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Old 09-13-17, 09:04 PM   #1
johngwheeler
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SRAM Rival brake pads toast after 6 months - normal?

I bought a Giant TCX with SRAM Rival 1 groupset in March this year. After having a bit more brake noise than usual, and noticing reduced braking power on the rear, I took the pads out to inspect them.

I was alarmed to see that they had almost completely worn down. At the edges of the pad there is only the slightest hint of remaining pad on top of the backing - probably no more than 0.25mm - and certainly less than 0.5mm.

The bike hasn't had what I would call "extensive use" - maybe 800km of recreational road riding and about 500km of commuting. I've only taken it "off-road" twice - and probably had no more than 2 hours of descending on steep trails where I was using the brakes a lot.

[Edit: I haven't ridden in the rain or on wet roads]

Is 6 months of mixed usage normal? I had expected much longer life out of the pads, similar to a car, but maybe this is unrealistic.

I appreciate that the answer will be "it depends"...my commute involves a lot of stop-start riding, navigating traffic and pedestrians, so this would incur more wear than a long ride in the country with infrequent braking.

Could my off-road forays have caused a disproportionate amount of wear due to high temperatures? I have read of people burning through a set of pads on a single cyclocross race, but don't know if this is an exaggeration.

How long do the pads or your road bike normally last?

Thanks!

Last edited by johngwheeler; 09-13-17 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 09-13-17, 09:06 PM   #2
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How wet is your riding? Generally, dry conditions don't wear much, but wet grit can really eat resin pads. Hence why one CX bog slog can destroy brakes (and everything else).
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Old 09-13-17, 09:18 PM   #3
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1300km of riding could certainly wear down hydraulic pads to that point. On my eBike, with Shimano M325s, I have worn out my front pad in less than 500 miles of use. This is in large part because I rode it frequently through a wetter-than-average winter, and I live at the top of a 800ft, steep climb, and have a habit of strongly favoring my front brake.

Bicycle components are, by and large, sport performance/race oriented designs with a focus on performance and weight, and often relatively short service intervals. The comments about cyclocross races relates in large part to mechanical disc brakes--they do not automatically adjust for pad wear, and therefor can wear enough in a single muddy race to loose much or all of their effectiveness. Even in a bad race relatively fresh pads will more than last a cross race with hydraulic discs.

High temperatures are not a primary cause of brake wear--very high temperatures can have consequences for the rotors, and/or glaze the pads, but doesn't cause particularly accelerated pad wear. Off road riding can wear pads faster due to more grit and wetter conditions.

Your brakes shipped with organic compound pads--these run quieter and can have a more even feel to the modulation, but if you switch to metallic compound pads they will wear slower and provide better braking power in wet conditions.
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Old 09-13-17, 09:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
How wet is your riding? Generally, dry conditions don't wear much, but wet grit can really eat resin pads. Hence why one CX bog slog can destroy brakes (and everything else).
Good question! I've just edited my post to provide this detail. In short, I have never ridden in the rain on this bike and have avoided wet roads after rain. At most the wheels have got a bit wet from riding over damp grass, but I doubt any water touched the rotor or pads.
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Old 09-13-17, 09:37 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
1300km of riding could certainly wear down hydraulic pads to that point. On my eBike, with Shimano M325s, I have worn out my front pad in less than 500 miles of use. This is in large part because I rode it frequently through a wetter-than-average winter, and I live at the top of a 800ft, steep climb, and have a habit of strongly favoring my front brake.

Bicycle components are, by and large, sport performance/race oriented designs with a focus on performance and weight, and often relatively short service intervals. The comments about cyclocross races relates in large part to mechanical disc brakes--they do not automatically adjust for pad wear, and therefor can wear enough in a single muddy race to loose much or all of their effectiveness. Even in a bad race relatively fresh pads will more than last a cross race with hydraulic discs.

High temperatures are not a primary cause of brake wear--very high temperatures can have consequences for the rotors, and/or glaze the pads, but doesn't cause particularly accelerated pad wear. Off road riding can wear pads faster due to more grit and wetter conditions.

Your brakes shipped with organic compound pads--these run quieter and can have a more even feel to the modulation, but if you switch to metallic compound pads they will wear slower and provide better braking power in wet conditions.
Thanks for the very complete answer. It sounds like 1300km isn't *completely* unreasonable, although it is a bit disappointing. Having to budget $100 a year for a couple of sets of brake pads wasn't on my radar! Back when I was a kid with my first "proper" bike, I doubt I changed the rim-brake pads on my "racer" more than once in 6 or 7 years.

I'll have to master the "Flintstones stop" to prolong my pad life....
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Old 09-14-17, 01:53 PM   #6
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Yeah, fair enough, the cost kind of sucks. You can try using metallic pads for better life. Also you can try the Koolstop pads KS-D297 for an option that may cost less for a compatible resin pad, depending on your market.
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Old 09-14-17, 04:12 PM   #7
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I've averaged about 1,800 miles to a set of pad with an "average" riders use.
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