Wave theory boosts Galfer rotor performance

Publish Date: 
Jul 1, 2003
By Arlo Redwine

VENTURA, Calif. - For some time now Galfer Braking Systems has been making big waves in the industry with its exotic-looking "Wave" rotors (U.S. Patent 6,386,340) for ATVs, dirtbikes, snowmobiles, sportbikes and trials bikes. But there is much more to these laser-cut discs than just their trick appearance.

We talked to VP of U.S. operations Sandro Milesi about some of the performance benefits the Wave design has to offer.

The most salient feature centers on a brake pad's maximum grip occurring at its initial bite on the rotor, after which the level of stopping power tends to fall off. With the Wave design, however, the pad is continually coming in contact with new waves, creating a formidable series of "initial bites." "You are adding trailing edge to the contact between the pad and the rotor," confirms Milesi. "That's very good." The material of the rotors is also optimal for stopping - a high carbon 420 stainless steel that has been pre-heat-treated and double-disc-grinded for flatness and an efficient contact surface.

Galfer initially developed Wave rotors for trials bikes, and it wasn't long before the engineers happily discovered another of the Wave's benefits: Its immunity to filth. "Guys would go through a river or through mud, and the minute they came out, the rotor would be impregnated with dirt," remembers Milesi. "But with the Wave, they found the rotor would clean itself every time." Your off-road racing customers should love the extended durability of the their pads in muddy conditions.

The same fan-like action that flings away mud also keeps the rotor cool. "The temperature is going to be lower because the rotor blades are moving air to the brake pad surface," explains Milesi. In addition, many Wave rotors are free-floating, allowing the rotor to expand and contract when heated. Obviously that means less worry of warping: Breaking these Waves won't be easy - good news for serious supersport racers and hardcore off-roaders alike.

On various consumer web sites advertising the Wave rotors, much ado has been made about their ability to cut down a vehicle's weight. Milesi warns, however, that it depends on the individual application, because there are now many different designs - i.e., not every Wave is a light Wave. With the off-road application pictured, for example, the weight is identical to stock; with a Suzuki GSX-R750 you'll lose about a pound; and with snowmobiles you'll cut the weight in half. "We try to improve the weight, but it is not necessarily the goal."

Then there is the issue of which brake pads to use. Most of the web sites mentioned above warn that Galfer Wave rotors are only to be used with Galfer pads and that all other pad compounds void the warranty. True, says Milesi. "You can run pretty much anything you want, but when it comes to warranty and technical help, we know our products best, so we ask you run ours."

For greater stopping power, cleaner discs and less heat, more and more riders are doing the Wave when it comes to choosing aftermarket rotors. Galfer insists that all their Wave rotors will improve lever feel and feedback, and provide the strongest, most progressive brake possible. If you're not already carrying these revolutionary rotors, join the wave of the future by contacting Galfer for a full list of applications