Which disc brake pads are best for ATVs? Sintered or organic?


When it comes to replacing your disc brake pads, there are an overwhelming number of different brands and types to choose from. Our guide will walk you through what you need to know, covering sintered and organic pad compounds and their relative strengths and weaknesses so you can get the best disk pads for your needs.

[Updated 21st June 2021]

When it comes to replacing your disc brake pads, the first thing you need to do is make sure you have the correct fitment for your brakes. There are a dizzying number of different styles available, so don’t assume that all Shimano or SRAM brakes will use the same pad – they don’t. For example, there are many different pads for Shimano XT brakes, depending on the year of their manufacture.

How do I know which tampons I need?

If you know the exact model and year of your brakes, then this is a good place to start, but the best way to know if the new ones will be okay to remove the old ones and compare them visually – you’re going to have to do it all. way if they are worn out, so it is not a great difficulty.

How to remove disc brake pads

To remove the pads, first remove the wheel, then clean the caliper with disc brake cleaner, then wipe it with a clean rag or cloths. You’ll then need to push the pistons back – worn pads are thinner than new ones, and the hydraulic systems automatically push them back to compensate. Skip this step and you will have a hard time putting the rotor and wheel back in place with the new pads.

There is specific tools to push back the pads, and some multitools will have something, too, but using a large flat-bladed screwdriver or tire iron works the same carefully. Insert it between the pads where the disc would rest and gently squeeze them until they no longer fit. You will need to adjust the cable tension or an advance adjuster on the cable systems, depending on the model.

Most disc brake pads are secured in place by a pin that goes through a hole in both pads, often with a retaining clip on one end to keep them from falling out. Remove it, then unscrew or remove the pin. Make sure you don’t lose them, as aftermarket towels often come without.

This is a good time to also inspect the pads you removed – if they are not evenly worn on the pad then your caliper is not aligned, and if one side is worn more than the other then you have a sticky plunger. Both of these issues will need to be resolved before gluing new stamps.

Suppose they are worn down to the metal support. In this case, you need to carefully check that your rotor is not damaged – and if it is also worn through the holder, then shame on you for not noticing it. It would be wise to inspect the pistons for damage as well. If you have used a lot of pads on the same rotor, check that the rotor is not excessively thin. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for minimum thicknesses.

What do the different buffer compounds mean?


All pads are made by mixing various powder additives with a binder and then crushing them all together at high temperature and pressure to form a solid block on the backing pad. The content of the powder mixture has a drastic effect on the properties of the tampon. There are three main types of disc brake pad compounds for bicycles.


Also commonly called resin pads, these are the standard fitment on most new bikes. These brake pads are made from non-metallic additives such as rubber, glass, carbon, and Kevlar to provide a versatile pad that works but is not very durable under heavy use.

Excellent bite from the cold Friction decreases at high pad temperatures
Very little braking noise Pads wear out quickly
Slow rotor wear


Also known as metallic brake pads, these use a very high proportion of metal fillers such as copper, steel and iron. They are designed to perform best in extreme conditions of use, so they are often not the best choice for general driving.

Powerful and efficient braking at high pad temperatures Can be noisy
Slow pad wear rate even in poor conditions Bad cold bite – need to be hot to function well
Metal content can transfer more heat into the caliper, which may overheat the fluid
Faster rotor wear


As the name suggests, these contain metallic fillers mixed with organic fillers to balance the qualities of each. They’re a bit of a Goldilocks option, so they’re suitable for anyone who wants increased performance under heavy use over an organic pad without the drawbacks of a sintered pad. But, on the other hand, they also retain some of the disadvantages of each.

Better high temperature performance than organic buffers Composition – and performance – can vary wildly from brand to brand
Less noisy than sintered pads Do not have the same ultimate high temperature performance as sintered pads
Decent bite from the cold Noisier than organic towels

So what are the best brake pads?


As with a lot of things in life, it really depends on the type of driving you are making and the compromises you are willing to compromise on.

If you live in a flatter location or don’t often go for huge descents, there’s nothing wrong with using an organic mat. They will provide powerful braking as soon as you pull the lever while being quiet and often less expensive than other options as well.

If you often ride long, sustained descents with a lot of braking or if you ride in a gritty, wet location and wear the pads regularly, sintered pads are a good choice. If you don’t mind the noise, they’re loud and have a lot of bite once they’re hot and last a long time.

Semi-metallic pads are a great compromise, with decent cold bite, respectable high temperature performance and good wear characteristics.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from mixing and matching front to rear brake pads according to your needs. The rear brakes tend to be used more, while a good initial bite up front always inspires confidence. A sintered pad on the rear paired with a semi-metallic compound on the front can provide a good mix of performance, even semi-metallic on the rear and organic on the front.

But what about finned brake pads?

Shimano introduced their Ice-Tech brake pads in 2015. These have a backing plate with a finned heat sink that protrudes from the top of the caliper. It is believed to improve performance because the heat generated during braking is dissipated more quickly by the air flow, resulting in lower temperatures at the braking surface and caliper body, providing consistent performance. .

Initially, these pads were only available for specific Shimano brakes, but several aftermarket manufacturers took the idea and applied it to pads from other brands. Superstar components, Uberbike components, Swiss stop and others all have designs like this. While some have lab tests to back up their claims of cooler operation, most don’t, so it’s worth taking those claims with a pinch of salt – especially since they’re a bit more expensive than standard pads.

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