An anti-wear ceramic coating originally developed for Formula 1 cars could offer cyclists a new braking solution for lightweight carbon composite wheels.
Created by Zircotec, ceramic coating is applied to the rims of carbon composite wheels to provide a tough, long-lasting and durable braking surface that is capable of delivering exceptional levels of modulation even in wet conditions.
The coating offers improved stopping distance and wet weather performance, and allows the use of standard hard-rubber brake materials in place of the specialist blocks normally used for carbon rims.
Testing by a professional cyclist during a pre-season training camp in Majorca demonstrated consistent and repeatable performance during 3,400km of riding in all weather conditions.
“Testing using standard rubber blocks suggests that our coating offers a significant improvement in stopping distances and no wear to the coating or wheel rim,” said Zircotec sales director Peter Whyman.
“Dexter Gradias, the cyclist undertaking the trials in Majorca, believed that in slippery conditions, control under braking was ‘excellent’ and pad wear was reduced, the rubber blocks lasting for over 2500km of varied riding.”
The testing also highlighted the coating’s ability to protect the wheel from heat and abrasion, attributes that are derived from the unique application process.
Molten ceramic is sprayed at very high temperature in a controlled process that ensures the underlying carbon composite is protected.
“Zircotec developed the ability to safely coat composites for motorsport,” added Whyman. “We currently coat composite parts for more than 70 per cent of the F1 grid and have developed bespoke protection methods for the substrate.”
“The result is a coating that has an excellent bond strength and minimal wear. The ceramic protects the carbon surface from damage inflicted by road grit trapped between the rim and pad material, currently an issue with existing set ups.”
Zircotec’s ceramic coating for carbon composite is the subject of a recent patent filing, and the use of the technology for bike wheels is just one of the potential applications identified by Zircotec.
Zircotec is now seeking partners from within the cycle industry to help take the technology forward.