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The right brake pads are important both on your professional bike and on your private city bike. They ensure safety in road traffic or off-road and are a major component of your bicycle. You should not neglect this part of the bike, as it could otherwise get you into trouble being able to brake properly in a dangerous situation. So when they wear out, they should be replaced as a matter of urgency.
But which are the right ones for your bike? There are many to choose from, and it is not unimportant to select the right brake pads. We will help you to get an overview of the whole range of different brake pads. In our Shimano brake pads test 2023 we want to introduce the Shimano brake pads in more detail. We will provide you with important information about the different types of brake pads and the factors you should consider before buying. With the help of our test article, you should be able to find the right brake pad for your bike.
- Fitting the right brake pads should not be underestimated. If a brake pad is not fitted correctly, it can not only put the bike in danger, but also yourself in the event of a fall.
- The material of brake pads plays a decisive role in road cycling as well as mountain biking due to the heat resistance as well as the weight.
- Shimano’s specially developed cooling fins through the ICE technology, ensure an even heat balance at the points where the brake pads come into contact with either the discs or the rims.
The Best Shimano Brake Pads: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying Shimano brake pads
What distinguishes Shimano brake pads from other manufacturers?
This new design from Shimano ensures longer pad life, no noise when braking and less fading, the so-called diminishing of braking efficiency. In addition, this new technology can score points with cyclists due to its lower weight.
At what prices are Shimano brake pads sold?
Shimano’s resin brake pads, on the other hand, are cheaper and range in price from €8 to €20. There are also Shimano brake pads made of rubber especially for rim brakes, which vary in price from €4 to €10.
|Resin (organic)||15€ to 30€|
|Sinter (metallic)||8€ to 20€|
|Rubber (organic)||4€ to 10€|
What is the difference between Shimano brake pads with or without cooling fins?
But it is not only in the braking power that the extra built-in cooling fins can be felt, but also due to the larger surface area it gives more stability when riding and provides more control over the bike.
The wear volume of Shimano brake pads is also minimised beyond their service life by the cooling fins, as the temperatures generated during braking are lowered by the cooling fins.
What alternatives are there to Shimano brake pads?
Brake pads from Quaxar
The manufacturer Quaxar also has years of experience in the bicycle industry. Quaxar therefore offers a guarantee of high quality and a good price-performance ratio. The large variety of colours and shapes offers the possibility to find your own suitable brake pad. Like Shimano, Quaxar also differentiates between brake pads made of sinter, resin or semi-metallic brake pads.
Shimano and Quaxar do not differ in price. The brake pads are less than 10€. The manufacturer differentiates its brake pads in the areas of mountain bike parts, e-bike parts and trekking bike parts. If you do not value Shimano’s ICE technology, we recommend buying brake pads from Quaxar.
Brake pads XLC
The well-known manufacturer XLC also offers high-quality brake pads. The brake pads are known for their easy installation and outstanding braking performance. These pads should hardly make any rubbing or squeaking noises, which is also an advantage. Like Shimano, XLC makes a distinction between rim and disc brakes.
Shimano makes a third distinction, namely roller brakes. The price-performance ratio of the XLC brake pads is excellent and the installation is very easy. In the end, this saves you precious time and money to continue your cycling.
Are spare parts and accessories for Shimano brake pads available?
Decision: What types of Shimano brake pads are there and which is the right one for you?
If you want to buy Shimano brake pads, you can choose between different types from this manufacturer. Shimano offers the advantage of being able to find the right brake pad for a wide range of preferences. These are:
- Disc brake pads
- Rim brake pads/ hydraulic rim brakes
- Roller brakes
In the following descriptions, we will explain in which aspects Shimano makes the difference and which advantages and disadvantages they have.
What are disc brake pads and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
Shimano disc brake pads are known to withstand high loads and are therefore the right brake pad for those who use their bike often. Demanding off-road rides and the frequent transport of heavy luggage pose no problems for Shimano disc brake pads, according to the manufacturer. Rim brake pads from the manufacturer are suitable for your bike if you go on light and fast tours.
With disc brakes, the Shimano brake pads press on the so-called mounted discs on the bike. A precise distance must be maintained so as not to lose any braking power. Repairing and fitting such discs often requires specialist knowledge, which is why many people opt for Shimano rim brakes.
For disc brakes in general, the high repair effort is a negative aspect, because especially on long rides it can affect the continuation of the ride, as few stands are specialised in disc brakes. That’s why there are Shimano service centres, where highly qualified specialists will help you with the repair. Overheating is defined differently for disc brakes and their pads: disc brakes can dissipate heat better. In addition, Shimano’s ICE TECHNOLOGY provides a new type of cooling effect.
If you ride a lot off-road despite this, you should switch to larger discs, which reduces overheating even more. Disc brake pads are heavier in the sense that the extra mounted discs from Shimano add a certain weight. However, weight is important when the bike is carried or when every gram is taken into account to increase speed.
According to the manufacturer Shimano, the system while riding plays a significant role. For simple city or nature rides, for example, it is important to keep your own body weight, but the additional weight of the Shimano discs does not make a difference and is therefore not a disadvantage.
What are rim brake pads or hydraulic rim brake pads and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
The difference in the construction of both brake pads is that the rim brake pads of the manufacturer Shimano press their so-called brake shoes directly onto the rim. Since both sides, i.e. rim and brake shoe, suffer from constant pressure and the replacement of rims is a large investment, rim brake pads are often criticised.
In wet conditions, however, Shimano disc brakes have a clear advantage, because rim brakes can often lose braking power in rain and dirt. Moreover, the actual task of a bicycle’s rims is to carry the tyres.
Due to the double use, i.e. carrying the tyres and braking the speed, the rims are subjected to double stress and thus wear out more quickly. Due to this wear, the rim loses material and can no longer fulfil its own function. On Shimano brake pads, certain markings indicate whether too much material has been worn off and whether it is necessary to replace the rims.
Ceramic-coated rims from the manufacturer are comparatively expensive, but clearly last longer. Another danger with rim brakes and their pads is overheating. If downhill riding is preferred and the brake is used continuously, the overheating of the pads can cause the tyre to burst. Therefore, according to Shimano, caution is advised. Rim brakes and their pads, on the other hand, can score points with the weight due to the discs not being used.
With Shimano’s hydraulic brake pads, the only difference is that it is a hydraulic brake and therefore the power is also hydraulic. Due to the fluid in the brake line, there is less friction and due to the better dosage, there is a higher braking force, according to the manufacturer.
What are roller brake pads and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
The so-called Roller Brake – Shimano Inter M system by Shimano, which includes a roller and cam mechanism, has a special brake pad. This brake pad is V-shaped, also called V-brake, and ensures increased and precise contact with the disc brakes.
As a result, the braking power is higher. Shimano’s V-shaped brake pad, which is equipped with a heat sink to better dissipate heat, offers a longer service life because less fading occurs.
The Shimano company has equipped the brake pads with so-called sealing channels that repel wetness and protection, thus enabling use even in damp weather and sandy terrain without any problems. The Roller Brake – Shimano Inter M technology differentiates the brake pads in Road, MTB, Trekking and riding style in general, in order to completely meet the requirements and challenges of the different styles.
Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate Shimano brake pads
Shimano brake pads are available in a wide variety of designs. The individual product variants can be distinguished according to the following criteria:
In the following paragraphs, we explain what the individual criteria for Shimano brake pads are.
The material of Shimano brakes is not only decisive for the brake pads but also for the carrier plates on which the pads are located. In the following we have summarised what you should pay attention to, so that the material for your carrier plates as well as for the brake pads fit together.
Brake pad material
Shimano’s brake pads are made of different materials, which have different advantages and disadvantages. In the following, we have provided you with a small overview of all materials:
- Sintered metal
The organic material of a Shimano brake pad can be differentiated as follows. It can either consist of various fibres of organic materials such as rubber, carbon or even glass or of so-called fillers such as synthetic resins, which are particularly heat-resistant. These have the following advantages and disadvantages:
Metallic brake pads from Shimano, which in most cases consist of sintered metals, are pressed from various granulates in the manufacturer’s production halls. Not every manufacturer produces them like Shimano, which means that the compositions differ in most cases. Nevertheless, there are similar advantages and disadvantages:
Semi-metallic brake pads from Shimano consist of mixtures of different metals as well as graphite, binders or fillers. The manufacturer thus tries to minimise both disadvantages and combine the advantages of organic and metallic pads:
Material of backing plates
Like Shimano’s brake pads, the manufacturer’s backing plates can be made of different materials, which in turn have different advantages and disadvantages. In the following we have provided you with a small overview of all Shimano materials:
If you think it is unimportant which material the carrier plate is made of, you are wrong. According to the manufacturer, its task is not only to hold the pad and give the bike stability at exactly that point, but also to direct and control the heat transfer through the brakes to the braking system.
The manufacturer’s goal was to transmit as little heat as possible to the braking system so as not to damage it. This is why the so-called cooling fins are also offered on aluminium plates, which ensure faster cooling.
It is important to pay attention to the exact purpose for which the brake pads from Shimano are needed. According to the manufacturer, the load as well as the weight is important, which should not be ignored for racing bikes or steep slopes in mountain biking. Shimano distinguishes between the following different areas in which special brake pads have been developed:
- Trekking bike
- Road bike
- Mountain bike
Braking in Shimano brake pads should be done for this reason, because a brake pad is never one hundred percent even after production. Even the smallest unevenness, which cannot be corrected in any production process, causes increased heat development due to friction. In addition, only a low braking force is provided, which can ultimately lead to danger.
To brake in, you should take the first ride as a test ride and use the brakes to the full. This works best on a steeper slope, where you apply the brakes with full force after reaching higher speeds. After a short time you will notice that the braking power increases. Note: You should not let the brake pads drag, but apply pressure.
The installation of Shimano brake pads can be done in short, simple steps:
- Step: Dismantling the wheel
- Step: Removing the guide bolt and removing the old brake pads
- Step: Press out and clean the brake piston
- Step: Press the brake pistons back into position with brake fluid
- Step: Insert the new brake pads
- Step: Fitting the guide piston
- Checking the brake disc for wear
- Installing the wheel
- Centring the brake caliper
- Braking in the brake
It is important to check the Shimano brake pads regularly to avoid damage to the bike, according to the manufacturer.
Brake pad structure
The structure of Shimano brake pads is easy to explain. The brake pads consist of the actual pad and the carrier plate to which the pad is attached. Each individual part can be made of different materials. The Shimano backing plates are either made of aluminium, steel or titanium.
It is also important to distinguish between brake pads with or without cooling fins, which are also attached to the backing plate. On a bicycle with Shimano brakes, the carrier plate is located exactly between the brake pad and the brake piston.
To find out the wear limit of your Shimano brake pads, you need a close eye. By pulling the brake lever, you can observe the distance between the brake disc and the springs. At this point you will also see the brake pad, which you can then either measure yourself or look for the markings.
Shimano put these markings on their brake pads in order to be able to read the exact degree of wear. Constantly checking the wear limit is important when brakes are in heavy use to avoid further damage and scratching of your bike. The manufacturer recommends replacing the brake pads more often, as they are the most cost-effective part of the bike.
Interesting facts about Shimano brake pads
Now that you have collected enough information about Shimano brake pads, we would like to give you some more information. If you already own Shimano brake pads, you might find some valuable tips here.
Since when and where does Shimano produce brake pads?
Shimano established its first headquarters and production facility in Sakai in 1921. The current 2500 employees ensure excellent work with the help of robots and special machines. In 1972, the first European headquarters opened in Düsseldorf, which has now grown into a huge company worldwide. Shimano has expanded to 14 factories in 8 different countries, employing over 9000 people around the world.
How popular are Shimano brake pads?
The manufacturer Shimano is at the top of the list of potential manufacturers for bicycle components and accessories due to its reliability in quality and customer service. The great variety of new technologies, which are developed exclusively in Japan, inspire customers worldwide. The Shimano company also scores with innovative and new products for every kind and type of bicycle.
Since the company develops its ideas exclusively in the mother country Japan, in order to protect them from being copied, the different use of bicycles in all countries is nevertheless taken into account.
This means that in Japan the bicycle is used more for short distances, whereas in Germany it is used as a means of long-distance transport. This means that the manufacturer not only appeals to customers in Germany, but also has many regular customers abroad who recommend these products.
What is the warranty for Shimano brake pads?
The manufacturer divides the warranty period into two components. On the one hand, there is a 2-year guarantee for unused products and a 12-month guarantee for used products. It is important to keep the receipt or invoice, because without it you cannot claim under the guarantee.
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