Inside Galfer Brakes Spain & USA

A tour of where Galfer Brakes makes their brake pads and rotors in Spain, as well as a tour of the USA facility where brakes lines are built.

Brakes are important, no doubt, unless you are racing speedway. Trials, Supercross, motocross, enduro riders and many other disciplines of motorcycle riders and racers count on precision braking, which is why you’ll see many bikes outfitted with Galfer’s performance brake components. Most KTM motorcycles now come off the showroom floor already equipped with a Galfer brake system.

Espresso in Barcelona, Spain
Espresso pitstop.Photo by Lindsey Lovell

Galfer Spain

We made the journey across the pond to see how Galfer Brakes’ manufacturing facility runs and learn the process of making motorcycle brake pads and rotors.  Sandro Milesi, the President of Galfer USA and grandson of co-founder Maffio Milesi, and his younger brother David were excellent hosts and tour guides. Jetlag had no time to hit us, we went straight to business touring the performance brake system manufacturing plant next door to the famous Circuit de Catalunya racetrack. It was an educational day for me as I was schooled in the science and engineering of brakes. If it weren’t such an intriguing process and also thanks to our espresso pitstop, jetlag surely would have caught me.

Sandro Milesi, President of Galfer USA, in front of Galfer Spain.
Sandro Milesi, President of Galfer USA, in front of Galfer Spain.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Sandro (right) introduced us to his uncle Umberto Milesi, the GM of the entire factory in Barcelona, Spain.Photo by Lindsey Lovell

First off, we saw the offices and met all the faces that make up Galfer Spain. In the morning we toured the main floor, which houses all of the materials and machines used to make the brake pads and rotors.

After lunch, we went to the level where rotors are ground down by massive machines to ensure a balanced surface. This level of the building also holds a dyno room for the engineers to test rotors at any speeds they desire. The dyno can simulate races with special data. The old dyno is from the 70's and still works; though it is no longer in use for everyday testing, it is sometimes is used for specific tasks.

Galfer puts a big priority on quality control and it is transparent when you see all the calibration routines done daily on their machines, the extra steps, and the employees who confirm the product is good.
  I went into the trip thinking there's wasn't much to brakes but boy, was I wrong. We spent about 10 hours at the headquarters seeing how complex the process actually is.

Galfer USA

Once we were back in the States, we paid a visit to the USA facility in Oxnard, California which is the location that Sandro oversees and runs daily. While Galfer Spain provides most of the products that line the shelves of the facility stateside, Sandro and his team of engineers do all of the design, development, and production work on the braided stainless steel brakes lines for Galfer USA.

Fun fact: Galfer doesn’t just make motorcycles brakes and rotors, they also have been in business in the bicycle and auto industries. The company has been in business for 70 years! Yes, seven-zero years. It all started with Maffio Milesi and Mr. Gallo in 1946. Galfer Brakes, originally named Gallo Freni, was founded to produce brake pads for European auto manufacturers.

mountain bike rotor dyno
This miniature dyno is for mountain bike rotors.Photo by Lindsey Lovell

Here's a look at the factory from a few photos from our factory visit in Spain:

Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Large canister of mixed compounds for metallic brake pads.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Large canister of mixed compounds for semi-metallic brake pads
Large canister of mixed compounds for semi-metallic brake pads. Mixture is made up of ceramic compounds and copper fibers.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
The red color on the backing plates is the adhesive.
The red color on the backing plates is the adhesive.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Backing Plates getting placed into brake pad mold
Backing Plates getting placed into brake pad moldGIF Image by Lindsey Lovell
Galfer brakes oven
Into the (first) oven semi-metallic pads and back plates go!GIF Image by Lindsey Lovell
Every brake pad is hand-stamped!
Every brake pad is hand-stamped!GIF Image by Lindsey Lovell
Brake pads ready to be weight
Each brake pad is weighed to ensure they are up to Galfer's standard.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Photo by Lindsey Lovell
These sintered brake pads are Galfer's higher-end pads suited to the more aggressive riders looking for more bite.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Sheets of braking pads being sintered (melting of composites) in this oven. Temperatures ranging from 500 to 1300 degrees.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Hand-stamped backing plates.
Hand-stamped backing plates.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Galfer employee operating machine.
Galfer employee operating machine.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Galfer backing plates
Backing plates on the production line to be adhered to metallic pads.GIF Image by Lindsey Lovell
brake pads get dropped into the bin after backing plate is adhered.
Metallic brake pads get dropped into the bin after backing plate is adhered.GIF Image by Lindsey Lovell
brake pads
The black, carbon-based metallic pads in crates and ready to move to their next station.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Galfer brake pads being packaged for customers.
Galfer brake pads being packaged for customers.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Boxes of Galfer Brake Pads
Boxes of Galfer brake pads ready to distributed to motorcycle dealerships throughout the world. The entire process can be seen in the How They Are Made: Galfer Motorcycle Brake Pads video.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Laser-cutting doing magic on stainless steel sheet.
Laser-cutting doing magic on stainless steel sheet.GIF Image by Lindsey Lovell
Photo by Lindsey Lovell
The sheet of stainless steel goes into the laser cutter, the outcome is a puzzle of rotor disc. From here, the rotors go to a machine to clean up the surfaces. The rotors are then sent out for a high-temperature coating. Some rotor require additional steps like counter-sinking and changing diameter of the holes. The entire process can be seen in the How They Are Made: Galfer Motorcycle Brake Rotors video.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Rotor quality control
One of the many quality control pit stops that rotors go through during the process.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
rotors being measured
They use a level to confirm that rotor is entirely smooth, balanced and flat after coming out of the grinder.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Rotor engaving
Rotors are placed into a form to be engraved.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Completed Galfer Brake Rotors that are ready to be packaged.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Skull brake rotor from Galfer
Some different-looking rotors for the Harley guys.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Galfer Brake Rotors
A few of the rotors that Galfer offers to the off-road and motocross market.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
In the dyno room
From left to right: Baggers Magazine Editor Jordan Mastagni, Dirt Rider Magazine Web Producer Lindsey Lovell and Galfer's Director of R&D and dyno master Marco Milesi.Photo by Lindsey Lovell
Dyno at Galfer
Large street rotor in the motorcycle rotor dyno.Photo by Lindsey Lovell