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How long do disc brake pads last?

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How long do disc brake pads last?

Old 04-23-19, 11:31 AM
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Hibonite
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How long do disc brake pads last?

I have my first bike with disc brakes (Tektro mechanical) that will be used mainly on forest and gravel roads. I've read a lot of conflicting information as to how long I can go before I have to replace my pads. I have read anywhere from as little as 1 ride in muddy conditions (I don't expect to do this) to as much as 2000 mi, which seems low to me as well. On my cantilever brake touring bike I can go over 10,000 mi. before I have to replace the brake pads.

What has been your experience? I currently have organic pads and they seem to work well. Is there a preferred replacement pad such as Cool Stop salmon for rim brakes (near unanimous favorite)?

-Mike
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Old 04-23-19, 11:39 AM
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Depends on the pads. I once got less than 2000 miles from a set of stock organic TRP pads and that was awfully short. Went to Shimano semi-metallic pads and get closer to 8,000 miles. I also use TruckerCo sintered pads and they last around 10,000 miles possibly a little more if I refrain from riding in the rain. As for using up all your pads in one ride? I posted the explanation below recently on another group:

Most (all?) mechanical disc calipers cannot accommodate wearing through an entire set of pads without the safety nub on the arm contacting the caliper body - this serves as a stopping point so the caliper does not overrun the pad piston/actuator bearings/actuator arm inside and fail. You will run out of braking ability but most of the pad will be left. You can see an example here (direct PDF link) on page 15 - all mechanical disc brakes produced in recent years have this feature in some form. If you are curious how mechanical disc brakes work, this exploded diagram of paul klampers illustrates the basic principle: Link

A few times during gravel events in the rain, I will have to stop and adjust the barrel adjuster to the max and give the fixed side a few turns to get adequate braking power. On a rainy 60 mile gravel race today my brakes were worn away to the point that I could pull the level to the bars and only get minimal braking, even after adjusting to max pull right before the safety stop on the caliper arm. Thankfully the course was mostly flat and not terribly curvy. There is still at least 70% of the pad remaining, I reseated the calipers and adjusted the fixed side but did not need to change the pads.

I will also add, make sure you pair your pads to the right rotor. Not all rotors are compatible with all pads and a mismatch can cause one, the other or both to wear much faster than expected.
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Old 04-23-19, 11:50 AM
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Depends on the rider, too (and how much braking the rider does). I blow through four sets a year.
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Old 04-23-19, 11:59 AM
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If you don't use the brakes, they'll last forever.
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Old 04-23-19, 12:08 PM
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Slow and mostly in town , I have replaced the OEM BB7 pads because of their performance/noise,
not because I wore them out.

then I replaced the calipers with TRP Hy Rd, same .. OEM pad ,
for my use, not best , front squeals while wet ..

have an organic compound pad in the wings ...

Once it's dry out I'll get out the rim brake bike .. service the rain bike..



Build wheels around Drum Brake Hubs ,
for unsurpassable friction material longevity ..





...

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Old 04-23-19, 12:23 PM
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learn how to check them periodically. was curious about mine cuz I bought the bike used. in the middle of February, it was fun & interesting to check it all out. I bought replacements in advance just in case, but the current pads looked fine. not sure when I'll check them again, meaning full inspection after removal. it's pretty easy to see them from the side tho, so I glance at them from time to time. it would be prudent to rinse them after nasty rides thru mud & sand. I also bought an inexpensive caliper cuz there are recommendations about when to replace them based on thickness

old vs new


peaking at them from the side w/ the wheel off

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Old 04-23-19, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
If you don't use the brakes, they'll last forever.
As per the gospel of Eddy Merckx; "If you brake, you lose."
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Old 04-23-19, 05:37 PM
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I apparently don't brake late or hard. Last pair of organics lasted just shy of 9,000 miles. Aside from an astonishingly-shortlived pair of Giant-branded pads, I haven't had any other pair last less than 5,000 miles.
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Old 04-24-19, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I apparently don't brake late or hard. Last pair of organics lasted just shy of 9,000 miles. Aside from an astonishingly-shortlived pair of Giant-branded pads, I haven't had any other pair last less than 5,000 miles.
I've wondered about that, too. If the stats in your sig line give us a hint, the amount of climbing you do is similar to me, but your distance covred is 4 or 5 times greater than mine. Also, our local roads are steep and windy, and I'm kind of a wuss on downhills who doesn't go over about 33 mph even on a straight open road.
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Old 04-24-19, 01:05 PM
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The steeper it is and the slower I have to go to get up that hill, the faster I want to go down it. I did ~1,800ft in 28 miles this morning, but can only remember having to get hard on the brakes maybe 3 times-- no real huge hills, though, as my max speed for the morning was only 38mph.

I also can't figure out why that VV sig image refuses to update more often than about once a month. I'm currently at ~3,300 miles and 105k feet.
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Old 04-25-19, 10:55 AM
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My commute home is about 2000 ft of climbing in 10.75 miles. Going the other way, I ride my brakes like a clinically paranoid grandmother.
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Old 04-25-19, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
My commute home is about 2000 ft of climbing in 10.75 miles. Going the other way, I ride my brakes like a clinically paranoid grandmother.
Having come off my bike going downhill, back when I thought I would live forever, I too am on my brakes like a granny...
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Old 04-25-19, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
Having come off my bike going downhill, back when I thought I would live forever, I too am on my brakes like a granny...
Another brake user, here. What's the saying..."go only as fast as you're willing to crash"? I personally top out at about 20-25 mph. Though I'm not sure the carnage at 25 mph would be significantly less bad than the carnage at 30 mph!
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Old 04-25-19, 07:56 PM
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Yeah, I have no upper speed limit. Refreshed one of my previous KOMs last week, 1.8 miles averaging 31mph with a max of 56mph... but in a perfectly straight line. My two crashes this year happened at 9mph (caught a rut in the dirt and washed out the front tire) and 17mph (back tire hit a patch of snot-slick mud and low-sided me,) both in turns. So I don't worry much going in straight lines.
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Old 04-26-19, 12:04 AM
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A while back, I've done at least 9,000 with a BB5 on a bungee fork hybrid. It only got mucky a few times in springtimes.
I now have a 203 mm disc and Spyre brake on my Rohloff bike. It is wearing twice as fast with non-metalic pads that cost half as much, so NBD. The rule is, wear them down to the thickness of a dime. They wear more evenly if both pads move.

I have 24,500 miles on my front SA FDD drum brake. 8,100 miles on tour at 290 lbs GVW. I won't be worried about it for years yet. LOL
It has had some slime that seeped inside and settled in the corner. Probably makes it work better. LOL
There's more than a few with drum brakes on the MTBR/ IGH forum.
You could certainly use drum brakes on stronger disc forks.
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Old 04-26-19, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
Another brake user, here. What's the saying..."go only as fast as you're willing to crash"? I personally top out at about 20-25 mph. Though I'm not sure the carnage at 25 mph would be significantly less bad than the carnage at 30 mph!
My concern is always when I'm in a century ride and the riders are coming up behind me on the down. I know I'm either on the brakes, or going to be on the brakes, but I don't want the guys behind me to plot in to me/crash/etc. Personally, I find downhills in group situations be quite stressful. On my own, I'm ok.
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Old 04-26-19, 10:52 AM
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There are not too many hills here in Lincoln Ne. I have over 10,000 miles on my trike discs.
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Old 04-26-19, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
There are not too many hills here in Lincoln Ne. I have over 10,000 miles on my trike discs.
Yea--you have to go outside the city limit, but only just. Hence why Gravel Worlds typically has 10-12,000+ feet of climbing in a 150 mile loop-course circumnavigating Lincoln.
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Old 04-26-19, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Hibonite View Post
I have my first bike with disc brakes (Tektro mechanical) that will be used mainly on forest and gravel roads. I've read a lot of conflicting information as to how long I can go before I have to replace my pads. I have read anywhere from as little as 1 ride in muddy conditions (I don't expect to do this) to as much as 2000 mi, which seems low to me as well. On my cantilever brake touring bike I can go over 10,000 mi. before I have to replace the brake pads.

What has been your experience? I currently have organic pads and they seem to work well. Is there a preferred replacement pad such as Cool Stop salmon for rim brakes (near unanimous favorite)?

-Mike
like has come up before, its the old question, "how long is a piece of string?" isnt it?

here is a thread I put up two years ago, albeit with my examples from a fairly heavily loaded touring bike, and a lot of loaded touring in very mountainous terrain---but I don't drag my brakes (back to the "how long is a piece of string" thing)

Avid BB7 front brake pads, old vs new

anyway, at least one person's experience for you, with description of the riding conditions and also taking into account a 80 or 90lb bike in mountains, someone who doesnt brake that much, but mostly dry and not muddy dirty roads....

I really do think its how you brake that is the biggest factor.
If you are a brake dragger vs not braking that much and mostly using short, hard applications of brakes......
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