It wasn’t long ago that paranoid pros were looking for a way to cover their rotors to stay safe. While the hysteria has mostly passed, Alligator has come up with a new disc brake rotor cover that not only protects and vents the rotor, but actually channels air to blow right onto the brake pads to keep them from overheating.

Alligator Disc Covers, prototype cooling rotor protectors

Alligator Disc Covers, prototype cooling rotor protectors, road bike disc brake rotor protective covers with integrated anti-overheating cooling

Alligator is probably first known for their shift & brake cables, but for a while have been coming up with creative alternative solutions for disc brake setups as well, always in a design that is quite affordable. Those vented orange Turbo Cooling disc brake pads are a good example, with simple twisted allow pad backing to allow for more airflow.

Now Alligator are taking a new approach to preventing your brakes from overheating with these new vented, cooling Disc Covers. The Alligator design proposes front and rear specific solutions that combine more common vented openings along the front, combined with a ducted air intake at the bottom of the rotor to compress air to be blown onto the brake caliper body, just where the rotor re-enters the brake.

Alligator Disc Covers, prototype cooling rotor protectors, road bike disc brake rotor protective covers with integrated anti-overheating cooling

These Alligator Disc Covers are obviously still rough as 3D printed mockups, but the design is quite intriguing. The front uses a larger forward-facing intake port to deliver the increased cooling capacity needed for greater front braking forces, then a smaller opening at the rear, which also prevents any shoe/heel interference.

Alligator Disc Covers, prototype cooling rotor protectors, road bike disc brake rotor protective covers with integrated anti-overheating coolingAlligator says these 3D printed rapid prototypes represent the final shape of the Disc Covers. Production tooling is apparently almost ready for serial production, and the final parts will be constructed of ABS plastic to balance stiffness, durability, impact resistance, and most importantly of all – affordability. We couldn’t get a definitive answer if the final product would be a single piece, or more likely a two-part product that would be bonded together to enclose the cooling air channel.

Alligator Disc Covers, prototype cooling rotor protectors, road bike disc brake rotor protective covers with integrated anti-overheating coolingThe idea is to let the rotor cool naturally as it spins through the air. The concept is not to just cool the rotor itself, but to direct airflow to a concentrated location on the caliper & brake pad just as the rotor rotates back into the caliper. That way heat dissipation in the system would continue as normal, with additional cooling at the point source of heat buildup to prevent brake overheating. Obviously that is an important feature for hydraulic systems, but also to maintain consistent performance in mechanical systems like seen here.

Alligator Disc Covers, prototype cooling rotor protectors, road bike disc brake rotor protective covers with integrated anti-overheating coolingThe Disc Covers are designed to simply slide over your existing thru-axle and be held in place when you clamp the axle tight (sliding off when the axle is removed.) It isn’t entirely clear how that might impact the need for longer axles to accommodate the additional material being clamped or any possible clearance issues with the thru-axle-to-dropout interface. We will have to wait for final products for more clarification on that.

Pricing isn’t yet set either, but availability is already expected for the start of this summer. What we also know is that they should be made to work with 12mm front & rear, and 15mm front road axle standards, and versions will be available for both 140mm & 160mm rotors in front & rear specific designs.

Alligator Heat Sink rotor. stainless steel disc brake rotor with aluminum heat-sink cover sandwichAs for those rotors themselves… they are another new product coming soon. The new Heat Sink rotors should be a relatively cost effective solution to improved cooling. The rotors are not a separate carrier and braking surface, but rather start life as a conventional looking flat 6-bolt stainless steel rotor, and then get a sandwich of thin formed aluminum cooling discs riveted around the core to offer more heat dissipating material.

AlligatorCables.com

13 comments

  1. typevertigo on

    The concept of brake rotor covers is still mildly revolting, but the implementation here is pretty neat. I like how they hook on to the through-axles and the design of the air intakes – that solves my major concern with the brake rotor cover idea.

    That said, I ain’t the target market for this…my disc brake road/cross bike still has post mounts and QR skewers 🙂

    Reply
  2. ChrisC on

    Who is this targetted at?

    Racers are concerned about rotors in crashes – though even this piece says that attitude is changing – but they are also worried about weight, aerodynamics, and fast wheel changes so they won’t use them…

    Casual riders don’t care about the rotors in a crash and are not likely to spend the money for something useless to them.

    So where is the market?

    Reply
  3. Tim on

    Goofy looking, but it will be interesting to see how they actually work. If they work well, it would be great to see them then show up for bikes with larger rotors!
    Also, that dual-piston mechanical disc brake looks interesting- it would be great to have more info on it!

    Reply
    • typevertigo on

      Looks a lot like a flat-mount TRP Spyre at first glance, but up close, the ability to accept finned pads is the major difference. It might be something else entirely.

      Reply
  4. Tim on

    These look goofy for sure, but it will be interesting to see how much cooling effect they have. I’d also like to see them in 180 and 203mm sizes, because honestly, do CX bikes have problems with their discs overheating?
    It’d also be interesting to get some information on that dual piston mechanical disc brake!

    Reply
  5. James. on

    There is always money to be made and consideration given to anything that is Safety Oriented. Safety is Paramount. For that alone, I don’t think this should be entirely ignored or called a failure. But with that, are people still overheating disc brakes? I heard from a very credible source the way Shimano tested their system was having larger riders wear weighted backpacks and drag their brakes down the Stelvio without failure. Am I wrong in thinking that?

    Reply
  6. JBikes on

    This is playing off brake ducting on very high performance and/or race cars, which is sometimes needed due to expected brake loads, but more the fact that the rotor and calipers on cars are very much shielded from airflow by the wheels and bodywork. On these vehicles, one tries to shield any “free” airflow from the wheel as its dirty airflow. Without ducting, very little air would get to the rotor.

    On a bike, the rotor is spinning in the air. The caliper is largely exposed. This isn’t needed. If your brakes are overheating its because the rotor is too small or they are poorly designed.

    Furthermore, this is just a dumb design. The people that would benefit the most from less fade are brake draggers. They will not have the speed to benefit from the ducting anyway (if it was even a benefit given, again, the rotor is spinning in an open air stream and the caliper is open to the air by and large).

    If you don’t care about ripping people off, sell them to e-bikers, claim “safety” and watch your bank account grow.

    Reply

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