Parcours is thrilled to offer Kogel Bearings ceramic wheel bearings as an upgrade option for your wheelset, and you might be wondering whether this upgrade option is the right one for you.
In this blog post we go to the source himself, Ard Kessels - owner and founder of Kogel Bearings, to get his perspective on how to choose between steel and ceramic bearings.
To get started, we asked some of you what questions you have about the Kogel ceramic wheel bearings upgrade. Here’s what he had to say:
PARCOURS: What are some of the features, advantages and benefits of a ceramic bearing in a wheel?
AK: Ceramic wheel bearings are ball bearings with ceramic balls and steel races. The advantage of ceramic over steel balls is that they roll smoother, don’t corrode, and are harder than their common counterparts.
The benefits of these attributes are increased efficiency and performance on your bike. Your bike rolls smoother for longer so you can ride your best ride, whether that be a season of riding, your biggest race(s) or the enjoyment of knowing your bike will be rolling smoothly for years to come.
PARCOURS: Are ceramic bearings worth the money?
AK: Great question; Are ceramic bearings bearings worth the money! I’m guessing some folks reading this article may have limited funds to invest in their bikes. And even if you didn’t, you might still be thinking about the value proposition of ceramic bearings.
Ceramic wheel bearings offer more value over the steel bearings in your wheelset because they give you greater efficiency, reliability and performance than standard bearings.
The bearings in your wheels and freehub are responsible for transferring the most amount of energy from your drivetrain to your wheels. They are the single most important part of that relationship. Without the performance of a ceramic bearing, you’re limiting the potential gains from other critical parts of your bike, like your wheelset.
Ceramic wheel bearings are that secret component you can’t see. They are at work as long as the bike is moving. You can feel this in the acceleration of your bike and nearly effortless spin of your wheels.
Imagine how that translates into output necessary to draft or lead a group, descend or carry speed through corners, and launch an attack. They’re simply awesome!
That being said, everyone has their own definition of value. If you value maximizing the performance of your bike, ceramic wheel bearings are a great investment.
PARCOURS: What are the important elements to look for in a bearing?
AK: First and foremost, you want to make sure you're getting high-quality balls in your bearings. Kogel uses grade 3, ABEC-5 bearings because of the roundness and hardness of the specification. They are the perfect balance for low rpm applications like a bicycle. Nothing on a bicycle spins faster than 400 rpm. For this reason an even higher grade ball would not bring any performance benefits.
Next, you need to have wheel bearings with incredibly durable races. Bearing races are the tracks that the balls roll on inside your wheelset. These need to be super hard and incredibly smooth. At Kogel Bearings, we polish the races to a mirror finish to ensure it’s ready to deliver the performance you expect.
Other important considerations include the seals and lubricants used during assembly. Seals matter because they can impact the performance of your bearings based on how much contact they have with the bearing race.
Our road seals offer lower friction and our cross seals which provide greater protection. We recommend choosing a seal type that matches your current riding condition, not conditions you hope for in the future. Besides, you can easily swap seals at any time depending how your riding priorities fluctuate.
Lubricants also play an important role in performance. While lighter lubricants support greater efficiency (i.e. lower friction), their longevity means you’ll have shorter service intervals. Meaning, they’ll need to be serviced more often.
Finally, this brings up the x-factor of bearing performance, you! Bearing service needs to be completed at least once a year to ensure the Guaranteed Performance from your Kogel bearings.
These are simple services you or your mechanic can perform and we even have a service manual demonstrating the steps to complete a service. Without at least an annual service, your bearing performance, no matter what the brand or type will diminish over time.
PARCOURS: How is Kogel different from other companies offering ceramic bearings?
AK: Kogel Bearings was founded on the belief that we could make a better bearing, specifically for bicycle applications. Part of that was based on reducing friction, but an equal amount was focused on longevity in all riding environments. We are a company you want to do business with.
Our Guaranteed Performance means you get a 2-year very-few-questions-asked warranty. This means we’ll replace your bearings in the first year if they fail and extend the warranty a second year if you perform a service in the first year.
We also offer crash replacement if there’s ever a situation involving bad luck; we want you back on your bike as quickly as possible.
We believe in answering the phone, text or emails. You call or text, we answer. There are no phone trees at Kogel, you get to speak to a real live expert. What a concept!
So much of what’s missing from shopping online, or even in a store, comes down to service. Service before, during and after the sale. Kogel sees this as much part of our commitment to you as the parts you buy from us.
PARCOURS: Which other parts of my bike could benefit from a ceramic bearing upgrade?
AK: Our entire lineup of products are focused on maximizing the performance of your bike and the experience you have with cycling.
A great way to maximize your bike’s performance is to add an oversized derailleur cage. Kogel Kolossos cages are built to be super stiff in order to maintain shifting accuracy while lowering friction in your drivetrain.
Ceramic bottom brackets were the start and foundation of our business back in 2014. All of them are designed to make the stiffest possible connection between your crank arms and frame, while spinning smooth as butter.
The combination of ceramic wheel bearings, pulleys and a bottom bracket is truly an incredible improvement to your bike’s performance and your cycling experience.
PARCOURS: Why choose Kogel ceramic wheel bearings with my Parcours wheelset?
AK: Our commitment to the success of Parcours stems from our shared belief that Guaranteed Performance is the only way to offer products and services.
We share a belief that service is just as important as the quality of our products. And, we also think if you're going to invest in a premium wheelset, then you also want the option to include ceramic wheel bearings.
All Kogel ceramic wheel bearings included in your Parcours wheelsets are backed by our Guaranteed Performance warranty.
The strong relationship between Parcours and Kogel means you’re getting not just an incredible wheelset(s), but the support you need to ride your best ride.