Saturday, January 8, 2011

Metal Crud in Bike Brake Pads

Metal flecks in bicycle brake pads

One bike mystery for me is where these little bits of metal come from that regularly get embedded in my brake pads (see above) and cause an unpleasant noise when braking, not to mention less braking action and more rim wear. Are some of these metal flakes from the rim itself? It seems likely, somehow, but also puzzling and troubling - why would that happen?

The above pads are only the second set I have installed on this bike - they are stock Shimano DuraAce/Ultegra pads. (The first set lasted around 4,000 miles - I don't ride in the rain on this bike.) Many folks recommend Kool Stop brake pads rather than Shimano - one forum entry even specified that Kool Stop would reduce this metal-flakes-in-brake-pads problem! So I guess my next set of brake pads will be some of these.

The pocket knife is the device I use for removing the small bits of metal. It may be the easiest bike maintenance task there is, but I don't much care for it.

1 comment:

  1. All of a sudden, I'm having the same problem and I can attribute it to maybe two things closely related. First, I now live in NYC and its dirty, which leads to the second, fenders. I put fenders on my bike because of the nasty road spray every time it rained. But I think that the fenders now channel dirt into my brake pads. I too thought that the bits were metal, but am now thinking it could be just little rocks coated with aluminum from the rims. irritating.