Danish brand CeramicSpeed announced today the acquisition of the UltraFast Optimization racing chains from the Boulder, Colorado based Friction Facts company. Friction Facts is well known as an independent testing lab and will remain so. They also developed a popular chain treatment process, and that is what they sold to CeramicSpeed. Several Pros have competed on these optimized chains around the globe, including the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Athletes using this chain process are noted in the annually popular features: The Bikes of the top 15 male pros and top 15 female pros in Hawaii.
Sebastian Kienle, Frederik Van Lierde, Bart Aernouts, Luke McKenzie, Rachel Joyce, Gina Crawford and Liz Blatchford were among those pro triathletes we noticed in Kona using the UltraFast chain in either a Shimano or SRAM version. At Challenge Dubai we also found the chain on the bike of Martin Jensen. And now CeramicSpeed will offer these chains.
“Low friction chains was an obvious next move for CeramicSpeed. That was the last part we needed to be able to supply a fully optimized drive train,” said Martin Banke, the managing director of Ceramic Speed to Slowtwitch. "But you obviously don’t just design and set up a chain production which can beat any other chain in the market when it comes to low friction. So when we got the chance to buy UFO it was an easy decision. We will now be able to supply a complete drive train that beats anything else on the market when it comes to low friction. Looking at this in a bigger perspective the acquisition of UFO and introduction of CeramicSpeed UFO chains is our first step into the chain business. And like it has been the case with our other product lines we will not stop with what we have now. Our R&D team will be spending time on designing and optimizing chains like we have done with bearings, pulleys and BB’s."
All of the UFO operations are moving to the CeramicSpeed headquarters in Holstebro, Denmark. According to a press release, the optimization treatment offers the lowest friction for 200 miles or 320 km of riding under clean conditions. That means the CeramicSpeed UFO Chain is short-term and meant for race-day applications, but the used chain will, according to CeramicSpeed, still carry traces of the treatment and offer better performance than a stock new chain.
A chain in the process of the optimization treatment.
The finished product. In this case a UFO SRAM chain.
According to Jason Smith of Friction Facts, they will continue to operate as an independent testing lab under his ownership.
"As the UFO business grew, it was it was difficult to keep up with the demand, and the increased UFO demand took more time away from the Friction Facts side. I made the decision to pass the UFO business to CeramicSpeed. I am very pleased with this acquisition and feel it is a win-win. CS can now add UFO chains to their product line, and I can devote more time to FF and my passion of testing and experimenting with drive trains," said Smith to Slowtwitch.
[The intro was edited to make it clear that Friction Facts itself was not sold, just the UFO chain business.]