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  1. #1
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    Brake pads wear out too fast!

    I need some advice here. I do a lot of fast downhill runs in my area. I have FS 29er with 180mm rotor up front and 160mm rotor out back on Magura Marta SL's. I weigh about 170lbs. The rear pads wear out twice as fast as the front. It seems like I am changing pads almost once a month lately. I doubt that I am getting more than 100 miles out of a set of rear pads. I'd rather not switch to endurance pads because I need the stopping force for possible sudden stops at high speed coming around blind turns.

    Question: Would changing from a 160mm in the rear to a 180mm improve pad life?

  2. #2
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    I'd swap the rears to semi-metallic/sintered then. If you're wearing out the rear much faster, try the metallic in back and leave the front as the organic pads.

    Honestly, I can't imagine why the rear would wear out faster unless you've got it dragging. Have you had any fade issues? Are the pads wearing out, or getting "glazed"?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambassadorhawg View Post
    I need some advice here. I do a lot of fast downhill runs in my area. I have FS 29er with 180mm rotor up front and 160mm rotor out back on Magura Marta SL's. I weigh about 170lbs. The rear pads wear out twice as fast as the front. It seems like I am changing pads almost once a month lately. I doubt that I am getting more than 100 miles out of a set of rear pads. I'd rather not switch to endurance pads because I need the stopping force for possible sudden stops at high speed coming around blind turns.

    Question: Would changing from a 160mm in the rear to a 180mm improve pad life?
    yes pad life will increase with bigger rotors that is because the bigger rotor will run cooler.

    Sintered and metallic pads will take the heat better.

    Geez if you can afford it go to 203 on the front and 180 on the back...shoudl really improve things and will probably payout in reduced pad cost.

  4. #4
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    A bigger rotor would help. You would gain more stopping force with the same pressure from the pads. I'd maybe get a 200mm for the front, and swap the 180mm to the rear if you really need some stopping power.

    As scottap200 mentioned, the metallic pads would also give you better wear.
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    You're probably running organic pads in the rear.. those are more for XC. Try sintered or semi metallic.. those should definitely increase pad life at a small loss of initial bite A bigger rotor would help, but isn't exactly necessary unless you do strict downhill riding.

  6. #6
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    Check your riding too. Some riders subconsciously drag the rear brake on downhill runs.
    Posting on the basis that ignorance shared is ignorance doubled.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Understater View Post
    Check your riding too. Some riders subconsciously drag the rear brake on downhill runs.
    ^ This. Could have contaminated the pads as well, causing them to wear faster. If that is the case, you will need to thoroughly clean the rotor before you use new pads

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    Thanks for all the suggestions guys!!!!

  9. #9
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    I'm with the above recommendation to make sure you're not dragging the rear brake.

    When I first started mountain biking, I wore out my rear pads nearly twice as fast as my front. That was because I grew up somewhat afraid of using the front and always relying on the rear brake to stop.

    The more I rode, the more confidence I gained in the front brake and the more adept I became at using it. These days, I probably wear out my front pads twice as fast as the rear.

    On steep descents, all your stopping power is up front. I only use the rear when I want a lighter touch (e.g., turning or feathering speed on straight aways) or for emergency stops.

  10. #10
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    Name:  VnFwMkFxc05SQk0x_o_robot-chicken-fred-flintstones-brake-pads.jpg
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    I'd try a 180mm rotor (note, I run 183's both front and rear). And try semi-metallic pads too . . . I have WAY more stopping power with the semi-metallics than what organics offered, and I have close to 1K miles on the current pads. No joke.

    These are what I'm running, and will be running for the foreseeable future: Agressive pads

    They ain't cheap, but with 1 year of use? I'll take it.
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  11. #11
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    I did not see you stating that you are sure that your rear pads are not dragging. This would be my first thought if you are eating up your rear pads that quick.

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    By dragging, you mean my unknowingly squeezing the lever, or sticky pistons? Sticky pistons, it does not have. There is a clear gap between the pads on both sides of the rotor at all times when the brake is not in use. The rear 160 rotor is blackened a bit though but this is nothing new. As far as unknowingly squeezing the lever, possibly yes. The downhill runs here are generally 3-6 miles with average grades of 20-30%. Of course, that's gonna kill pads relatively fast but in recent months, my pads are going faster than ever. This is my dilemma...

  13. #13
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    Dragging as in unknowingly squeezing the lever. Riders who are not the most efficient descender's tend to drag the rear brake, having some resistance makes them feel more comfortable rather than letting off and "free falling". It just kind of happens subconsciously, I am a strictly DH guy and when I first started I know I was guilty of this. But, if it has just been a recent problem, i don't imagine its because you are dragging brake, unless you changed riding styles or trails. Sounds to me like something contaminated either the rotor or pads. Try doing this - Tech Tuesday - Silence That Squeaky Disc Brake - Pinkbike

    That should help erase some of the previous braking history, while thoroughly cleaning both braking surfaces. If the pads or rotor have been non-permanently contaminated(i.e. able to be cleaned) then that method should do the trick. If they have been contaminated with something permanent(i.e. brake fluid, oils, grease, lubes, etc) then the above method will help somewhat, but ultimately you will need to replace both rotor and pads.

    As mentioned before, be aware of the brake pad material and your individual terrain/riding style/weather. I know some people have roasted brand new sets of brake pads in ONE RUN at whistler, so pad material can be of importance. I usually run whatever I want, my climate is dry and dusty almost all year, so I can get long life out of any pads.

  14. #14
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    My first reaction is to wonder if you are just using your rear brake more. Either dragging it or being too cautious with the front. Then I would check to see if you are using the same compound front and rear.

    I question the logic of the larger rotor eating the pad more slowly. Yes, it needs less pressure, but it also has more rotor moving through it (because it moves faster farther from the center). Think about filing down metal with a bench grinder. You can get the same amount of metal shaved off at a lower speed pressing the metal against the grinder harder, or turning up the grinder speed and pressing more lightly.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    My first reaction is to wonder if you are just using your rear brake more. Either dragging it or being too cautious with the front. Then I would check to see if you are using the same compound front and rear.

    I question the logic of the larger rotor eating the pad more slowly. Yes, it needs less pressure, but it also has more rotor moving through it (because it moves faster farther from the center). Think about filing down metal with a bench grinder. You can get the same amount of metal shaved off at a lower speed pressing the metal against the grinder harder, or turning up the grinder speed and pressing more lightly.
    Your thought is correct ... The issue is pad wear, and a larger rotor, if anything, will exacerbate the issue.

    Rider style and contamination of pad should be investigated first.
    If these are not the issue, a different pad material, or larger pad surface area would be the logical next step to remedy the situation.

    Side topic,
    Does anyone make a multi-puck brake caliper ?
    If so,
    That would be a great way to improve brake life ... If done correctly.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    Your thought is correct ... The issue is pad wear, and a larger rotor, if anything, will exacerbate the issue.

    Rider style and contamination of pad should be investigated first.
    If these are not the issue, a different pad material, or larger pad surface area would be the logical next step to remedy the situation.

    Side topic,
    Does anyone make a multi-puck brake caliper ?
    If so,
    That would be a great way to improve brake life ... If done correctly.
    Multi puck, what do you mean? Like having a 4 piston caliper and instead of two brake pads, having 4? One for each piston. If that makes sense. My cars brakes are done in a similar manner, makes sense to wonder if it could be applied to ours. Interesting

    In regards to using a bigger rotor..in my experience the rear brake doesn't do much in terms of slowing you down. Most speed reduction, for me atleast, is done with the front brake. The rear is used in conjunction to add to the stopping power, but ultimately is used more primarily to aid in changing direction. It seems almost any sort of force applied to the rear brake lever causes it to lock up, which effectively doesn't wear the pad down. If my rear brake were to fail, it would be a bigger detriment in terms of changing direction and handling rather than stopping power. The ride can resume without a rear brake, but not if the front brake were to fail. Putting a larger rotor in the rear will give you more usable stopping power yes, but also make it easier to lock up at the same time. Don't think a larger rotor will solve the problem.

    You already said that this has been a recent occurence. So the 160mm setup must have been working well for you previously. If thats the case, and you were willing to spend the money on a bigger rotor and the associated adapter, just get the 160 rotor and new pads and call it a day. Whatever problem you had will be solved

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by csermonet View Post
    Multi puck, what do you mean? Like having a 4 piston caliper and instead of two brake pads, having 4? One for each piston. If that makes sense. My cars brakes are done in a similar manner, makes sense to wonder if it could be applied to ours. Interesting
    Yea ... Exactly that.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    Yea ... Exactly that.
    So would it only be possible with a 4+piston caliper? I wonder if anyone has done this. I know Alligator had a ridiculous 8 piston caliper a few years ago, I assume that would be the most likely to use a system like that.

  19. #19
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    Hope and Avid both make 4-pot brakes, though each use a single brake pad spanned across 2 pistons. Not sure what the advantage of having a separate pad for each piston would be.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007 View Post
    Hope and Avid both make 4-pot brakes, though each use a single brake pad spanned across 2 pistons. Not sure what the advantage of having a separate pad for each piston would be.
    As do Shimano, with the Saint if I'm not mistaken. I think a muli-puck pad would shed heat more efficiently because of the smaller size and less material. Not sure if thats the case, I'm sure there is something that would benefit. Maybe our brakes are not on a big enough scale to be affected?

    Quick search found the Gator 8 piston indeed used somewhat of a multipuck system. Pretty sure the 8 piston concept died long ago, along with everything else they did.

    Brake pads wear out too fast!-bremszange_8k_ohne_leitung.png

    After a thorough derailment, to the OP...whats the status on your situation?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by csermonet View Post
    So would it only be possible with a 4+piston caliper? I wonder if anyone has done this. I know Alligator had a ridiculous 8 piston caliper a few years ago, I assume that would be the most likely to use a system like that.
    A quick search and yea ... They've been played with, but I guess none have made it to market.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007 View Post
    Hope and Avid both make 4-pot brakes, though each use a single brake pad spanned across 2 pistons. Not sure what the advantage of having a separate pad for each piston would be.
    If you have a single pad that spans say 10% of the brake surface or a larger pad that spans 20% of the brake surface.....the last 10% will run much hotter than the first 10%....cause the rotor is heating...and the pad is getting hotter...

    Know put 2 pads 180 degrees apart both covering 10% of the rotor.....the trailing pad will run much cooler...

    Multiple pistons address the problem of jamming on retraction due to very small misalignment of the pistons...

    leverage and force follow the same issues as a single piston system.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by csermonet View Post
    After a thorough derailment, to the OP...whats the status on your situation?
    Meh, don't worry about him . . . he's lost in the wilderness somewhere. It's cool though, he likes it out there

    As for a multipuck pad shedding heat better, actually you want MORE surface area to dissipate heat. Look at shimano's new Ice Tech pads with their fancy cooling fins.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007 View Post
    Hope and Avid both make 4-pot brakes, though each use a single brake pad spanned across 2 pistons. Not sure what the advantage of having a separate pad for each piston would be.
    Gatorbrake listed progressive braking ... Kind of skeptical about that though.

    But the larger pad ... Good in my book.

    Also,
    Thanks All, for the info ... Happy with what I have right now, and have never really looked at what's available.

  25. #25
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    I think it's odd that nobody has brought up the fact that your using a brake that was designed for world cup XC racing as a down hill brake. The Marta SL is a pretty sold brake but it sounds like you are well beyond it's intended use. Others have suggested things that could make the best of your setup but I really think that switching to a brake that is actually intended for what your doing with it would be the best situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ambassadorhawg View Post
    I need some advice here. I do a lot of fast downhill runs in my area. I have FS 29er with 180mm rotor up front and 160mm rotor out back on Magura Marta SL's. I weigh about 170lbs. The rear pads wear out twice as fast as the front. It seems like I am changing pads almost once a month lately. I doubt that I am getting more than 100 miles out of a set of rear pads. I'd rather not switch to endurance pads because I need the stopping force for possible sudden stops at high speed coming around blind turns.

    Question: Would changing from a 160mm in the rear to a 180mm improve pad life?
    Hey Hawg. I too run Magura. I had the Mag SL in a 180/160 setup, and I was going thru pads fairly often. I moved to a MT8 Magura, and same deal, but as others have mentioned, it got better when I focused on not "riding" the brakes, more on and off. I scrub off speed in pulses, then let totally off, then another pulse, then off. Also, I installed the Magura "Storm" 203 mm rotor in front, and 180 in the rear, and my pads last WAY longer. These MT8 are not known for massive stopping power, but more for modulation, but in this size they will rip your head off if you hit them hard. I weigh 220, and even still these brake pads are lasting a while with the larger rotors. They have got me down Cannell Trail twice now, and that is a brutal brake test to be sure. Good luck!

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    Wow! you guys are getting serious about braking here. I'm an XC guy on a 25+ pound bike and a weight weenie at that. It just so happens that the hills around here are steep and fairly long.

    Next step for me is to try an endurance type pad in the rear. This plan will offer a zero increase in weight. If that doesn't make any difference (I believe it will), then I will bump up to a 180mm rotor in back. No way am I gonna spend a bunch of money on a new brake system when the one I've got works very well (no brake fade) and is very light in weight.

    Again, thanks for the help though. You support has been awesome!!!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambassadorhawg View Post
    Wow! you guys are getting serious about braking here. I'm an XC guy on a 25+ pound bike and a weight weenie at that. It just so happens that the hills around here are steep and fairly long.

    Next step for me is to try an endurance type pad in the rear. This plan will offer a zero increase in weight. If that doesn't make any difference (I believe it will), then I will bump up to a 180mm rotor in back. No way am I gonna spend a bunch of money on a new brake system when the one I've got works very well (no brake fade) and is very light in weight.

    Again, thanks for the help though. You support has been awesome!!!
    That's what I would do. I would be more cautious about braking technique as well the next time you ride, just to eliminate that as the issue. Before using your new pads, clean the rotor thoroughly! If something contaminated it that caused premature wear, putting new pads on without cleaning the rotor will just produce the same end result as before.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by csermonet View Post
    I would be more cautious about braking technique as well the next time you ride, just to eliminate that as the issue.
    Changing your technique to work around your parts almost always means you chose the wrong parts.

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    You know what might just do a lot of good are ice tech rotors. If you're looking at buying new rotors anyway I'd give that a shot. I still think you've exceeded the limits of the Marta SL's though. A set of XTR trails would be more appropriate and comparable on weight. Lot of money for sure, but I would put them at the top of my upgrade wish list.

  31. #31
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    The XTR Race versions would be LIGHTER than the Magura Marta SL's (THAT will get his attention )
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007 View Post
    The XTR Race versions would be LIGHTER than the Magura Marta SL's (THAT will get his attention )
    But then he's in the same boat with a different brake. The root cause is he's using a XC race brake for super D/ DH use.

  33. #33
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    some discs are really aggresives on pads and will wear them a lot also you should check your braking technique if you drag your brake a lot it will kill the pads really fast

  34. #34
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    Besides needing probably a stronger, more DH/FR oriented brake system I think that the key culprit here is bad technique and dragging the rear too much and not using the front enough for fear of endoing . Don't know if anyone else picked up on it, but he said his rear rotor was black/tarnished, a clear sign of serious overheating, so my prescription would be...move to semi or full metallic pads, bigger rotors front and rear to help with cooling and learn good braking technique - don't always ride the brakes, modulate them, hit them hard, let go, ride, hit them hard, let go, ride. I used to ride like the OP until someone pointed this out to me, that you need to ride those steep, fast DHs like you would if you were racing, pick your braking points and go damn hard on the brakes to cut speed, FAST, then let go and let them cool, rinse and repeat.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    Changing your technique to work around your parts almost always means you chose the wrong parts.
    I'd say not. Bad technique can overcome even the best of parts.

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    that's exactly you can do anything on any bike but with the right technique if you believe that you are doing it wrong
    its like going downhill on a DH sled vs a XC hardtail it will be easier on a DH bike but for that with the right technique it could be made on a the XC bike

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRchris1996 View Post
    that's exactly you can do anything on any bike but with the right technique if you believe that you are doing it wrong
    its like going downhill on a DH sled vs a XC hardtail it will be easier on a DH bike but for that with the right technique it could be made on a the XC bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007 View Post
    Punctuation. It's your friend. Use it.
    QFT haha

    But yeah I am almost certain that its technique rather than a component or contamination issue. I did pick up on the charred/blackened rotor he mentioned and that is a tell tale sign of overheating as said by lynx. Could be due in large part to rotor size as smaller rotors dont shed heat as well, but its almost certainly compounded by dragging the brake unconsciously. Changing technique to work around your parts is not because you chose the wrong part, as stated by someone previously. For instance, being more conscious of crank position when installing a different length crank is NOT because you chose the wrong crank. Refining ones riding technique, whether that be braking, pedaling, leaning, steering, jumping, turns, etc etc will make you faster, safer, more efficient, more confident, and get longer life out of your components and bike as a byproduct. The users saying you need a more DH oriented brake are jackasses. For one, you are not strictly riding this bike downhill. The Avid Elixir is a "xc" brake that is used by many top 20 World Cup downhill racers, not to mention countless others in the field. I used them on my DH bike for several years as well with no power or pad issues. Refine technique, refine it again. If problem persists, experiment with different pad materials and possibly a new rotor. If problem still persists, up the rotor size.

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    sorry 007

  40. #40
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    Hi Ambassador hawg!

    Ok, Alot of feedback and good suggestions from the forum but your fix is as easy as either using Endurance pads in the rear only (you won't notice a lack of power!) and/or going up in size to another 180 mm rotor. You stated it in your post earlier how the rear 160 mm rotor was a little "blue" which is a clear indication that there is too much heat build up going on. When excess heat is involved you have accelerated pad wear. No way around that. Then as the pad wears more and more, it is again less capable of dealing with heat and wears even faster.
    Jude

  41. #41
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    Also, Stay away from sintered pads because they produce even more heat! A Lot more!
    Jude

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