Saint-Gobain, manufacturer of Norglide composite bearings, has partnered with trike manufacturer Big Cat.
In 1996 Mark Egeland, now GM at Big Cat, became business partner with Paulo Camasmie, a Brazilian mechanical engineer and owner of Big Cat. Since then the firm has grown seven times over and this year Big Cat hit a milestone with the recumbent Catrike Road tricycle, a project for which it turned to Saint-Gobain.
Initially brought on board for the rear suspension system, the bearings are being used in ten locations on the bike, including the shock and main pivots, rocker arms, adjustable seat and the shock mount and frame.
Camasmie explained: “Our goal was to achieve solid performance and the ride-quality expected of a Catrike, but with a layer of added comfort and shock absorption.”
Egeland added: “When I first heard of this technology from Saint-Gobain, I started researching its history in the automotive world and I was very impressed with the benefits. We initially implemented Norglide composite bearings in the adjustable seats of our Trail and Villager trikes and saw that the technology truly is maintenance-free.
“Our customers have been very pleased with the performance of the new Catrike Road. Our decision to include Norglide composite bearings in the design of this trike shows our commitment to quality craftsmanship. Riders and dealers often comment the ride is so smooth and functional that they can’t even feel the suspension until they hit a bump.”
The Norglide composite bearings feature polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) with an aluminium, stainless or regular steel backing. The custom-developed PTFE layer acts as a lubricant, offering consistently low friction values throughout the component's lifetime and the metal backing ensures it can handle the stress of a bumpy ride. At 1.2 grams, it is one-tenth the weight of the traditional rolling-element bearing, and thanks to its self-lubricating layer, offers improved stick-slip effect and higher performance capabilities, we're told.
Paul Humphreys, global market manager for bicycle at Saint-Gobain commented: “Rear suspension applications can be complex and traditional solutions can be heavy, adding to the weight of the bike and frequently requiring maintenance. With Norglide composite bearings, the cyclist rarely has to worry about replacing or servicing these components that are critical to the bike’s performance.”