SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MARCH 18th
DiscoBrakes Sintered Brake Pads
32g 11.49 (pair) or £34.99 for four pairs
DiscoBrakes Sintered Brake Pads sit in their range of pads offering the kind of advantages you’d expect compared to their organic/resin and semi-metallic offerings. Your choice of disc brake pads may well depend on the type of riding you do, but for many of us a jack of all trades is just what we want. For me, these sintered models have done the job very well during a mixed English winter, offering secure stopping and good durability. DiscoBrakes multi-pack buys make a reasonable price per unit even more attractive. Let’s boogie!
Pros: robust construction, price, progressive and secure.
Cons: nothing significant.
Sintered pads are constructed from compressed metal particles – and you’d not expect DiscoBrakes to go further. The backplate is copper, to which the backplate is bonded. So far just a s one would expect. As Michael found when testing their semi-metallic pads, the springs feel a tad more robust than many we’ve come across. This is reassuring, especially as they seem less likely to bend should you be as cack-handed a fettler as I. they can also be bought as spares.
DiscoBrakes suggest that the sintered brakes are long wearing, ideal for all kinds of riding, and almost unaffected by rain and snow.
Test bike and contexts
Our pads were compatible with TRP Spyre callipers. These are on my Swallow touring bike, and IK like sintered pads for their all-round capability for mixed terrain touring and day riding. Specialist disciplines may like them, too, but I am very much the general cyclist looking for durability, security, and effectiveness in a variety of conditions. Michael’s summed up the main features of different pad materials better than I can.
For those who do not know and English winter, the weather context has seen temperatures form -4 to plus 12C; periods of heavy rain, a couple of weeks of snow, some dry sunny weather. Equally as mixed have been the riding conditions; soft and hard snow, muck-coated country lanes, frozen hard-pack forest trails, bleached asphalt, pretty much the whole caboodle, except for technical downhill. I’ve managed a couple of days with light-weight touring gear, but the heaviest load filling front and rear panniers was delivering beer for Christmas to a friend the other side of the undulating Needwood Forest.
Easily fitted, just follow normal practice; then ride.
First up, I get annoyed by screeching brakes. Whilst that may be something to do with installation, adjustment, or cleanliness, the DiscoBrakes sintered pads are pretty quiet – often silent – although, as they have worn there’s been a little more in the way of hiss when applied gently on faster descents. A minor pint, perhaps, but they are unlikely to cause pedestrians to leap out of their skins. That is a good thing, in my opinion, especially as my regular routes often include shared-use tow path and track.
Where there has been more noise it has been associated with following the cattle to milking or lanes covered with the results of other farming activities. Happily, the DiscoBrakes pads don’t seem particularly prone to trapping mud. I was just as impressed by their ability to dismiss build-ups of snow – which, incidentally, clogged-up the mudguards and froze overnight in the shed.
As for braking – and remember here that I am not road racing or riding technical routes – I have felt totally secure. Smooth progression and solid stopping, on those odd occasions when some son of a gun has interrupted my progress. Under the weight of six cases of beer, they ensured a smooth arrival at eh bottom of a couple of short-but-steep descents – from 30mph to nothing without a murmur. Long descents in the Peak District have not changed my opinion. Incidentally, my tourer’s brakes are mechanical (more bodgeable than hydraulics when out in the wilds) but they benefit from the same feathering technique employed on the tandem’s hydraulics.
I have appreciated this sound progressive stopping on snow covered surfaces, too, especially when approaching icy patches. Granted, that can have a lot to do with riding technique and tyres, too. Michael really liked the Schwalbe Ice Spikers, although I’ve stuck to more traditional rubber during the tests (Schwalbe Marathon Tour).
Low temperatures seem to have no impact, but I’ll have to wait for summer to see how they do when things hot up. Sintered brakes generally take a little longer to bed in than other compounds, but I can’t say this was a problem. You are more likely to note that things take a little longer to warm up when setting off. Not a problem for me, and certainly no more noticeable than with other sintered pads I have used.
I suppose that, overall, they have performed very well, although within my expectations for touring and general cycling. Even so, I am more than happy with them.
Seven hundred miles in there’s some wear – you’d expect that, especially given the state of the winter country lanes. However, that is by no means exceptional, indeed it’s similar to wear observed on the tandem’s TRP pads over some five hundred miles. Mind you, my braking style is far from fierce, although there are plenty of climbs and their commensurate descent in the vicinity. So, durability would seem to be equal to, or maybe even a little better, than some. Wear has been nice and even, too.
Having said that, they’ve been subjected to plenty of care. I’ve been on a mission to clean to save replacement: more frequent washes and fettling should save the pennies. They been subject to sudsy bucket washes (courtesy of Crankalicious Bucket Wash), as well as Pure Bike Cleaner, and, more directly Dirt Wash Disc Brake Cleaner on pads and rotors. I’ve only removed the pads on one occasion, after a particularly gungy trip.
Sintered brake pads are generally more expensive than semi-metallic pads. That is the case with DiscoBrakes semi-metallic pads.
You can often find disc brake pads with big discounts on line. However, directly comparable are TRP’s own Spyre models, which come in at £16.00 a pair. I have also used RWD’s Spyre compatible pads before. These can be found more cheaply than Disco Brakes’ version, but I’d say the latter have the edge on quietness and progression. EBC’s sintered pads are considerably more expensive, but can be found discounted. Other compatible models seem to come in a little pricier, but this can vary from seller to seller. However, bear in mind that the Disco Brothers store offer multi-buy discounts – and disc brakes to not, as far as I know, have a sell-buy date.
Checking compatibility with callipers and rotors apart, there’s a lot to like about DiscoBrakes sintered brake pads. They are sturdily made, quiet, and offer secure and progressive braking under all weather conditions. Ideal for general riding and touring, with decent durability added into the strong all-round performance. Yes, the price is nice, too.
Verdict: 4.25/5 Good value and very effective pads for touring.
PUBLISHED MARCH 2023
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH