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  1. #1
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    A question for those with Zee/Saints and finned metal pads...

    Has anyone had issues with bent or otherwise defective finned metal pads?

    When I first got Zees I only installed the fronts at first which came with metal finned pads. I liked them a lot but after they got good and hot the first time, I got the dreaded power loss from the pads oxidizing after sitting more than a day or two. I also had a slightly spongy lever but it wasn't bad enough to worry about. I swapped them out for resins and everything has been great including the spongy lever being gone. When I installed the rear Zee, I swapped the pads out for resins before they were every used. Everything has been great with that too.

    Two days ago I did "Just Outstanding" which ended up being about 14 miles of downhill. I decided to put the metal pads back in for that ride after weighing myself and my overweight pack and seeing 265lbs on the scale. As soon as I squeezed the brakes for the first time I realized they had no power and made a ton of noise and the lever was mushy. I did about a mile of downhill dragging the brakes hard with barely enough power to bring me to a stop at all. Power never improved and I had horrible brake feel.

    I pulled off the trail and put the resins back in and everything was great again. Looking at the metal pads, only a small portion, maybe 10% of the pad was touching the front rotor. If the pad is somehow bent, this would explain the mushy lever and no power and lots of noise. I find it weird that both sets of pads would be this way. One set is not too bad, almost acceptable but the pads that I never used are flat out dangerous. I looked at caliper alignment and how the resin pads are wearing and the alignment is great, the caliper is square and centered.

    After looking at the pads closely I can see where the finned portion is bent starting from just above the pad material so I assume the entire pad is bent. I'm hoping this is all that's wrong with them but now I'm a little gun shy about going back to metal pads. Has anyone else had this problem with metal pads in these brakes? I'm looking at $80 in pads to go back to metal and I really don't want to waste my money. I realize after this trip that I will never need more than the resins will give but I still want to have a set of metal pads just to try something different once in a while.




    On a more positive note, the resins held up incredibly well. I never once had a hint of fade during normal riding, even stopping from speeds that were well past pedaling speed repeatedly. For the last few miles which was paved road, I started dragging the rear brake continuously and even pedaling with the brake on when I was going slow enough to pedal. It took nearly a mile of dragging the brake but it finally began to fade. There was a little warning before I lost just about all power. The nice thing was the recovery time was only a couple seconds. I let off the lever for 2 seconds at best and had enough power to easily lock the rear tire so recovery time is extremely quick with these pads. The calipers remained fairly cool, at no time were they too hot to touch. The pad fins are a different story, I have a small blister where I touched them on accident. The rotors are blued pretty bad but they're fine, no wear groove, no warping, nothing wrong with the brakes. The pads are still fine, no noise, full power is still there, they're not glazed. It's hard to tell if they're even worn. I can't imagine a normal weight person ever needing more than the resin pads for these brakes. I'm also not sure how people are melting rotors when I'm 265lbs and purposely abused the brakes and couldn't melt them even with the pads fully faded. If you're going to melt rotors, it would require metal pads for sure but I'm still trying to figure out how a 200lb guy managed to melt 203mm rotors. There were long stretches where the rear tire was on the edge of locking up on pavement for sometimes 10 seconds at a time with little rest in between and they did fine.

    I'm way off topic, so has anyone else with these brakes had issues with metal pads or am I just really unlucky?
    '08 Hardrock HRXC
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  2. #2
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    I have 2 sets of metal finned pads which suffer from the power loss issue, both of them are perfectly flat and make full contact with the brake rotors on my bike. It takes about 30-60 seconds of hard braking to bring them back to full power after they sit around, it's a pain the butt for my local trails since it takes a good half hour to get them back to full strength. Which is why I'm saving them for bike park days where I can use the first run to burn them back in. Plus I have absolutely no need for them on my usual rides, I just use a set of non-finned semi-metallic pads in them for my day to day riding and save the expensive pads for DH days.

    As far as I know the non finned metallic pads (D02S) don't have the oxidizing or whatever the hell issue it is that causes the metallic finned ones to lose power after sitting unused. You can try using those on rides where you're not going to abuse the crap out of the brakes, but still want the feel of a metallic pad.

  3. #3
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    My organics do the same power-loss-after-sitting thing. I pulled them out and they were visibly glazed. So I sanded them quick and back to normal. For a day... They literally glaze themselves overnight.

    Yes, I've checked for leaks. The calipers are dry as a bone.
    2005 Trek 4300 "Frankenbike"

  4. #4
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    Is the problem the poor quality of the brakes or that you are riding the brakes too much?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havinfun View Post
    Is the problem the poor quality of the brakes or that you are riding the brakes too much?
    Neither. It's the pads. You knew that already since it was already mentioned in the first post. Come on now, it's not like I'm using Avids. Nice try though.
    '08 Hardrock HRXC
    '09 Epic Comp
    '14 Trance SX -

  6. #6
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    There's another thread about XT and XTR brakes doing the same thing. I posted pictures on page 4 or 5 of the pads that glaze over when not in use. The glazing is not a result of contamination or hard riding because it's a very thin layer that occurs after a day or so of rest and is easily removed with sandpaper.

    You could say I went all FBI on this case; I may call Shimano if my latest sanding job doesn't last.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by eicca View Post
    There's another thread about XT and XTR brakes doing the same thing. I posted pictures on page 4 or 5 of the pads that glaze over when not in use. The glazing is not a result of contamination or hard riding because it's a very thin layer that occurs after a day or so of rest and is easily removed with sandpaper.

    You could say I went all FBI on this case; I may call Shimano if my latest sanding job doesn't last.
    I definitely think Shimano needs to be notified. I know it's just oxidation of the pads and maybe if it only took one or two stops to remove it I might be ok with it but that's not the case. The amount of time it takes to get full power seems to vary from person to person but in my case it's a mile of downhill brake dragging. When I would ride around the neighborhood with my dog, I never got back to full power.

    It's probably a good idea to tell Shimano it's oxidation or some other type of chemical reaction. If you tell them the pads are glazed they're going to assume they're actually glazed as in ridden very hard to where the resins melt and the pads are actually glazed when in our case it's some chemical change when sitting unused.
    '08 Hardrock HRXC
    '09 Epic Comp
    '14 Trance SX -

  8. #8
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    the chemical change occurs deep enough to where riding can't cure it but shallow enough twenty seconds with sandpaper can. I assume I'm right in the thought that oil contamination soaks in far deeper than that.

  9. #9
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    Not having experienced that problem I wonder if it's caused by something peculiar like the local dust.
    My only maintenance is a blast of compressed air between the pads and rides, I take care not to touch the braking surface of the rotor so they should never need cleaning unless otherwise contaminated.
    I'd scrub the pads in hot water with laundry soap before resorting to sanding.

  10. #10
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    I notice this too from time to time... I just do another pad bedding session and get things nice and hot... That does the trick for me...

  11. #11
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    My guess is a chemical change involving moisture and a worn pad surface. Last year I could let my bike sit for a week with not problems, but this year it won't even make it two days before I can't hardly stop again.
    2005 Trek 4300 "Frankenbike"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eicca View Post
    My guess is a chemical change involving moisture and a worn pad surface. Last year I could let my bike sit for a week with not problems, but this year it won't even make it two days before I can't hardly stop again.
    That's similar to mine. When I first got the brakes I did a lot of boring city and bike trail rides with it. My friend that I ride with was down with a broken collar bone and he also has a truck and I don't. So the brakes did not see any hard use for several months. It wasn't until I did the first downhill (not serious downhill, just a slight grade where I could get up more speed than normal and was able to heat up the brakes more than normal) that I began to have problems.

    Once the problems started they never went away. Even if the bike was taken out for a leisure ride to the store with the fiancée, the pads would be useless the next day.

    I wonder if Shimano would like a sample of these pads if we contact them?
    '08 Hardrock HRXC
    '09 Epic Comp
    '14 Trance SX -

  13. #13
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    I've got some new Saints (metal finned pads) I've paired with XTR race levers, and these seem to be doing it already. Only had 2 days riding on them, and they took forever to bed in (new pads and new rotors,) but after sitting for a day, they where a bit spongy feeling at the lever and howled like a banshee in front of the house.

    I'm riding again today later so we'll see how they do. But I've got a set of the non-finned shimano metal pads I may stick in and try depending on how today goes.

    I should be able to get on that front brake hard and it want to throw me over the bars, but right now that's not happening. No way these are either full bedded in and/or at full strength yet.
    If jackasses could fly this place would be an airport.

  14. #14
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    Subscribed - Just had my second ride on my Saints. Probably not fully bedded in yet, but I've been slightly underwhelmed. Will share my experiences as things progress.


    -Ron

  15. #15
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    The metal pads have copper in the compound. It oxidizes over time and then when you hop on the bike after a while it seems weak. A few hot stops gets that taken care of.

    But ya, I find the Saints come to life when the trail gets steep and long and then they are the best brake for those conditions. But for average stops on XC/AM mixed terrain, the pads probably do not heat up enough. XT or Deore are probably better in those circumstances.

    But the Shimano metal pads take a beating in dirty and wet conditions and keep coming back for more abuse. They are amazing pads minus the whole copper oxidation flaw.

    Everyone in the downhill bike park rides on Zees/Saints. No one is crashing for failed brakes.

    If you want to escape the Shimano finned pads, try these 'pinned' pads instead. Semi-Organic from what I understand.

    Mountain bike brake pads, cycling brake pads, bicycle components, stop

    They are the same as KoolStop .. I think. And the Red will look very rad on your calipers.

    Kool Stop International - High Performance Bicycle Brake Pads Since 1977

    Some pads work really well in the mid-temp range. Shimano Saint/Zee metal pads work well when hotter. But they also last a long time and perform well in prime dirty riding conditions.

    Most organics have good cold-bite. But um, they do burn on downhills when riding the brake a lot.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rscecil007 View Post
    I've got some new Saints (metal finned pads) I've paired with XTR race levers, and these seem to be doing it already. Only had 2 days riding on them, and they took forever to bed in (new pads and new rotors,) but after sitting for a day, they where a bit spongy feeling at the lever and howled like a banshee in front of the house.

    I'm riding again today later so we'll see how they do. But I've got a set of the non-finned shimano metal pads I may stick in and try depending on how today goes.

    I should be able to get on that front brake hard and it want to throw me over the bars, but right now that's not happening. No way these are either full bedded in and/or at full strength yet.
    Ok, same deal on yesterday's ride. They didn't come back to feeling very strong until 20-30 minutes into the ride. I've ran this setup before (XTR race levers/Saint calipers) and they are strong as hell. I'd say just as strong as the full Saint lever/caliper set up, the XTR Race lever just ditches the servo wave and gives the brakes a more linear feel, and more modulation. They should lock up easily with one finger when pulled all the way, but not happening for me right now. After 3 rides and over 40 miles, my XTR Trails are WAY more powerful.

    I will swap out the stock finned ones for the non-finned metals I have and try those. I'll report back.
    If jackasses could fly this place would be an airport.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rscecil007 View Post
    Ok, same deal on yesterday's ride. They didn't come back to feeling very strong until 20-30 minutes into the ride. I've ran this setup before (XTR race levers/Saint calipers) and they are strong as hell. I'd say just as strong as the full Saint lever/caliper set up, the XTR Race lever just ditches the servo wave and gives the brakes a more linear feel, and more modulation. They should lock up easily with one finger when pulled all the way, but not happening for me right now. After 3 rides and over 40 miles, my XTR Trails are WAY more powerful.

    I will swap out the stock finned ones for the non-finned metals I have and try those. I'll report back.
    Try a bleed and make sure it gets done right.

    Perhaps, the XTR lever pushes less volume than the Saint lever because the Saint caliper has a higher volume piston area than XT/XTR (I think it is something like 20% greater).

    That would make it feel really good if the system is p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y setup. But if there is any slack (air or other) in the system, then the XTR levers might not be able to move the pistons far enough or fast enough.

    I just would not mix a lever designed for a lower volume caliper with the Saint/Zee.

    What do I know -- Just a hypothesis to consider.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TracksFromHell View Post
    ....
    Perhaps, the XTR lever pushes less volume than the Saint lever because the Saint caliper has a higher volume piston area than XT/XTR (I think it is something like 20% greater).

    ....

    I just would not mix a lever designed for a lower volume caliper with the Saint/Zee.

    What do I know -- Just a hypothesis to consider.
    Whilst you are correct, many have done it and it works.

    I've even done it with RS685 levers and Zee calipers on a roadie and surprisingly, the lever travel is great (not to the bars) and the modulation and feels are brilliant.

    I thought that it may not work that well due to the issues you point out (re caliper piston swept volume), but it doesn't seem it be an issue. Even compared to my mates std RS685 lever RS785 caliper setup on his Trek Domane disc.

    So I'm happy.

    Must be a pad related or bleed issue.

  19. #19
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    Yes, the poster above said, many folks are running this set up, including alot of the pro EWS racers as well as quite a few people on here.

    And def not a bleed issue, that I can be 100% certain of.
    If jackasses could fly this place would be an airport.

  20. #20
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    Sent a pretty detailed email to one of the managers at the customer service department at Shimano, including pics and links to this and other threads. I'll follow up via phone in a week or so.

  21. #21
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    It will be interesting to see what Shimano says.

    Anyone tried these?

    http://UBERBIKE FINNED BRAKE PAD REVIEW



    http://www.uberbikecomponents.com/ca...isc-Brake-Pads


    Price looks good.

    Uberbike Finned Race Matrix Disc Brake Pads - Shimano Saint M820/ Zee M640

    Uberbike finned disc brake pads feature our custom re-useable heat transfer fins, designed for maximum heat dissipation, reducing brake pad surface temperature by up to 55 degrees, delivering high power, consistent brake performance and modulation without loss of performance through the brakes fading due to overheating. Disc pad inserts feature our Race Matrix compound which is higher friction coefficient than standard pads and delivers high levels of power, excellent modulation and pad life. For use with Shimano New Saint M820/ Zee M640 disc brake systems
    Last edited by TracksFromHell; 6 Days Ago at 04:42 PM.

  22. #22
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    So. I received a call from a service supervisor yesterday. I sent him this thread and a few others plus my pictures and experiences and he agrees, something is going on. He said that while microscopic leaks can sometimes go undetected and cause similar symptoms, sanding would never recover the pads. So he's sending me a few pairs to do tests on.

    I posted this in another thread about the same issue.

    I also had an epiphany. I think humidity may be the cause. When my M775s and M395s had the issue, it took a week or two for the pads to degrade, and only a mile or so to revive them and they didn't give me any more trouble. Those two brake sets sat in a shed when not used where the ventilation is pretty constant, and outside humidity is always fairly low. Utah is of course a dry state.

    My M596s, on the other hand, gave me no trouble until after sitting in my college apartment for over three months. That apartment has no central ventilation, is practically sealed tight, and showering and cooking in a small space like that produces high humidity. Now those brakes can't even make it a single day of rest without fading. Sanding brings them back, like I mentioned, but I believe it's entirely possible the pads absorbed a ton of moisture and now whenever fresh pad is exposed it oxidizes much faster. If this is true, and the chemical change is because of moisture in the pad meeting air, putting them in the oven for ten or twenty minutes should burn the water out and put a stop to the problem. When I get my new pads I'll give it a try and report back.

  23. #23
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    TFH those pads look interesting b/c of the re-usable fins. they could be used with your fav non finned pad.

    eicca def keep us informed. it's good to hear they are involved so far. i bake out moisture from my chain after deep cleaning it and i recommend that you use the lowest setting. mine's 170*F, but i'm sure you know this.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishwrinkle View Post
    i bake out moisture from my chain after deep cleaning it and i recommend that you use the lowest setting. mine's 170*F, but i'm sure you know this.
    Try Whistler Performance Lube's ChainBoost instead of chain oils/greases/waxes. It is 100% non eco-toxic, easy on/off and ... get this ... water activated

    Hard to find but truly amazing stuff. It works great on the Shore here in the rainy cold dirty winters and dry outback summers.

    As for brake problems, the strangest things cause brake problems and sometimes only a good shop is going to find the problem.

    Was riding with a bunch of guys in December, I swapped bikes with a fellow and noticed his brakes were really faded. I mean really really faded

    Ran my finger on the disc and it was kinda greasy ...

    Turns out that the water jet from his garden hose was splashing chain-grease (which does not bake off and is water resistant!) onto the back rotor.

    He got so used to crappy brakes that he didn't realize just how bad the fade was.

    Go figure ... chain grease is made so well that even baking won't get that stuff out once it works into pads. In his case, simply cleaning the rotor and pads made a big improvement.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishwrinkle View Post
    TFH those pads look interesting b/c of the re-usable fins. they could be used with your fav non finned pad.
    Might even grab a pair or two for myself to try.

    Pity they don't make 140mm rotors, otherwise I'd give them a try too

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