top of page

Brake Pads

Screenshot_20180921-165207_Chrome_edited

KOM​ currently supplies brake pads with two different braking compounds and different shapes to fit your callipers.

KOM​ GOLD - £15

KOM GOLD JPEG.jpg
Magura 4 pot gold.jpg

KOM GOLD has a gold backing plate.  This type of pad braking compound is usually described as Fully Metallic or Sintered.

KOM​ BLACK - £15

KOM BLACK JPEG.jpg

KOM BLACK has a black backing plate.  This type of braking compound in pads is usually described as Semi-metallic.

All KOM brake pads are hard-wearing and long-lasting, however the two types are better suited to slighty different terrains and riding styles.   

Which brake pads are best for me?

KOM GOLD

In general, KOM GOLD pads are most suitable if you frequently ride long, steep trails or in wet and muddy conditions. They are a good option if you’re riding a downhill / enduro / E-bike.

Sintered (KOM GOLD) brake pads are made from a mixture of metallic particles pressed together onto a steel backing plate. They are the most hard-wearing pads. 

 

They are more durable and can handle dirt and damp conditions a lot better than organic pads. This means they should last longer than pure resin pads and slightly longer than semi-metallic (Eg. KOM BLACK) pads.

Sintered pads work best when they are warmed up. This can take a few revolutions of the wheel (with the brakes applied). This means when you hit the brakes from cold you do not get full braking power straight away.  However, they continue to work well as they heat up - right up to temperatures higher than other types of pads can tolerate.

If you drag your brakes down long steep trails, that puts a lot of heat into the brakes and means that KOM GOLD are probably the pads for you.

Sintered pads have another advantage over other compounds - they are less prone to pad contamination.  

Contamination can seriously reduce brake performance and can cause brakes to howl. You should always clean your disc very well before fitting new pads and take special care to avoid any brake fluid or lubricant contamination.

If you get slight contamination, KOM GOLD pads may recover after the contaminant has been removed, the disc has been well cleaned, and the brakes have got hot again.

KOM BLACK

In general, KOM BLACK pads are a good all-round option for road riders and XC mountain bikers

They are made of organic compound infused with small metallic particles similar to those of fully metallic pads.  The metal particles increase durability of the pad as well as increasing stopping power.

Semi Metallic (KOM BLACK) will last longer than pure resin but maybe not quite as long as fully metallic (Eg. KOM GOLD) pads.  However, in our testing, there is not a lot of difference in brake pad life between BLACK and GOLD.

One major advantage of Semi-metallic pads is that they warm up faster than fully Metallic pads.  If you hit the brakes (in the dry) from cold you will get to full braking power quicker than with fully metallic pads.

KOM BLACK pads are a good all-round option because they’ll work well in the damp or dry as soon as you need them, without sacrificing much longevity.  They are also slightly less expensive than fully metallic pads.

The other side of the coin is that warming up faster also means that they don’t dissipate heat so well and can become glazed if they overheat. This results in reduced braking power.  So for long descents with prolonged braking, they are less suitable than fully metallic pads.

Semi-metallics do not cope with contamination as well as fully metallic pads do.  They are generally permanently damaged by lubricant or brake fluid contamination and should be discarded and replaced with new pads if contaminated.

  When bleeding your brakes take special care to avoid contamination and clean discs thoroughly before use.  Also if cleaning your bike be sure to avoid brushing oily water from the chain onto the brake discs and also be very careful with bike cleaning products.  All can permanently contaminate pads.  Clean the disc last and clean carefully when washing your bike to make sure there is no trace of any possible contaminant. 

Finally, in extremely wet conditions resulting in water- covered discs, Semi-metallic pads seem to take longer to cut through the water on the disc and start delivering braking power when compared to fully metallic. This is one of our findings in extremely wet conditions.  It was a surprise to us but only seemed to occur in very heavy rain or when riding through prolonged standing water.

Disc brake FAQs

Can I mix my pads front and rear?

Yes! You shouldn't mix pads in the same calliper however it is fine to run different types of pads front and rear.  For example, if you drag your rear brake down steep trails it is likely to get much hotter than the front brake that is only used occasionally.  Running a sintered (GOLD) set of pads in the rear and a Semi-metallic set in the front would give you reliable prolonged braking as well as more instant response braking up front.

Do sintered pads wear out the brake discs faster?

Sintered pads are one of the hardest wearing type of brake pads and thus might be expected to wear out brake discs quicker than other brake pad compounds.  However, in our testing, other variables like the conditions you are riding in are much more important.   If it is wet, muddy and gritty the brakes get filled with a grinding paste that is more significant in disc wear than the choice of pads.

Do sintered pads wear out the brake discs faster?

Sintered pads are one of the hardest wearing type of brake pads and thus might be expected to wear out brake discs quicker than other brake pad compounds.  However, in our testing, other variables like the conditions you are riding in are much more important.   If it is wet, muddy and gritty the brakes get filled with a grinding paste that is more significant in disc wear than the choice of pads.

Why do my brakes squeal?

 There are lots of reasons why brakes squeal. In fact, there are so many variables that it makes sense to ask some supplementary questions and work through the possibilities in a systematic way:

If your brakes used to run silently and only recently started squealing it is almost certain that something has changed in your brake set up.  Of course, working out what has changed is the next problem...  

The most obvious is pad contamination of some sort.

Bike brakes often squeal when they get wet but if you are riding in dry conditions and your brakes still squeal then some sort of pad contamination is likely. 

Brake fluid or lubricant contaminant is far more serious and harder to fix.  If you have resin or Semi-metallic pads then, as mentioned above, it is just about impossible to recover the pads.  New pads are the only solution BUT you have to fix the source of contamination and give the disc a deep clean BEFORE fitting new pads. 

(Enough contaminant can lurk in the holes in your disc to contaminate the next set of pads!) 

 

Also,

when you wash your bike, are you brushing the lubricant from your chain and spraying the rear disc with a mist of oily water?  Wash the disc thoroughly after cleaning the rest of the bike. 

(Don't jet wash anywhere near the bearings. More on why another time, but in short, it is one of the fastest ways to destroy bikes.)

Other than contamination, other things like adjusting the brake calliper might be enough to start the brake squealing.  After adjustment the pads might be at a slightly different angle and the pads will have to wear in again to the new angle.

Changing the type of pad is another obvious one.  Maybe put the old pads back in (if not fully worn) to see if that cures the problem.

 

Similarly, if you have 4 pot brakes changing the pads from 2 large pads to 4 small pads may be enough to encourage squeaking that you had not noticed before.

Damage to the brake discs can also cause squealing.

Did the brakes start squealing after that last crash? 

Have a close look at the disc, rotate it, and see if you can notice any distortion.

Some brake discs are especially easy to bend or distort.  Sometimes it seems like you only have to touch them on something.

Don't worry! KOM's brake discs are super strong and super flat, so distortion is a rarity when you're riding with them

bottom of page