Alps: Verbier: Brake pad choices?

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  • Alps: Verbier: Brake pad choices?
  • scruff

    For the ‘Power Rider’ Shimano organic. Superstar resin / kevlar Ok but dont last as well. Sintered glaze over and turn into chewbacca. Even though you have ice tech rotors I’d advise ditching them for bigger rotors to give more power, 200 both ends if you can. You’ll understand why when you get there.

    And if you cant bleed brakes really well take them to a good mechanic before you go.

    Anyone who says about avoiding brake dragging, braking feel and initial bite is talking utter wet.

    Edit- dont buy finned unless youre loaded as you might get through take 4 spare sets of pads. Fins wont make them more powerful or last longer.

    Agree with ditching finned and going bigger on rotors-youll get more power, and more cooling effect from 30% bigger rotors than from fins.

    In crested butte (similarly long descents on predominantly dry/dusty trails) they only sell organic/resin pads, the shops I went into didnt stock sintered.

    You shouldnt get through loads of pads as youre actually using them as intended (high temperatures) and unlikely to be exposing them to grinding paste mud. Think I changed one pair in Verbier, and they were part worn when I got there.

    There is a school of thought that says take a few sets with you and ride each set for a day (or even a run or two) to get them properly bedded in.

    Are you going with BikeVerbier? We were with them last year and I’m gutted I got refused leave from work, we’d pencilled in a return trip this year.

    Thanks scruff, what’s a power rider?

    I’ve been to the Alps before but found my Hope X2s with 180 rotors and cheapy metal/kevlar/organic pad combos didn’t fill me with confidence. Although I was only there a week with 6 days riding I only changed the pads once, so two pairs.

    My current Shimanos have been considerable more powerful and consistent. Hence why I’m thinking of buying 4 sets of organic.

    Yes crashtestmonkey, I’m going with BV this August. Really looking forward to it. Quite strangely I was considering Colorado this year.

    Maybe it’s worth investing in a 180 rotor and adaptor for the rear too. Another price I’d not considered.


    power rider = big boned.
    I had my brakes boil once in Verbier, its really not funny when youre going down something very steep and your brake does nothing. BV is a trip of a lifetime, spend some money on bigger rotors and get them properly bled. Maybe put your 180 on the back and new 200 on the front?


    Organic pads and bigger rotors would be my choice. Sintered do generate more heat and are a bit noisier. Yes they last longer, but unless you’re exposing the organics to mud and wet grit you’ll be fine.
    Make sure you’re brakes are nicely bled with some clean fresh fluid (not that it matters as much with Shimanos).

    Thanks folks, organic pads it is. Buying rotors and adaptors was not on the shopping list but I suppose I can revert back to the UK setup after the trip.

    I know this has probably been done a thousand times but…

    I’m off to the Alps in 4 weeks (Verbier) and I’m looking to buy spares and parts for the trip. At present I’m running Shimano XT M785 brakes with 180(F)/160(R) ice-tech rotors with sintered(metallic) finned pads. It’s the finned pads I’d be looking to buy and not another make.

    I’ve read and re-read the pros and cons for sintered versus organic (resin) pads and still can’t decide.

    As I’m a heavier rider (85kg) with smallish brakes should I be looking at buying the more expensive replacement sintered finned pads that have better fade resistence and longevity qualities?

    Or buy the cheaper organic pads with better modulation and initial bite losing perhaps longevity?

    I suppose I’d be hoping that I could buy the cheaper organic and that fade resistence would be good due to the finned technology/ice-tech rotors and that longevity could be counteracted by buying an extra pair or two at a cheaper price.

    Does anyone have any experience of using these brakes, rotors and pads in the Alps?

    Premier Icon Sanny

    I ran XT’s with 203mm ice tech rotors and finned pads the last time I was in Verbier. To be honest, they weren’t as good as my old Hayes Mag DH’s. The front rotor warped on the third or fourth day in the heat and rubbed the rest of the trip. The front brake waited until I was descending into Chamonix to fail completely (full pull to the bar with no power but plenty of pad material left). 😯

    I’ve run both sintered and organic. I like the latter in the dry but there isn’t really a noticeable difference in stopping power even with the fins.

    The most important things for me would be that whatever you use, make sure they work before you go and if you can get bigger rotors, do so as I reckon that makes the biggest difference. I’d ridden mine a few times before the last trip but the faults only appeared once I got there. Hey ho!



    Premier Icon Tracey

    When are you out their. We go in two weeks time and Kevin is running new XTs with 203mm and 180mm ice tech rotors [cant get a 203mm on the back due to the Brain]. Will be taking both sintered and organic finned and not finned and also some of the new Uberbike matrix pads. will let you know how he gets on.

    200/180mm with SS Kevlars when I went. Worked faultlessly…

    Cheers sanny, food for thought.

    Tracey, I’m there Aug 10th onwards so you’ll have to let me know how you get on and what worked best for you.

    At this moment in time I’m going to buy organic pads as trip replacements and run my existing sintered to begin with. I’ll look into a larger rotor for the front.

    I suppose my bike is a trail bike and perfect for UK riding, or the riding that I do in the UK (W. Yorks, Peak, Lakes, Scotland). 140/127 travel and 180/160 brakes front and rear respectively. Obviously what’s suitable in the UK is not always suitable in the Alps.

    But I’m going to enjoy myself all the same 🙂

    4 weeks and counting!

    Premier Icon Tracey

    We are there for the 2 weeks before you. Will let you know before then

    controversial but if youre only buying one new disc I’d put the bigger rotor on the REAR, not the front. Youre not looking at theoretical ultimate stopping power, youre looking for consistent braking and not overheating with prolonged use. On long descents you’ll use/drag your rear far more than your front to check your speed.

    I run 203mm’s on front and rear, with M770 XTs and organic pads I’ve never needed more than one finger, and Ive never had them fail/fade/boil.

    Another guest when we were there had his brakes fade, lever coming all the way back to the bar. I changed his fluid for him (well equipped workshop @BV) and the stuff that came out looked like puddle water 😯 , so yes make sure youre happy with them before you go!

    Have fun, very envious, they deserve all their plaudits I am gutted we cant get there this year.

    Premier Icon Tracey

    Cant wait to go. Abigales Five Tens have arrived today so I can have mine back. Just need to strip some bits off Kevins Enduro for some spares.

    controversial but if youre only buying one new disc I’d put the bigger rotor on the REAR, not the front.

    Or… buy a 200 rotor, put your current 180 out back and shove the new 200 up front. Still only buying one rotor.

    Or get a massive rear brake and just go skidding down the Alps. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Daveyboywonder is right, you don’t need to buy 2 rotors.

    As far as compound goes, it really depends, the only thing sintered is really better at is resisting mud, so if you’re going when it’s been dry, they’re just a potential issue whereas if it’s been sodden wet and the trails are badly effected they might be useful.

    I used the same pads I use for everything, cheapo superstar kevlars… Never missed a beat. Organic might be slightly better in terms of performance and dry conditions take away their downside… But I’ve got tons of spare kevlars so I just used them, and they worked absolutely fine.

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