It is easy to get spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding what’s best for your Porsche between steel and ceramic bearings. The two options come along with numerous perks. But like is often the case with most car parts, they also come along with a few downsides. Your best bet is to examine which option offers value for your money. You will therefore have to take into account the following factors.
Speed advantage is always guaranteed as long as there is reduced rolling resistance, increased stiffness, reduced weight and increased durability. To that extent, ceramic bearings stand out as the better option. They offer reduced rolling resistance mainly because the balls are rounder, smoother and more importantly, more uniform in size when compared to steel bearings. It is also worth noting that with ceramic ball bearings, you won’t have to worry about aerodynamic friction which worsens as speed increases. With ceramic, mechanical friction is linear.
There is a misconception that steel bearings last longer than ceramic bearings. Ceramic bearings last longer! They last up to 20 times longer than steel bearings. This translates to an almost zero risk of bearings seizure, a perk that highlights how ceramic bearings enhance safety. Keep in mind that ceramic bearings do not rust and are less sensitive to lubrication and moisture.
The stiffer your ball bearings are, the better. Ceramic balls, being stiffer, result in less flex in the bottom bracket. It gets better with the fact that they are lighter and that ceramic bearings are less dense when compared to steel. This is because of the silicon nitride used to make ceramic bearings. The compound boasts of 60% lower density than steel. Combined with optimized lubrication and special seals, the friction in ceramic bearings is p to 25 times lower than steel bearings with lubrication and standard steels.
Ceramic Bearing Grades
Note that there are different types of ceramic bearings just as is the case with ABEC grades of steel ball bearings. The different grades rate rolling resistance and smoothness. This means that they differ in price. Keep in mind too that ceramic bearings come in two main types – full ceramic bearings and hybrid ceramic bearings. These two main types also feature further grades based on uniformity of size as well as races.
Hybrid vs. Full Ceramic
Of the above mentioned two, hybrid ceramic bearings stand out. They feature ceramic balls and steel races. They are also lighter than steel ball bearings. This makes it easy for them to roll faster which is an added plus when one accelerates. The friction here is about 8% less than in a pure, all steel bearing of the best quality.
Full ceramic bearings are also ideal and more advantageous compared to steel bearings. As already mentioned, the lighter your Porsche bearings are; the better. With that in mind, always go for ceramic bearings over steel bearings anytime you have to choose between the two options. Be sure to also seek expert advice so as to make an informed decision.