How to Choose the Right Dirt Bike Brake Pads
Good brakes are an essential part of a dirt bike that handles well. They give the rider safety and control. When you feel your brakes getting spongy or you're having to really pull on the lever or stomp the pedal, it can mean you've got a problem in your braking system.
Fortunately, in many cases the simplest explanation is the correct one: the brake pads need to be changed. And new brake pads are critical to getting your braking power and control back. Choosing dirt bike brake pads requires an understanding of how you ride, and knowing the difference between brake pad materials can help you get the best pads for your bike.
Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
For a lot of riders, semi-metallic brake pads are the go-to choice. They're effective across a broad range of conditions, and it won't take a big bite out of your wallet to buy them. There's a catch though: they tend to wear out a little faster than more expensive or exotic pads, and they can also be harder on your rotors.
Ceramic Brake Pads
Ceramic brake pads aren't as a popular for riding the trail as they are for the street. While you'll see more than a few sets of ceramic pads on street bikes, they're less common on dirt bikes. Ceramic gets mixed in with other types of material for the brake pads in our next entry.
Organic Brake Pads
Organic brake pads or carbon brake pads are great for certain applications. They dissipate heat well, making them great for racing. The organic compounds can be mixed with Kevlar or other materials to bring custom attributes into the equation. The flip side is that they don't work as well when they're wet. If you're riding on a trail full of mud, these brake pads might not be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you live near the desert and are tackling the dunes, organic or carbon brake pads will be a good choice.
Kevlar Brake Pads
Kevlar brake pads are a top-shelf choice among the street bike crowd, but not quite as much for dirt bikers. Kevlar has been a fixture of bulletproof vests for years, and putting it in brake pads has offered an answer to durability issues that can plague other high-end pads. They cost more, but the trade-off is longevity and amazing braking power. Kevlar brake pads tend to fall off when wet, so take that into consideration if you're going to use them in muddy conditions.
Sintered Brake Pads
Sintered brake pads try to bring the best attributes from various materials into one formula. Sintering is a process where metallic materials are pressed together. The result is a pad that is highly heat resistant, making them a good choice for a number of applications. Sintered brake pads are a little more expensive, but their mix of durability and performance is hard to match.
Brake Pads for Dirt Bikes
There are lots of great brake pads on the market. The best way to make the right choice is to have a good understanding of how you ride and where you're riding. Need a little help changing your dirt bike's brake pads? Watch the video below to see how we changed the front brake pads and rotor on our Honda dirt bike!