Best affordable ceramic pulleys for 11s Sram

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by misterq

lots of options, many seem way over priced. Whats best affordable ones out there?

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by AJS914

Tacx is super affordable - like $25-30.

by Weenie

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by JackRussellRacing

I have Kogel "not for instagram" pullies on my eTap setup (11/28) and think they're groovy. :)

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by TonyM

Best value for the money are indeed the Taxc Ceramic!

I have the Taxc, Kogels and CeramicSpeed and honestly I don’t see any big significant differences...if I however had to rank then I would say best are CeramicSpeed then Taxc, Kogels (and then Campy SR)
Last edited by TonyM on Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by wheelbuilder

If you have etap, it comes with ceramic pulley bearings.

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by alcatraz

Here is my experience with cheap pulleys:

Pulleys dont have so much weight on them so your bearing choice is more free. You could go full ceramic, BUT...

In the long run you need a quality bearing with good seals, regardless of it being steel or ceramic. Ceramic bearings get gritty too and often they have worse seals than the common industrial bearings, causing them to become gritty (more watts spent) earlier than the cheapo standard bearings.

Some pulleys have a great deal of play in them. If you get full ceramic bearings these will have a lot more play than a steel bearing. This means your shifting will deteriorate because the play will give the chain a greater deflection.

Good quality small steel bearings together with a delrin/plastic cog, for me, is a more logical choice for performance. Open once a year to service, done. Get oversized pulleys if you like. You could improve shifting a bit by going wide/narrow toothed pulleys á la mtb.

I also found that going down a tooth or two on the upper pulley extends the largest possible cassette cog. It may be at a compromise but works well for me. A friend barely cleared a 36t cassette with his mid-cage derailleur. Chain tension is too high. Going to 10t wide/narrow fixed the clearance issue and chain tension, while at the same time improving shifting. A larger bottom pulley took up the extra chain slack and effectively increased the derailleur total capacity by a few teeth.


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by Kayrehn

J&L ones on ebay, light and cheap and improves shifting for my drivetrain with its narrow/wide profile. Have oversized options too if you have a mid cage.

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by alcatraz

J&L use small steel bearings (nsk i think) and plastic pulley material, which makes it one of my first choices. If you get the even tooth numbered pulleys they will give you narrow/wide tooth profile. I recommend people to try it.


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by Kayrehn

Recently got a pair of 12t for my etap normal/short cage rear derailleur. Image

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by 2lo8

Pretty sure J&L is full ceramic, no seal. I don't know about anyone else, but my bearings were not glued in straight or very well. I had to pop them out then regule them straight myself.
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by Lewn777

According to experts like Hambini it doesn't matter if you have ceramic bearings or not. Ceramic is great for heat tolerance but cycling components don't get that hot. Simply concentrate on getting the best bearing you can for your money. Many a Chinese gibbon can make a ceramic bearing, but that doesn't mean their bearings are any good.

I tried those J&L jockey wheels from fleabay and they worked well for a few thousand kms then they disintegrated probably because dust got into the seals. In the end it was just plastic spinning around an axle! I think you'd be better off with KCNC unless they were on a low use race bike, but even then I wouldn't bother.

I'm just going to stick with OEM cages and pulleys from now on. The weight savings are tiny and the watts on offer as very small. I do a lot of KMs and need reliability.

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by tabl10s

Kayrehn wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:51 am
Recently got a pair of 12t for my etap normal/short cage rear derailleur. Image

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What's standard tooth count for generic cogs?
2016 Orbea Orca OMR:


2013 Wilier Zero.7:


2016 Rca:


2015 Pinarello F8:


2018 S-Works SL6(shooting for 11lbs).

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by alcatraz

The pictured ones are the ones to stay away from. Open simple full ceramic bearings. They will incrementally over a few months become grittier and grittier until you wonder why you still keep them. If the ceramic material had been the highest quality maybe cleaning them would restore their smoothness but with these I'm sure that the particles slowly but surely damage the races and balls.

On top of that the play in them is very big so the pulley contacts the bearing caps that are held in place in the cage. Shifting also deteriorates over time as the play increases. If you come from pulleys with bushings like 105 or lower then these will perform similarly. For real bearing pulleys it's a downgrade. Also the alloy material is a bit noisy when it contacts the chain. Better go with delrin/pom/plastic.

They are nice new but it's not a riders item. Swap the bearings though and they should be fine.

There are full ceramic bearings with ceramic seals (non contact = not very good) that probably have much less play than these supplied bearings, which should work fine for many kilometers. Lightweight too. Generally though the play will always be greater than steel, and they will faster become grittier, that in the end it will be a win for steel.


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Location: Denmark

by Attermann

Had a pair of those on my winter bike for a year, normal bearings doesn't last that long, it's very difficult to get something to last in the danish winter, lots of salt, and wet too. now i have pair on the new winter bike, 12t on the top, 14 t on the bottom in a r8000 cage, still perfect :)

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by rainerhq

But you won´t put these on your main bike?
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