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Choosing brake pads

The old adage ‘You can only ride as fast as you can stop’ rings true, especially when you’re dealing with cold, wet winter conditions! There’s no better time than the present to check the condition of your bikes brake pads. If it’s time for a replacement, there are a bunch of options to choose from. This guide will help you choose the best pads for your bike and riding style.

Disc Brakes:

Disc brake pads are very model-specific. While multiple companies will make pads that fit most brakes, care must be taken to insure that the pads you buy fit your model of brake.  Your local bike shop can help you out if you aren’t sure, and can grab you a pair of Kool Stop or Jagwire replacement pads to improve your ride experience.

While you can’t choose the shape and design of the pad for your particular brake, you can choose the compound that the pad is made of. Before making your decision, there are a few points to note about each type.

Sintered (metallic) brake pads:
These pads are metal, and are considered the best for long descents (as they resist heat buildup well) and wet conditions. They have a long wear life, lots of power, and work in a variety of conditions. The downsides to these pads are that they have a longer bed-in time, and tend to make more noise.


Organic (resin) brake pads:
These resin pads are great for summer use. They are known for their quick bed-in time and for being very quiet. The downside to these pads is that they tend to be less effective in the rain, or on very long descents where they heat up and glaze more easily than metallic pads.


Semi-Metallic (mixed) brake pads:
This combination of organic and metallic compounds bound together in resin, offer benefits of both pad types. They are quieter than Sintered pads, while being more powerful in all-weather conditions than Organic pads.



Rim Brakes:

Rim brake pads also need to be chosen according to brake style. Different styles of brakes require different mounting bosses and pad sizes. You still have the opportunity to customize pad compound for your riding style, however.

Rim brake pads can be sold as a pad only (just the rubber part), or complete with the backer. Make sure to consult your local bike shop if you aren’t sure if your pads are removable from the backer or not.



Wet weather pads: Often identified by a red or pink colour, these pads are softer for better grip in the rain.





Dry condition pads: Standard high performance brake pads are designed for excellent bite in dry conditions, without squealing or reducing modulation (control).





Carbon pads: Carbon fibre rims require different brake pad compounds- if you’re running carbon rims, make sure you use carbon specific pads to avoid damage.





Mixed Compound Pads: These pads are designed for use in all-weather conditions. They usually feature added shaping to remove dirt and grime from the rim surface, and a softer compound for added grip.



Now that you’re fully informed about different brake pad options, head to your local Live to Play Sports dealer and customize your braking performance to your needs!


Derek Kidd BioFooter