Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) put in an outstanding individual effort on Sunday's finale stage 7 at the Criterium du Dauphine. His third stage victory of the year, Cummings formed part of the breakaway that went after around 35 kilometres. Cummings then went on to break solo with 50 kilometres to go, finishing ahead of the groupe maillot jaune by nearly four minutes.
Before the stage, Cyclingnews spotted a special hand finished chain on Cummings’ bike. The chain, supplied by CeramicSpeed, is dubbed the ‘UFO’ – Ultra-Fast Optimized. It certainly lived up to its name during the stage.
The ultrafast racing chains are carefully selected from high quality manufacturers and finished by hand in Denmark. The chains are cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaner and hand finished with a synthetic treatment, including Teflon, to reduce friction and a power saving of a claimed 2-5 watts.
The chains are designed and manufactured exclusively for a single, high performance race day. Not suitable for wet or muddy conditions due to a lack of corrosion protection, the chain has an optimal life span of around 320km. The chains can still be used after this window, however the watt savings will not be as high and the lack of corrosion protection may cause maintenance problems. Traces of the UFO treatment can be seen on the Shimano Dura-Ace cassette and ROTOR noQ rings (53-38). The powder effect visible is caused by the chains formula, which includes Teflon as a top coating.
At €119 per chain, even World Tour teams will be using the chains sparingly. However, with the stage win under their belt, Team Dimension Data and Stephen Cummings alike will be elated with the result.