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Disc Rotors - Full Circle Vs Contoured??

Old 04-26-16, 11:32 AM
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Disc Rotors - Full Circle Vs Contoured??

I am looking to upgrade the factory rotors on my mountain bike. They are currently 160/160 but I want to go to a higher quality 180/160 setup. As I've been looking around at various rotors I have begun to notice that certain companies offer "full circle" and "contoured" rotors and I was wondering what the real difference is?

I can see the obvious visual difference in the rotor but what is the point? Is it something to do with cooling of the brakes or is it a certain fitment specification? I tried googling this question as well as the search bar here but I couldn't really find my answer and google just took me to sites about motorcycle brake rotors.

Any help would be appreciated as well as suggestions on rotors.

I'm planning to go 180 / 160 and right now the main rotors I'm looking at are AiShima Airotor and Shimano XT-R86 rotors. I believe I would need an adapter for the Shimanos. I'm still researching but any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Old 04-26-16, 11:40 AM
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Are you talking about plain circular rotors vs "wavy" ones? Rotors are rotors.
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Old 04-26-16, 11:47 AM
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Not quite sure by what you mean by countored, as all rotors are in the end round. Guessing you mean wavy, these are more of a fashion thing than performance

What exactly is wrong with your stock rotors? the only time your going to see a real difference in performance, is when using setups like Ice-Tech which need matching rotor, caliper & pad.

Would caution if looking at aftermarket rotor, as some (you can Google the AiShima Airotor for this) have flex issues, as they are thiner/have more flex then OEM, say from Shimano, Magura or SRAM

For fitments, there are currently 2 types on the market (6 bolt & centerlock), and which you use is determined by your hubs, not what you feel like in the morning, you can use 6 bolt rotors on centerlock hubs with an adapter, but not the otherway round
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Old 04-26-16, 11:58 AM
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I'm assuming that the "contoured" is the "wavy" then. The website I was looking at when I saw that (EBC) had it listed as contoured but really the only difference I saw was a slightly different shape to the outermost edge of the rotor. I kinda figured it may be more of an appearance thing than anything else. The current rotors on my bike do work but they squeal like a stuck pig any time they get wet and they are entry level parts (although I'm not 100% sure the model. I know the calipers and whatnot are Tektro so I' guess the rotor probably is too??

I was told that upgrading the rotor and pads would probably take care of the squeal and I also like the looks of some of the other rotors a bit better. I am also a heavy rider (right around 230 right now) and while it may not be really needed I just feel like I prefer a 180 in front instead of the 160 for a little extra grab. I'd like to keep the rear at 160 for better modulation. Eventually I plan on upgrading the Tektro Hyd. discs to something a bit better (probably Shimano XT's or such) but at this moment I am working on doing the rotors, seat, grips, and pedals. The fork will be getting swapped out within the next month or so.
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Old 04-26-16, 12:30 PM
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the theoretical advantage to wave rotors is that every part of the pad has times when it is open to the air and can dissipate heat. Full circle rotors, even if slotted, the part of the pad that is on the outside edge of the rotor never gets air and over heats easier. Also theoretically the slots and the wave help clean dirt from between the disc and pads.
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Old 04-26-16, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by hig4s
the theoretical advantage to wave rotors is that every part of the pad has times when it is open to the air and can dissipate heat. Full circle rotors, even if slotted, the part of the pad that is on the outside edge of the rotor never gets air and over heats easier. Also theoretically the slots and the wave help clean dirt from between the disc and pads.
Thanks! This is the info I was looking for.
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