Galfer Disc Brake Pads

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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Tested: Galfer Disc Brake Pads and Wave Rotor

Rating: Vital Review

by Ian Collins

Galfer has been making high quality brake rotors for motorsports since the 1990's, specializing in making some really high end brake components for superbikes. By really high end we're talking about $1,000 for a pair of brake rotors. That'll put things in perspective for us mountain bikers whining about spending $50 on an average rotor. Anyhow, for whatever reason, they've decided to enter the mountain bike market and to bring their expertise with them. On paper, this is exciting news, given how much effort they've put into designing and developing brake rotors and pads that offer real performance benefits.

I received three different brake pad compounds to test for my brakes – Standard, Pro and Advanced. In addition, I got to test out one set of rotors (160mm/180mm). I use Avid X0 Trail brakes on both my DH bike and my trail bike, so I was able to try out the Galfer pads on both bikes, while the rotors went on my trail bike. It's worth mentioning ahead of time that on all of my Avid brakes I take the stock organic compound pads out and replace them with the much stronger and much more durable metallic compound pads.

Galfer Disc Brake Rotor Highlights

  • Made of Galfer’s proprietary High Carbon 420 SS / 8 composite
  • Laser cut (not stamped like most others)
  • Double disc ground – parallel grinding to assure perfect parallel flatness
  • Patented inner and outer Wave® design minimizes heat transfer, equalizes dissipation and evens out pad wear
  • Heat-treated to each specific application (to assure warp resistance)
  • Each Galfer design is CAD-CAM and tested with a stress analysis program, as well as dyno/real life tested.
  • KBA and TUV approved
  • Compatible brakes: all
  • Mounting style: 6-bolt only (no Centerlock option at present)
  • Available sizes: 140, 160, 180, 203-mm
  • Weights: 100 grams (160mm), 120 grams (180mm)
  • MSRP: $32.25 (160/180mm)

Galfer Disc Brake Pad Highlights

  • Intended use: Standard (1053) for everyday riding // Pro (1554) for racing and/or more aggressive riding
  • Pad compound/material: Standard (1053): Carbon composite with Semi-metallic fibers // Pro (1554): Carbon Kevlar composite with semi-metallic fibers
  • Compatible brakes: all
  • MSRP: Standard (1053): $13.00, Pro (1554): $25.00

Initial Impressions

The rotors are clean and at 12 grams lighter (for the pair) they are about on par weight wise with the stock Avid rotors. They seem logical and well made. The wavy rotor isn't too wild looking and the laser cut-outs look nicely shaped and well placed. Overall, nothing overly "special" to note here.

As for the pads, they are also pretty straight forward. They are nicely packaged, and each compound is color coded with paint on the back of the pad itself. There is a guide on the cardstock in the packaging which indicates strong/weak points for each individual compound based on a rating system that includes four variables : Braking Power, Mud and Dirt Performance, Fade Resistance, and Durability.

Since I sometimes find myself wanting a bit more power on my DH bike, I put the “Pro” pads on my DH bike. These are rated to offer the most bite, at the expense of not lasting quite as long. My trail bike sees pretty standard riding, so I opted to run the “Standard” pads on that bike initially. Let's see how we all got along.

On The Trail

On the trail, the Galfer rotors and pads performed well. The break in time was on par with standard Avid offerings. The Standard and Advanced pads took one to two runs to bed in properly, and they were a bit noisy until they did, while the Pro pads needed only about half a run before they were fully operational. The Pro pads were also quiet from the get go.

In terms of performance, overall there wasn't a huge amount of discerning characteristics between any of the three compounds on offer. They perform as well as or ever so slightly better than a stock Avid rotor paired with standard metallic pads. They are quiet and consistent in all conditions, including the wet. In a sense, this was almost a disappointment, given all the research and experience that went into the development, manufacturing process, and materials of these Galfer pads and rotors. On the other hand, it's also easy to get it wrong, and Avid's XO Trail brake is a good standard to measure up to.

On my DH bike with the “Pro” pads I did notice a slight improvement in power over the metallic sintered Avid pads, and as expected they did wear a bit on the fast side, but certainly not at a rate that would bar them from being a viable contender.

Things That Could Be Improved

There are no major shortcomings to report, and the Galfer pads and rotors are a great alternative to your stock brake parts.

Long Term Durability

Braking parts are expected to just shut up and do their thankless job. These held up great and wore at a totally normal rate. None of the three compounds seemed to wear down exceptionally slowly, or unacceptably fast. I also had a few little rock pings with the rotors and they didn't indicate any particular weaknesses nor did the rotors seem overly susceptible to getting bent out of line too easily. They held their own just fine and stayed as straight as any other rotor I've used in the past.

What's The Bottom Line?

If you're in the market for new brake pads and/or rotors and want to experiment with something a little off the beaten path from a reputable high performance company, then give Galfer a shot. In my opinion they are better than your run of the mill organic pad and on par or slightly better than your average metallic pad. Same with the rotors, no huge performance gain, but just a good solid product. And since they are competitively priced as well, why not give them a try?

Visit www.galferusa.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Ian Collins grew up racing mountain bikes on the East Coast before moving to California in search of the never ending riding season. Although he's generally a fan of slick and steep riding conditions, Ian has gotten acclimated out west and loves its speed. Also an avid surfer, what's most important to him in a trail is flow. Known for being meticulous and borderline obsessive about bike setup, he aids in product development for local frame builder Turner Bikes when he's not out on a photo mission.

Specifications

Product Galfer Disc Brake Pads
Compound Semi-Metallic
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous Intended use: 1053-for everyday riding, 1554 for racing or more aggressive riding.
Pad compound/material: 1053, Carbon composite with Semi-metallic fibers. 1554: Carbon Kevlar composite with semi-metallic fibers
Compatible brakes: ALL
Price: 1053- $13.00, 1554-$25.00

Price N/A
More Info

Galfer Website

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