Ceramic bearings are rightly considered luxury items on a bike, given that they're usually several times the cost of standard steel ones. But these titanium jockey wheels from British company Ultimate Ceramic Bearings do have a practical aspect too.
Firstly, there's the wow factor, as shown in the clip below (we were inspired by the movie Inception). They spin for much longer than a standard jockey wheel and will reduce resistance in your drivetrain. Not by a huge amount, unless your bike is anything like ours...
But what interested us more is that they're designed to run without lubricant. Anyone who's ridden in winter in the UK will know that jockey wheel bearings get clogged with road grime and mud as soon as you venture anywhere near the lanes. Our winter bikes carry an equal weight of sludge and jockey wheel at all times.
Removing grease from the equation is advantageous, because it means there's less for the dirt to stick to and the bearings can easily be cleaned with water. We've just started running a set to see how they cope and will report back with a full review in a few months.
Video: UCB titanium jockey wheels vs Shimano Ultegra jockey wheel
Speaking of water, these titanium jockey wheels retail for an eye-watering £179.99 direct from UCB's online store at www.amorecycles.com. These are the most expensive ones they sell but cheaper carbon and Delrin versions are available, in 11t or 12t (for SRAM only) sizes, and with dry lubed or full-ceramic bearings.