Aero Is Everything
We joined forces with Specialized to explore the aero benefits of our radical drivetrain
Since unveiling Driven in 2018—a revolutionary drivetrain concept which eliminates the chain and derailleurs—we've taken several major steps to further the development.
We recently joined forces with bicycle giant Specialized in a collaboration to put the chainless system through its aero-paces.
To date, the Venge is Specialized’s most aerodynamic road bike, with every aspect of its design challenged and tested. Continually striving to set new benchmarks, the engineers at Specialized opened the door to us with an interest to examine the true potential of Driven and the aero gains that could be achieved with such a radical drivetrain.
Chris Yu of Specialized spoke of the importance for companies to seek innovation in cycling, 'Our motto at Specialized is “Innovate or Die.” This means we are constantly looking at new concepts that offer true performance benefits for our riders. Significant innovations in drivetrains don’t come around often, so we were eager to test the aero performance of Driven in our Win Tunnel.'
Driven, an innovative pinion-drive-shaft design, that utilises 21 CeramicSpeed Bearings, was custom designed for the experiment by our R&D lab based in Boulder and led by Chief Technology Officer Jason Smith. Driven was then retrofitted to a Venge for the tests, pitting it against a standard Venge in the renowned Win Tunnel at Specialized’s Morgan Hill campus.
After hours in the tunnel, the results reveal that the Driven equipped Venge is the most aerodynamic road bike ever tested in the Win Tunnel.
Most efficient and most aero drivetrain
The concept bike showed an aerodynamic improvement over the current day Venge of approximately 3 %, consistently across all yaw angles. According to Ingmar Jungnickel, Aerodynamics R&D Lead at Specialized, the aerodynamic improvements seen with the Driven drivetrain could be as much as 8 seconds over 40km, ‘The results we measured are comparable of the aerodynamic improvement of the Venge ViAS to the current generation Venge. On a flat course, the aerodynamic gains made are in the same order of magnitude as the gains through the reduced drivetrain friction. Considering that was the first attempt, it seems that the system has the potential of further aerodynamic gains in the future.’
Driven, already the most efficient drivetrain, with a benchmark in drivetrain technology thanks to the increased optimal efficiency of 99%, looks likely to become the most aerodynamic drivetrain to date with validation from the Win Tunnel experiments.
'In pursuit of the 1% drivetrain, the Product Engineering and Design team’s focus was to achieve the utmost level of mechanical efficiency, yet aerodynamic efficiency was always in the back of our mind. During the early phases of development, it became clear that Driven might turn out to be the most aerodynamically efficient drivetrain. But speculation means nothing without quantitative testing. Thanks to the rigorous aero testing at Specialized’s Win Tunnel, it has been proven that significant aerodynamic gains can be captured with Driven. It is quite an incredible R&D accomplishment to achieve the most efficient bicycle drivetrain ever developed…both mechanically and aerodynamically', says Lead Engineer and CTO, Jason Smith.
Whilst Driven currently remains a concept, the Win Tunnel results are thought-provoking, with a few unanswered questions remaining about rideability, shifting and the future of drivetrains.
The head of Cycling division, Martin Banke spoke with great excitement on the future of drivetrain technology: 'Since we launched Driven at Eurobike last year, rideability and shiftability has been our primary R&D focus and we have made incredible advancements in only 10 months. We’ve surpassed a speed of 45 km/h during rider load testing at the velodrome, and have had major breakthroughs in a shifting mechanism that we’re excited to unveil in due course. We’re now looking forward to showcasing how Driven and the developments we’ve made can truly shift the future of bicycle drivetrains.'
With mechanical and aerodynamic efficiency established, rideability making good progress, and shifting confirmed as the latest breakthrough, can Driven truly be the future of cycling?
Upgrade Your Ride
Start seeing results with an upgrade to a CeramicSpeed Bottom Bracket, OSPW System and UFO Chain for ultimate drivetrain performance second only to Driven. Additionally, a full upgrade including Headset and Wheel Kit will gain you 10-16 watts, that’s a potential 9 minute gain over an Iron distance, with no extra work needed.