Disc brake pads - commuting

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Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby find_bruce » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:57 pm

How often do you change the pads on your disc braked commuter ?

I just noticed that mine need replacing after about 3,500 km. I thought that was a bit soon, but maybe I a missing something
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by BNA » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:20 pm

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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby ozdavo » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:20 pm

What type of pds do you have, organic or sintered metal? What conditions do you commute in? (all weather)? How much braking do you do on your commute? (stop start between traffic lights)?
Many variables will contribute to pad wear, and in reality actual mileage has no bearing on it.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby Kenzo » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:42 pm

When I'm not on the roadie, the disc brake MTB comes out and I wear the pads down fast because I tend to have some fun along the way when on the MTB. Organic pads will wear very quickly. Metal/Sintered pads will last ages but can get noisy. Extra stopping power costs more.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby find_bruce » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:35 pm

Pads are standard shimano resin - apparently the rotors aren't suited to metallic / sintered.

Yes I ride in all weather - the main reason I went to discs was improved braking in the wet.

As for how much I brake, it is impossible to be precise, but I thought I was pretty easy on the brakes - I tend to ease up rather than braking hard for lights etc & would get 7 or 8 k out of a set if v pads on the same commute.

I am not too concerned about it, just was surprised it was as quick
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby Kenzo » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:23 pm

Get them cheap from
Disco brakes dot com
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby Oxford » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:30 am

FB, the resin pads do wear quickly and if you can try to upgrade to sintered via a pad/disc change, depends if there is an option available to you for the model brake. I haven't used resin pads for years but I do remember going through them every 6 to 8 weeks MTBing, I'd hate to think what would have been the case commuting with them.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby thomashouseman » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:54 am

How do you know when they need replacing? Do they grate/squeal/jam etc? Just asking as I've done over 4000km's on my BB7's and only turned the dial a notch or two once.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby find_bruce » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:19 pm

thomashouseman wrote:How do you know when they need replacing? Do they grate/squeal/jam etc? Just asking as I've done over 4000km's on my BB7's and only turned the dial a notch or two once.

In my case the rear went from being silent to draging with a metallic sound because I had left it too long before changing & it had worn through the braking surface to the backing plate. I am fortunate that I do not appear to have scoured the rotor. My brakes though are hydraulic which means that they are self adjusting.

The biggest problem for me is that from the top, the pad looked like it still had plenty of meat left, but it was worn in a taper patter, so the bottom edge was what was dragging - I will take some pics on the weekend.

The take home lesson for me is that I need to pop the pads out and inspect them every 4-6 months on my usage patterns, until it's time to replace the rotors, in which case I will take Oxford's advice & go sintered.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby Oxford » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:20 pm

if they grate or jam, then they definitely need replacing, usually means metal on metal. distance is a hard one to judge by, so many other factors. for example when I rode an SS, pad replacement was far more often on two brakes (front and rear) than when I went fixed and only had a front brake. fixie meant using my legs more to control speed, brake was only for when I really needed to stop. terrain is also a factor. flatter has you working the brakes less, rolling hills more so. traffic Vs low or no traffic etc etc.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby Oxford » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:22 pm

find_bruce wrote:... in which case I will take Oxford's advice & go sintered.
people will say sintered squeal etc etc, I wouldn't worry, I used the squeal when it did occur (only in wet conditions) as a defacto warning device. :mrgreen:
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby find_bruce » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:00 pm

Oxford wrote:
find_bruce wrote:... in which case I will take Oxford's advice & go sintered.
people will say sintered squeal etc etc, I wouldn't worry, I used the squeal when it did occur (only in wet conditions) as a defacto warning device. :mrgreen:

In those situations, it's usally me doing the squealing - nice to have the brakes to blame instead :D
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:28 pm

Oxford wrote:
find_bruce wrote:... in which case I will take Oxford's advice & go sintered.
people will say sintered squeal etc etc, I wouldn't worry, I used the squeal when it did occur (only in wet conditions) as a defacto warning device. :mrgreen:

Agree, got reminded how well the squeal works when a ped stepped out on the way to work today. (They leapt back) 8)
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby queequeg » Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:55 am

I just changed the pads on my BB7 Road Brakes. I left them a bit too long. As I was going down a steep hill, I applied the front brake and heard a "ping". It was one of the legs on the spring clip getting torn off when it contacted the rotor. When I got home I removed the pads front both front and back wheels and found that there only the barest amount of pad material left on the backing plate.
The final stats were:-
Clarks BB7 Disc Brake Pads - Sintered (Rear) - 4,843.4km
Avid BB7 Disc Brake Pads - Organic (Front) - 3,300.0km

Officially, the leaflet that came with the pads says to replace when the thickness of the pads (including the backing plate) is 3mm or less. I don't have any calipers to measure with, so I just eyeball it. I meant to replace the pads during my last service, but I ran out of time. so, for my daily commutes the distances above are probably at the extreme of what to expect. As you can see, the front pad got a lot more wear than the front ones, which is not surprising.
I have not noticed any significant difference in performance between Sintered vs Organic or Clarks (Cheap) vs Avid (Expensive). Based on that, I will try some other eBay branded pads to find the best price/performance point.
I do about 12,000km of commuting a year, so based on the stats above I can expect to replace my disc pads 4 times per year for the front, and three times a year for the year.

pad life will of course vary depending on what terrain you ride on. My commute is all up and down, 52km a day. In other words, the brakes get a lot of use! In contrast, my road bike (with standard calipers brakes) has not had the original pads replaced yet, and they have done 7250km each! That is because I don't regularly commute on my road bike, so my rides are mostly long with minimal stopping.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby queequeg » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:09 am

I just changed the pads on my BB7 Road Brakes. I left them a bit too long. As I was going down a steep hill, I applied the front brake and heard a "ping". It was one of the legs on the spring clip getting torn off when it contacted the rotor. When I got home I removed the pads front both front and back wheels and found that there only the barest amount of pad material left on the backing plate.
The final stats were:-
Clarks BB7 Disc Brake Pads - Sintered (Rear) - 4,843.4km
Avid BB7 Disc Brake Pads - Organic (Front) - 3,300.0km

Officially, the leaflet that came with the pads says to replace when the thickness of the pads (including the backing plate) is 3mm or less. I don't have any calipers to measure with, so I just eyeball it. I meant to replace the pads during my last service, but I ran out of time. so, for my daily commutes the distances above are probably at the extreme of what to expect. As you can see, the front pad got a lot more wear than the front ones, which is not surprising.
I have not noticed any significant difference in performance between Sintered vs Organic or Clarks (Cheap) vs Avid (Expensive). Based on that, I will try some other eBay branded pads to find the best price/performance point.
I do about 12,000km of commuting a year, so based on the stats above I can expect to replace my disc pads 4 times per year for the front, and three times a year for the year.

pad life will of course vary depending on what terrain you ride on. My commute is all up and down, 52km a day. In other words, the brakes get a lot of use! In contrast, my road bike (with standard calipers brakes) has not had the original pads replaced yet, and they have done 7250km each! That is because I don't regularly commute on my road bike, so my rides are mostly long with minimal stopping.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby rheicel » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:23 am

I changed the rear of my previous mtb commuter only after 3000 km. They are the stock pads from the cheapest Shimano hydraulic brake kit.
The Lyras from my current commuter will probably last for 2000 km or so.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby eeksll » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:45 am

my avid bb7 disc brakes lasted about 6000-7000 km commuting. But I have front disc and rear v-brake setup and I seem to be more of a heavy rear braker than normal.

although the v-brake pads havent worn out, the rear rim is looking noticably worn.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby nezumi » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:03 am

I seem to have some bad luck or bad braking habits, resulting in a hard life for my brakes.

I had my pads changed before the Melbourne Gravel Grind #9 because I managed to have a brain fail and got WD-40 on my rotors trying to get it clean. I went on the ride and had a few steep descents where I relied heavily on the brakes.

After that my brakes have been squeaking ever since. I had some luck taking the pads out, wiping them with alcohol wipes and then hitting them with a blowtorch. This seemed to give an improvement for two days or so, but nothing after that.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby thomashouseman » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:54 pm

Are you sure you didn't get WD-40 on your rotors? Some people try washing up liquid and a scouring pad and others denatured alcohol to cvlean them.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby nezumi » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:14 pm

thomashouseman wrote:Are you sure you didn't get WD-40 on your rotors? Some people try washing up liquid and a scouring pad and others denatured alcohol to cvlean them.


I did get WD-40 on the rotors, but after that I took the bike to the workshop to get my stuff-up fixed.

They gave the rotors a good going over with disc brake cleaner, as well as replacing the pads on the front (I didn't kill the back pads so much).

It might be worth giving the rotors another going over to ensure they are properly clean.
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Re: Disc brake pads - commuting

Postby Duck! » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:25 pm

nezumi wrote:....I took the bike to the workshop to get my stuff-up fixed.

They gave the rotors a good going over with disc brake cleaner, as well as replacing the pads on the front (I didn't kill the back pads so much).

It might be worth giving the rotors another going over to ensure they are properly clean.

No! Thorough cleaning will have removed the bedded-in layer of brake pad material from the rotor surface. Pull a few good hard almost-stoppies (down to walking pace) to warm the brakes up & get some pad material back into the rotors & they'll soon shut up.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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