Drive 40D, recomendadas por vuestro embajador Martín Mata.
    Me gustaría saber si el núcleo también lleva rodamientos ceramicos o solo son los bujes los que los llevan.
    También me gustaría saber que tipo de grasa me recomendais a la hora de desmontar el núcleo y buje para su limpieza y mantenimiento.
    Un saludo Sergio

    • Patrick
      Posted August 25, 2023 at 10:22 am

      Hola sergio. Gracias por su pregunta. Todos los rodamientos son cerámicos. En cuanto a la grasa, recomendamos Shimano Premium Grease.

      • Nikolas
        Posted October 10, 2023 at 4:36 am

        Patrick, I am interested of purchasing a good carbon wheelset with all the bells & whistles. After reading different articles on the cycling industry, they strongly mentioned that a wider carbon rim internal 23mm-25mm with a wider Tyre like 28mm-30mm will make the ride faster and smoother. The Elite 50D carbon wheels are 21mm internal width. Please explain. Thank you Nikolas

        • Patrick
          Posted October 10, 2023 at 10:14 am

          Hello Nikolas. Thank you for your comment.

          Our current road wheels can fit a 28mm or 30mm tire without any problems. They are aerodynamically optimized for 25-26mm tires, which coupled with our 28mm wide rims are more aerodynamic than wider ones. Wider rims and tires will not make you ride faster given appropriate tire pressures for the given tire size. To learn more about this, I recommend the independent testing site They are free from biases that may be present in the cycling industry.

          Wider tires can certainly offer more comfort in rough conditions. If you value comfort more than speed, I recommend you check out our Drive G45 gravel wheelset which can be fitted with road bike tires. The Drive G45 wheelset has a 24mm inner width and a 31mm outer width, making it perfect for 30mm tires.

    • Freddy
      Posted November 7, 2023 at 1:00 pm

      Saludos repecto a los wheels se le puden poner las graficas de ELITE SOLA y tambien si los colores del freehub y hub tambien cambian en colores anonizados?? Y si los bering son cerramic??

  • Elmer
    Posted July 16, 2023 at 8:49 pm

    What is the recommended brand of ceramic bearing that need replacement due to wear?

    • Patrick
      Posted July 18, 2023 at 10:29 am

      Hi Elmer,

      Thank you for your question. It really depends on which wheel you have as some have different size bearings. We use S&S bearings in many of our wheelsets. They are very smooth. Other brands offer excellent bearings as well.

      If you would like more information about which bearings you need, you are welcome to contact our customer service. We also sell our recommended bearings on our website.

  • Mauricio cortes Robles
    Posted December 13, 2022 at 3:04 am

    Hola precio para España (Granada)
    Ruedas de 50 para disco

    • ya_manager
      Posted December 13, 2022 at 11:36 am

      Hola Mauricio. Tenemos ruedas Marvel y Drive disponibles. El precio de las ruedas es el mismo en nuestra web.

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