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When your motorcycle is working perfectly, there is virtually no where you can’t go. If a component is a bit off, though, you may not get the dynamic output you expect from your machine. While all your bike’s systems are important, its brakes are essential. If you need to replace your old, damaged or ineffective brake pads, you may be wondering about the difference in sintered vs organic brake pads.

Which style of brake pads is right for your motorcycle probably depends on your riding style. Nonetheless, to make an informed purchase, you must understand what are organic brake pads and what are sintered brake pads. Further, you should probably know a thing or two about semi-sintered brake pads.


Organic Brake Pads

A quick search of the best motorcycle brake pads available for purchase usually returns several organic brake pads. That makes sense, as riders around the globe love the benefits of organic pads. Constructed with Aramid fiber, a type of aromatic polyamide, organic brakes are usually sold according to their makeup. For example, you may see Kevlar carbon brake pads under the overall heading of organic brake pads.

You are likely to notice an immediate change to the feel of your bike’s stopping performance with organic brake pads. While it is hard to quantify a feel, organic pads tend to offer excellent braking potential, once you get used to them. Naturally, organic pads usually have grooves common to many types of motorcycle brake pads to help with cooling and water drainage.

How much to budget for organic brake pads likely depends on the material you choose. As you may suspect, newer materials are often pricier than those that have been on the market for some time. Moreover, if you plan to do your bike’s brake job yourself, you can expect organic pads to install and remove the same as conventional pads.



Sintered Brake Pads

To make sintered pads, manufacturers use high heat and pressure. That is, brake designers start with copper, a high-performance metal. Then, they use other materials and metallic particles to give the brake pad its strength. The result is a motorcycle brake pad that holds up exceedingly well to the demands of the open road, track or trail.

If stopping is your primary goal, you simply cannot do better than a sintered brake pad. After all, the strong pad distributes energy effectively without allowing a buildup of heat. For added protection, sintered pads have a thin layer of material on the outside. This layer is designed to contain heat transfer. While heat transfer is necessary in any braking system, it also causes brakes to wear out prematurely. Because sintered brakes have a solution to this conundrum, you stretch the useful life of your bike’s brakes.

Often, sintered brake pads sell for more than their organic cousins. That is not always the case, however. If you have decided sintered pads are right for your machine, you may be able to save a few bucks by shopping clearance specials and daily deals. Finally, installing or replacing sintered pads is essentially no different than organic brake pads. Consult your bike’s owner’s manual for specific information on doing the job correctly.

Semi-Sintered Brake Pads


While riding groups and online forums often discuss sintered vs organic brake pads, there is a middle ground you should know about. Semi-sintered brake pads combine many of the best features of organic and full-sintered pads. The result is a decent braking system, albeit one that does not quite measure up to sintered brake pads.

With semi-sintered pads, you can expect a 30 percent copper makeup. Remember, at the center of sintered pads is a full copper core. While 30 percent is considerably less than full, it is enough copper to produce a rather presentable stopping performance. Further, because semi-sintered pads have organic compounds on the stopping surface, you do not have to worry about excessive heat transfer. As you know, managing heat transfer is an effective way to stop quickly and extend the life of your bike’s brake pads.

You may assume that semi-sintered pads cost somewhere between the price of organic and sintered pads. That is not necessarily true, however. Instead, you are likely to find semi-sintered pads priced about the same as both sintered and organic brake pads. Installation, though, is essentially the same. If you can install organic or sintered pads on your bike, you can probably also handle semi-sintered pad installation.



The Right Brake Pad for Your Machine

Before you can tear up pavement behind the handlebars of your cruiser, dirt bike or sport bike, you must be certain you can stop quickly. If your brake pads have seen better days, you should not rely on them to keep you safe on the open road. Even if you manage to avoid a slide, your bike may not perform like you expect.

Every motorcycle enthusiast follows a unique procedure to determine which OEM and aftermarket parts are best. While there is no substitute for your intuition, you may want to use the following three-step process when deciding on Harley brake pads sintered or organic:

Step 1: Consult your operator’s manual – Your bike’s operator’s manual tells you what type of brakes came with your machine when it left the factory. If you love the way your motorcycle’s original brake pads perform, simply order the same pads again.

Step 2: Do a cost-benefit analysis – You are an individual. What is important to you may not matter to other riders. Therefore, when purchasing new brakes, think about what qualities you want in brake pads.

Step 3: Find the right brand – Brand loyalty is important in the motorcycle community. In fact, riders often evangelize for the components they most love. If you are a fan of a manufacturer, see if it makes brake pads. Or, ask your buddies which parts makers do a good job at manufacturing top-notch brakes.


Once you understand sintered vs organic brake pads, you can make the best possible purchase for your riding style and objectives. Because bad brake pads are likely holding you back, use your newfound knowledge to find a new set of brake pads and order it today.

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