Choosing Between Organic, Semi-Metallic and Sintered Brake Pads
There are many types of brake pad options for motorcycles in the market today including organic, semi-metallic and sintered brake pads.
Sintered Brake Pads
Sintered brake pads have become the most popular technology used today and are installed as factory standard for most motorcycles. Sintered brake pads are usually more expensive but they offer many benefits over other brake pad types including: superior overall performance in all conditions, ability to perform even under high temperature loads, last longer and generate minimal dust residue.
There are a multitude of sintered brake pad manufacturers offering different sintered compounds for various types of motorcycles and riders' preference. There are compounds for racing with higher friction rating and temperature tolerance as well as other compounds for recreational riding with a lower friction rating. Sintered compounds keep evolving thanks to constant testing and rider's feedback as well as research and development, today the metals and fiber materials used in most sintered compounds aim for improved performance while minimizing abrasive interaction with the rotors.
Don't be fooled with Organic
Don't confuse organic brake pads with organic Tomatoes, the term "organic" does not mean better quality in this case. Organic brake pads usually contain hazardous materials like asbestos which break down into dust while interacting with the rotor, this dust residue is in turn dangerous to breathe. There are other types of organic brake pads that may contain other combination of materials but remain the cheapest and worst option when selecting brake pads for your motorcycle. Organic brake pads are usually way cheaper, offer very poor performance, they usually fade completely under high temperature loads, they don't last nearly as long, they leave dust residue on your wheels.
What about Semi-Metallic Brake Pads?
These brake pads fall somewhere between organic and sintered brake pads and they are a good compromise if you are struggling to decide between sintered and organic. They offer decent durability and performance, not as good as sintered but better than organic.
Sintered brake pads are known to be hard on rotors, but sintered compounds have evolved by using materials that are non-abrasive to the rotor.
Sintered brake pads are known to be noisy, but most material fibers used today in sintered compounds contain new metals and graphite which prevent squealing.
Sintered brake pads are known to be too grabby and hard to modulate, but sintered brake pad compounds today contain ceramic which allow for great modulation and progressive braking.