Wren Sports’ new Metal Matrix disc brake rotors are formed from a combination of aluminum and silica, with a special process that ensures even dispersion of the silica into the molten alloy.

The result is a material that’s basically like stone, with a very high coefficient of friction that dissipates heat way more rapidly than steel.

It’s then poured and cut as a plate. The material is so hard, it can’t be machined like normal, so they’re having to laser- and water jet cut them for now.

So what’s the point of all this?

At just 56g, it’s half the weight of a standard steel rotor, but with claims of better performance, both in terms of bite and heat management.

The rotor above is an early sample that’s been anodized, but founder Kevin Wren said the braking surface’s pattern made a lot of noise. The new design at the top of the post is quieter, but takes a lot longer to cut, which drives up costs. So, they’re still in development. Eventually they’ll be able to manufacture them using a fine blanking process, which will bring the cost down to competitive levels against standard steel rotors.

Wren used to do product development for Cannondale’s Coda, Bell Sports and others. Now he’s looking to build his own brand with these rotors as the launch pad. 

WrenSportsLLC.com

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Mike
Mike
7 years ago

Anything you can do to add noise to the system. 50 grams near the center of the rotating mass is almost negligible. I hope you sank a fortune into this.

Ernst
Ernst
7 years ago

Interested to learn more. The early sample looks similar to the Scrubs rotors I had about seven years ago.

Ronin
Ronin
7 years ago

Wow, what’s not to like? Especially on a road bike.

Peter
Peter
7 years ago

Right, I like what I’m reading, but I’m not getting too excited just yet (remember Kettle?)… My main concern with these are heat resistance. I don’t know how silica affects the melting point of the aluminium, but there are some (extreme) examples of Shimano Ice Tech rotors melting their aluminium core due to high temperatures (http://www.bike-magazin.de/test_technik/komponenten_zubehoer/scheibenbremsen/scheibenbremsen-ausfaelle-beim-test/a3738.html). Should the addition of silica increase the melting point though, this can very well be a promising approach to lighter rotors.

Dave
Dave
7 years ago

I hop they did long term testing first, Specialized made frames out of this, they failed.

Dockboy
Dockboy
7 years ago

He’s worked at CODA? I hope their old discs don’t indicate the braking quality of these rotors…

DeeEight
DeeEight
7 years ago

Specialized M2 frames actually worked quite well, but owners used them beyond what they were built for. Aluminum conducts far better than steel and aluminum based MMCs do so almost as well but with the added advantage of far better wear than steel. So the heat that’s generated while braking will quickly cool off compared to rotors like shimano’s ICE tech where its just using Al as the core.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
7 years ago

Silica has huge potential for any heat sensitive product. Hopefully they got it right here. The issue with aluminum is that it can be treated to have a higher melting point but still warp at a much lower temperature.

AlanM
AlanM
7 years ago

@Mike, why all the anger and hate?

TacomaD
TacomaD
7 years ago

@AlanM, because its an open forum on BikeRumor. Isn’t it supposed to be all about anger and hate? It is amazing what types of things people will post on here. I just don’t get it.

Ligero
Ligero
7 years ago

Those are exactly like the original Scrub rotors, they even weigh the same. http://www.scrubcomponents.com/Store/store.html

Pete
Pete
7 years ago

What I’d like to see: Freeza type rotor design (steel friction layer sandwiching and alu disc body). Channels in disc body and cross drilling in the friction layer.

Mecanico
7 years ago

Props to all the guys who dare to push inovation and fresh air into the bike industry!
These solutions hardly will become “mainstream” so for the ones who love “the not mainstream scene”, as i am, these rotor are a must, i would love to have them screaming out and loud in one of my bikes!
Best wishes for the project!

Gimmea
Gimmea
7 years ago

I appreciate innovation but if there is one area not calling out for improvemant it is disc brakes. When riding a good set do you ever even give them the slightest thought?

I assume the only potential benefit of these are the 50g. weight saving & at best comparable performance. The problem is, that a 10g. saving of a tire or tube will have the same performance advantage..so why?

Suspension… there is huge potential for improvement.

m66
m66
7 years ago

Half the weight, better heat dissipation, same price? Sounds like a good direction for road disc..

preston
preston
7 years ago

Why do the German bike mags always have valuable scientific tests of equipment ?
How come we can never get that level of data in our media ?

I’ve seen so many interesting tests that I can’t read in the German mags over the years.

Mike D
7 years ago

It always gives me a chuckle when people fly off the deep end about something in the bike industry seen on a site called “Bike *Rumor*”. Consider this: Most companies are trying to create a product that is deemed of value to a person, the consumer. You really think a company with a new idea is going to put all the R&D into a crap product just to have it not sell and have them fold the company??

I welcome innovation. Make an attempt to improve on something. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to be first in line to try it out. Just be thankful that these rotors don’t require a new ‘standard’ 8-bolt hub 😉

5biller
5biller
7 years ago

Great to see this innovation – and I hope to be an future customer. Just need to get over the miserable experience I had being an early adopter with Kettle. they sent me a terrible product and refused to answer my emails. The thanks I get for going out on a limb and funding them via kickstarter.

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

I too wish them luck. I’ve actually got the Kettle Cycles ceramic discs on my scoot, and like them lots, but these guys have to learn the lessons and be careful of expectation management.

I’m an aerospace engineer, and my take is that these will be great up to a point. They will manage the heat better than a steel disc until they’ve hit the softening point of the aluminium then all hell’s gonna break lose.

My crystal ball says Titanium Aluminide will be the killer material for brake discs.