Hybrid ceramic bearings will be increasingly cropping up in top quality moving parts over the next few years.
Products like hubs, headsets and bottom brackets can all benefit from the advantages of bearings where the containing rings are made of steel but the rolling balls are made of a ceramic material... this ceramic material is typically Silicon Nitride (Si3N4). Manufacturer claims for ceramic ball bearings include the fact that they are up to 60% lighter than steel, so centrifugal and vibration forces are reduced, there's less heat build up, long term durability is better, lubrication is needed less and lasts longer but friction is low.
Anyway, as lots of top end manufacturers are telling us ceramic bearings are the high performance future, we thought we'd better get a couple of sets on test. So we just fitted a ceramic bearing headset and bottom bracket bearings from German componentry specialists Acros to our long term steel and carbon test frame from Pipedream. The headset weighs a paltry 104g and the external BB bearings weigh 91g (complete with seal-sleeve). The headset costs £89.99, the BB bearings costs £69.99. Check out www.acros.de or contact Balfain the UK (www.balfa.co.uk).