Metallic vs Organic Brake Pads | Disk Brakes

Disk brakes are known for their superior stopping power and supple feel. The UCI banned disk brakes from events like the Tour De France for years, finally allowing them in 2019. Since then, we’ve seen road bikes like the Specialized Roubaix and Tarmac offer disk brake options. In the mountain bike world, they have been the dominant choice since the late 90’s when Hayes released the Mag Disk. Most disk brakes these days use metallic or organic brake pads, with each of them offering pros and cons. We’re big fans of Metallic Pads for their versatility and consistent stopping power. Organic pads are a good option as well if the noise from metallic pads is too much for your eardrums! Keep reading to learn more.

Metallic Pads

Metallic brake pads are known for their superior stopping power in a variety of conditions. Metallic pads are also less susceptible to brake fade. Brake fade happens on long descents which causes the pads to get too hot. You’ll have to squeeze harder on the brake levers to get the bike to slow down. With metallic pads, the composition of the brake pad doesn’t heat up as quickly as organic pads. This means metallic brake pads do a better job of keeping brake fade at bay. One of the commonly talked about downsides of metallic brake pads is how noisy they are. This can be especially bad when they’re wet.

Organic Pads

Organic brake pads actually have more initial bite than metallic and they’re less noisy overall. Organic brake pads might be better for someone who doesn’t need that extra stopping power that metallic brake pads offer. For example, if you’re a cross-country rider or mostly ride on flat roads, organic brake pads should work fine. In general, organic brake pads are made from softer materials and will have less wear on the rotors over time.

Mix and Match?

Urban myth or ultimate bike hack? We have heard rumblings about mixing both organic and metallic brake pads on each side of the caliper to get the best of both worlds. While we can’t attest to this, it did seem like a wacky idea worth mentioning. What brake pads do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!

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