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Metal or Resin Brake Pads?

Old 05-16-17, 03:20 PM
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TimothyH
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Metal or Resin Brake Pads?

What is the bottom line? Is there a bottom line? Are you guys running metal or resin pads for normal gravel riding or mixed paved/gravel?

Planning ahead for the eventuality of needing new brake pads, I'm hoping to get some feedback.

Someone here recounted their experience that sufficient operating temperatures could not be maintained under normal gravel riding condition for metal pads such that they ran cold and therefor lacked stopping power. His position was that resin pads were preferred. I'm not discounting this at all and have first hand experience with cold track brake pads on a street car - it isn't fun to step on the brake and have nothing.

On the other hand, some locals are telling me that resin pads will wear out extremely fast, especially in wet and dirty conditions and for this reason metal pads are preferred.

The bike has less than 350 miles on it and is running resin pads right now. Performance is great and I'll probably pull the pads off this weekend and inspect just out of curiosity.


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Old 05-16-17, 04:33 PM
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First, you probably don't need to pull the pads to inspect them, just sight down the rotor and you'll be able to see how much is left on the pads.

Second, resin pads seem to have better modulation and less noise than metal. Unfortunately they don't hold up in the wet, that's where you'll prolly want a metal pad.
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Old 05-16-17, 04:37 PM
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Metal pads would probably scratch my rims and make for some awful noises.
Ill stick with whatever koolstop uses for a compound.
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Old 05-16-17, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Someone here recounted their experience that sufficient operating temperatures could not be maintained under normal gravel riding condition for metal pads such that they ran cold and therefor lacked stopping power. His position was that resin pads were preferred. I'm not discounting this at all and have first hand experience with cold track brake pads on a street car - it isn't fun to step on the brake and have nothing.
He's sort of right but not in the way he thinks. Metallic pads have less initial grab than resin, the power curve is flatter at the start of braking. It's better for a lot of quick, sharp braking like in mountain biking as it reduces fork compression and allows smoother position changes. For gravel riding I've never really noticed much difference in pad compound. What I have noticed is quality of the pad material, no-name Chinese pads and TRP pads are atrociously bad. I wore out the stock TRP Spyre pads in less than 30 hours of rain riding and the braking was always poor. Replaced with Shimano B01S and they've got 40 rain hours and 70 dry hours with at least half the thickness left and excellent braking.

I also really like TruckerCo pads - I run those on my gravel racer and mountain bikes. I use both resin and semi-metallic as some were cheaper and I can't tell the difference.

This is good: https://www.pinkbike.com/news/brake-...tion-2009.html

What kind of rotors are you using? They can make a difference as well.
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Old 05-16-17, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
What kind of rotors are you using? They can make a difference as well.
160mm Shimano RT86 "Ice Tech" six bolt.

I didn't see my pads on the TruckerCo website so I sent them an email.



Originally Posted by Flamme Rouge View Post
First, you probably don't need to pull the pads to inspect them, just sight down the rotor and you'll be able to see how much is left on the pads.
Probably pull them anyway to see how the surfaces look, just out of curiosity. It's clip and a screw so no big deal.
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Old 05-16-17, 08:29 PM
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Ice Tech rotors are expensive and resin pads are cheap. It's a simple formula. Wet and mud will indeed wear the pads out more quickly, but as I said, they're really, really cheap. If you want big bite, get some sintered pads and cheap rotors and get used to replacing them. I use resin (aka "semi-metallic") pads from whoever is cheap (Shimano, Koop Stop, Giant, TruckerCo, etc), and get past 10k miles out of a front Ice Tech rotor, and near double that out of a rear.

There's a seller on Amazon peddling 4 pairs of resin pads for like $20. That would be my CX racing pad of choice. They only need to work well for an hour at a time.
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Old 05-19-17, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Metal pads would probably scratch my rims and make for some awful noises.
Ill stick with whatever koolstop uses for a compound.
If you want to test this, all you need to do is take the pads off the holders and decrease the caliper reach. Please report back on your findings with pictures of your brake track, for science.
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Old 05-19-17, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Ice Tech rotors are expensive and resin pads are cheap. It's a simple formula. Wet and mud will indeed wear the pads out more quickly, but as I said, they're really, really cheap. If you want big bite, get some sintered pads and cheap rotors and get used to replacing them. I use resin (aka "semi-metallic") pads from whoever is cheap (Shimano, Koop Stop, Giant, TruckerCo, etc), and get past 10k miles out of a front Ice Tech rotor, and near double that out of a rear.

There's a seller on Amazon peddling 4 pairs of resin pads for like $20. That would be my CX racing pad of choice. They only need to work well for an hour at a time.
I bought two pairs of resin and two pairs of sintered pads on Ebay from China for under $7 total. I've done no actual testing with them yet other then to verify they actually fit and work on the stand. Figured for $7 for 4 pairs, why not.
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Old 05-19-17, 09:48 AM
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I use J02A or F01A with those rotors.

I burn through a lot of them. I have a small mountain of worn-out ones, but they do work quite well.
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Old 05-21-17, 11:20 PM
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My Jamis Renegade has Shimano BR-RS505 hydraulic brakes that work well and offer good service life with resin pads in nearly all conditions. The big exception was one ride on the C&O Canal towpath in moderate to heavy rain where dirt and mud seemed to build up into a paste that just ground away at the pads. 50 miles in those conditions just obliterated a set of week-old pads. I think there's more to the story though as I was getting some pad rub on the rotors in the weeks prior and adjusted my caliper alignment to compensate. I'm pretty sure I incorrectly diagnosed the cause of my brake rub and that probably contributed to the very poor brake pad life. When I did a post mortem of that nasty 50 mile ride I discovered that my pistons had gotten a little gunked up and were binding, resulting in uneven, inconsistent brake application. I carefully advanced the pistons and gave them a thorough cleaning and realigned the calipers.

Fast forward to Saturday when I just completed a solid 150 mile stint on dry gravel, damp gravel, damp dirt, plus mud puddles on the C&O. There was a decent amount of descending too. I checked my resin pads before and after the ride and there was very little wear. So my opinion is that resin pads work well in most conditions when the calipers are properly serviced and symptoms aren't misdiagnosed by idiot Jamis Renegade owners. That said, I now have a set of metallic pads and a second set of rotors on hand for any dirt/gravel/mud conditions that might be considered extreme. I haven't had to install them yet so I can't comment on how they feel compared to resin.
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Old 05-22-17, 08:55 AM
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Hahahaha. Just to be clear: metal pads for disc brakes (not calipers/cantis).


Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Metal pads would probably scratch my rims and make for some awful noises.
Ill stick with whatever koolstop uses for a compound.
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Old 07-19-17, 10:21 AM
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Followup to this topic.

Switched 3/4 worn out resin pads for metal pads. Two rides and can't really feel much of a difference.


Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Metallic pads have less initial grab than resin, the power curve is flatter at the start of braking. It's better for a lot of quick, sharp braking like in mountain biking as it reduces fork compression and allows smoother position changes. For gravel riding I've never really noticed much difference in pad compound.
This summarizes things pretty well.

I was anxious about "Less initial grab" and envisioned a substantial reduction in braking performance but the difference is somewhere between subtle and imperceptible.

@Spoonrobot, I really appreciate you sharing wisdom. You seem to have a good grasp on topics such as this and I am in your debt for your many fine posts.


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Old 07-19-17, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Followup to this topic.

Switched 3/4 worn out resin pads for metal pads. Two rides and can't really feel much of a difference.




This summarizes things pretty well.

I was anxious about "Less initial grab" and envisioned a substantial reduction in braking performance but the difference is somewhere between subtle and imperceptible.

@Spoonrobot, I really appreciate you sharing wisdom. You seem to have a good grasp on topics such as this and I am in your debt for your many fine posts.


-Tim-
Dang you burned through your first set of pads quick. Still have a ton left on my first set (with 2000+miles logged on them).
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Old 07-19-17, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Dang you burned through your first set of pads quick. Still have a ton left on my first set (with 2000+miles logged on them).


Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

I blow through them every couple of months where I live (steep hills, and I am sub-clinically paranoid).
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Old 07-19-17, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Dang you burned through your first set of pads quick. Still have a ton left on my first set (with 2000+miles logged on them).

North Georgia ain't flat and I'm just getting warmed up.


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Old 07-20-17, 08:05 AM
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Hey Timothy, do you find the metal pads appreciably noisier than the resin pads?
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Old 07-20-17, 08:27 AM
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Strictly organic/semi-metallic for me. I'll generally change three sets of front and two sets of rear pads a year, so mileage is around abouts 3,000 for fronts and 5,000 for rears. Pads are hella cheap and getting cheaper-- I picked up 4 pairs of pads for $20 on Amazon. I've noticed no significant difference in lifespan from pads of different manufacturers... except with some Giant semi-metallic pads I picked up out of necessity. Put them in the rear caliper, and they were toast in about 2,500 miles. Current pads are just past 1,600 miles, and wear is consistent with what I've seen in the past. Fronts are about halfway done.
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Old 07-20-17, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by birru View Post
Hey Timothy, do you find the metal pads appreciably noisier than the resin pads?
"Appreciably" is subjective but on my bike, yes, a little more noisy.

They squeal a little and make a bit of noise on occasion when not using the brakes as the pads contact the rotors on bumps and such.

It has only been two rides mind you, and it isn't bad at all. Just notice it a bit more.


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Old 07-29-17, 06:38 PM
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According to Strava I got about of 1700mi of all conditions use out of my last set of resin brake pads (Shimano part L02A for BR-RS505 and RS805 flat mount calipers) so I swapped in metallic pads (Shimano part L04C). I bedded them in today and took the bike for a quick spin. So far I agree with @TimothyH in that they don't feel much different from the resin pads. Perhaps a touch less initial bite and a touch more stopping power once they start grabbing. At least in the dry. As I play more in the dirt and foul weather perhaps I'll notice a bigger difference. My hope is they truly do last longer when things get wet and gritty.
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Old 10-29-18, 05:13 PM
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Any updates on noise and longevity of the metallic pads and rotors?? I assume you were using the J04C? I've burned through 2 sets of the J02A resin pads in ~2500 miles of mostly dry weather riding and am not looking forward to the wet weather wear if that is any indication of what to expect based on previous disc brakes with resin pads(TRP Spyre/HYRD/BB7). Already using metallics on my SRAM Red race bike and they've lasted for 1.5 seasons after i burned through a set of resin pads in like 2 races but they are a little noisy, and get especially bad in the rain and mud.
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Old 10-29-18, 05:45 PM
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A timely thread bump!

Couple weeks ago I did a wet gravel century that completely wore through my front and rear brake pads - with a twist - I hardly used my brakes at all. The front pads went from near new down to the backing plate in 55 miles just from mud and dirt getting thrown onto the rotor and rubbed off by the pads as it rotated through the caliper. I checked multiple times and had no true rubbing, just when it got muddy the rotor was taking all of it and just enough to brush the pads down. I rolled across the finish line with the lever to the bars and zero front brake.

Pads were resin Shimano G01S - they were the only true resin pads I had and since I rarely ride that bike in the wet I didn't notice. Never experienced such wear on what were relatively benign conditions, real eye opener.

For comparison I did a 70 mile event that was almost 100% mud and wet dirt - at the end all my contact points had been well exfoliated from the grit everywhere. The metallic pads did not wear enough for me to notice during the event.

So just wanted to share, especially obvious to me now that resin pads don't offer enough over semi or metallic to consider using.

Last edited by Spoonrobot; 10-29-18 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 10-29-18, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
A timely thread bump!

Couple weeks ago I did a wet gravel century that completely wore through my front and rear brake pads - with a twist - I hardly used my brakes at all. The front pads went from near new down to the backing plate in 55 miles just from mud and dirt getting thrown onto the rotor and rubbed off by the pads as it rotated through the caliper. I checked multiple times and had no true rubbing, just when it got muddy the rotor was taking all of it and just enough to brush the pads down. I rolled across the finish line with the lever to the bars and zero front brake.

Pads were resin Shimano G01S - they were the only true resin pads I had and since I rarely ride that bike in the wet I didn't notice. Never experienced such wear on what were relatively benign conditions, real eye opener.

For comparison I did a 70 mile event that was almost 100% mud and wet dirt - at the end all my contact points had been well exfoliated from the grit everywhere. The metallic pads did not wear enough for me to notice during the event.

So just wanted to share, especially obvious to me now that resin pads don't offer enough over semi or metallic to consider using.
similar to resin in cyclocross races, <20 miles with not a ton of extended braking but lots of grit and water many times results in wear down to the backing plates if you don't start with new pads. Happens to a lot of folks. Probably time to make the leap on the gravel bike too
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Old 10-29-18, 06:08 PM
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It was so surprising because intrinsically I knew that but it never occurred to me that "I wore down my brakes to nothing in 30 minutes of cross" does not always equal "I used my brakes a lot in my 30 minute cross race"

Also I know you didn't ask me specifically but I rarely have any noise from metallic pads in the wet. Usually it will be when I have ridden in beginning rain after its been dry a while and the oil from the road gets on the rotor and squeals a bit until it wears or washes off. Steady rain and it's about as quiet as in the dry.
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Old 10-29-18, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
A timely thread bump!

Couple weeks ago I did a wet gravel century that completely wore through my front and rear brake pads
LoL. I follow @Spoonrobot on Strava. This was his ride title...




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Old 10-30-18, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Strictly organic/semi-metallic for me.
Same here. They're cheap, they have a predictable lifespan, and they don't make noise.
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