We caught up with Jon Wright, the tech manager at EBC brakes, to find out all that’s worth knowing about pads.
FB: What’s the best way of bedding pads in for longevity?
JW: Just to apply the brakes gently, and whatever you do, do not grab them on them straight away! This means that the material can mate with the wear pattern of the disc, rather than patching, which is the exact same thing you should be doing with new discs. This should normally happen for 100-150 miles before the pads are properly bedded in.
FB: How important is it to choose the correct pads for your type of riding?
JW: Hugely! You have to select the best material for the type of riding you are going to be doing, so think carefully before you go willy nilly. If you’re a bit stuck then you can check out the chart in our catalogue, which is handy for showing the choices available – but as a general guide there is a pad for every type of riding and rider: from commuting to racing!
FB: How do you know what pads are right for you on the street?
JW: From us it’s nice and easy – all you do is select from the choice given in the catalogue. For attacking the streets we’d recommend a Double H sintered pad, as on the roads it’s just what you need for the perfect amount of bite and feel combined with longevity. You lot have probably all used them before, as most bikes now come fitted with sintered brake pads as standard. FB: How does that change if you’re on a race track? JW: Massively! The force and heat generated means that the pads need to cope under greater pressure, just like you’d stick a set of slick tyres on for the track. We even make a material specifically for race use that is purposely designed to deal with the extra heat and pressure required for harder /faster stopping required during race conditions…
FB: What’s the deal with organic brake pads?
JW: Organic pads are no different from normal pads, besides the fact that the base level material used to make the organic items is basically the replacement for asbestos material previously used in the manufacture of brake pads; it’s essentially that bit cheaper and better for the environment! You’d usually find these on 50-125 scooter/ light weight bikes, not gracing 1000cc superbikes…
FB: How different are sintered and semi-sintered?
JW: The semi-sintered is a compromise between the organic material and fully sintered pads, while the fully sintered pads are 100% sintered. This option gives people more choice of materials, performance and price as well, meaning ultimately that the rider has more choice when assessing his braking needs!
FB: What are the pros of carbon pads?
JW: It all depends on what you use them for and how you use them! For example a full blown MotoGP bike would use carbon brakes, but needs a lot of heat just to get them working. If you look at MotoGP bikes in the wet, a lot of them don’t even run carbon discs as the temperature isn’t high enough for them to work, so although they will be better for really heavy braking, they only work when pushed to the very limit. Don’t let this put you off though, as carbon pads aren’t just for the racers of the world; it’s a little known fact that on the flipside we do use carbon in some of our scooter pads and also in our off-road range of pads mainly to give more wear life.
FB: Should you change pads between wet/cold and dry/hot?
JW: No not really – modern day friction materials can normally cope with changes in conditions just like the modern tyres, as long as you aren’t on MotoGP spec pads! FB: How do you know if the pads are past their best? JW: You would normally get a whole host of tell-tale signs such as excessive lever travel or poor braking performance, but a weekly check in the caliper to make sure the pads are still in a serviceable condition would always be recommended. What you need to look out for is that the friction material is not too low and also that the caliper pistons are moving freely and also all siding surfaces are clean, like the brake pins.
FB: And if you leave them on the bike after they’re mullered?
JW: You wouldn’t believe how many people let their pads go down to the metal these days! Not only does this absolutely destroy your braking capabilities but will also ruin your discs while it happens. Don’t be that guy!
World Endurance racers get eight hours from their pads. Neglect your braking system and it’ll bite you back.
Different pads offer different qualities.
If you let your pads get this battered, you’ll probably need new discs, too.