There are a plethora of motorcycle brake pads out there to choose from: different pads with different compounds all for different stated purposes. Until just recently, I used to think that different pads would make a noticeable difference, but that the opinion on them was just that – opinion. While I was all for buying the best pads you could afford (let’s face it, stopping can be rather important), I also figured there wasn’t a huge difference between the major pad types and brands other than a little more grip, longevity and brand allegiances.
Several months ago I won a free pair of Galfer pads at a bike night, and decided to go ahead and give their race pads a try on my 2007 Triumph Daytona 675. I received the pads, surprised that I could order those with my certificate as they were far from cheap. Since the pads on my bike were still good, I had set the new ones off to the side while I burned up the current set. Finally after a recent race round it was time to swap them out for new ones, so I dug out the pair I had won. The time had come to give these a try. I was in for a surprise.
Heading to the track for a track day before a race weekend I knew I’d need a little time to bed in the pads properly. I took my time, not being in a rush, to ensure they before the races the next day. I finally had a session where I could start to pick up the pace a little bit and was surprised by the difference in feel between these and what I had previously been using. The races the following two days took that feeling to a whole new level.
I would describe these pads as having excellent grip, but moreover being very smooth, predictable, and steady. My previous pads (a higher quality “street” pad designed for the super sport bikes) were much “chatchier” in comparison, with uneven feel and grip. The new pads were giving me a confidence in my brakes that I hadn’t experienced in a very long time.
As my confidence in their predictability and feel grew, so did my braking confidence, eventually leading to me going into a few corners faster than I had previously. There was solid initial grip, with a steady and smooth increase that I could completely control. No snatch at the rotors, no unpredictable trail off…a smooth, steady and very efficient brake feel no matter how hard or how lightly I was trailing them.
My previous assumptions about brake pads were shattered. I knew (assumed?) better pads would have better performance, but I did not expect the dramatic difference in feel, handling and consequently confidence. After experiencing these pads in that environment, I have officially been sold on them. I guess that’s why they let me use that certificate for what I wanted!
Photo by our friends at 4theRiders.com