Someone please give me a rundown of the pros and cons of different disc brake pad materials. Resin, organic, sintered, metallic, different backing plates, etc. There are a lot of choices, and I've never gotten my head around what different pads do differently.


1 Answer 1


Most brands I've looked at have either 2 or 3 options, resin, semi-metallic and metallic.

They're often called different things, resin and organic are the same, sintered and metallic are the same. And all are a little vague.

Resin/organic pads usually wear the fastest, stop the fastest, and are quietest.

Metallic/sintered pads wear slowly, stop ok, and howl like banshees in the wet.

Semis are somewhere in between.

As long as you choose a decent quality set in the material you want you should be fine. OEM, Swissstop, or Kool Stop off the top of my head.

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    I would also add that metallic pads generally run hotter and take longer to cool down, which in extreme applications can result in brake fade. While organic pads retain less heat and have an easier time shedding it. The backing plates also play a role in heat dispersion, generally are made of steel but can also be found in aluminum alloys. Backing plates with fins or rods are made to more effectively disperse heat in downhill and extreme applications.
    – Nate W
    Jul 26, 2017 at 15:04
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    I've never used a finned pad, like Shimano Icetech, and have pretty much written them off as a gimmick, willing to be convinced though. I like to run large rotors instead.
    – alex
    Jul 26, 2017 at 15:07
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    I don't think you will see much gain from a finned pad unless you run strictly downhill and/or a whole lot of it. The logic and science make sense, but for most people doing general riding the need is not there.
    – Nate W
    Jul 26, 2017 at 15:25
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    @NateWengert, fade of course being limited to hydraulic systems (I point this out mainly because this is something of a tutorial question)
    – Chris H
    Jul 26, 2017 at 16:23
  • @ChrisH true, i should have specified that.
    – Nate W
    Jul 26, 2017 at 16:30

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