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Favorite Disc-Brake Pad Material?

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Favorite Disc-Brake Pad Material?

Old 02-25-23, 06:19 AM
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Derailed
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Favorite Disc-Brake Pad Material?

Is there a favorite pad material within the bike-commuting community for disc brakes and, if so, is that any different from that of mountain bikers?

I got my first disc-brake-equipped bicycle a little over a year ago: a Priority Continuum Onyx. Prior to that acquisition I don’t think I had ever even ridden a bicycle with disc brakes. In addition to disc brakes, this bike has a belt drive and an Enviolo CVT rear hub, all of which were new to me.

My only disappointment has been the brakes, as from the start they were prone to occasional, faint-yet-annoying, rubbing sounds. Additionally, early on the front brake starting to make a grinding noise when applied, and more recently the rear brake started to make a squeal.

I decided to replace the pads as a first step toward building familiarity with disc brakes and, frankly, simply learn how to remove the rear wheel on this bike, which I hadn’t yet done (!).

I was a bit overwhelmed to learn that not only are there different pad-shape conventions, but there at least three different material choices:
  • Resin (aka organic);
  • Metal (aka sintered); and
  • Ceramic.
Perhaps others, too? As expected, it was easy to find online articles about the material choices, including pros and cons, but essentially all were written from the mountain-bike perspective. In my case, however, this is for my commuter bike, and although I commute essentially year round, the fact is that my total riding in a typical day is only about five miles, and I have enough flexibility in my commute that I rarely ride in heavy rain. Additionally, it’s relatively flat where I live, so I’m not doing long descents, either.

The calipers on this bike are Promax Solve, which are hydraulic (the fluid is mineral oil), use the Shimano B-series shape for pads, and came stock with metallic pads.

It may be that I neglected to do some adjustments upon initial assembly of the bike that would have resulted in a better braking experience from the outset, but I decided to move away from metallic pads and try resin pads because I want to prioritize smooth feel and quietness, even if that would reduce braking performance and / or longevity. I bought four pair of resin pads through Amazon from one of the many mystery brands they carry for about $10 — not bad to give this a shot.

Thanks to some videos on YouTube, I was pleasantly surprised to find that removing the rear wheel was easy, as was replacing the pads, with no need to make any adjustments to the hydraulic fluid: I simply pulled out the old pads, made sure the cylinders were retracted, and slipped in the new pads. I also made some minor adjustments to the caliper positions to to center them as well as I could.

I’m pleased to say that the brakes now perform as I had hoped they would from the beginning: they feel smooth, they have plenty of braking power, and they’re totally quiet. I realize that the resin pads won’t last as long as the metallic pads would have, but I’m not too concerned, as I’m so happy with the experience of using them now.

Is this a typical conclusion for commuters? That is, that resin pads are the best choice for commuter bikes due to smooth feel and low noise, or do people tend to go with metallic pads (or another material) in order to reduce the replacement interval? Perhaps it "all depends..." just as it does for mountain bikers?

Last edited by Derailed; 02-26-23 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 03-23-23, 03:24 PM
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I do not have disc brakes on my old bike.
I do have disc brakes on my cars.
I would vote Ceramic, based on my car experience.
Why Ceramic you ask?
More bite, less noise.

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Old 03-24-23, 07:38 PM
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woodway
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I ride in the rain a lot (Seattle commuting). I run organic pads. They wear faster but they squeal less.
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Old 03-24-23, 08:38 PM
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the ceramic are great quiet always even in the rain its not bad long lasting. my only complaint is they are hard to hold onto the nyou insert them and they don't come with a pin. they are fantastic on our tandem that eats brake pads.
https://mtxbraking.com/
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Old 03-31-23, 07:10 AM
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Thanks for the replies, although I note that after nearly a month of no responses, I had transitioned from disappointment / embarrassment to amusement that I had started a post that wasn't of interest even to readers on a specialized forum such as this. Is there a record for least-interesting post, perhaps measured by time before first response, or number of reads before first reply? I coulda been a contender!

Anyway, based on my experience thus far, and the comments above, it seems as though for a commuter like me, the best choice would most likely be either resin / organic or ceramic, with cost being the deciding factor. Personally, I'd either go with the cheapest resin / organic pads I could find (low-cost option) or splurge for some relatively high-end ceramic pads. I've started with the former (resin / organic), but if I'm disappointed with how long they last, I'll try some fancy ceramic pads. At a month in, the cheap resin / organic pads remain quiet, feel smooth and provide sufficient stopping power.
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Old 04-01-23, 10:10 PM
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I think that forums like this, in general are sying a slow death to the facebook crowd.

With that said, I've tried ceramic pads over the years and have found that they squeal when they get any kind of contamination on them (general road gunk) and get wet. Organics have always performed better for me. Don't get me wrong - in the right conditions an organic pad will squeal too, but less that the other varities (in my experience). So I am willing to put up with the faster wear.

Glad they are working for you. Stay safe out there.
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Old 04-03-23, 01:39 PM
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This isnít a very active sectionÖ

I just use koolstop for all my pads whether rim or disc, I donít know what the pad material is but it works and isnít loud which is all I really ask
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