Galfer SKW Oversize Front Rotor Kit
Over the past few years, larger front brake rotors have become more popular, especially on modern 450s. An aside to this trend has been the increased frequency of floating rotors, which have taken away attention from the good ol' solid-mounted rotor. Until recently, I'll proclaim that I was dead-set on riding the floating rotor train...until I had the chance to test a couple bikes with larger solid-mounted rotors. To give this my best comparison, I grabbed a 270mm SKW solid-mounted rotor from Galfer to test on our 2015 Kawasaki KX450F, which comes stock with a 270mm floating rotor.
Galfer SKW 270mm Front Rotor Kit Features:
- 270mm diamater rotor produced from 420 stainless steel.
- Caliper bracket made of 6061 T-651 CNC billet aluminum.
- MSRP: $150.00.
Over the past few years I've had the chance to sample the majority of Galfer's products, and the SKW 270mm kit gave me the same impression as those I'd tried before...quality. The kit is simple, and for $150 the package includes a 270mm SKW solid-mounted rotor, along with a billet aluminum bracket for the caliper to help accommodate the larger rotor. In this case, the 2015 Kawasaki does come stock with a 270mm-sized rotor, so the bracket wasn't necessary. I did switch it anyhow, as the Galfer bracket was lighter, appeared to be tougher, and just flat-out looked better. (Style wins points). The rotor itself continues the trend, as it's also lighter than the stock unit by 3.5 ounces.
On the Track
As I mentioned before, I decided to test the SKW kit on the 2015 KX450F, which already features its own 270mm floating rotor. The reason for this was to find the difference and feel in the actual rotor itself.
Once the rotor was broken in, the difference in action and power was immediately noticeable. To put it simply, the solid rotor doesn't move when the pads press against it like the stock floating unit would. That means there's a more positive feel from your fingers to the action of the brake. The floating rotor has a bit more give before braking action, which relates to more lever travel. Because of this, I would tend to grab the lever a bit quicker to activate the brakes, but I'd typically get in a rush and cause the brakes to lock as I'd grab the lever too hard with the stocker.
Overall, I was left with more consistent braking action. This was extremely helpful in dry and slick conditions, where I'd tend to misjudge the stock brakes and lock them, causing me to tuck the front end or slide.
It's interesting to see the wear difference between some stock rotors and a quality aftermarket unit. In some cases, I've found that a stock rotor will thin out and wear down just as quickly as the brake pads. However, Galfer's SKW rotor has been through two sets of pads with almost no wear to the rotor at all.
The only real negative to this large solid-mounted rotor is the higher chance to bend it or damage it due to an impact.
The Last Word
Even on the KX450F, which may seem like the least likely bike to add a 270mm rotor onto, the Galfer SKW was an improvement. At $150.00, this a pretty solid investment, no matter which brand/model you're on. I have no real complaints because Galfer has produced another great product.
Vital MX Rating
Check out GalferUSA.com to see what braking-related products they have for your bike.
About the Test Rider
Michael Lindsay - is a born-and-raised moto freak and gearhead from the heart of motocross in Southern California. First swinging a leg over a bike at the age of five, he immediately caught the racing bug, spending nearly every weekend behind a gate…and a lot of time on the couch while injured. While swinging back and forth between moto and the off-road scene, giving him a wide range of experience on the bike. Of course, all of this led to one thing: Lindsay loves working on his bikes almost as much as he loves talking about them. When he’s not in the Vital MX forum or writing his latest product review, you can find him out at the track taking dirt naps, snapping some pictures, or drooling over the latest parts for his bike. With an outspoken personality, gearhead background, and as Vital MX’s guru for product, Michael is here to share his unbiased opinion.
Review and Photos by Michael Lindsay