Ashima AiRotor Review

Brakes Pro Reviews

Reviewed by Brian Mullin aka Gram and MTBR.com Pastajet
http://www.gramslightbikes.com/

I have been extremely lucky to have had an exceptionally long term test period with the Ashima AiRotor. They are one of my favorite products I have used, not only because they work excellently, but they are a credible weight weenie disc brake rotor.

During my first foray to Interbike in 2007, as I wandered around in a daze, I came upon the KCNC booth, which Wayne of Ashima was sharing with Jacky of KCNC. I was having a great conversation with Wayne, and then I became extremely intrigued when he pulled out the beta version of the AiRotor. They looked wickedly cool, and then he did what any self respecting weight weenie would do, he put them on a scale for me. I immediately knew I had to have some for testing!

Ashima AiRotors
The AiRotors come in 140mm, 160mm, 180mm and 203mm sizes (soon a 185) in the ubiquitous 6 hole IS interface. They are made from 410 stainless steel that have a special high grade improvement, and they are heat treated to HRC 42. HRC is the Rockwall Hardness Scale, which is a hardness scale based on the indentation hardness of a material. An indentation hardness correlates linearly with tensile strength of metals. HRC 42 correlates to a tensile strength of approximately 194 ksi. The rotors are also double ground for superior flatness.

The AiRotors are now available in the colors, Red, Black, Blue, Yellow, and White!

Ashima History
Ashima was a West Semitic goddess of fate related to the Akkadian goddess Shimti (“fate”). The name Ashima could be translated as “the name, portion, or lot” depending on context. Wayne likes to call it “without limits”. In the Hebrew Bible, Ashima is one of the several deities protecting the individual cities of Samaria.

The expatriate Brit Wayne Moore is the main man at Ashima. Wayne himself was a designer/project manager with the US based parts supplier Teleflex Automotive, and 4 years ago he was on his way over to China to start a new job with Ford. He stopped in Taiwan to visit his wife’s family and ended up staying to help out with Ashima, which was the family business. Ashima itself was set up by his wife’s siblings who already had over twenty years experience making rubber braking products. Wayne had some disc brake technology experience while working for Teleflex, and he brought that expertise into the Ashima business.

The company has had exceptional growth over the last couple of years. They have the capacity to manufacture 1 million brake pads/month (rim or disk), and since 2008, they have sold over 70,000 AiRotor discs, wow! They have a couple of very innovative and exciting hydraulic disc brakes coming to market shortly, the PCB (PanCake Brake) which is piston-less and the 4 pot APV (Ashima Power Valve System). The PCB just became a Design Award Winner at the upcoming EuroBike Show, congrats to Ashima.

Now he just needs to practice up on his Mandarin!

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • derek says:

    Functionality tests results look great. From an aesthetics point of view, I would prefer something that looked a little more cutting edge or aerodynamic. I wonder how many potential buyers are lost just because the rotor doesn’t look good on the rack at the LBS?

  • El Dusto says:

    Good review, but with one flaw. The “indentation hardness correlates linearly with tensile strength of metals” isn’t exactly true. It correlates much more accurately with compressive strength, as tension implies a pulling, and RHS is purely compressive.

    I know I’m nitpicking, so I deserve to get heckled for my nerdyness. Have at it. But a good review on a seemingly great product.

  • pastajet says:

    Sorry to nitpick back, but it is exactly as I stated, it is used for correlation to tensile strength, the indentation itself is obviously a compression, it shows the hardness by doing a minor load followed by a major load, and noting the depth of penetration of the indenter (a diamond cone for HRC), but a HRC 42 correlates to a tensile strength of approximately 194 ksi (using ugly polynomials), reference to http://www.springerlink.com/content/q86642448t84g267/ for details, I did study Metallurgy at CSM (Geophysics degree), by I am a neophyte on the subject, so nitpick away!

  • LaMint says:

    Christ… knock off the metallurgy classes.

    - Does the brake stop you when you pull the lever?
    - Does it last? (Will it fail?)
    - Is it reasonably priced?

    That’s all I need to know.

  • lgglobus says:

    Yes, they outperform the Avid bb7 standard rotor, improving the quality of result. I did try them this summer, excelent results. I paid $ 24.0 for a 160 mm ebay. And thanks for the lecture of Metallurgy,

  • Robbo says:

    That’s not a review, mate, it’s a rehash of the press release. Did you weight them? Did you compare that weight to that of a stock rotor, or other rotors around the same price point? Did you compare brake pad performance over a back-to-back test on the same piece of terrain?

  • Robbo says:

    … aaaaaand, Robbo is an idiot for not looking at anything but the first page of the review. Apologies all round, lads… I will soundly punish myself.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    np, I updated the information to include a cross comparison of other rotors (prices and weights), and added more details into testing.

  • cmh says:

    Excellent review, thanks! Looks like a good successor to the “serrated” rotors. Any suggestion on a source that has a reliable supply of them in all the sizes? Most interested in the 160 and the 140 sizes.

  • legsrburnin says:

    I’ve been using these for training and racing for over a year. They’re still perfect other than minor signs of wear. They perform about 95% of standard Juicy 7 rotors. I’ve used them in truly awful conditions and they’re pretty much as good as any brakes I’ve used in sloppy mud. I always use metal pads with them. Pads wore slightly faster than with standard rotors, but really only marginally.
    I would absolutely recommend them.
    I use 160mm rotors with Avid Juicy 7′s.
    I’m 175lb riding a 19lb hardtail to give you an idea of weight etc.

  • gregg says:

    While I’m usually not the kind of person to form my opinion of a product based on looks, I gotta agree with Derek that these aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing rotors I’ve ever seen. That said, I’d be willing to give them a try, based on what Brian has informed us of, here. Thanks, Brian!

  • Hmm, the design looks ok to me. 410 stainless is a good choice for material. Looking at the edges, they look roughly cast, could that be true ? they are cast, heat treated then ground units ?

    Since I make rotor straightening tools,( 4 years ahead of park) I am interested.

    happy trails, Paul morningstar ( zero affiliation to any stock market org or snythetic food manufacturers )

  • Andreas says:

    Did you expirience any stuttering when braking?

  • Brian Mullin says:

    No stuttering, they make a louder clicking noise if the pads aren’t sanded on occasion, think since they wear quickly the pads pores get a bit clogged up

  • Kris says:

    Nice product / review, is this one of the lightest rotor in the market? I believe it eats up brakepads as well. :)

  • David says:

    Thanks for the review of the Ashima rotors since the review uses Magura Marta calipers as I have a similar set-up (160mm F&R). In the review I carefully looked at the rotor pictures for pad wear and both rotors show even wear on the high and low sides of the channel. I cannot do that with the pads I use since my pads are 13mm deep and I mesured that pads need to be 15 to 15.5mm deep to cover both sides of the channel. My pads only cover the high side.

    Because of that situation I get terrible pulsing and vibration and weak power compared to stock wave sl rotors.

    What pads did you use to do the review? What height were they?

    Does anyone know where to get deeper pads for Martas?

    Thanks

  • Raikku from Finland says:

    Anybody has experience about how these work in Formula R1-system(180/160mm)? Do these really need sintered pads before you could use them?

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Never used them with any Formula brakes, but in any brake I have used sintered pads were required.

  • Jeremy says:

    Are the stock Avid BB7 pads good to go on these?

    Also, with regard to pad sanding and wear, I’m looking at putting these on the bike for big CO bikepacking trips – Kokopelli Trail, Colorado Trail Race, etc. Would this seem like an appropriate choice for low maintenance, high abuse, loaded bike for a lot of vertical footage?

    Fun Materials Science talk up there. Keep it coming, we just covered that stuff in class!

  • Paul McCarville says:

    Hardness and strength are 2 different animals – cannot correlate to one another

    • Brian Mullin says:

      It is true that hardness and strength are not the same thing, but they are in fact interrelated, at least when metals are concerned, especially steel. While hardness conversions are no substitute for real measurements, they are useful to quantify strength, since hardness tests are nondestructive and are inherently less complex to perform then strength tests. The correlation of hardness with tensile strength is good, usually with ± 10% accuracy. For further information you can check online for materials and metallurgical science articles, charts, etc. Predicting yield strength, strength limit, fatigue live estimation as well as other mechanical properties dependencies based on the materials hardness is commonly known and it is often used in practice, and has repeatedly been backed up with studies, tests and cross correlations to make sure those conversions are reasonable and accurate.

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