Nothing ruins a motorcycle trip like the smell of burning nylon and the sight of your possessions scattered across the highway. Soft-sided panniers are great when you want to pack some gear for a weekend getaway, but they’re not so great if they come into contact with your bike’s hot exhaust pipe. By applying a Zircotec ceramic coating to your bike’s exhaust system, the manufacturer says you can get rid of the heat shields and protect your panniers (and passenger!) from heat damage.

Zircotec, located in the UK, can apply a ceramic thermal coating to a motorcycle’s exhaust pipes using its plasma spray technique. Once applied, the coating acts as a thermal barrier and keeps the outside surface of the exhaust cool. Many of today’s sport bikes feature high, exposed pipes and exhaust systems that are routed close to the rear seat. Zircotec says its coating keeps the pipes cool enough to prevent damage to panniers or injury to your passenger should they touch the pipes.

Zircotec has a track record of developing and supplying ceramic coatings for car manufacturers and motorsport teams, and is looking to expand their market to everyday motorcyclists. To demonstrate the use of their ceramic coating on a street bike, the company undertook an extended real-world test using a Triumph Tiger 1050. The Tiger’s exhaust was treated with the thermal barrier and the factory heat shields removed. Over the three months and 5000 miles (8047km) field trial the bike was kept outside under a cover and the company says the coating withstood leisure trips, commuting, winter roads, and wet conditions.

Zircotec began developing coatings for automotive applications about 15 years ago, and has expanded to offer applications for other motorsports (including Formula One), classic cars, motorcycles, and the aerospace and marine industries as well.

The company also makes a flexible heat shield material called ZircoFlex.

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