automotive

Ten major bike companies join Trek, Ford and Tome on bicycle-to-vehicle technology advisory board

INDIANAPOLIS (BRAIN) — Some bike and e-bike heavy hitters are joining Trek and Ford in helping create safety standards related to bicycle-to-vehicle communication.   For nearly a year,  Trek has been working with the software company Tome and Ford  on developing the so-called B2V technology, which uses artificial intelligence to evaluate and identify safety measures at specific vulnerable roadway locations.

Focus USA is all in here at the last Interbike show in Vegas.

With an eye on growth in North America, Focus USA returns to Interbike  LAS VEGAS (BRAIN) — The company is exhibiting both at OutDoor Demo (Booths D3140 and D2010) and at Mandalay Bay (Booth 21207) and sponsoring the first e-MTB Challenge at CrossVegas. Additionally, the brand’s founder flew over for the first time from Germany to experience the show

Dan Delehanty appointed North America general manager for Focus and Kalkhoff

CARLSBAD, Calif. (BRAIN) — Dan Delehanty will become new general manager in North America for the bike brands Focus and Kalkhoff — both brands belonging to Derby Cycle, which is part of Pon.Bike. The company said Delehanty will “implement a new strategy to expand the market share of Kalkhoff and Focus in the U.S.

Retail trainer Dan Mann authors new book

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BRAIN) — The Mann Group’s Dan Mann, a longtime retail trainer and consultant in the outdoor and bike industries, has unveiled a new book, ORBiT, The Art and Science of Influence . Mann takes from his experience in leadership and leadership training to provide tips on how to influence adult behavior.

New LeMond company will offer carbon fiber to various industries

New company is working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to offer low-cost, high-volume carbon fiber to transportation, energy and infrastructure industries. OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (BRAIN) — Tour de France hero Greg LeMond is involved with a new company that is working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to offer low-cost carbon fiber to several industries, including the transportation and renewable energy markets.

Interbike plans educational seminars for supplier attendees

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif.

IBD Summit: Lessons from a parallel universe

Moto industry execs share challenges and opportunities. TEMPE, Ariz.

Fox still evaluating what to do with Marzocchi

Company plans to move the brand to Taiwan, will continue some legacy products as it adds new models. SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. (BRAIN) — Marzocchi is unlikely to contribute much to Fox Factory’s bottom line for at least a year, Fox executives warned investors Wednesday, saying it will take some time and money to resurrect the Italy-based brand, which is currently dormant

BRAIN dishes on the first day of Sea Otter

MONTEREY, Calif. (BRAIN) — Tired of hearing about 27.5-plus tires? Does a new helmet line generate a big yawn

Can carbon rotors provide better braking?

Carbon fiber disc brake rotors are nothing new. Rotors constructed from a combination of carbon and ceramic materials have been used by the automotive and aerospace industries for decades, but the trickle-down to disc-equipped bicycles has been slow and plagued with numerous problems. Two design engineers think they have developed a product that solves these pitfalls while providing substantially better braking performance than anything currently on the market.

Aaron Stephens and Josh Gore are freelance design consultants who have worked on myriad projects ranging from injection molding to packaging solutions to high-pressure regulation. Both are avid cyclists but were outsiders to the cycling industry. The pair tinkered with improving numerous parts on their own bikes—improving dropper seat posts and building better ?lights for night riding—but it was a serious mountain bike crash three years ago that spurred the creation of Kettle Cycles and lead to the development of their first product: carbon disc rotors.

During a long descent, Stephens’ brakes overheated and failed.

“I was flat out enraged that I spent serious money on these brakes that performed very poorly,” said Stephens. “You’d think that, with the amount of money involved, most of these products would be pretty solid, but they’re not,” he added. “We have the ability to walk into a shop and make something. It’s hard to do that and not turn it into a product.”

Stephens and Gore are far from the first people to attempt to develop carbon rotors for use on bicycles. It has been attempted numerous times since the introduction of the disc brake, yet there are three interconnected problems that have yet to be satisfactorily addressed: rotor thickness, heat dissipation and consistent braking.

Note the lack of milled-out sections from the brake track. on steel rotors these are used to aid in dissapating heat (albeit at the expense of surface area used for braking). the siccc rotors ability to withstand higher temperatures and dissapate heat faster than their steel counterparts negates the need for these cutouts: note the lack of milled-out sections from the brake track. on steel rotors these are used to aid in dissapating heat (albeit at the expense of surface area used for braking). the siccc rotors ability to withstand higher temperatures and dissapate heat faster than their steel counterparts negates the need for these cutoutsNote the absence of holes in the brake track

The thickness, or lack thereof, of disc rotors is a significant hurdle. The materials used have to be quite stiff and, despite the fact the rotors are approximately 2-2.5mm thick, must do an adequate job of dissipating heat.

“If you jumped out to 4mm thick you could successfully use some of the materials that have been attempted, but then you would be creeping up to the weight of aluminum and steel rotors,” noted Stephens.

There’s also the mater of wet weather performance. This has been an issue for those riding road bikes with carbon rims for many years. The same issue has been a stumbling block for the development of carbon rotors. Moisture on the surface and in the carbon itself can significantly degrade braking power. A brief but unnerving “warm up” period is often needed before the pads take hold. Surface treatments are one possible solution, though they have a tendency to wear and degrade over time.

“Our goal from the start was to create a consistent, better-wearing, lighter-weight brake rotor,” said Gore.

The one-piece siccc rotor is constructed entirely of silicone carbide, ceramic and carbon material used for the braking track: the one-piece siccc rotor is constructed entirely of silicone carbide, ceramic and carbon material used for the braking trackWith an integrated spider, the SFL (So Freaking Light) rotor weighs a claimed 55g

“Clobbering them with Science”

The answers are as intertwined as the problems. Stephens and Gore claim to have developed a complex blend of materials, manufacturing and chemistry that make their rotors superior to everything else currently on the market.

“We can clobber them with science,” said Stephens.

It’s worth noting that there’s a lot more in Kettle Cycles’ SiCCC rotors than just carbon. The acronym used for the name of the rotors hints in a very general sense at the materials used: silicon carbide, ceramic and carbon. Silicone carbide is used to provide the bite. According to Stephens, this is the ingredient that has been missing from previous attempts. A ceramic compound is used to dissipate heat; the company claims that the SiCCC rotors can tolerate significantly more heat than steel rotors and do a better job of dissipating it, too. Finally, high-grade carbon fiber is used to form the rotor’s structure.

Here’s a video of the rotors in action.

Unlike carbon rims, which require specific pad compounds to achieve optimal performance, the SiCCC rotors can be used with standard sintered and organic pads. Stephens says the SiCCC rotors last significantly longer than steel rotors. “We haven’t worn one out yet,” he said.

Kettle Cycles is producing two versions of the SiCCC rotors. The one-piece design, dubbed SFL (short for So Freaking Light), weighs a scant 55 grams for a 160mm rotor, the company claims. The two-piece design uses a carbon spider riveted to the braking track and weighs 60 grams for a 160mm rotor. The 160mm one-piece version is expected to cost $99, while the 160mm two-piece model will retail for $79. The one-piece design is more expensive because it uses more of the costly brake track material. For comparison, a 160mm Shimano XTR rotor weighs 120g and costs $65.

A carbon spider riveted to the braking track adds weight but allows the company to use less of the costly brake track material: a carbon spider riveted to the braking track adds weight but allows the company to use less of the costly brake track materialThe two-piece rotor weighs 60g with a less-expensive carbon spider riveted to the brake track

Stephens expects the rotors to be available in late winter/early spring, with additional sizes to follow shortly thereafter. BikeRadar has a test pair coming, so check back to read our impressions this spring.

Kettle Cycles is not keen to stop at brake rotors; carbon cranks, dropper seatposts and carbon frames could all be future projects.

What do you think? Would you choose carbon rotors over steel?