MXA PRODUCT TEST: GALFER TSUNAMI 270mm BRAKE ROTOR; Bigger Is Always Better When It Comes To Pucker Power

December 17, 2009
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The latest generation of oversize brake rotors from the company who pioneered them.

WHAT’S IT COST? $371.00 (rotor, bracket and brake pads).

CONTACT? (805) 988-2900.

WHAT’S IT DO? For the average racer, a factory-level engine is unattainable. Paradoxically, factory level braking is well within his grasp. As the old adage goes, you can only go as fast as you can stop. Galfer caters to those who like to come in hot. The Tsunami is the latest evolution of Galfer’s rotor design technology and it features all the bells and whistles. The oversize rotor is full-floating, cauliflower-shaped and grooved to accept the stock brake pads, Galfer’s metallic pads (included), or Galfer’s sintered brake pads. Works brakes are nothing to sniff at. The MXA wrecking crew put the Tsunami to the test.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Galfer Tsunami brake.

ÿÿ (1) Installation. Oversize rotors require a bracket to move the brake caliper back the exact number of millimeters that the larger rotor needs for clearance. The CNC-machined bracket is easy to install and fits well. The Galfer rotor is 270mm. Stock on most bikes is 240mm.

ÿÿ (2) Cauliflower rotor. At any point in its rotation, a rotor only contacts a portion of the surface area of the brake pads. As the rotor spins, the contact area alternates its friction area across the face of the brake pad. A scalloped rotor modulates the friction across different parts of the pads at different times. The cauliflower shape allows the brake to run cleaner and cooler. The decrease in heat lessens warpage.

ÿÿ (3) Grooves. The Tsunami grooves are designed to let air into the system and help further reduce heat. In our testing, the Tsunami maintained a good feel throughout long motos and never chirped or faded. Riding in the dirt, we can’t imagine ever overworking the brakes with the Tsunami rotor.

ÿÿ (4) Modulation. The Tsunami offered abundant braking power with plenty of modulation. At first touch, the brakes are responsive and strong. It goes without saying that in slimy mud sections and low traction conditions, the rider has to respect the Tsunami brake.

ÿÿ (5) Brake pads. The Tsunami comes stock with a set of full metallic, ceramic-based brake pads. Be careful when first installing these pads, as it takes a couple of practice sessions to break them in. Also available from Galfer are semi-metallic, carbon brakes pads with a slightly lower friction rating. We thought that our OEM pads had a slightly better feel than the semi-metallic pads, but our favorites were the full metallic pads included with the Tsunami.

ÿÿ (6) Applications. The faster and heavier a bike the more it benefits from oversize brakes. Possessing good modulation characteristics, the Tsunami is functional on a 250, but the magnitude of benefits are reduced. The Tsunami is available for Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki motocrossers. KTMs come stock with 260mm Galfer rotors.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We found that it took about 20 minutes of riding to get get the brake pads and rotor to seat. Do not throw the Tsunami kit on your bike and show up on the line for your first moto. Once the brakes break in, you have to learn to be more gentle than you were with your stock brakes.

Science is a wonderful thing. It is consistent and repeatable. By increasing the leverage of the bake system by increasing the size of the rotor, Galfer guarantees that the Tsunami will stop better than a smaller rotor. It’s all in the numbers.


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