PSA: Brake Pads

Discussion in 'Tech' started by CJ, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member

    Let’s go over one of the most important parts of a race bike: the brake pads.
    When you squeeze that brake lever you want to make sure the brakes are there each time and has the feel you prefer, each lap consistently. The lever feel and travel shouldn’t change much from first to last lap if you are running a well-serviced quality brake system, good fluid and race specific brake pads.

    There is no right or wrong when it comes to brake feel. Some riders prefer an aggressive initial bite and linear friction curve, and others like less initial bite but a progressive friction curve. This is why you should form your own opinion on brake pad choice. What works for your buddy or on-track idol, may not work for you and your motorcycle.

    A linear friction curve means that the brakes stop the bike at the same rate from the moment you grab the lever until you release it again, keeping a constant lever pressure. A progressive friction curve means that the brakes stop the bike more the longer you squeeze the lever. Progressive pads can help some riders trail brake easier but it takes some skill to master.

    A good, fine-tuned race pad should provide great lever feel, not only at initial braking but also at release.
    The brakes are used in part to keep the forks compressed at turn-in and if the pads release suddenly, the front-end can raise too quickly causing unwanted weight transfer to the rear and a possible crash.

    Generally, there are two kinds of brake pad materials; organic and sinter. There are some derivatives of both: carbon pads are a version of organic material, ceramic is another description of organic pads, and various manufacturers have different descriptions of sinter pads: Semi metallic, full metallic etc.

    A standard organic brake pad is normally not well suited for racing as it tends to fade when exposed to high temperatures. This can be changed by using a high carbon content in the compound mix, creating pads like the SBS Dual Carbon. The characteristics of a carbon pad is low to medium initial bite but a very good lever feel and a decent pad life. Carbon pads need heat to function which can be generated by dragging the brakes on pit lane and some good stops on the out lap. Carbon brake pads should never be used on the street for this reason.
    Most carbon pads retain heat well, so the great lever feel make them perfect for rain racing if the rider can go fast enough to keep the required heat in the brake system. If this is a problem for you, keep a set of sinter pads on hand as they perform well at low temperatures.

    Carbon pads generate and transfer less heat into the brake system compared to sinter pads, keeping the lever feel more consistent and are generally less demanding on the system, keeping the brake fluid temperature at an acceptable level.

    A rotor bed-in procedure is important to perform when using carbon pads for the first time. A layer of pad material is transferred to the rotor and this transfer film is part of the reason that carbon pads function so well and has a nice lever feel.
    When using carbon pads, rotors should not be cleaned between races to the point where the transfer film is removed.

    A lot of organic pads are held together with a strong glue but in recent years, manufacturers of high performance brake pads have started using a mechanical bond invented by NUCAP in Canada.

    This mechanical bond prevents delamination of the pad material and to this date, a bonding failure has never happened so look for this as you choose brake pads.

    A sinter pad has a high metal content and is bonded to the backing plate by a process similar to soldering but the process is called sintering, therefore the name. As of now, SBS is the only company to combine the two procedures and make sinter pads with the NUCAP NRS bonding system thus providing added security against delamination.

    In terms of use, sinter pads have a stronger initial bite and a more aggressive feel. The higher metal content cause sinter pads to transfer more heat into the brake system so keeping it serviced with fresh, high quality fluid is very important.

    Certain types of sinter race pads can have a very long service life, but it is not general across the board.
    The SBS Dual Sinter for example are used by teams in World Endurance for 24 hours with no pad change but this is unusual.

    Note that just because brake pads are HH marked, does not mean they are suited for racing. The HH marking designates that the pads in question have a friction coefficient above 0.55 at 250 degrees F and 0.55 at 600 degrees F according to the SAE J866A test but shows nothing about how they feel at these temperatures.

    Always use pads that are designated for race use as they are made to work in a higher temperature range than street pads so they are less prone to fade.

    Recently, SBS launched their Dynamic Racing Concept (DRC). This is based on the Dual Sinter pad compound, currently used in World Superbike, Moto2, Moto3, Isle of Man TT, World Endurance etc. It is now available in DS-1 with a strong initial bite and aggressive feel, and DS-2 which has less initial bite and a more progressive friction curve. These are distinctively different in feel, to cover the needs of most racers. With DRC you can adjust and fine-tune the brake feel by running DS-1 or DS-2 – or combine them by running DS-1 in one caliper and DS-2 in the other, basically creating a DS-1.5.

    There is no right, or wrong in brake feel as it is highly personal, so try some different pads and find out which kind suits your style and preference the best.
  2. joec

    joec brace yourself

  3. badmoon692008

    badmoon692008 Well-Known Member

    PSA or SBS sales pitch?
    jasonhise and pscook like this.
  4. Pneumatico Delle Vittorie

    Pneumatico Delle Vittorie Retired "Tire" Guy

  5. SPL170db

    SPL170db Trackday winner

  6. rogers1323

    rogers1323 Well-Known Member

Share This Page