Review: Galfer Shark Disc Rotors

to remember shark bites? It was the colorful fruit snacks that the cool kids brought to school in the ’90s, gleefully gnawing their heads off miniature hammerheads and great white sharks while those of us stuck to a hot lunch poached with mysterious meat. This has nothing to do with this review of Galfer’s latest spinner, other than the fact that most of my memories of sharks seem to revolve around those gummy snacks…

First seen between the tape on the DH and EWS World Cup circuits, the Shark Disc rotors are made in Spain, where they are laser cut from stainless steel. The unique shape is claimed to provide a lower operating temperature and improved braking capacity compared to other options on the market.

Shark disc details

• Thickness: 2.0 mm
• Material: Steel
• Sizes: 180, 203, 223 mm
• 6 screws only
• Weight: 180 grams (203 mm, 6 screws)
• MSRP: $95 – $131
galfer.eu/bike

The nickname “shark” comes from the fins that extend below the curb’s surface, where they are intended to act as heat sinks to aid in further cooling. The rotors are 2mm thick, in line with the trend towards thicker rotors that have recently gained momentum. For example, the SRAM HS2 rotors are 2mm thick, up from the 1.85mm thickness of their previous center rotors. TRP has 2.3mm rotors in its lineup, and Magura has had 2.0mm rotors in its catalog for decades.

The idea is that more material allows for better heat dissipation, and makes the rotors less susceptible to deformation under high temperatures. It’s also less likely to bend a bit when you slip off a skinny or hit a poorly placed rock.

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Besides the increased thickness and thickness of the shark’s fin, Galfer worked entirely with a laser cutter and punched out 324 holes and 27 larger holes to aid airflow and remove dust, mud or water from the curb surface. All of these holes also help shave off the weight, although rotors aren’t at the top of my list of places to worry about. The 203mm rotor weighs 180g, 20g lighter than the 200mm SRAM HS2 rotor. There is also a circular slot near the six mounting slots that can be used to hold the speed sensor magnets for riders on e-bikes.

performance

I tested the Shark Disc rotors on several different bikes, all using SRAM’s Code RSC brakes and metallic pads. I was running 2.0mm thick HS2 rotors, so there was no need to reset the caliper pistons to get clearance for the Galfer rotors. This will probably be necessary if you are hitting a 1.8mm rotor, but the process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. If you are going to replace your pads at the same time, screwing a flat head screwdriver between the old pads should push the pistons all the way in, or if the pads are out, a plastic frame lever can be used to make sure the pistons are fully pulled out.

Compared to the HS2 rotors, the Shark discs have a more snatched initial bite (no pun intended), which will be appreciated by riders looking for an extra ‘oomph’ from their brakes. Although the width is nearly identical to the HS2, the Shark Disc’s design allows it to grip more firmly upon first contact with the pads – similar to the difference in initial feel between the metallic and organic brake pads.

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The rotors stayed quiet and consistent on long, steep, dusty slopes, including those that required long bouts of heavy braking. Conditions this summer have been very dry, but on the few occasions I’ve ridden I’ve tried shark discs in the rain they made a small noise for the water to clear and then stay silent afterwards – I didn’t find them very loud.


Positives

+ Strong initial bite and stable performance
+ Unique appearance


Take a pinkbike

The biggest hurdle for riders interested in these rotors will be price—at $119 for the 203mm version, that’s double what it is for SRAM’s HS2 rotors. It looks great, so there’s that, and it’s a bit more snug, but still that’s a bit pricey for a piece of steel. Regardless of the price, it performs very well, and could be a good upgrade for riders who want something that makes their bike stand out from the crowd. Mike Casimer

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