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I am researching for a new road bike for myself, trying to identify the must-haves from the nice-to-have features.

Disk/Disc brakes are on the must-have list, but the descriptions of brake pads are confusing.

Sintered: with metal in the pads, better in the wet and for heavier riders, and transits more heat than resin. Longer lasting

Resin or Organic: Non-metallic, porous, worse in water. Much better initial grab, quicker wearing

My question is: Are there any compelling downsides to running a sintered brake pad and a resin brake pad inside the same caliper/calliper?

  • Resin pad will be worn out before the sintered one - so buy two sets of resin pads per set of sintered pads.
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    A better title might be "mixing sintered & organic pads in the same caliper." – dlu Oct 19 '15 at 1:35
  • There is a range of pads. On the bike match them. – paparazzo Oct 19 '15 at 2:45
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    So it sounds like I'm on the wrong train of thought, and should keep front wheel pads the same. I could use the opposite sort of pad on the other wheel though. – Criggie Oct 19 '15 at 3:03
  • @Frisbee I only intend to buy one bike, and its going to last me 20 years because of all the research beforehand. – Criggie Oct 19 '15 at 3:34
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    @frisbee I do understand the concept of consumable items. The question was about mixing types of disk brake pads on the same calliper, and moz answered that question. – Criggie Oct 19 '15 at 3:39
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Mismatched pads means mismatched braking forces. For the same amount of pressure applied to the rotor (which is how calipers work) one pad will apply more braking force. That will try to twist the caliper. Probably not enough to matter, but it would be annoying to find out that it did - the caliper would twist, either breaking off the bike or damaging the rotor. I think the former is extremely unlikely.

The other effect is that you'll get differential heating. The more effective pad will generate more heat, and heat up one side of the rotor more than the other. Since rotors are thin this will be a small effect, but since they're thin it doesn't take much work to warp the rotor. This is actually fairly likely IMO, and it's something I'd watch carefully for while testing the setup before committing to it.

I'm not sure you'd get a lot of benefit except in extreme conditions. My experience of disk brakes over the last 15 years) is that I can tell the difference between cheap cable disk brakes and expensive hydraulic ones, but other than that they're pretty much of a muchness.

This will be even more true on a road bike where you don't have as much traction as a bike with wider tyres and more tread. You might actually be better off with "less effective" pads because you'll get better modulation.

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    I could see an argument for putting different front/rear pads on, especially if you tend to do a lot of long descents with steady rear braking, but want optimum emergency-stop braking -- but I'm neither a roadbike nor a disc-brake expert. – Chris H Oct 19 '15 at 12:09
  • A road bike on paved roads has much more traction then a MTB usually has, and much more than a MTB on paved surfaces. – mattnz Oct 19 '15 at 19:22
  • @mattnz but less traction than a commuter our tourer with wider, treaded tyres on pavement. – Móż Oct 19 '15 at 20:32
  • @Mσᶎ - On a smooth road the static co-efficient of friction will be the dominant factor and this is determined by rubber compound. On rougher roads and/or dirty roads then yes wider tires at lower pressure will have more traction (all other factors being equal). – Rider_X Oct 20 '15 at 19:52

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