A compression moulded Kevlar-phenolic resin composite consisting of 30 wt% continuous fibres was slid against a steel disc such that the fibre axis was normal to the sliding plane. The sliding experiments were conducted in a normal pressure range of 0.47–4.27 MPa and at a sliding speed of 0.5 ms−1. The initial sliding interaction is abrasive. With further sliding, as patches of polymer transfer film develop on the polymer pin and counterface, the interaction becomes adhesive and steady-state friction is established. The wear resistance of the polymer was found to be related to the stability of this film.