Stop On A Dime With the Best Motorcycle Brake Pads

Stop On A Dime With the Best Motorcycle Brake Pads

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Oct 10, 2019

Best Motorcycle Brake Pads

The two most important items on your bike when it comes to safety are tires and brakes. The first keeps you on the road or dirt, and the second stops you - literally - from smashing into objects at high speed. As important as brakes are, though, many riders tend to neglect them, and simply go for the cheapest brake pads they can get when the time comes to change pads. Often, though, your bike is capable of stopping much faster than you realize; it’s just that the cheapskate pads you bought aren’t doing the best job of bringing your machine down from speed. To be as safe and smooth a rider as you can be, you should be using the best motorcycle brake pads you can afford.

Best Motorcycle Brake Pads Quick Review

Product Best For Our Rating
1. EBC Brakes HH Sintered Brakes Best Performance Motorcycle Brake Pads
2. Race-Driven Front & Rear Severe Duty Brake Pads Best Off Road Motorcycle Brake Pads
3. Lyndall Racing Brakes Gold Plus Brake Pads Best Motorcycle Brake Pads For Street
4. EBC Brakes Semi-Sintered V-Pads Brake Pads Best Motorcycle Brake Pads For Street Riding
5. KMG Non-Metallic Organic NAO Brake Pads Best Organic Motorcycle Brake Pads
6. EBC Brakes 304G Water Grooved Brake Shoe Best Motorcycle Drum Brake Shoes

Top Choice: EBC Brakes HH Sintered Brakes

When it comes to performance motorcycles, EBC Brakes has a reputation for making excellent, high-performance brake pads. Their HH sintered pads provide excellent stopping power.

1. EBC Brakes HH Sintered Brakes
Best For

Best Performance Motorcycle Brake Pads

Our Rating
2. Race-Driven Front & Rear Severe Duty Brake Pads
Best For

Best Off Road Motorcycle Brake Pads

Our Rating
3. Lyndall Racing Brakes Gold Plus Brake Pads
Best For

Best Motorcycle Brake Pads For Street

Our Rating
4. EBC Brakes Semi-Sintered V-Pads Brake Pads
Best For

Best Motorcycle Brake Pads For Street Riding

Our Rating
5. KMG Non-Metallic Organic NAO Brake Pads
Best For

Best Organic Motorcycle Brake Pads

Our Rating
6. EBC Brakes 304G Water Grooved Brake Shoe
Best For

Best Motorcycle Drum Brake Shoes

Our Rating

What Kind of Brakes Does My Motorcycle Have?

The vast majority of modern motorcycles have disc brakes up front, and usually a disc brake at the rear as well. Many larger capacity bikes, especially sportbikes and adventure bikes (as well as some high performance smaller capacity machines) almost always have twin discs up front, while cruisers, commuters and smaller bikes will usually have a single disc brake up front. Older bikes, as well as small, cheap commuters and some budget dirt bikes, will have a drum brake at the rear, or even a drum at the front as well instead of a disc.

changing motorcycle brakes

What's the Difference Between Disc Brakes and Drum Brakes?

Disc brakes are far more effective at stopping a bike than drum brakes are. However, for many decades motorcycles only ever had drum brakes, but this started to change in the 1970s. Why did things change? To put it simply, in the vast majority of cases disc brakes provide superior stopping power. They also perform better in the wet, and stay cooler (and thus work more efficiently) than drum brakes. Disc brakes work by having pistons inside calipers squeeze brake pads against a disc, while a drum brake is located inside the motorcycle’s wheel, and works by pressing a shoe against the inside of the brake drum.

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How Often Should I Change My Brake Pads?

Usually your owner’s manual will tell you how often you should be inspecting your brakes, but you can check your disc brake pads quite easily with a flashlight. Look at the friction lining of the pads, and if there’s less than an eighth inch of it left then you’ll need to replace them. There are plenty of detailed DIY guides to replacing brake pads online. A sure sign that the pads need to be replaced is when you start to hear squealing sounds from your brakes.

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What is the Best Material for Motorcycle Brake Pads?

Motorcycle disc brake pads come in a variety of materials, each with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. As with many things in motorcycling, what kind of bike you ride and how you ride it will determine what’s right for you. Some materials will provide a longer working life, allowing you to get more mileage out of the pads, while others will provide increased braking performance, allowing you to brake much more aggressively and haul your bike down from speed quickly.

Generally, motorcycle disc brake pads come in three varieties: organic, semi-sintered, and sintered, also called ceramic. On the majority of motorcycles, sintered and semi-sintered pads are standard, while organic pads are generally used on smaller capacity or commuter bikes.

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Are Organic Or Ceramic Brake Pads Better?

Well, when it comes to stopping your bike quickly, ceramic (sintered) brake pads are better; they bite more sharply, and they bite strongly right away even when cold. Due to the materials used in sintered brake pads, they’re also able to handle heat very well, and retain their braking strength even under conditions of extreme heat. This is why they’re used on race bikes, performance machines, and by riders who frequently push their motorcycles really hard; a rider who is using sintered brake pads knows that his brakes will stay sharp and powerful even under the most demanding conditions.

This is not to say that organic brake pads are useless, however. They provide a softer and more gradually progressive feel to your brakes, which is useful if you’re a newer rider, or a commuter on a lower performance machine, and you don’t want to run the risk of locking your wheel up (which almost always results in a crash) by grabbing your brake lever too enthusiastically. Another advantage of organic brake pads, particularly to commuters who rack up a lot of miles on their bikes, is that they don’t damage the brake rotors (the discs) as harshly as sintered pads do. A downside to organic pads, though, is that they tend to wear out faster than sintered pads, so you’ll need to replace them more frequently. Another disadvantage is that using organic brake pads in extremely wet conditions can lead to a loss of braking performance.

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What Are Sintered Motorcycle Brake Pads?

Sintered or ceramic pads are made by using extreme pressure and heat to fuse metallic particles and other substances to create a material that is extremely resistant to friction. This translates into better stopping power and a longer functional life than organic brake pads.

Then, in addition to sintered motorcycle brake pads, you get semi-sintered pads. These combine, in the sintering process, a number of metal particles (often copper) with a blend of the types of substances used in organic brake pads. For many riders, semi-sintered pads offer an ideal compromise between sintered and organic pads; they have the strong bite and long operational life of sintered pads, but also give the progressive feel at the brake lever that organic pads do.

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Which Brake Pads Are Better At Reducing Brake Fade?

First up, what exactly is brake fade? Basically, this alarming and dangerous phenomenon is a loss of braking power caused by the brakes overheating. This is likely to occur if you’re really pushing your bike to the limits and braking hard at closed-spaced intervals, such as you would on a race track or high speed canyon carving, or when you’re trying to slow down a lot of mass, like if you’re taking a fully-loaded bike down a long, steep hill.

Organic pads will experience brake fade a lot sooner than ceramic pads will, so if you’re the kind of rider who frequently pushes his or her machine to the limits, does track days, hits the dirt trails hard, or often travels through difficult terrain, you’d be better off going for sintered or semi-sintered brake pads.

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Best Motorcycle Brake Pads Review

1. Lyndall Racing Brakes Gold Plus Brake Pads

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If you want brake pads for your cruiser that do a better job than OEM Harley pads, Lyndall Brakes’ Gold Plus brake pads do a fine job of bringing your hog down from speed.

In many cases, OEM products are just find for your bike. If you’ve got a Harley, though, you can definitely improve on your cruiser’s braking performance by fitting high quality aftermarket brake pads. Lyndall Brakes’ Gold Plus brake pads provide exceptional stopping power for your Harley. They’re also low on brake dust, so your rims will stay clean, and they don’t make too much noise either. They’re not the cheapest brake pads by any means, but they do a better job than most other brake pads for your Harley on the market.

  • Provide superior stopping power for Harleys
  • Low brake dust
  • More expensive than many other brake pads

2. EBC Brakes Semi-Sintered V-Pads Brake Pads

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Semi-sintered brake pads provide the feel of an organic pad with the endurance and performance of a sintered pad. EBC Brakes’ Semi-Sintered V-Pads Brake Pads are ideal for riders who want a balanced brake pad with great performance and endurance.

If you do a mix of performance riding, cruising and commuting on the street, and you’re looking for the blend of progressive braking feel, good bite and long operational life that good semi-sintered brake pads can offer, then EBC Brakes’ Semi-Sintered V-Pads Brake Pads might be just what you’re after. These pads have been engineered to outlast not only most OEM brake pads, but also other aftermarket brake pads. These semi-sintered pads will bite hard but also give you progressive feedback through the brake lever, and they should last many thousands of miles. They’re not the cheapest pads on the market, not by a long shot, though.

  • Provides the advantages of both organic and sintered brakes
  • Great progressive feel without losing stopping power
  • Engineered for great endurance and a long operational life
  • Quite pricey

3. EBC Brakes HH Sintered Brakes

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When it comes to performance motorcycles, EBC Brakes has a reputation for making excellent, high-performance brake pads. Their HH sintered pads provide excellent stopping power.

When it comes to performance motorcycle brake pads, EBC brakes is a name that comes up often. Their HH sintered brake pads have garnered a reputation among many riders for being hard-wearing, high performance pads that they can trust to stop their bike under extreme conditions of braking, such as canyon carving and at the track. Generally, EBC’s HH sintered pads will provide way more stopping power and bite than your bike’s OEM pads will, and will work equally well in wet and dry conditions. If you’re looking to increase your sportbike’s braking performance, an upgrade to EBC HH sintered pads will likely have you smiling.

  • Provide excellent stopping power
  • Won’t fade even with high heat
  • Pricier than many other brake pads

4. KMG Non-Metallic Organic NAO Brake Pads

best ceramic motorcycle brake pads best organic motorcycle brake pads

KMG Non-Metallic Organic NAO Brake Pads work really well for riders who don’t push their bikes hard. They provide a progressive, unintimidating feel to your bike’s braking.

If you like to really put the “cruise” in your cruiser (or commuter, or street bike), and you aren’t trying to break lap records or win the traffic light GP, then an organic brake pad, with its even, progressive feel and un-intimidating bite may well be ideal for you. They also come at a pretty good price, and won’t make your wallet too much lighter. While they provide adequate braking performance in dry conditions, though, these organic brake pads might lose a little performance in the wet, so that’s something to consider if you frequently ride in the rain.

  • Good price
  • Provide easy, progressive braking feel
  • Don’t stop that well in the wet
  • Not for riders who push their machines really hard

5. Race-Driven Front & Rear Severe Duty Brake Pads

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Race-Driven’s Severe Duty brake pads have been engineered to perform optimally under the most extreme conditions. They’re perfect for the hardcore dirt enthusiast.

Race-Driven is quite a well-known name in the world of dirt bike riding. If you’re a hardcore dirt bike enthusiast who enjoys riding his bike hard through the most challenging terrain, come rain, snow, sleet or hail, you’ll know that you need brake pads that aren’t going to be adversely affected by mud, rain, water crossings and sand - and Race-Driven have engineered their Severe Duty brake pads to handle these sorts of things with aplomb, and they maintain their bite regardless of conditions. If you’re a brand new rider, though, you might not need as extreme a pad as this.

  • Designed to perform well in mud, water, sand and other extreme environments
  • Sintered metal compound provides excellent bite
  • Probably not ideal for a newer or more casual dirt rider

6. EBC Brakes 304G Water Grooved Brake Shoe

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While drum brakes can experience a loss of performance in wet conditions, EBC’s Water Grooved Brake Shoe allows drum brakes to retain more bite in the wet.

Drum brakes losing their bite under wet conditions is one of the unfortunate disadvantages of this type of braking system. Thankfully, there are ways to circumvent this; by using drum brake shoes with water grooves, like EBC Brakes’ Water Grooved brake shoe, you can maintain decent braking performance even in wet conditions. EBC Brakes’ Water Grooved Brake Shoes come with OEM style springs for easy fitment too. If you’ve got a bike with a drum brake that you frequently ride in wet conditions, whether it’s a commuter or an off road machine, these pads would be a good choice to make sure you’re able to stop safely and consistently in the wet.

  • Helps drum brakes to retain more bite in wet conditions
  • Good price
  • Come with OEM style brake shoe springs
  • Don’t really need these if you only ride in dry conditions

Stay Safe With the Best Motorcycle Brake Pads You Can Buy

Remember, your brakes are often the only thing standing between you and a bad accident, so you want them, perhaps more than any other component on your bike, performing at their absolute best. Brake pads are one motorcycling consumable you really shouldn’t skimp on for the sake of saving a few bucks; they may literally end up making the difference between life and death one day. Stay safe out there on your two wheeler, and make sure your brakes, whether they’re disc brakes or drum brakes, are performing at their best by fitting the best motorcycle brake pads you can afford.


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