Galfer Wave Rotors and Pro Brake Pads - Review

Nov 12, 2014
by Richard Cunningham  

Pinkbike Product Picks

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

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


See more Galfer images in the hi-res gallery.



106 Comments

  • 122 20
 ....and shimano users just don't give a #uck coz they have no need in special rotors or pads to brake like a god
  • 64 14
 I have Zees and Hopes, and I love them both, but the hopes are many degrees better than the Zees, but they are also more expensive.
  • 28 15
 I don't know why you'd get neg propped for telling the truth, abzillah. Have some pos props. Hopes rule all. Shimanos close behind...
  • 27 6
 Same here hopes are the best
  • 13 7
 ...I really dig the machining and fit/finish of the Hopes Tech3 E4, it's just the best quality out there but for full on stopping power, Formula brakes are second to none. I also have the Zees and they're pretty impressive, very similar to the Saints but still, nothing close to Formula's brute power with a fresh set of pads...
  • 12 3
 But with hopes you get the best modulation around and plenty of stopping power.
  • 11 6
 My formulas are great...... For about a couple rides then the pads need replacement. Seriously, I'd sell em if I could but, who's gonna buy them when shimano are fkng amazing for about a quarter the price....
  • 11 0
 @nojzilla
I run Formula RO on my DH bike, T1 on my Bronson and R1 on my Kona hard tail all with metallic pads. Pad wear has been on par with my Shimano Saints, Zee's and XT's that I ran before, but I'm not a brake dragger and I use heavy front braking. I have also not had to bleed or service my Formula's any more than my Shimano's, maybe slightly less.
At the time I purchased mine there was $4.00 usd difference between the dealer price of a RO and a Saint M820. The T1 is around $50 usd more than my Zee's however, the T1 is lighter and stronger than any Shimano I have rode including Saints and the RO is like having retard power at your finger tip.
That said the feel or pull of the lever (especially for small hands) and the actuation of the radial master cylinder is not for everyone. The roll back on the caliper pistons (which is improved this year) doesn't leave as much room between the pads and rotor as the Shimano, so caliper alignment is more critical for rub free setup. You do however get less dead travel (without the need for a cam linkage) before making pad contact and more initial "bite" when braking. For me the weight savings and power increase are worth the extra price and slight hassle of setting up the caliper.
  • 9 10
 All hail XT!
  • 6 3
 Soz, my formulas ARE amazing brakes but I have spent too much £ on getting them to work out of the box, an new pads. That I could've bought two sets of XT by now!

My XT worked straight outta the box, shortening the hoses was a doddle
An they have been faultless since....
  • 14 17
 Yes the XTs... I just don't know why I sold them after only half of a year of using them... because they offered nothing but 60g of weight savings over my 4-pot saints and brought less power, less modulation, more fade and not in my type weird lever feel going from slightly slightly slightliER iiink iiiiiiink BAAAAAM!!! What was it that they offered over SLX? blah chrome cover and a knob? But im just a hater, always against the collective (which consists lately of disturbingly many hipsters)
  • 3 0
 True Waki, the fact is all shimano hydraulics do the job, at least so far for me, but some uf us like em pretty.. @WAKIdesigns
  • 6 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 13, 2014 at 3:53) (Below Threshold)
 Shimano hydrualics do the job I know, I just wonder why XTs are so pop and SLXs aren't. It's just that bleeding is a pain in the arse. They took it from a broken arse pain to a hemoroid, and there was Nothing, absolutely nothing more to do but provide a nice threaded bleed hole at the top and a nice syringe end like Avid. But instead they decided to keep on being "avantgarde" so that you pay attention to not overflow or fill the canister. Very catholic idea, even though they come from Japan. Formulas are a russian roulette and T1 are deadly - too bad modulation for that freaking much power - wet roots on steep shoot anyone?
  • 12 8
 modulation is for girls*. do not brake on wet roots,


*no offence intended to girls Smile
  • 14 2
 T1's are like a gift from the gods. i heard zeus himself was sponsored by Formula and used them to ride mt. olympus the year that Rampage was held there.
  • 8 7
 iffy - but there are trails where you have wet roots and rocks all the way down with corners involved Big Grin Try that in long rockgarden filled with lime stone baby heads, just after the rain, you'll quickly beg for cantilevers
  • 2 6
flag PsychosisTripper (Nov 13, 2014 at 7:02) (Below Threshold)
 Formulas shit list, to much maintenance. Saints or maguras for sure
  • 2 1
 @iffy I can brake on wet nasty stuff with hopes so much modulation. I have to be a little more careful with my zees
  • 6 1
 @WAKIdesigns "but provide a nice threaded bleed hole at the top and a nice syringe end like Avid." Doesn't the shimano bleed kit use a threaded overflow funnel on the top and a fill syringe on the bottom? I guess the bottom one isn't threaded. I've never bled them but it seems as easy as Hopes (easier because of the funnel)
  • 3 2
 Luckily I am sponsored by a bad ass mechanic, so I really would not know what you're talking about, besides, bleeding sounds like a shit job I'd rather pay someone else to do... @WAKIdesigns
  • 4 1
 Formulas win on weight and power. No brake comes close in power per gram category.
Shimano wins on ergonomics and mineral fluid rather than DOT; power in my experience is disappointing, especially coming from well set up Formulas.

Most people having issues with Formulas are likely botching the bleeding process. It's the Achilles heel of the brakes, IMO. You have to do it a few times to get a hang of it, once you do, it's straight forward, but you can't just do a hack job and expect great results. Shimanos and many others are much more forgiving in that department.
  • 4 1
 Have had formula on my DH and XC rigs for years Not a single problem Ever Sorry, I had to replace pads... I love them
  • 3 0
 i will second the bleed thing. but that's more of my lines and bike design than the brakes themselves i think, plus me doing it for the first time this last time, rather than paying a shop. front bled perfect first time. rear i bled, then took it for a ride and progressively got shittier and shittier. just still had a bunch of bubbles in it. second time around, lifted the front of the bike straight up in the air so the line was more up and down and the air could more easily rise to the top. took my time, got all the air bubbles out, now rear is perfect too. i love the bite of these things over anything else i've ever tried. so so good.
  • 2 1
 I just sold a set of T1's that I used for four seasons on a dh bike...the hoses were initially shortened without any need to be rebled and were never ever touched since then if only to replace the pads...the intial bite is amazing and make everything else feel a bit sloppy but where the Formula brakes really shine is in their total lack of brake fade whatever the situation...will definitely buy Formula again...
  • 1 0
 formula is the best, super light , super braking power, super small , i think i only bled mine on my dh bike abt twice and they were used when i got them .... the only thing is with a set of fresh pads sometimes the brakes rub and dont contract all the way evan with pad contact all the way off .... still would take them over anything sram , shimano or magura etc.. hope deffinatey has the win fr most power tho , theyre just so big .
  • 36 0
 Another example of a motocross brand making the mtb company's look like a joke. Can almost buy a full set of rotors and pads for the price of one avid rotor, not to mention better performance.
  • 15 0
 Maybe the moto world is starting to realize "I can mark up my product how much for MTB?!?"
  • 3 2
 Research and development though
  • 2 1
 Research...maybe, a big maybe. Development, yeah right. Tell me which frames are still domestically made these days.
  • 4 1
 It probably comes down to VOLUME. MX is a bigger market, economies of scale, plus stiffer competition.
  • 4 1
 @genericmk. . . Mt biking is way bigger. Enduro's sell out and you are lucky if enough riders show up to make a class in motocross!
  • 4 0
 There is a whole other world outside of just motocross and well, outside of the United States.
  • 1 0
 In Oz everyone has an MX bike or two, scarce few mountain bike though, its still largely considered a sissys sport here and I regularly get mocked for not having an engine.
  • 2 0
 @meesterover: Development =/= manufacture. Most (reasonable) mountain bikes are designed and developed wherever the company comes from, the manufacture merely makes prototypes and ends up doing the actual manufacturing once development is done. And development sure is expensive. Maybe not as much as big S or Fox ask for, but it is expensive.
  • 1 0
 @MrDuck fair enough
  • 13 0
 Not expensive and it seems to be a good product ? What's wrong with it ? It can't be possible !
  • 12 2
 Based on the article I'm left thinking this product is for Magura brakes only. If that's true then it is relevant to less than .5% of readers.
  • 8 0
 Looks like only Magura, Formula, and Hope from their site.
  • 9 1
 So 10% of us
  • 19 0
 bout time the 10%ers get some love.
  • 5 0
 Shimano too... available on Jenson. Rotors are on there as well.
  • 9 0
 Galfer makes pads for almost every model and make of MTB disc brakes.
  • 2 0
 So all of us can get some love!
  • 1 0
 Wonder if they have them for my mono 6. If the rotors work for my hopes that's a good savings over the hope rotors
  • 2 0
 @flag jibber420

Only found MONO 4...

www.galfer.eu/index.php/en/catalogue-galfer-bike-eng
  • 7 1
 any other shop techs out there see literally a non stop wave of shimano brakes that squeal like a dying pig come through this summer? all new bikes.. we have treated the pads as if they have been contaminated. replace or grind down then bed in again. no other brakes that we carry on bikes do this. any thoughts fellow technicians?
  • 2 0
 Absolutely! Right out of the box, you'll build and tune the thing to perfection, hop on and yep there it is. Then you're spending an extra 20-30 minutes sanding, rubbing clean with isopropyl and torching them just to get them out on the floor. I don't know what it is.
  • 3 0
 Not getting any of these problems in Aus fortunately
  • 2 0
 +1, on both sets of saints i got this year
  • 2 0
 My new Zees squeals like a stuck pig untill they warm up.
  • 2 1
 My zee were silent up until I stuck some sintered pads in. Now they screech like anything if I just look at the lever. They stop me fine though so thats the main thing.
  • 4 0
 @el-nombre Just by looking at the lever he said, Idk why... but that cracked me up!
  • 4 0
 i talked to a shimano rep. he said during manufacturing some fluid will get trapped in between the two caliper pieces. so when you go to use the brake for the first time it can dribble out onto the pads. sounds like shitty manufacturing method or quality control to me.
  • 2 0
 Yeah that's kind of what I figured, on some bikes coming from a particular factory that produces everything when cables are cut and sized they also use some strange rubber seal on the fitting at the top, holds just long enough for a ride then you lose all sorts of fluid.
  • 9 1
 Do they make pads for shimanos?
  • 3 0
 Yes, available on Jenson. Just ordered a set of pads and rotors myself - price is too good to pass up
  • 2 0
 Whats the deal , can I just run standard Shimano Zee pads on this rotor ? I dont see why not
  • 8 0
 Like the thinking outside the box PB
  • 2 0
 Big difference in Galfer and Chinese/ asian made copies. Galfer invented the 'Wave' rotor and they are built in their factory in Spain, along with their brake pads. Materials, process and design all make the difference. Products that looks the same, don't mean they are.
  • 2 0
 "The steel pad-backings look identical in every way to the OEM Magura pads..."
I don't wonder about this, because Galfer is on of Magura's OE supliers for padsnd rotors for years.
But now I wonder why these brakes just don't come with the most powerful pad option out of the box?
Stay with Shimano's...
  • 4 1
 Interesting that they look exactly like the Ashima rotors that I've been using for a couple of years.
  • 5 1
 And you're still alive to tell the story? Holy Hell. Ashima Rotors are notoriously deadly.
  • 1 1
 Been using only Ashima for 4 years, and I've found they work as good as anything else. Bedding in is critical, but I notice no diff with more expensive rotors. I bent one in a crash, but that wasn't the rotor's fault. These Galfers look EXACTLY like a rebranded Ashima, with some techno-jargon, and triple the price.
  • 3 0
 I have those Ashimas as well - I just ordered a set of these rotors and pads so I can make a direct comparison using my XT's
  • 2 0
 i LOVE my ashimas. hell, they are so cheap, i should pickup another set or two. by far and away the best rotors ive tried to date. just make sure you have metallic pads!
  • 5 4
 Had galfer brake lines on a sportbike. Lowest quality fittings i've ever seen, oxidized in one season and the bike was track only/garage stored. Would never buy from them again based on that experience.
  • 3 0
 Dude, their moto brake lines come with a lifetime warranty- you should have contacted them. Most current racers use them - the Marquez brothers are Galfer riders and just won world championships!
  • 1 3
 At the end of that season I switched to a radial master cylinder and needed new lines anyway, and just couldn't be bothered. Bought spiegler and they had much higher quality fittings. I'd also be willing to bet that just because HRC bikes don't have any galfer parts on them, they're just a sponsor.
  • 3 0
 Both Marquez brothers won moto 2 world championships riding on actual Galfer product. Line fittings are as good as you can get- same ones that Ferrari uses.
  • 1 1
 Have Galfer oversize rotor and pads on our 250 and it's not as good as the EBC oversize on the 450 and it cost twice as much.
  • 1 0
 Source? How do you know they're providing parts and not just dollars. I'd think HRC would make everything on the bike.
  • 4 0
 Galfer, that is so moto of you pinkbike! Smile
  • 2 0
 Maybe Ashima designs copied rotors Galfer Motorcycle. GALFER has over 20 years manufacturing rotor

www.galfer.eu/index.php/es/productos-moto/discos-de-freno-moto
  • 2 0
 unless you are either heavy or race in enduro or DH at a competitive level, you can probably get away with SLX brakes and 200mm rotors...
  • 3 3
 You know what angers me most? The way you only review these disc brake style braking systems. I am in the market for some new Cantilever brake systems for my top notch carbon fibre steel Specialized Hardrock pro 19.5" but can I find any up to date, latest, new technology reviews for the latest systems. Cycling interweb sites are very disappointing.
  • 3 0
 my shimano deore brake set works like a dream!
  • 2 0
 180 mil rotor at 110 grams is bloody light! I have aluminum carrier rotors that weigh 160 grams!
  • 10 7
 Galfer > Avid
  • 8 10
 @Acorn22 Avid>Galfer
  • 57 4
 Using your feet > avid
  • 38 2
 Bouncing off trees with your body>Avid
  • 43 2
 Tying a can of compressed gas to the handlebars with the nozzle facing forwards and releasing gas like a reverse rocket booster to stop > avid.
  • 32 1
 Having your brake pads replaced with overcooked pasta while listening to someone trying to tear the head off a live house cat > Avid
  • 3 14
flag dmadness (Nov 12, 2014 at 21:11) (Below Threshold)
 Being hunted by hungry bear trying to catch fast moving turkey shimano
  • 10 1
 Dragging balls behind back wheel > Avid
  • 4 1
 it messed my post up, I wasn't dissing shimano, if shimano made food I would eat it.. I was talking of the Warble that avids are famous for.
Salute
  • 1 3
 Shimanos are built like Nuclear Power Plants. Tight, solid and will never fail.
  • 4 2
 I still trust my shimano Big Grin
  • 1 3
 It's just a disc brak and nothing more IMO. If you want something really nice check this out www.ice-stop.com I have both version of floating discs (BD&BF) and their heating dissipation abilities are incredible! Besides they look really awesome.
  • 2 0
 These are standard chinese floating rotor. You can find them everywhere on the net.
That said, I have Taiwan made floating rotors (sold by uberbrake and superstart components), and they are very good.
  • 1 2
 Of course they are Smile and that's exactly my point: 9 out of 10 are made in the same factory in Taiwan so there's no need to pay extra for that rotors.
  • 2 0
 Zees all the way!
  • 1 0
 Ice tech rotors between any caliper = getting a fresh pair of goggles
  • 2 1
 and what fork is that?
  • 6 1
 Cannondale lefty supermax carbon. An amazing fork that'll have you sold if you give it a try
  • 1 1
 what about sram?
  • 2 4
 nm
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