Brake Pads: Thickness and Types

Having the proper brake pads is a crucial element in keeping your bike performing well and more importantly safe.  Brake pads are the friction surfaces which contact the brake discs (aka brake rotors) in disc brake systems.  Today, brake pads are made of various materials.  

Q: I need to replace my brake pads, what should I look for?

A: If you are purchasing new brake pads, then you will want their friction material to be around 10 to 12 millimeters. This is the standard thickness size that you will see for most new brake pads. When it is about 50,000 miles (more or less) or the thickness of the break pads is 3 to 4 millimeters, it’s time to change them.

Types of brake pads:
1) Organic Brake Pads  - These are economic and made withRubber/Glass. The compound keeps your rotors looking extremely nice and gives you a gentle stop. There are a few drawbacks: the organic brake pads are going to cause a little bit more dust and are going to have to be replaced more frequently than other some metallics or Sintered break pads.

2) Semi-Metallic Brakes Pads -  Is a good choice for a hybrid pad consisting of anywhere between 30% and 65% metal by weight and typically consisting of steel and cooper. These will cost a little bit more than the organic brake pads. The semi-Metallic will still dramatically increase the braking performance over the organic and also give you a much higher thermal threshold due to the metallic content. These pads will have a wider operating range .The drawback is that they are noisier than the organic and will wear down your rotors a little bit faster than organic pads and also produce more dust.

3) Sintered Break Pads - These are considered the gold-standard, the best of the best, and Sintered pads have now become so popular they are released on 99% of motorcycles directly out of the manufacturers. One of the reasons that the manufacturers have opted to equip their bikes with this type, is because they will cover the broadest spectrum of riding conditions. They are made with a fusion of metallic particles under heat and pressure to create a compound that is very resistant to friction. Some brands like EBC(Carbon Enduro) brakes use copper and their blended to achieve the best results. They are also going to last much longer than others. Sintered pads are an extremely good choice if you are going to be riding in varying riding conditions. The drawbacks are the wear and tear on your rotors will be faster and your breaks noisier.

Be sure to inspect your breaks now while you’re not riding during the winter so that you’ll be safe for the next riding season.

Ride like a girl.  Be responsible.

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Brake Fluid Types

Q: What does brake fluid actually do?

A: Brake fluid’s main function is transmitting pressure from the brake lever /pedal on the right foot through the brake lines. It then goes to the caliper which pushes the brake pads. The brake fluid needs to be non compressible to transfer the force with efficiency and needs to have a low viscosity in order to be compatible with the ABS feature, if your motorcycle has that.

Behind the scenes:
Brake fluid is needed to lubricate the seals in the master cylinder and caliper seals. It also has to offer corrosion resistance and it needs to have a high boiling point. Brake fluids have different types: DOT3,DOT4,DOT5.1. They are Glycol Based and can be mixed together. DOT5 is silicone and can never mix with any other type. The Glycol Based brake fluid(DOT3,4,5.1) has hygroscopicity meaning it has the tendency to attract and absorb water from the air. This causes the break fluid to have less life. It can also cause damage on painted surfaces so must be handled carefully.

The Hydrophobic DOT 5 has the tendency to repel water, it does not attract moisture. It has a much longer life and doesn’t damage painted surfaces. The disadvantages of this type are that it is expensive and its compressibility, and viscosity make it unsuitable for modern motorcycles. So why does it exist? Primarily for military proposes and for those motorcycles that stay sitting for long periods of time.

Important Note:
You need to flush your brake fluid every 2 or 3 years or every 25,000 miles. This is to avoid your brakes going soft, getting sluggish and losing brake efficiency.

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Fuel Stabilizer for Winter

Rust never sleeps, and gasoline doesn’t keep.  Put fuel stabilizer in your tank so the fuel doesn't break down in your tank and in your fuel lines.

Q: How much fuel stabilizer should I use?

A: Stabilizer should be added at 1 ounce per 2.5 liters or half gallon of fuel for proper protection. Generally, you only need to stabilize fuel if you won’t use it up within two months. Carbureted bikes should still be run every couple of weeks, and stabilizers work best when you mix them with new gasoline. They are ineffective at slowing the degradation of old gas and they can’t return contaminated gas to working order. After adding the stabilizer fuel in your tank, let the bike run for 15 minutes so the stabilizer gets a chance to run through your fuel system.

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