Fresh Produce | Galfer Shark & Wave Rotors

Price: $54.95-$179.95 Available From: FE Sports


Upgrading rotors and pads is one of the easiest, most cost-effective, and performance-enhancing modifications that we can make to our beloved bikes, but it is often overlooked as we lust over electronic shifting and anodised aluminium bits and bobs.

Galfer, the Spanish giant that specialises in braking and friction components for the motorbike and cycling industries, offers a wide variety of rotors and pad combinations that can be tailored specifically for varied riding conditions. Here we dive into the details on some of Galfer’s offerings for those looking to boost braking performance over OEM options. 


Galfer Shark Rotors | $159.95-$179.95

Developed alongside the Commencal Muc-Off team during the 2021 UCI World Cup Downhill season and launched in 2022, ​​the Galfer Shark rotors stand out for the distinctive inner fin, hence the name. These fins, coupled with the rotor’s small round perforations, are said to aid heat dissipation and lower the disc’s operating temperature. Furthermore, the exterior wave design of the rotor, along with its lateral openings, ensures a robust and uniform contact across the entire brake pad. Galfer claims a 25-40% increase in brake pad life, a 30% reduction in operating temperature, and a 5-10% increase in braking power under normal conditions. 

At first launch the Shark rotors were available in 180mm (claimed 127g), 203mm (claimed 174g) and 223mm (claimed 237g) sizes with either 6-bolt or centre-lock mounting, all of which are made of Galfer’s signature 2.0mm thick laser cut stainless steel. Since then, Galfer has launched the 160mm (claimed 104g) variant of the Shark rotors for the XC crowd seeking some extra bite out of their featherweight dual piston brakes. 

Galfer Wave Rotors | $69.95-$89.95

A staple in Galfer’s lineup, the Wave rotor is available from 160mm to 223mm in either 1.8mm or 2.0mm thickness and 6-bolt or centre-lock mounting. The rotors have a fairly distinct look, with the amplified wave design on the outer perimeter clearly inspiring its name. 

They feature large lateral openings that extend within the spider, which Galfer claims results in an aggressive bite point, improved mud-clearing capabilities, and overall brake feel in wet conditions. According to Galfer’s numbers, they weigh slightly heavier than the equivalent-sized Shark rotor, although we are talking about ten or fifteen grams per end. 

Galfer G1554 Pro Brake Pads| $54.95

The ‘Pro’ series of pads from Galfer is marketed as its highest-performing option. They feature a semi-metallic compound with increased power and resistance to fading compared to the brand’s other offerings. Due to the proprietary blend of braking materials, Galfer claims there is no ‘bed-in’ period required, with the pads delivering full power right from the get-go.

Galfer knows the boosted performance comes with sacrifice, claiming the increase in power and fade resistance results in an increased wear rate. On the trail, the Pro pads seemingly blend the characteristics of typical OEM ‘organic’ and ‘metallic’ pads with impressive raw power and flawless operation in a wide variety of temperatures. 

Flow’s Initial Impressions

To put Galfer’s claims to the test, we fitted the Shark rotors to Nick’s Santa Cruz Tallboy and the Wave rotors to Jono’s Norco Sight, both equipped with the ‘Pro’ series brake pads. Initial fitting and adjustment went as smoothly as expected, with the aftermarket pads fitting both the TRP DH-R EVO’s and Shimano XTR calipers without issue. Following the mandatory car park test, the overall power and feel of the brakes were close to full strength, proving Galfer’s claims true regarding the lack of required bedding in.

Out on the trail, the Shark rotors exhibited a softer initial bite with more modulation and control, with the power coming on strong under heavy braking, resulting in less arm fatigue during long descents. Fade resistance under heavy extended braking was excellent, representing a noticeable improvement compared to OEM rotors. While it’s challenging to verify the claimed 30% reduction in operating temperature, we certainly noticed the benefits of increased ventilation and thermal management, with the bit point remaining consistent and fade-free.

The pairing of Wave rotors with Shimano XTR brakes showcased a significant improvement in bite point strength and modulation, surpassing the already impressive performance of the Shimano rotors. Much like the Shark rotors, this resulted in reduced arm fatigue on extended descents and offered superior braking control.  We will continue to put the rotors to the test throughout winter to see how they stack up against the claims in some wetter conditions.

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