Finned pads….. Honestly betterer?

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  • Finned pads….. Honestly betterer?
  • alpin
    Member

    Just checked my pads and they are low on the front. XT four pots.

    Do I replace like for like or go with the cheaper normal pads? I can buy almost four sets of these for the price of two finned.

    Obviously there is the cool factor (visually at least) of the finned pads.

    I mean, back in the day we all managed with non-finned pads.

    Riding is generally alps.

    What ya reckon?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Depends- are your brakes rubbish at dealing with heat? If so they can help. If your brakes are good, then they’re pointless.

    Premier Icon nickdavies
    Subscriber

    Ice tech is designed to run with fins as the system needs to lose heat, especially in the alps. Especially as you wear the discs, as the sandwich layer wears down you can easily buckle them.

    Regular discs I wouldn’t bother.

    mikewsmith
    Member

    is that marketing or fact there?? Either way sounds like a crap design. Anyway ran both on tiny 160mm rotors on my xc bike for some very long descents, never had any issues with rotors or brake feel apart from the usual double pull issues. Fad for me

    andrewh
    Member

    Had them.in the Ultegras on the commuter. Really couldn’t tell the difference.

    Possibly different style of riding to that for which XT 4 pots are intended…

    alpin
    Member

    Yeah, no ice tech. Have seen two worn discs – one of them buckled – maybe OK if your mechanic replaces them every race.

    Premier Icon welshfarmer
    Subscriber

    You need the Superstar finned pads. They look like a Star Wars X-wing fighter 🙂 If they don’t disperse the heat, they surely slow you down enough to compensate anyway lol

    Premier Icon ravingdave
    Subscriber

    Ive got 2 sets of slx. One with finned pads one wothout. Ride the bikes on the same trails day in day out. Cant tell the difference.

    Personally prefer non finned pads as brake looks sleeker/less bulky

    Premier Icon timbog160
    Subscriber

    No difference that I could tell but equally no harm either!

    alpin
    Member

    <div class=”bbp-reply-author”>timbog160
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    No difference that I could tell but equally no harm either!

    </div>

    other than to my wallet…!

    Premier Icon nwmlarge
    Subscriber

    If you want to see if they work, touch your pads at the bottom of a descent with your fingers, then run the same experiment with a set of non-finned ones and see which are the hottest.

    Of course they work, will you die if you don;t have them? no, but yes you will get less performance

    Riding is generally Alps

    If your everyday riding is in the Alps then I’d replace with what was specced on the XT 4-pot brakes from new.

    For 95% of non-Alps riding I suspect non-finned pads would be adequate.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I was thinking this the other day. Do I just buy finned pads cos they look better? I think so, yes.

    (They’re not that hard on the wallet if you get the Uber ones with replaceable inserts. )

    I’d add another 5% to downhillfast’s estimate.

    Premier Icon howsyourdad1
    Subscriber

    @downhillfast whats wrong with the pads that Shimano have designed and give with their faitrly expensive four pot brakes?

    P-Jay
    Member

    I’ve tried both, I think if you’re dragging down run after run in the Alps on a bone dry day they’re probably not a bad idea.

    I felt a bit daft home in Wales when I’m splashing through puddle after puddle.

    Tbh, Shimano mineral oil has a boiling temp of 280c, higher than even DOT 5.1 (190c to 270c depending on how fresh it is) but much higher than the usual DOT4 (155c to 230c). XT level brakes has ceramic piston rather than Alu which also helps insulate the heat of the pads from the oil so they’re already really very good with heat, that’s not to say the fins don’t do anything, but they’re probably over-kill for most people.

    lardman
    Member

    i def noticed a difference with finned pads when riding in the Alps. My Zee brakes (especially the rear) would change bite point a fair bit when hot and show a little less grab whilst using the standard non-finned pads. It’s wasn’t night and day at all, but noticable IMO.

    I am running resin finned pads, and suspect the resin pads might need the heat dissipation a little more than the sintered too.

    also, i am a heffer, so need the brakes more than most.

    daern
    Member

    Not MTB, but relevant, I think – I actually swapped to them on my gravel bike after getting the stock (non-finned) brakes blindingly hot on some fast, lakeland descents. They never faded out, but they did get gloriously noisy and I became pretty concerned as I didn’t want to run out of brake! Sadly, I don’t have the full, heatsink equipped rotors as they’re only available for splined wheels, but since I’ve had them, I’ve not experienced any more noise even on hard descents.

    (Oh and the official, Shimano road finned pads are gloriously, spectacularly expensive – £30/set at full retail! That’s £60 to do both ends of the bike – my jaw nearly hit the desk!)

    plyphon
    Member

    Of course they work,

    That’s an assumption I’d like to see tested.

    A slight parallel, in the world of computer hardware designs, ram modules started appearing with heat spreader designs, touted to help dissipate the heat.

    They look like the above. After some lab tests of the claims it turns out they actually INSULATE the ram, making it hotter. Only slightly mind, and not enough to effect performance or lifespan, but hotter is hotter when a product is claiming to make things cooler. (I think at best there was no change in heat vs normal modules)

    As such, now you will not see claims of cooler performance on ram modules with fancy enclosures. Instead they simply say ‘it looks cool’ for people who care about how their performance PC looks.

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny
    Subscriber

    I have XT brakes, finned organic pads, and ice tech rotors (203/180)

    Interestingly (to me, YMMV!), on our annual alps trip this year I had to change pads on the front on day 3 – shop beside uplift only had non finned organic pads.

    By the end of the day, the discs were purpley-bluey coloured and giving horrifically inconsistent and juddery braking. Likely a combo of not bedding pads properly, and lack of fins not cooling as well as the finned fellas.

    Disc was shagged, had to change it, and of course get back onto proper finned pads.

    Rest of trip was fine.

    I mostly blame Brexit and/or Trump, but there does seem to be a not inconsiderable benefit for me (fat rider going down awfully big hills)

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Hmm, I’d never thought of using old RAM chips in my brakes. Might give it a try.

    whats wrong with the pads that Shimano have designed and give with their faitrly expensive four pot brakes?

    Absolutely nothing. They’re designed to get the optimum performance from the brake.  But if you’re not flying down the Alps everyday and using the brakes to 100% of their operating limits then non-finned pads would be adequate (and cheaper) imo.

    A slight parallel, in the world of computer hardware designs, ram modules started appearing with heat spreader designs, touted to help dissipate the heat.

    I fail to see how a static PC in a room bears any similarity to a brake on a moving bike in the great outdoors.

    plyphon
    Member

    I fail to see how a static PC in a room bears any similarity to a brake on a moving bike in the great outdoors.

    Really?

    Well, both are marketed with claims to aid heat dispersion, for one.

    Computers, especially performance PCs that these products are aimed at, have quite high internal airflow – there is actually a fair bit of science around how to properly cool computers for optimum performance.

    The fact that a bike is in the open (I guess your point is increased airflow compared to a computer) is redundant as the control group (a brake pad without fins) is also in that environment so the results are relative.

    So you’ve got two products in two different environments sold with the same claims of increased cooling properties, via very similar mechanics of passive dissipation via convection of air currents through increased surface area (fins), but in reality may/may not provide the results claimed.

    P-Jay
    Member

    I fail to see how a static PC in a room bears any similarity to a brake on a moving bike in the great outdoors.

    Whilst the ‘puter is static, the air inside isn’t, even the most basic of PCs will have 2 fans running but when you’re in the realms of giving a shit about RAM temp there will be more, or at least very big ones.

    Heat management is right at the core of computer performance.

    philjunior
    Member

    There will be a benefit, but I’ve found (200 front/180 rear ice tech rotors I think…) with normal resin pads fine on rides I might normally have had a bit of brake fade (but been fine). 180 front/160 rear has been similarly fine with finned pads – don’t know if it would have been fine with unfinned pads.

    If I was going on a trip to the alps, I’d probably go for some finned pads. In your situation, I might try unfinned pads and see how it went, maybe put some finned ones in your backpack so you can swap. But if you have the ice-tech rotors, the risk of softening or even melting the aluminium in the sandwich and buckling them (or in one case I heard of on a tandem, ending up with a permanently locked brake from squeezing the two sides together at the caliper position after melting the core) might put you off trying this.

    As a bit of an aside, the RAM module thing has the problem that you’ve got to transfer the heat to the fins first. On a Shimano finned brake pad, the fins are integral to the pad backing plate, which gives good heat transfer (But is a bit wasteful/expensive). I’ve come across some designs with separate fins, which won’t work so well as they aren’t integral to the pad/backing plate. They will probably help a bit, but not as much as heat won’t transfer well to the fins (though the fins are nicely out in the airflow) – I’d probably choose the Shimano unfinned pads over them as the compound just works well (when I got one bike it had aftermarket pads that just squealed like **** when they got hot, which was pretty distracting on steep stuff, the Shimano pads have just worked consistently and pretty quietly.)

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    So you’ve got two products in two different environments sold with the same claims of increased cooling properties, via very similar mechanics of passive dissipation via convection of air currents through increased surface area (fins), but in reality may/may not provide the results claimed.

    As philjunior has said – with brake pads, the heat is already in the backing plate, and the fins will help suck it out.  In those RAM modules, the heat is in the tiny silicon wafer which would normally have been transferred straight to the chip casing and to the atmosphere, and they’ve added a far larger chunk of metal on top of it because they can’t get the metal into where it’s needed.  Also, the chip should be operating at about 20-30 degrees above ambient, rather than 100-200 above like brakes.  I would imagine this changes the heat transfer characteristics of the setup.

    I’m not convinced re ice-tech rotors, but I think the pads probably do dissipate quite a bit.  But then, not as much as the disc itself.

    Can you still get Shimano centrelock non-ice-tech rotors?  I personally don’t fancy them due to the pictures of buckled ones I’ve seen.

    plyphon
    Member

    Yeah, I mean – i’d be interested in seeing some testing around it.

    Premier Icon oikeith
    Subscriber

    I was never sure when I had Shimano whether it was a gimmick or not, could never really tell the difference, although this was UK descents not Alps. I now have SRAM brakes and dont think you can get finned pads, make of that what you will…

    JackHammer
    Member

    I am not an Engineer, but… (heheheheh)

    I think if finned pads are going to work the one piece designs (a la Shimano) are going to be the best in terms of heat dissipation, than the ones you can get replacement pads for the finned bits. Anecdotal evidence also from the computer world where you have to use thermal paste/grease between heatsinks and CPUs to get heat to transfer. The last thing you want is grease near your pads so I haven’t tried it.

    I use the finned pads and they seem to last better for me than super star or uber bike pads, whether thats because they’re OEM from Shimano I do not know. I also have ice tech rotors so maybe that’s a factor too.

    Milkie
    Member

    Do I replace like for like or go with the cheaper normal pads? I can buy almost four sets of these for the price of two finned.

    I would buy OEM pads, they have always lasted longer for me, whether it’s SRAM/Hope/Shimano brakes. For example, friends were replacing their pads (SS & Uber) every week, I am still on my original pads after 5 weeks in Whistler. I don’t know why, but I seem to go easy on pads, but have never had a set last this long.

    Does the Ice-Tech stuff work… I would say it does. The only times I have overheated my brakes is following slower riders down very long decents. Pila > Aosta springs to mind. I haven’t overheated my Ice-Tech setup yet, nor has the bite point changed, which is usually the first indicator that things are getting hot, but I haven’t done Pila > Aosta in a slow train yet, but have followed some slow riders down some awesome long descents.

    Premier Icon deadkenny
    Subscriber

    Bigger discs and larger braking surface (including bigger pads on 4 pots) probably has more benefit than finned pads.

    I also wonder about the bite of some brakes. Harder grip on long descents, more heat, more wear. Maybe that’s the brakes (binary brakes vs modulating brakes) or rider technique (feathering vs grabbing).

    Not convinced about multi-material discs, Ice Tech etc. Theory of ali conducting heat better is okay but it has to get there from the steel surface and it’s sandwiched in so where does the heat go then? Via the carrier, which has small points of contact via bolts? Single steel piece on a large vented rotor is just dissipate to air or via the hub (can’t see the hub having a problem with the heat).

    On the anecdotal experience, long descents in the alps, my not boiling brakes vs boiling brakes from others (can smell it), and my rubbish visual evidence noticed a lot of (probably) mineral oil based brakes that were the boiling ones. Whether it’s the oil or the binary type brakes that some are, don’t know. Or just my bullshit research 😀

    As philjunior has said – with brake pads, the heat is already in the backing plate, and the fins will help suck it out.  In those RAM modules, the heat is in the tiny silicon wafer which would normally have been transferred straight to the chip casing and to the atmosphere, and they’ve added a far larger chunk of metal on top of it because they can’t get the metal into where it’s needed.  Also, the chip should be operating at about 20-30 degrees above ambient, rather than 100-200 above like brakes.  I would imagine this changes the heat transfer characteristics of the setup.

    I have to admit I didn’t consider the fans inside a PC to get air moving, but yes – I was referring to moving air dissipating heat (and fins being a conductor). I have learned something new today!

    Finned pads don’t make your brakes work any better at all. That’s down to pad material.

    They do however, extend the range under which they normally operate under hard use, because they help to shed heat, assisting in preventing pad off gassing and vapour lock/fade by dumping more heat from the system than regular pads.

    Whether you notice this depends on what and how you ride, in what temperatures and how heavy you are and thus how hard you work your brakes.

    In the UK wet season I don’t bother with them, temps are low enough not to worry about excessive heat. I’m  90 kilos and there’s only one local descent where over heating and pad fade becomes a problem in the warmer months, and just swapping out regular to finned neatly dealt with the issue.

    I have also suffered in Spain, with 35 minute hairpin descents where it’s too steep and technical to give the brakes a rest, and ambient temps are heading toward 30 degrees.

    selaciosa
    Member

    With the Shimano pads, it’s not just the fins. The backing plates have different materials and copper pins to help dissipate the heat too. If you look at the cheaper pads it’s just the braking material attached to the plate. There is a clear difference in build and quality at least.

    I took a bit of a lecture from one of the Shimano mechanics at Tweedlove on it and took it with a bit of a pinch of salt. However a couple of weeks ago when out in the alps I got some discolouration and brake issues using cheap pads which when I swapped out to the finned Shimano ones didn’t return.

    Even if that is true, it doesn’t mean non shimano finned pads don’t function better than plain.They’re still in intimate contact with their backing plate because they’re bonded to it.

    Methinks your shimano spod was selling diminishing returns.

    alpin
    Member

    interesting….

    i’m not convinced about the Ice Tech rotors unless you are  racing and have a mechanic with a limitless supply to replace when needed.

    have now ordered standard pads due to time.

    but, as someone above said, Sram, Formul, Hope etc don’t bother with finned pads and seem to do ok.

    i think there is a bit of a “cool” factor going on with them. finned pads look more “pro”.

    having said that:

    Uber ones with replaceable inserts

    what are these like regarding performance and longevity? seem like a cheaper solution; prices seem reasonable.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    what are these like regarding performance and longevity?

    Like most things, you’ll get mixed reports, they’re fine for me though. The race matrix compound is good.

    Uber do discounts most public hols, so worth looking next time there’s a bank holiday 🙂

    (As said above though, its debatable that the fins actually do a lot, what with the brake pad sitting on a different piece of metal plate resting against the finned part. But hey ho, they look nice!)

    alpin
    Member

    👍 Cheers

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Blimey – Blacks have some semi-metallic pads for £3.20 at the mo! (unfinned)

    https://www.blacks.co.uk/equipment/297327-35bikes-semi-metal-brake-pads.html&#8221;

    (As said above though, its debatable that the fins actually do a lot, what with the brake pad sitting on a different piece of metal plate resting against the finned part. But hey ho, they look nice!)

    This is the most easy thing to check. Put your fingers on the fins at the bottom of a long decent.

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