Carbon fibre disc brake rotors are nothing new, and they’ve been utilised in other industries for many years now. But despite the ‘wow factor’ of using carbon fibre for a mountain bike disc brake rotor, we’re yet to really see them enter in the mainstream. Carbon fibre is certainly a wondrous material that can do amazing things, but is it a good material to rely on for stopping your mountain bike in times of desperation?
Spanish based manufacturer Alpha certainly thinks so, and they also claim to have the lightest disc brake rotor on the market. Weighing in at just 32 grams for the 140mm rotor and going up to 70 grams for a 203mm rotor, the Spanish brand also claims its rotors offer superior performance in both wet and dry conditions, along with better resistance to high temperatures. If nothing else, they look absolutely bonkers!
In terms of weight, the Alpha carbon rotors come in at nearly a 3rd of the weight of a SRAM Centreline disc rotor, so there’s some savings to be had for the weight weenies out there. Here’s the rough translation of the product description from Alpha’s website;
“The lightest ceramic rotor brake for bikes in the world. Enjoy the latest technology for manufacturing ceramic discs created by Alpha for superior performance and long life. Alpha carbon brakes are available for any type of bike, Trial, Cyclocross, Road, Enduro, Downhill…”
From what we can tell by the limited info on Alpha’s website, the rotors are made of a composite from both carbon fibre and ceramic polymer. The rotors have a thickness of just 1.9mm, which is slightly thicker than a Shimano disc brake rotor (1.8mm thick), and a Hope rotor (1.6mm thick). If you want a set, they’ll lighten your wallet by €56 – €98 per end, and you’ll have to run them with ceramic disc brake pads too.
Alpha claims that its disc rotors have a greater hardness than steel, which in theory, should offer greater longterm durability than conventional steel rotors. We’re not entirely sure how the carbon rotors would respond to regular rough ‘n’ tumble mountain biking though, and we’re guessing that you can’t exactly ‘true’ the rotors if they develop a bend or warp. As for the actual braking force and modulation properties, your guess is as good as ours!
Head to alphamotocicletas.com for more info.