Motorcycles are known for fast acceleration and high top speeds. Because of this, properly functioning brakes are critical to the safe operation of a motorcycle. Motorcyclists need to take care to ensure that the entire braking system, to include rotors, brake lines, fluid levels, and brake pads, is in top working order before every ride.
Brake pads use pressure and friction to stop a vehicle. When a driver squeezes the brake lever on a motorcycle, it triggers a series of events within the brake system that cause the brake pads to press against the rotors, stopping the motorcycle. Over time, the pressure and friction needed to stop the motorcycle causes the brake pads to wear down, and the pads eventually need to be replaced. An understanding of the different types of motorcycle brake pads most commonly used and under what conditions different types of pads work best enables motorcycle owners to make the best choice when it comes to selecting new brake pads for their bike.
Motorcycle owners can look to authorized parts dealers, online motorcycle supply stores, and auto parts stores for numerous parts and accessories for their motorcycles. A wide range of motorcycle brake pads can be purchased from online marketplaces, such as eBay.
Different Types of Brake Pads
Brake pads are made in several different ways and from a variety of materials. The most common types of brake pads used on motorcycles are sintered brake pads, organic brake pads, and composite brake pads. Knowing about the different types of brake pads and how they are manufactured makes it easier for a motorcyclist to find the right type when it is time to replace the brake pads on his motorcycle.
Sintered Brake Pads
Sintered metallic brake pads are made using heat and pressure to fuse together metallic particles and other elements to create a brake pad with longer life and enhanced heat performance. Sintered brake pads perform well in both wet and dry conditions. Sintered brakes produce little dust and are known for being resistant to "brake fade," which is the reduction of braking force that occurs when brakes heat up due to excessive hard stopping. Sintered brake pads are preferred for demanding situations, as they provide superior stopping power that is both quiet and smooth.
Two Processes for Sintered Brake Pads
Sintering is a process by which heat and pressure are used to fuse together metallic particles. Sintered brake pads are made by one of two processes. One method is pressure sintering, in which a vacuum furnace is used. The other process uses a belt furnace in a controlled atmosphere. In each of these processes, a preformed copper puck is secured onto a copper-coated steel backing plate, which is then passed through the furnace, melting the puck and fusing the puck and plate together.
Organic Brake Pads
Organic brake pads are made from a combination of materials, to include metallic and nonmetallic particles and non-asbestos organic materials, bonded together with a high-strength polymer resin. Organic brake pads are softer than sintered pads and, therefore, create more brake dust and have a shorter life span. They offer smooth, controlled braking and produce little wear on rotors. Organic brake pads come in different types, depending on the specific materials used in the pads. These include Kevlar organic, carbon organic, and semi-metallic organic brake pads.
Kevlar Organic Pads
These pads incorporate Kevlar into a mixture of glass and rubber to produce a brake pad with superior durability and impressive performance. The addition of Kevlar increases pad life and improves braking power.
Carbon Organic Pads
Organic pads that use carbon in addition to the other non-asbestos organic elements offer the benefits of lower heat generation and transfer. They do not last as long as other pads, but are the preferred choice for situations in which brake rotors get really hot.
Semi-metallic Organic Pads
Organic pads made with a small percentage of metallic elements mixed in are sometimes referred to as semi-metallic or low-metallic organic. These pads provide better braking and heat transfer. They have a tendency to produce more dust and noise.
Ceramic Brake Pads
Ceramic brake pads are made from high-strength ceramic fibers and non-ferrous metal filaments, bonded together at high heat. They offer great performance in a wide range of driving conditions and are lightweight. Ceramic brake pads dissipate heat well, with the result that they create less dust and significantly extend rotor life. They are resistant to resonance, which means they provide smooth, controlled braking with no squealing or grinding.
Select the Right Type of Brake Pads
When it is time to replace motorcycle brake pads, motorcycle owners can choose OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts, or they can purchase replacement brake pads. Depending on the style, size, and intended use of a motorcycle, different types of brake pads are recommended. Learn the benefits of choosing OEM or replacement brake pads, and the situations best suited for each type of brake pad before deciding which brake pads to purchase for a motorcycle.
Choose OEM Brake Pads for Best Performance
Motorcycle manufacturers put a lot of time and research into deciding which type of brake pad best suits a particular model of motorcycle. Motorcycle owners who choose OEM parts can rest easy knowing they are choosing brake pads that are designed to fit precisely and perform well. Genuine factory parts do not damage rotors and give maximum braking power.
Research Replacement Brake Pads Before Purchasing
Motorcycle owners who choose to replace OEM brake pads with another brand or type need to do some research before deciding which brand and type to purchase. Not all types of brake pads are suitable for every motorcycle, and not every brand makes a pad to fit every motorcycle. Check owner’s manuals for information on compatible brake pads, or talk to a certified mechanic about which brake pads perform best on a particular make and model based on individual driving conditions.
Pick Brake Pads Based on Application
Motorcycle owners need to consider a couple factors when selecting brake pads. The first consideration is the type of rotor on the motorcycle. Certain brake pads are not compatible with some rotors. The second consideration is driving conditions. Different brake pads are designed to perform optimally in different situations.
Consider the Type of Rotor
Be sure to find brake pads designed for the type of rotor on the motorcycle. Whether brake pads are sintered, organic, or ceramic makes a huge difference in the amount of wear placed on the rotors.
Because sintered brake pads, especially those designed for racing bikes, are manufactured to withstand extreme riding conditions, they can cause excess wear on many types of rotors. Organic brake pads are typically compatible with cast iron, steel, or stainless steel rotors. Ceramic brake pads are expensive, but they do not cause damage to chrome-plated or polished aluminum alloy rotors.
Consider the Demands of Riding
Organic brake pads perform well under normal street driving conditions. Riders who participate in street or sport racing should consider sintered brake pads designed for heavy use. Ceramic brake pads perform well in a wide range of situations, but their high cost makes them less popular than other types of brake pads.
Buy Motorcycle Brake Pads on eBay
Motorcyclists in need of new brake pads can find a vast selection of OEM and replacement motorcycle brake pads on eBay. The enormous inventory from sellers located all around the globe means prices are competitive and the chances of finding the right brake pads are high. Many items are available with free shipping, adding to the cost savings.
Shoppers can navigate to the eBay Motors website to quickly find motorcycle brake pads. By using the search categories provided, shoppers can easily generate a list of brake pads designed to fit a particular make, model, and year of motorcycle. Alternatively, motorcycle owners can find brake pads by simply typing the name of the type of brake pad desired into the search box on any page of the eBay website.
Some of eBay’s unique features are "Seller Feedback" and "Ask a Question." The "Seller Feedback" feature allows buyers who have worked with a seller to leave ratings on comments based on their experiences. "Ask a Question" gives buyers the ability to contact a seller with questions about a product before purchasing it.
Motorcycles are designed to accelerate quickly and operate at high speeds. It is, therefore, crucial that their braking systems perform with maximum effectiveness at all times. Replacing worn-out motorcycle brake pads instantly improves the stopping power of a motorcycle, greatly increasing safety for the rider.
Before buying motorcycle brake pads, riders need a basic knowledge of the different types of brake pads on the market and the most common applications for each type. Each type of brake pad, whether sintered, organic, or ceramic, is designed to perform optimally in specific situations. Motorcyclists should consult their owner’s manual or motorcycle manufacturer to find out which types of brake pads are most compatible with a particular motorcycle. Certain types of rotors can be damaged by some brake pads, so care needs to be taken to use the correct type of pad if OEM pads are being swapped for replacement pads from a different manufacturer. With a little research and some legwork, buying motorcycle brake pads can be a successful project for any motorcycle owner.