PINKBIKE: Galfer Wave Rotors and Pro Brake Pads – Review

Galfer Bicycle Wave rotor 2014

Galfer has been making high performance disc brake components since 1949 and today the Spanish manufacturer’s pads and rotors are winning races in motorsports as well as mountain bike events world wide. Recently, we tested a Cannondale Jekyll that was equipped with Magura’s new MT6 cross-country/trail brakes and, while the conventional two-piston XC stoppers put in a good performance, they were not as strong as the Magura four-piston MT 7 brakes that are the correct spec for the bike maker’s premier enduro racer. While we were waiting on the MT7s to arrive, we made a call to Galfer and ordered up a set of its 180 millimeter Wave rotors and Pro 1554t brake pads to spice up the performance of the bike’s existing brakes. 

Galfer’s stainless steel wave rotors are a full 1.8 millimeters thick and laser cut from a special alloy that is said to return to its original shape after being exposed and potentially distorted by extreme heat. Laser cutting also reduces warping because it does not stretch the surfaces of the rotor like conventional stamping presses do. Galfer’s rotors undergo a post heat treating process and then are faced with a dual-surface grinding process that guarantees that the faces are parallel. The wave pattern reduces heat buildup by alternating the location of hot spots created when the leading edges of the brake pads contact the rotor faces. In addition, the wave pattern allows the pads to off-gas and to shed mud and water. Galfer Bicycle Wave rotors are sold in six-bolt configurations, in 140, 160, 180 and 203-millimeter diameters, Our 180-millimeter rotors weighed 110 grams each and the MSRP is only $32 USD.

Galfer Pro brake pads for Magura MT6 caliper 2014

We reviewed the green-painted, Pro-series brake pads, which are the most aggressive option that the Spanish manufacturer sells in North America

We chose the more powerful stopping Galfer Pro G1554t composite brake pads because of their stronger, more aggressive braking characteristics. Galfer does not readily state what materials it uses for the Pro pads, but reportedly, it is a mix of carbon, ceramic and metallic elements. Galfer presently offers a longer-lasting “Standard” brake pad that uses a semi-metallic composite material. The steel pad-backings look identical in every way to the OEM Magura pads and the fit is perfect inside the MT6 calipers. MSRP is $29.95 USD per wheel.

Galfer Bicycle Wave rotor 2014

Galfer heat treats Wave rotors to help them run true when temperatures soar, and surfaces both sides simultaneously to ensure the braking tracks are parallel. The entire rotor is cut using a laser.

Pinkbike’s Take

bigquotes Galfer warns that it takes a number of repetitive braking sessions to “bed” the rotors to the pads before they will stop with full authority, and also asks that users run Galfer rotors with Galfer pads. Considering how affordable both items are, that should not be an issue. After a half-dozen stops from top gear, the power of the Galfer-assisted Magura MT6 brakes was about the same as the stock MT6 rotor and organic pads. After two hours on the trail, the difference was more remarkable, with increases in both raw braking power and modulation. The Pro pads hit harder and grip the rotors with significantly less squeeze pressure on the levers. In most cases, maximum stopping efforts could be managed with one finger on the levers. The extra bite of the Galfer pads came with an extra measure of noise, which was most noticeable when the pads were first contacting the rotor braking tracks. Except for one or two complaints during the initial bedding process, no howling or squeals have emanated from the brakes to date. Water and mud revealed no drama beyond a scratching sound as the mud was cleared, followed by silence and braking as usual. We had a chance to descend some long technical trails as well as some paved downhills to test the effects of heat buildup and have nothing to report – the rotors stayed true and we did not sense fading. The consensus was that the Galfer upgrade was a win in every performance category, including wear. Galfer’s information states that its Pro pads wear more quickly than its Standard options, but when comparing the Pro pads to Magura’s OEM composite pads, we found that Galfer’s were slightly more durable. For those searching for a bit more braking performance, Galfer Pro pads and Wave rotors are an effective and affordable option. – RC

Nov 13, 2014 | Tech