Monday, August 24, 2009

Ashima AiRotor Review

I first saw them in 2007 and in some photos shot at Interbike. From that moment I want it to have them, to race with them. Why? because the design was totally different from any other rotor on the market and they were extremely light.

The rotors come in 140, 160, 180, 203mm and soon in 185. They are available only in 6 hole IS... yeah you can't win grams with center lock. These rotors are special because there are made from a special 410 stainless steel heat treated to HRC 42. HRC is the Rockwall Hardness Scale, which is a hardness scale based on the indentation hardness of a material. The rotors are also double ground for superior flatness. Also the AiRotors will come in different color version such as: Red, Blue, Yellow, White or Black.

ASHIMA has had exceptional growth over the last couple of years. They have the capacity to manufacture 1 million brake pads/month, and since 2008, they have sold over 70,000 AiRotor discs. That's a impressive amount of rotors. You can see how appreciated are these by the racers and weight weenies.

I am running the AiRotors on my Cannondale Scalpel and I was using them also last year on my Cannondale Taurine. I use a Magura Marta 2008 brake, but I had the chance to test them with Shimano XTR, Avid Juicy Ultimate, Avid BB7, and some other brakes. The terrain where I run with them was different. From my rocky and rooty trails in the woods near my home to the mud from the National Championships and the dust from Liman Bike Race.

There aren't much different from a stock rotors, excepting the noise. Like other riders that tested this and talked/read their reviews I guess that is because of the cutouts, but at least for me this wasn't bothering at all, it's good to let people know that you are approaching them without to scare them that bad like when you are whistleing or screaming.

I've noticed that in technical spots a light touch of the brake is enough just to control your speed and to be ready to stop in any emergency cases, because in a race someone could fall in front of you and it's preferably not to injure them harder. On steep descends they seem to get a blue color but no fading. After you finish the downhill and you continue your ride after a few minutes they come back to their 'natural' color.

I've tested these rotors to the maximum and I can tell you that these are the best for a cross country racer or week end warrior. Built to gain grams and to look good too. But there aren't tested like in the Ashima labs (but they don't have the dust and mud :-)) there )

Compared to the standard Magura rotor I can say that these are more powerful, but some other riders don't agree with me, fading a hydraulic disc brake is easy to do, so brake less you guys :-)

The shape and cutouts help for a better heat dissipation and air circulation. I wet or muddy conditions they get dry really quick, so excepting the noise these rotors are the best I've ever tried. However I sandpaper my pads pretty often and I clean my rotors so the noise almost disappears.

I don't really recommend to use these rotors with organic pads, only if you are using them in a cross country race. They wear pretty quick. My SemiMetalic pads were gone in about 4 months (different weather conditions) and I didn't test the Sintered pads yet. A good job is provided by the Ashima SOS pads - Sintered-Organic-Sintered. The sintered is wearing harder and is keeping the rotor cleaner and extend the lifespan. The organic middle smells like a truck burned brake when is heating up but increases the bite and cuts noise at lower speed and temperatures. So now you can have the features of the organic and sintered pad combined in one. Clever isn't it?

They were some problems with the 203 mm version, some customers reporting a deformation of the rotors. I've got some new models, I've tested them and they seem to be better than the 'old' ones.

Also Ashima is coming with a new disc brake. Ashima PCB has been declared a Design Award Winner at the upcoming EuroBike Show! Congratulations ! The technology has never been used in brakes so it's something totally innovative ! Soon I'll get a pair of these and I'll test them. I will also make some time for some of you who would like to test them also.

For more information, please check the ASHIMA Web Site.

If you wanna have you pair of Ashima Airotors or Ashima brake pads, please let me know :-)

Stay tuned because more updates will come.


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  1. Where can I get the sintered/organic/sintered brake pads for BB7 brakes? These really interest me, I am a xc racer. Would like a set of 185 rotors to match...

    1. Depends where are you from. Usually from your LBS or from eBay.