Most riders will tell you that one of the most important components on their bike are the brakes. We all have differing tastes in brakes, some like modulation, others like that on / off feel, but one thing is common for all riders… we like our brakes to work. When we think of brakes we think of brake pads and today we will have a good look at the differences between organic and sintered pads.
Organic Brake Pads
Organic pads or semi-metallic pads are made form a combination of softer materials than sintered pads and are not metallic although they may contain some metallic compounds. Organic pads are softer, they have more initial bite and some riders swear by them for this reason. However, they tend to be more susceptible to brake fade during long descents when the brakes heat up leading to loss of performance. The softer compounds break down faster in wet conditions and as a result performance is effected, leading to organic pads being a poor wet weather choice.
Sintered pads or metallic pads are used by a large proportion of gravity riders due to the reliability, predictability and the lack of loss of power when they heat up. This consistent feel will continue to work the same no matter how hot, cold or wet your brakes become. During long descents brakes can heat up and loss of power is more common with organic pads. Whilst sintered pads have these benefits they are also much more noisy and it’s not uncommon for them to squeal, particularly when they heat up or get wet. They don’t have as much initial bit as their organic siblings but the smooth consistent feel is something many riders swear by.
So Which One is Right For Me?
Like many things in mountain biking, brake pads are very much a preference and what one person loves the next rider may hate. If you are chasing pads that perform in wet conditions or have long descents and you don’t want any brake fade then sintered pads might be the right choice. If you ride dry conditions on shorter descents and love your breaks to have more bite initially then organic pads might be the choice for you. For each rider its an independent choice, here at Brakes Wide Open we love sintered pads on our gravity rigs and organic on our trail bikes.
Whether you are a cross country bandit or a gravity pinner, you need your brakes to work well. That means choosing the right type of brake pads to fit your riding style. Whether you choose organic or sintered make sure you keep your brakes wide open….