Our 2015 race season is over and this gives us a chance to evaluate the C-Bear Ceramic Bearings bottom brackets that the team have been using for the whole season.
We have been very impressed by the quality and performance of the C-Bear bearings. Bearings are hidden away and we don’t really pay much attention to them until something goes wrong – and something usually does! But not so with our C-Bear bottom brackets. They are still running as smoothly, efficiently and quietly as they did at the start of the season.
The conditions that we train and race in, here in Africa are very harsh on regular bearings. The hot conditions turn everything to dust and that dust gets in literally everywhere. My daughter tells me that sand has a structure similar to diamond and that does not surprise me because dust in the bearing plays havoc with steel bearings.
Apparently Si3N4 Silicon nitride used in C-Bear ceramic bearings is an extremely hard material (much harder than steel) and is therefore much more resistant to wear from the constant grind of dust and sand. C-Bear using ABEC5 Grade 3 balls – which are more perfectly spherical than the industry standard of Grade 5 (lower grade better). This also contributes to reducing friction and wear.
The performance of our C-Bear BBs is in stark contrast to the regular bearings we have in our wheelsets. We have experienced three bearing failures in recent months and in the last incident the bearing was completely disintegrated mid-ride leaving the bike unrideable. However, the only set of C-Bear wheel bearings that we have been using have continued to perform brilliantly.
It has not all been plain-sailing and to be honest, we did have to change one of our C-Bear Bottom Brackets during the season. However, this was not caused by a failure of the bearings themselves, but the metal inner race. We later learned that it was due to adding an unnecessary washer from a SRAM GXP BB for aesthetics – the washer wore the stepped part of the inner race down over time an caused some binding on the bearing.
One great thing about our relationship with C-Bear has been getting to know Bart & Aria (at least in virtual world). They are both passionate and enthusiastic about their products and will go the extra mile to make sure every customer is satisfied. That’s a level of service you just don’t get with some of the big players. Their motto is KISS (keep it simple and straight-forward) and it is just so. Ordering is very easy and they deliver practically anywhere very fast. Check out www.c-bear.com for yourself.
Overall, we are very impressed with C-Bear – both the product range and service. We cannot say categorically that these race-ready bearings won the races for us, but in a sport like cycling where success often depends on the sum of marginal gains – we are sure that having the world’s best bearings played a big part in another great season for us.