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13-04-2023 | Frank Jansen

Galfer Wave discs and brake pads review

Keith Bontrager once said those legendary words: “cheap, light, strong: pick two.” Whether that also applies to the products of Spanish company Galfer, you’ll find out in this review.

Galfer review
Photo: the distinctive wave design.

Big name in motorcycling

The Spanish brand, Galfer, produces brake discs and pads. They have become well-known in the motorsport field, but in recent years, they have also been making a significant step into the world of cycling. Initially, they’ve been focusing on the mountain bike, but for some time now, there have also been suitable discs for the road bike (and gravel racer) with (optional) matching pads. So, what distinguishes Galfer from brake discs from, say, Shimano, SRAM, or Campagnolo? That’s basically three things:

  • Price. The discs and pads are very reasonably priced.
  • Weight. As the table below shows, the difference can be as much as 100 grams on the full bike.
  • Aesthetics. The distinctive “wave” design with the wave pattern both on the outside and in the cutouts.

Let’s compare the price and weight of Galfer’s options with some of the lightest discs from the competition.

Galfer Wave 160 mm centerlock
98 gr
about €40
Shimano Dura Ace 160 mm disk MT-900, centerlock
114 grabout €60
SRAM Brake Disc Centerline X two part 160 mm
118 grabout €50
Campagnolo AFS rotor 160 mm
157 grabout €35

Other Features

  • Available in all common sizes, including 140 mm and 160 mm. For the (e)-MTB, larger sizes are also available.
  • Depending on the model, the thickness is either 1.8 mm or 2.0 mm, as is common for brake discs.
  • Most sizes are available for 6-bolt or centerlock. Installation is exactly the same as other brake discs, and changing a brake disc is not difficult; don’t let that stop you.

Photo: a full range of discs.


For this review, I didn’t have to do much special riding; in fact, I happen to have been riding Galfer discs for over a year already on my road bike, with 160 front and 140 mm rear, both of the 6-bolt version. I’ve also had them on my gravel racer with 2x 140 mm centerlock. These discs have seen many a steep descent without any problem. Even in technical descents over Swiss gravel, my 74 kg of weight didn’t overheat them.

So, they brake well. They’re not really any better than the competition, but they’re certainly not less, either. When wet, they squeak (as any brake disc does, of course). They’re also no harder nor softer than the competition. You might sometimes have read that light discs ‘eat’ a lot of pads. I haven’t noticed that: my pads didn’t wear any faster than ‘normal’ brake discs. Long story short: they are just good brake discs; they’re not expensive and are also extremely light. I also think they look very good, although that is down to personal taste. Of course, there are lighter discs out there (e.g., Ashima), but they brake so badly that, in my opinion, they are only suitable for show bikes.

When looking at the wear and tear, we can be quite brief. After a year of intensive use, no noticeable wear can be measured on the discs with the digital caliper.

Photo: my own bike with Galfer discs.

And the pads?

I was unfamiliar with Galfer’s brake pads until recently, when I used the standard Shimano pads. Galfer has an impressive number of sizes in its portfolio, so the chances of there being a block for your caliper are fairly high (and if not, you can always keep using your own brand). Galfer’s brake pads are of the resin type. I think that is a wise choice because, although metal pads do indeed last longer, resin pads just brake much finer, and frankly, they perform better. The pads do not have cooling fins like certain types from Shimano, for example.

In the meantime, I was also able to test the Galfer pads and compare them to Shimano’s resin pads. To make a fair comparison, we tried five descents on a steep hill nearby with both brands. Both sets of pads were new, of course, but we did dial them in. We then measured the braking distance. The data showed that there was no difference in braking distance. This makes sense in retrospect; on a road bike, the contact between the tire and the road is still the limiting factor, not the braking power. With both brands, wheel slippage was easy. I do feel that the Galfer’s pads engage a bit earlier, and they brake a bit more aggressively without biting. They are not thicker, even though it feels that way. In fact, at 3.8 mm, they are actually 0.2 mm thinner than Shimano’s.

Photo: for road bikes, all common sizes are available, inclusief 140 mm and 160 mm, both 6-bolt as as well as centerlock.


It’s difficult to say anything about wear, because the conditions are quite decisive here. One big mud ride, and your pads could be gone. With that being said, I tested the Galfer pads for a few months on my ‘good-weather bike’ (which doesn’t even see wet roads), and I’ve found that they wear just as fast as regular brake pads.


At 13 Euros, the Shimano version is about as expensive as the original. Meanwhile, with the SRAM version, Galfer you'll save a few more euros. All in all, these aren’t really earth-shattering differences, so this probably won’t hold much say over your decision.


Galfer has been an established name in the motorcycle world for years – and, as far as I am concerned, they have done very well in using all that know-how to put down a nice series of products for cyclists, too. The braking performance is excellent. But, of course, there is always the other side of the coin. The discs are lighter and more vulnerable, and the pads have no cooling fins. Even in long technical and steep descents, this has not proven to be a problem; however, if you are a bit heavier or an uncertain descender, I would probably opt for other Galfer discs options the Shark, which are more resistance to high temperatures.

But, for those who want to give their bike a litter cure for a few bucks and also want to ride around with cool discs, Galfer is definitely recommended. Whether you should order matching pads with it as well is a matter of taste. The braking feel is noticeably different, but whether you enjoy that will have to be based on your own experience. In any case, the quality of the pads is excellent.

Plus and minuses

+ Beautiful appearance (although that’s a matter of taste)
+ Inexpensive
+ Good weight
+ Excellent braking performance
+ Not required to use the Galfer brake pads (although recommended)
- Slightly more fragile due to the low weight
- The pads do not have cooling fins, which can be an issue for heavy use.

The distributor for the Benelux is Bike2B. A complete list of dealers can be found here.

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