Galfer 1375 Brake Pad Long term test report
It has been several track days and over 1500 miles so how do they perform now? We become used to brake pad performance as the pads wear and adapt our braking accordingly, so it is worth taking a few laps to see how much adapting we have done as the pads have aged (and yes, the stock rubber lines are still on the bike!).
The first order of business is straight line braking and braking power at high speeds, or high power where g-load is combined with uphill rises. In order to test this effectively at Thunderhill, arrival speed at Turn 1 and 5 has to be the same in the previous test when the pads were new in order to give a fair comparison.
Turn 1 is at the end of a reasonable length front straight, and arrival speed should be around 140-150mph for a fair comparison. The question now would be how much more braking force is needed with worn pads due to diminished initial bite? The good news is not much at all. Initial bike was still very strong, rapidly slowing the bike down without an increased length of time pulling on the lever requiring the braking distance to increase. That was very comforting, so I rechecked with my known brake marker and the result was the same.
In trail braking for the same corner, I found the amount of lever pressure was slightly increased to keep the bike online at the turn in point to get it to the apex. Not much of a surprise at all really given that 70% of the pad material was gone.
Turn 5 proved how subtle the change was with almost no difference in lever pressure with hard uphill braking.
I’ll be replacing the pads after another 3 or 4 track days so count on 2,000 miles with excellent performance, negligible diminished feel indeed and very little abuse on the stainless steel rotors!
Ride along with me to see the pads in action at :- http://youtu.be/vM55hxyPjOU
I acquired these pads for my 2009 R1 to test at Thunderhill Raceway Park from Galfer USA. Thanks to Matt Montero for providing me the track time needed to do a comprehensive test at his track day event.
This compound is Galfer’s track day and race product offering and it is constructed around their “Advanced Ceramics” design to facilitate feel for the rider through brake pressure giving much more precise lever action. Nice!
But wait, there’s more……
The pads have a low metallic content compared to other pads so they go very easy on rotors indeed. That’s a huge bonus for a track or race only bike AND the 1375 series has a ceramic-coated back plate that helps to dissipate heat away from the brake pad and therefore reduces the amount of heat transferred into the caliper pistons and brake fluid.
Overall this gives a much cooler braking system allowing consistent braking performance while out on track or going head to head while racing.
Whenever I change pads I like to clean the calipers with a toothbrush and soapy water, one caliper at a time (the other caliper stays in position bolted to the forks). While the pads are out, I will ensure that all pistons move evenly to guarantee even pressure on the brake pads.
I will also take a green scotch brite pad to the brake pins and polish them carefully. During that process I will always look for any grooves or deformation of the pin that might cause the pad to “hang up”. If I find something I don’t like the pins are immediately replaced – we depend too much on our front brakes to let a very cheap component determine the effectives of our braking!
While moving the pistons in and out, take a look at the master cylinder reservoir to make sure you have enough room for the fluid. New pads require the pistons to be pushed way back into the caliper and if there’s no air gap when you are done, you will be rolling the dice on a front wheel lock up while riding even though you are not braking!
How is that possible? If there’s no air gap the fluid has nowhere to expand to. The only part that can move are the caliper pistons, so as the fluid gets hotter the pistons push out further making the pads drag. If the pads heat up enough the cycle speeds up until the pads firmly apply and the bike endo’s on the brakes ejecting the rider. It happens all too often sadly…….
When you are ready to install the Galfer pads, make sure that one caliper has all the pistons evenly spaced on both sides of the caliper. Install the brake pads making sure there is enough distance between the pads to slide the caliper over the rotor. Repeat the process on the second caliper.
Remember there are different processes to finish the caliper installation based on design, so make sure you get this step right.
This process also requires you to make sure the floating fork leg doesn’t get pinched or binds due to poor installation by you!
Break in procedure:
1. Clean the rotors with 600 grit Emery cloth on both sides. Then clean with alcohol!
2. Start at 10-15mph and brake lightly until the pads heat up and pull the front end down.
3. Repeat the process to 40mph in 10mph increments
4. When out on track for the first run with new pads ride at 75% and brake lightly getting the pads to heat up and then allow them to cool off after each braking area. Half way through the first session, increase the pace by 10%.
5. For the second session increase brake pressure and braking duration over the first 2 laps and then brake as normal.
The ability to use the front brake lever effectively and progressively based on the heat in the pad is not an urban legend. The pad and heat really do allow you to feel how much braking force you have and therefore modify brake pressure as needed whether straight up and down or trail braking at significant lean angles.
I was concerned that the pads would cool off too quickly in extended braking zones resulting in more rushed braking technique. This was not the case – the pad retained enough heat to allow me to brake effectively at all times, even if I had let go of the lever and had to correct my line by trail braking again.
The biggest plus for me was aggressive straight line braking where you could really manage lever pressure as needed especially when over taking using the brakes or in short very intense braking areas (Turns 5 and 11 at this track). At no time was the braking power too much through initial bite that I was fearful of locking the front wheel up or suddenly raising the rear wheel off the ground through a violent weight transfer process. The pads really are very effective at the track and for racing.
Not once did I experience brake fade from the brake fluid boiling (my fluid was old – I admit it), so the ceramic coating made a significant contribution to heat loss to aid in the process of keeping the brake fluid cooler at all times when on track.
How does that translate real time on the track? Take a few laps with me……