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I review quite a few products here in Hawaii. I'm always curious to check out something new or simply different from what many others are using. I've ordered a set of red label MTX pads (they're quite pricey) but if it's really that good, it'll be a worthwhile investment and I'll provide a review with my findings here. It will take a while since I tend to conduct testing over a few months before submitting a review.

I'm a long-time Shimano user that's been using SRAM Code RSC's for a few years and have a Dominion A4 set coming in to test. For years I've always known that you can have the state of the art braking system but when coupled with mediocre pads, you're not getting the best out of any brake system.

Here's just a few of my experiences with some a few of the pads I've tried.

SRAM Resin - These actually have a nice feel under partial braking, they perform better under the area below full and middle-zone braking power than SRAM Sintered giving you a little more power sooner. Under hard or extended DH runs, they will overheat and glaze rotors and are not particularly reliable (inconsistent) and noisy when wet.

SRAM Sintered - These are generally like Shimano Sintered pads. They're excellent at full braking power so these are the pads to get if you need peak braking power. These pads howl, they are the worst when it comes to noise when wet or contaminated. The issue with these pads are they wear out rotors faster than their organic counterparts due to the harder pad materials (metal). They don't provide much power when the brakes are cold (or cool) and requires higher temperatures to notice more power under partial or maximum braking power. I would only use these kinds of pads if I'm ever going to bomb down a tall mountain straight down where I have to be on the brakes almost full time, which is never the case. These pads are horrible when wet and the difference between dry and wet braking distance at full power is huge (bad).

Uberbike Race Matrix - These were recommended to me by UK riders and it seems to be a very popular brand. I'm not entirely sure what's in these pads but it is some sort of Kevlar blend. As with many Kevlar pads, they make a crunching, plastic-scraping sound when used. They perform very good in the dry, very consistent and strong feel, but they can make some noise when wet but not to the extent of Sintered pads. The issue I had was simply getting used to the sound. The brakes will work just fine but for some reason my ears are telling me something unusual is going on. This was the first real upgrade I would use in place of the above two.

Gorilla Ceramic Nanotech - I came across these pads when I was in search of ceramic pads. For some reason these pads took longer to bed in than I expected, even after 15 cycles of bedding runs, I didn't notice much improvement. I took these to the trails and went on a decent that spanned a few miles to bed them in. Mid-way, they finally felt a lot better and when I shuttled back up to try a real run, I noticed they were similar to the UB-RM pads above but with a different (more subtle, quiet) sound. When wet, these will make a small amount of sound but nothing major. Performance is similar to the pad above. I'm of the opinion that these are some sort of hard ceramic compound. What's nice about ceramic-based pads is they leave less black colored brake dust (because the dust is actually white).

Discobrakes Ceramic Pro - I was skeptical because these are priced really cheap. This is their softer ceramic compound. I was actually surprised at how good these pads are. This is the first pad I've used that exceled at partial, mid and full braking power and in my tests, they were better than all the pads above. Braking distance dry vs wet was around 1 feet, and they were completely silent despite drowning my calipers with water. IMHO these are the pads to beat as they cover all the areas. They're cheap, they're silent, and they perform negligibly close wet or dry. They're my current pad of choice and I haven't found anything that comes close. Like Gorilla, these pads make the appearance of having less brake dust but the dust is white and less noticeable. The only flaw is, these pads are almost always out of stock, and when they are, people buy them out in bulk. Of all the pads, these pads are the most powerful and have the shortest braking distance. Disco does state that life expectancy is shorter than their other pads but my testing shows they tend to wear no worse than any other non-organic pad material unless you have undersized rotors which will wear out pads faster than those using larger rotors.

MTX Red Label pads are something I'm looking forward to testing. Discobrakes' Ceramic Pro compound is very hard to beat, they already excel at the sound, wet/dry performance areas and the price. Even if the MTX pads perform identically the same to the Discobrakes Ceramic Pro, in the end the price will determine whether $32.99 for a set of MTX pads over $12.19 USD for Discobrakes is a reason to switch. Disco doesn't make Ceramic Pro for every brake system out there and in the end that may be the only reason to use MTX should you be in the search for ceramic-based pads.
Do you have a YouTube channel? You're the type of reviewer I look for; checking out stuff outside the norm.
 

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Can anyone compare the fade characteristics of the gold pads vs stock sram sintered? I only get real fade in my rear brake on code RSCs on long extended downhills (lever starts pulling closer to the bar), all other times the stock sintered works well.

I’m 240lbs geared up, and ride steep/loose downhills in SoCal and bike park occasionally, so I figure I should go straight for gold. Really looking for something that won’t fade on long descents


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Do you have a YouTube channel? You're the type of reviewer I look for; checking out stuff outside the norm.
Not at the moment, I mostly write my reviews but I'm considering creating a channel, but time is something I don't have at the moment. I appreciate your response to my post.

Can anyone compare the fade characteristics of the gold pads vs stock sram sintered? I only get real fade in my rear brake on code RSCs on long extended downhills (lever starts pulling closer to the bar), all other times the stock sintered works well.

I’m 240lbs geared up, and ride steep/loose downhills in SoCal and bike park occasionally, so I figure I should go straight for gold. Really looking for something that won’t fade on long descents


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I can't speak for the Gold pads, however I would recommend that you upsize your rotors. Before I go into that, let me explain what's going on.

A brake system is nothing more than an energy conversion device. It converts energy of motion (kinetic) into heat through friction. So, the faster the brakes can convert friction into heat and dissipate it, the more effective your brakes will be.

Fade is the result of the brake system being "heat soaked" and in hydraulic systems, it's also likely that the heat has made its way past the caliper piston and into the caliper body itself, heating up and causing the brake fluid to boil, which causes gases to be trapped in the system, leading to a spongy brake lever feel. Sintered pads are metallic, so they are heat conductive unlike ceramic which is a heat (thermal) insulator. The latter makes is harder for heat to make it past the pads into the caliper and fluid. Kevlar is another kind of material that is a heat insulator rather than a conductor.

Larger rotors have more leverage, which means the pads have to work less to achieve the same power than using a rotor of a smaller size. It's also a good idea to increase the thickness of the rotor. Upgrading from 1.8mm to 2mm increases the heat capacity and strength of the rotors. The larger surface area allows it to become a better "heatsink".

I'm 180lbs full kit and I'm not confident using something like 180mm in the rear. For todays' steep and long DH runs, I think they're simply not good enough and you're 240lbs. I would definitely look into a 200 (or 203mm) rotor in the back if it will fit, with the necessary adapters to make it work. The front should be a 220 (or 223mm) rotor. Both should be 2mm thick if possible.

The MTX pads are ceramic based, so they should transfer less heat to the caliper over the SRAM Sintered. However, more of the burden to get rid of heat will be shifted to the rotor.

SRAM Centerline rotors are okay but not ideal for heat management over the long term. If you're on an eMTB, Magura MDR-P 220mm rotors are a good investment. If you have a regular bike, Galfer's rotors manage heat really well.
 

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Would these provide any more fade resistance than the sram centerline rotors?


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I think so, but I can never be absolutely sure, I'm sure you understand. SRAM Centerline rotors are generally okay for most riders, but it's lacking in a few things when you push it to the extreme. You don't have to be an overly aggressive rider necessarily and simply be a really big dude that puts a lot of stress on the rotors compared to a much lighter rider.

For aggressive riding and/or being a heavier rider, the Galfers seem to do a better job and I haven't seen (meaning I'm not saying it cannot happen) yet where it performs worse.

One customer was from South Africa, and he was saying that outside ambient temps can get into 120-130F, very low humidity and he had all sorts of heat related issues not just the brakes. In such a case, we did a few things like converting his suspension from air to coil, and upgraded the rotors by sizing up (he had 200f/180R) to 220/200 and going with Galfers. We haven't heard from him for a little over a year but the last email I had with him was it seemed to have resolved his issues.
 

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I think so, but I can never be absolutely sure, I'm sure you understand. SRAM Centerline rotors are generally okay for most riders, but it's lacking in a few things when you push it to the extreme. You don't have to be an overly aggressive rider necessarily and simply be a really big dude that puts a lot of stress on the rotors compared to a much lighter rider.

For aggressive riding and/or being a heavier rider, the Galfers seem to do a better job and I haven't seen (meaning I'm not saying it cannot happen) yet where it performs worse.

One customer was from South Africa, and he was saying that outside ambient temps can get into 120-130F, very low humidity and he had all sorts of heat related issues not just the brakes. In such a case, we did a few things like converting his suspension from air to coil, and upgraded the rotors by sizing up (he had 200f/180R) to 220/200 and going with Galfers. We haven't heard from him for a little over a year but the last email I had with him was it seemed to have resolved his issues.
Gotcha, makes sense. I’m thinking it could be just the sintered pads retaining heat throughout a long DH run causing the fade too, maybe the mtx ceramic would be good to try instead of metallic


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Gotcha, makes sense. I’m thinking it could be just the sintered pads retaining heat throughout a long DH run causing the fade too, maybe the mtx ceramic would be good to try instead of metallic


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I'm sure you know Sintered pads are another name for metallic pads. They are heat conductive so they're prone to more temperature changes and as you've said, retain heat more than help remove it.

Fade is nothing more than degrading performance due to heat soak. The brakes convert energy at motion into heat to slow the bike. However when the brakes aren't able to get rid of heat fast enough, heat continues to build until no more heat can be moved off the bike which makes them perform worse.

Some brakes like Shimano offer finned pads to help keep temps down, however we really haven't seen the kind of improvement most people might believe they're getting, the difference is very small from our tests. We find that the main work for removing heat is the rotor.

In actual concept, you don't want the brake pads to do the job of removing heat as sintered pads actually require a higher temp in order to work best. This means they work poorly even compared to a OEM resin pad when cold. The "window" of where sintered pads will outshine other kinds of pads is very, very tiny. Outside of that range, our experiences show that it's less effective than other kinds of pads.

So here's a few points to consider:

1. Larger rotors. There's simply no better option when it comes to combatting fade. Larger rotors have more leverage, which means the pads will have to work a little less to give you the same stopping power as using a smaller rotor. Also, the larger surface area helps manage heat better.

2. Thicker rotors. As minor as it may seem, an increase from 1.8 to 2mm increases the heat capacity of the rotor.

3. Kevlar or Ceramic blend pads. Just because it's kevlar or ceramic doesn't mean it's inherently better. Some pads are simply not that good, but if I were to make a recommendation...

  • Uberbike Race Matrix pads (kevlar blend)
  • Discobrakes Ceramic Pro (this is their softer, higher wearing ceramic blend pad)

4. Proper brake maintenance. Even the best brakes on the market can perform poorly if not maintained properly. This doesn't simply mean bleeding brakes. This also or more often means looking at the pads (remove and inspect them) and look at how they are wearing. For example, if one pad has a lot more "meat" on them than the other, this might be a sign of a need to re-balancing the pistons so that all pistons come out at the same rate and distance before touching the rotor. You'd be impressed at how simply rebalancing the pistons can really do for you without any further changes.
 

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I'm sure you know Sintered pads are another name for metallic pads. They are heat conductive so they're prone to temperature changes and as you've said, retain heat more than help remove it.

Fade is nothing more than degrading performance due to heat soak. The brakes convert energy at motion into heat to slow the bike. However when the brakes aren't able to get rid of heat fast enough, heat continues to build until no more heat can be moved off the bike which makes them perform worse.

Some brakes like Shimano offer finned pads to help keep temps down, however we really haven't seen the kind of improvement most people might believe they're getting, the difference is very small from our tests. We find that the main work for removing heat is the rotor.

In actual concept, you don't want the brake pads to do the job of removing heat as sintered pads actually require a higher temp in order to work best. This means they work poorly even compared to a OEM resin pad when cold. The "window" of where sintered pads will outshine other kinds of pads is very, very tiny. Outside of that range, our experiences show that it's less effective than other kinds of pads.

So here's a few points to consider:

1. Larger rotors. There's simply no better option when it comes to combatting fade. Larger rotors have more leverage, which means the pads will have to work a little less to give you the same stopping power as using a smaller rotor. Also, the larger surface area helps manage heat better.

2. Thicker rotors. As minor as it may seem, an increase from 1.8 to 2mm increases the heat capacity of the rotor.

3. Kevlar or Ceramic blend pads. Just because it's kevlar or ceramic doesn't mean it's inherently better. Some pads are simply not that good, but if I were to make a recommendation...

  • Uberbike Race Matrix pads (kevlar blend)
  • Discobrakes Ceramic Pro (this is their softer, higher wearing ceramic blend pad)

4. Proper brake maintenance. Even the best brakes on the market can perform poorly if not maintained properly. This doesn't simply mean bleeding brakes. This also or more often means looking at the pads (remove and inspect them) and look at how they are wearing. For example, if one pad has a lot more "meat" on them than the other, this might be a sign of a need to re-balancing the pistons so that all pistons come out at the same rate and distance before touching the rotor. You'd be impressed at how simply rebalancing the pistons can really do for you without any further changes.
Very in depth explanation, thank you! Already running the max rotor size in the rear (200mm), but I will look into the Kevlar blend pads as well. Appreciate the help, very informative!


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Very in depth explanation, thank you! Already running the max rotor size in the rear (200mm), but I will look into the Kevlar blend pads as well. Appreciate the help, very informative!


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I hope it works out for you. The UB Race Matrix pads were recommended to me by riders from the UK region and it turned out to be pretty good.
 
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