Joining VeloClub not only supports the work we do, there are some fantastic benefits:
by Iain Treloar
May 13, 2020
As Zwift continues its steady march toward global dominance, setting new records for user numbers along the way, it stands to reason that the lines between the virtual cycling world and the real world will begin to blur. As proof, consider this fact: you can now accessorise your virtual bike with virtual oversized jockey wheels to save virtual watts.
All very normal stuff.
In the real world, CeramicSpeed’s Oversized Pulley Wheel System (OSPW) is a halo product that provides a claimed 2-4 W of added drivetrain efficiency compared to mainstream alternatives, at the cost of a mere US$500. Having established itself as a go-to for marginal gains in the pro ranks, the Danish company has slowly inched into the virtual space over the past couple of months.
In March, it was announced that CeramicSpeed had come on board as a sponsor for Canyon ZCC, the world’s first professional eRacing cycling team. At the time all parties seemed pretty amped about the fact that the team’s 12 riders are using “CeramicSpeed’s watt-saving OSPW systems, smooth-spinning bottom brackets and slick UFO chains” throughout “a virtual racing season where every second counts.”
An actual man holding an actual oversized set of jockey wheels to ride on an outdoor bike, indoors, online.
Now, like some sort of dream-inside-a-dream Inception of that March announcement, CeramicSpeed has diversified from providing real jockey wheels for virtual riding, to also putting its name on pixels in the shape of virtual jockey wheels. And if that makes your head spin a little, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
The “heavy duty CeramicSpeed Mission”, which runs through May, is an in-game objective where if Zwifters “swap frames during the month and go the required distance on road, mountain and TT bikes,” they’ll unlock the (virtual) CeramicSpeed kit. Once you complete the distance challenge – 40 km on a mountain bike, 80 km on a time trial bike and 120 km on a road bike – you’ll get to keep it at the end.
But don’t worry – it’s not merely a silly virtual representation of a slightly silly real product (or at least, it’s not only that). While Zwift is keeping tight-lipped about the precise in-game benefits you can yield from installing a virtual CeramicSpeed OSPW setup on your bike, the company concedes that “the wattage savings are designed to reflect real life performance benefits.”
According to ZwiftInsider, that means that you’ll save a gamechanging 11 seconds over 50 minutes on a flat course, or 120 metres per hour on an uphill course.
So you can score extremely marginal gains in the virtual world – but wait, it gets better. Imagine you’re an existing OSPW user. Sure, you’ll have spent $500 on some jockey wheels, but you’ll be doubling your marginal gains in Zwift, and you just can’t put a price on that kind of lifehack.
If you’re not on the OSPW bandwagon but want to emulate your heroes in Canyon ZCC – the professional eRacing team that we all know and love and have definitely not just heard about for the first time – you might be in luck, too. “For the ceramic cherry on top, you’ll also be entered to win an OSPW system to upgrade your bike at home,” Zwift promises in an accompanying press release.
Then again, Zwift also claims that riding for a month indoors to win a virtual jockey-wheel upgrade that will give you seconds back in fantasy cycling is “plenty of fun,” so I guess it all comes down to your palate for the sundae that ceramic cherry is sitting atop.
Of course, if you like niche products in the real world and want that on your bike in the digital world, (a little) more power to you!
We need your support
Now, more than ever, we all need opportunities to remove ourselves from the endless thrum of pandemic, if only for a short time.
We want CyclingTips to be that place for you. Our mission is to help your mind wander, even if your body can’t.
If you find value in what we do, in the escape we provide, please consider joining.
So we can keep doing this to the best of our ability, please join our mission by becoming a member. Thank you.