There are two types of brake pads for bicycles available in the market today; metal and resin.
We will explore deeper into the differences between metal and resin brake pads, looking at things such as material composition, noise levels, braking bite and modulation, and the ideal type of application.
Once you understand the differences between metallic or resin brake pads, then you can make an informed decision about which one is for you.
What are metallic brake pads?
Metallic brake pads are also referred to as sintered depending on the manufacturer. They’re made from a mixture of metallic particles pressed together. They’re more durable (lasts longer) and versatile (works well across varying riding conditions) than resin brake pads.
What are resin brake pads?
Resin brake pads are also referred to as organic or semi-metallic. They’re made from a mixture of organic compounds such as fibers mixed with metallic particles.
The table below summarizes the main differences between a metallic and resin brake pad.
|Compound||Metal||Organic + metal|
|Durability||Lasts longer||Wears faster|
|Bite||Immediate bite||Bite slowly ramps up|
How to choose between metallic and resin pads?
All the leading brake pad manufacturers such Shimano, SRAM, SwissStop, and Galfer offer both metallic and resin pads for the same disc brake caliper model. Once you figured out your brake caliper model, you’ll need to decide whether it’s metallic or resin.
Here are some guidelines you can follow.
Metallic brake pads
Metallic brake pads are more durable and can handle high braking temperatures. They offer much better braking power with an immediate on-off bite. They’re consistent in both dry and wet conditions and less prone to glazing.
However, metallic brake pads are noisier and will likely wear out the disc rotors faster due to the harder metal compounds. They need to be warmed up before they start to work well. While they work well under high braking temperatures, the excess heat will be transferred to the brake fluid due to the metal compounds.
Metallic brake pads are usually preferred by mountain bikers and gravel cyclists due to the nature of their riding and terrains.
Resin brake pads
Resin brake pads are much quieter, excel in dry conditions, and are less susceptible to dust and contaminants. The braking modulation is better but without an immediate on-off bite.
Resin brake pads wear out faster due to their softer compound. They don’t do well in prolonged braking which results in high temperatures, which leads to brake fade, especially on long, steep descents. Resin brake pads usually cost more than their metallic counterparts.
Resin brake pads are commonly found on road bikes.