TBT is the name we have given to our special ceramic bearings because they are different than “standard” ceramic bearings. Professional cyclists use ceramic bearings because they are the fastest and lightest on the market, maybe they're onto something.
Simply put, ceramic bearings are harder and rounder than conventional steel bearings. Using an analogy of a soccer ball; a perfectly round one will roll faster, smoother, and farther down a hill than a mishapen one and a harder ball will resist its shape being changed. On your bike this means that friction is reduced and you can go faster and farther with less energy.
The one problem with ceramic balls being very hard is that they easily damage standard races (the metal housing of the bearing balls) made of stainless or normal steel. Without a specially designed race, ceramic balls will etch a groove into the metal housing. This increases the surface area the balls are in contact with the housing and in a short time you’ll end up with a lot more friction than standard set of sealed bearings.
No problem for a pro who gets multiple new bikes per year but a huge issue those of the bank accounts of us buying our own bicycles.
THE TBT DIFFERENCE
To fix the problem of soft races, we coat our steel races in titanium nitride.
The titanium nitride coating is serves two functions – it protects the races from corrosion from the balls themselves. Titanium nitride is very hard so the ceramic balls don’t damage the races as easily as non-treated races. In addition, the coating protects the steel from corrosion so TBT bearings can be used year-round without any worries.
When compared with standard bearings, ceramic bearings are lighter and have less friction so if you are looking for an edge, you want ceramic. If you want to retain that edge as long as you can, Token TBT bearings are the ones you want.