Bike Brake Pad Buying Guide

Brake Pads are understandably one of the most important components found on a bike - and one of the smallest. Brake Pads, often also known as brake blocks and brake shoes - are massively responsible for how well your braking mechanism works under braking, and braking under different weather conditions.

Brake Pads are classed as a consumable item, which means that with repeated use they will eventually wear down and require replacement. If you do not replace old and worn brake pads, as well as the potential of component damage - braking distances and safety will be massively compromised. Regular checks of your brake pads take almost no time at all to carry out, and ensure that your bike continues to function and run as it should.

There are two main types of brake pads available to purchase, and these two brake pad types depend upon which braking mechanism your bike uses. The two are:

Rim Brake Pads are in contact with the rim of the wheel - which acts as the braking contact surface. These brake pads are mounted on two arms and when the brake lever is pulled, then the brake pads are put into contact with the rim of the wheel - slowing the bike down. Rim Brakes are the most simple types of brakes available, they are lightweight and are commonly seen on a range of bikes, including road bikes and hybrid bikes. There are a further two types of rim brake pads available, with the variation being caliper brake pads and cantilever brake pads.

Disc Brake Pads work in the same way that a Rim Brake Pad does - but instead of coming into contact with the rim of a wheel - these pads come into contact with a disc, which rotates through a caliper which houses the brake pads.

When your brake pads are worn down - you can usually tell by looking at indicators within the pads that have been designed to let you know. It’s important to replace brake pads whenever they show signs of wear, to prevent any damage to the rim of your wheel or the disc brake.

BMX Brake Pad Guide

BMX Bikes use Rim Brakes - in a number of different designs and the vast majority of BMX Brake Pads are designed to work across many different types of rim brakes - and they can be easily adjusted with a washer. As BMX Bikes have less requirement for harsh braking than other types of bike, many BMX bikes only have a rear brake.

Mountain Bike Brake Pad Guide

Mountain Bike Disc Brakes are sold in pairs, with each pair working with a single brake caliper. Mostly, MTB brake pads are designed to fit specific brake calipers - so it’s important to ensure that any new brake pads are compatible with the existing system. Aim to be replacing these pads when there is less than 1.5mm of braking material left on the pads.

You can also choose between organic or metallic MTB brake pads. Organic Pads are made from ceramic materials, which is softer than metallic pads. They provide greater stopping power, but wear out quicker, especially in adverse weather conditions. Metallic pads last much longer in poor weather, but are noisier and they warm up quicker.

Road Bike Brake Pads

Although many road bikes are now using disc brakes as standard, the vast majority of road bikes still use different variations of rim pads to provide their braking. Brake pads from road bike rim brakes can be purchased in either cartridge or non cartridge form - with cartridge brake pads providing greater performance and stopping power.

If you are using a carbon fibre road bike, with carbon fibre wheels - it’s important that you use carbon fibre specific pads. The vast majority of alloy rimmed road bike wheels will take any kind of brake pad.

Variations in brake pads that you can buy, include wet weather specific pads which are optimised for use in the winter and autumn months.

Brake Pads Online from Westbrook Cycles

At Westbrook Cycles, we stock and supply a huge number of braking mechanisms and components - including a wide range of brake pads to suit different bikes and braking systems. You can view the complete range on our website, and please do get in touch if you have any questions about the collection.