What Ceramic Bearings & Components Do for Mountain Bikers
Congratulations on checking out this article. Its sole purpose is to help you and other fellow mountain bikers enjoy the benefits of Kogel AND create your best mountain biking experience imaginable.
To that end, this article lays out Kogel upgrades in order of priority so if you don’t feel like reading the entire article or upgrading your entire bike at one time, you can come back anytime and continue on where your upgrades left off.
Whether you are killing it on the climbs in XCO, trying to save your legs in the transfers between Enduro stages, or overreaching on your latest epic mountain bike adventure, deploying kogel components in the right places is key to creating the best mountain biking experience possible.
While mountain bikes inherently have a lot of drag, adding Kogel parts in the right places will make your days in the saddle more fun and get you to the finish line faster. So before we dive into specific Kogel upgrades to your mountain bikes, let’s talk about seals!
Cross vs road seals for mountain biking
All Kogel Bearings come in two seal options. Our standard message is that ROAD seals are for road use in dry conditions and CROSS seals for off road use or if you frequently ride on wet roads.
Fun fact: Kogel's top-level athletes often do the exact opposite of what we expect: Aaron Gwin and Neko Mulally use road seals exclusively on their wheel bearings. Jolanda Neff and Vlad Dascalu run road seals on most days but switch to cross seals once the track is muddy. It really pays off to have a personal mechanic that will take care of your bike after every training ride or race :-)
We have seen our road racing teams use cross seals on bottom brackets, simply because the mechanics appreciated the peace-of-mind during stage races. Nobody likes servicing bearings on 20 bikes into the night!
When it comes to your personal rigs: we encourage you to experiment: run a low friction setup during the summer and switch to best protection once the weather turns. It is also OK to run road seals on the inside of the bearings (the side facing the inside of the hub or frame) and cross seals on the exterior. Get a bit of both worlds: reduced friction and increased protection.
Seal kits are cheap, bearing service is a quick and easy procedure that does not need a pro mechanic to do it right.
Start with a better bottom bracket and Aqua Proof paste!
Reliability on mountain bikes is important. There is a lot of contamination and opportunity for things to go from quiet to creaky, especially on a stock bottom bracket.
Plus, the immediate and long-term performance of a ceramic bottom bracket makes for a compelling “If I only add one ceramic component on my bike” decision.
Since the bottom bracket handles 100% of your power output, we recommend starting here. Make it rock solid so you can set and forget about it. Make sure to use a generous amount of Aqua Proof Paste for the installation too. It’s called ‘Shut Up Grease” for good reason! Use the paste on any pressed or threaded parts and to waterproof your head set.
Using cross seals on a bottom bracket will add roughly 0.5 Watts of friction. It is up to you to decide whether the additional protection is worth it or if you prefer to service your parts more often. Whatever works best for you, this is a no judgment zone!
Optimize your drivetrain with Kogel oversized pulleys and cages FTW!
The simple facts are that oversized ceramic pulley wheels create less drag on your drivetrain, roll smoother and last longer than your stock steel and plastic counterparts. Oh, and it is also a fact that they look SO much cooler than stock pulleys.
Because riding in nasty, demanding conditions can put a lot of wear and tear on plastic pulley wheels we prefer to make our oversized pulleys out of 7075 aluminum. It is stiffer and lasts longer than your stock pulley set. Also, they’re made with ceramic bearings so they’ll roll smoother than your stock pulleys and ceramic balls won’t rust!
To get the most efficiency and performance out of your stock derailleur, choose the Kolossos oversized cage. It’ll add some free speed, a ton of pedaling & shifting smoothness and transform the appearance of your drivetrain. Really the only downside is that you may be answering a few questions from curious riders.
For the demands of e-mtbs we also recommend a Kolossos oversized pulley cage for its stiffness and using metal pulley wheels. E-bikes have no option to back off the power for a shift, It happens under full torque every time.
A slightly less expensive option would be to pick a set of oversized ceramic pulleys in your favorite color and mount them on your existing derailleur cage. You’ll get better performance and longevity over your steel/plastic stock pulleys and a better looking drivetrain too!
Fun fact: Kogel's Kolossos oversized derailleur cages for Eagle and XTR are the exact same length as the standard cages from Sram and Shimano. We simply put the wheels a bit closer together to make sure you’re not losing any ground clearance while zipping through rock gardens.
Add stealth performance with Kogel titanium fasteners
Most XC racers I know are undiagnosed weight weenies and even those of us that do not aspire to race, can appreciate the look and performance of titanium.
Kogel offers titanium fasteners for stem clamps and face plates, rotors, bottle cages, preload adjusters, cinch bolts and stock Eagle derailleur cage bolts. That’s a lot of places you can upgrade the look and lower the weight on your favorite mountain bikes!
Using a full set of titanium bolts will make your bike lighter, but equally important: makes it look 110% personalized and better able to take on the stressors of the sport.
Take a hint from Evie Richards’ Supercaliber with a range of bolts matching her rainbow jersey.
Brake later with Kogel Brake Pads that manage heat and last longer
Kogel’s entire line of brake pads have been built for durability and performance. If you’re leveraging Kogel drivetrain components to go faster with less effort, it only makes sense to get the most out of your gains by wasting less of it slowing down.
Kogel brake pads use only sintered materials, which are less susceptible to contamination and all pads come with a ceramic barrier to keep heat in the pads and out of the system.
Go with our Bia soft compound for the best braking performance and modulation.
Switching to Kratos compound will make sure you will maintain braking power and control when the conditions get soggy because we all know that mud and rain can eat up a set of soft compound brake pads in less than an hour.
Enjoy best-level mountain biking
Whether you're an XC junkie, downhiller, enduro fanatic, eMTB’er or adventure hero, Kogel drivetrain components, fasteners and brake pads truly offer you an incredible next-level mountain biking experience.
Start with a bottom bracket or brake pads or go all-in on your best riding season. Our team of experts will help you find the right parts and ensure you’re up and riding fast.
Thanks for going on this mountain bike adventure. We look forward to seeing you on the trail soon.