Unless you’re a new-school BMX rider (brakeless), having good brakes is probably a high priority! Though I joke about being a small guy with little heft to halt, I still like my brakes to bite hard. I was stoked to set up my DH bike with some parts from Galfer USA, which is an off shoot of the original Spanish brand best known for their motocross components.
Last summer, I installed their 203mm Floating Wave rotor and brake pads and hit the Whistler Bike Park to see how they handled the speeds, the steeps, and the slabs. In short, Galfer’s components did what good brakes do – they provided a lot of braking power without sacrificing modulation.
I’ll definitely be keeping their components on my DH bike, since the subtle buzz of the rotor doesn’t bother me…
Galfer’s 203mm Floating Wave rotor weighs in at 166g (180mm versions are also available). If you’re not familiar, pinning the outer ring to the inner spider is what makes this a ‘floating’ design. The company claims their floating rotor reduces drag, provides better feel and resists warping. They also say they have the best stainless steel braking surface out there, and that their design keeps temperatures down by allowing air to flow over the entire brake pad surface.
Before I installed the rotor a moto-riding friend of mine warned me that the pins could loosen up and create a vibration under braking. Sure enough, after a few weeks I found the floating rotor was creating an audible buzz and a subtle but detectable loose feel under braking. This might annoy some people, but I found it easy to tolerate the quiet buzz and slight vibration in exchange for the rotor’s great stopping performance.
Throughout my all-downhill testing I never managed to heat the rotor up to the point of weakness, let alone failure of the brakes. I don’t recall smashing it on any rocks, but the rotor is still running dead straight so it hasn’t warped under hard braking or by overheating.
I installed Galfer’s standard type brake pads first. These pads took the better part of a day (and a good number of runs in the bike park) to bed in on the brand new rotor, but by the time I went home they were grabbing with promise. After testing for a while, I wound up impressed with the stopping power these pads provided.