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From the answers and comments to a question I recently asked about the brake on an e-bike, it seems that metallic or semi-metallic brake pads would be better than resin pads. The bike is frequently ridden up and down a monster of a hill - this may have contributed to the rapid wear on the original brakes.

The rear brakes have been replaced with a Shimano MT500 brake set and a Shimano SM-RT70 disc.

The front brakes are due to be replaced with a Shimano MT500 brake set and a Shimano SM-RT76 disc.

I am considering having the pads on front and back replaced with metallic or semi-metallic pads when I take the bike to have the new front brakes installed.

  1. Can semi-metallic or metallic brake pads be used with these brakes and discs?
  2. Will semi-metallic or metallic pads make a difference as far as wear is concerned?
  3. Will semi-metallic or metallic pads make a difference as far as braking is concerned?
  4. Will semi-metallic or metallic pads cause more wear on the disc?

The answer from Saaru Lindestøkke tells me what I need to know. I checked what is printed on the brake caliper itself, and it is a BR-MT500

The MT500 can only use resin pads. The compatibility list only shows one entry with compatible pads for the MT500:

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That's resin only.

The same thing is shown with in the caliper and disc chart:

enter image description here

Again, resin only.

The disc and caliper chart also gives me cause for concern. It doesn't show the BR-MT500 as being compatible with the SM-RT70 or SM-RT76 discs.

No metallic or semi-metallic pads on this bike, and I'll be asking the guy at the bike shop if the discs are OK to use with the calipers.

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3 Answers 3

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I can only answer the first part

Can semi-metallic or metallic brake pads be used with these brakes and discs?

The Shimano compatibility chart (PDF) mentions your brake caliper and disc on page 38:

enter image description here

As you can see those parts are compatible with both metal and resin brake pads.

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  • The brakes I mentioned in the question originally were wrong - they came from the packing slip. I've just checked the model number actually printed on the caliper and it turns out to be a BR-MT500. The compatibility chart says resin pads only. Thank you for the link to that document. It is very helpful.
    – JRE
    Oct 6, 2023 at 22:30
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I doubt very much that metallic pads would be a problem with the BR-MT500 as long as the pad shape is the same. So sticking with Shimano offerings, a "wide-type" metallic pad is the E01S. This directly replaces BO1S resin pads. Certainly, there are several third party vendors that offer Shimano compatible resin and metallic pads. These manufacturers use different compound formulas that may have better performance and wear characteristics than the resin Shimano pads.

Despite the differing compound formulas of these vendors, their various offerings will still be categorized as either resin-type or metallic. Usually the websites for these Shimano-compatible pads have a tool or chart where you enter either the Shimano caliper model or the pad model and the tool will give you the representative selection of their pads that can replace the Shimano model entered into the tool.

The greater issue you note concern about is that the MT500 calipers, requiring "wide-type" pads will NOT work properly with the RT66, RT76, or RT86 rotors. While metallic pad compatible, they are all classified as "narrow-type" rotors. The reason for incompatiblity is the wide type pads (B01S) are wider top to bottom and are not compatible with the narrower depth of the RT66/76/86 rotors. If you try to use one of those rotors the pads will overhang to the inside of the braking surface, part of the pads will be on the braking surface and part of them will be on the support arms. The pads will wear unevenly and there's a good chance they'll make bad noises, plus you'll lose some braking power & consistency.

The solution, is again from third party manufactures/vendors. Try to find a set of Hayes V series rotors, the braking surface on them is wide enough for the pads to make full contact. Quality is good and they are fully compatible with metallic pads.

Regarding wear, metallic pads resist wear to a greater degree than resin. Metal pads do, however, wear a rotor faster. A rotor compatible with metal pads will still last a long time in the face of metallic pad use.

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You can use E01s sintered pads. But you must use NON-Shimano rotors. Shimano has 2 types of rotors: 1) Hard metal rotors for their “higher end” brakes, with a narrow braking surface, and 2) Soft metal rotors for their “lower end”, including the MT500s, with a wide braking surface. What’s interesting is that pretty much all other companies make rotors with a wide braking surface using hard metal, with the same dimensions (excluding rotor thickness) as the Shimano soft metal “lower end” rotors. Also, Shimano brakes are optimized for rotors with a 1.8mm rotor thickness, so you would want to look for rotors made by other companies with a 1.8mm rotor thickness (or around 1.8mm). For example, you use the Hayes V series rotor which has a thickness of around 1.78mm.

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