How Long Do MTB Brake Pads Last?

I love riding my mountain bike, especially in challenging terrains. However, I know that maintaining my bike is the key to enjoying every ride. One particular component I’m mindful of is my brake pads. If they’re not in top condition, things could turn out badly on the road. So, I often check if they need cleaning or replacement since they can wear out fast.

But how long do MTB brake pads last? I put in around 900 miles before changing into new ones, while some people replace them after 100 miles or so. It also depends on the type of brake pad you’re using. Resin pads usually get around 500-700 miles, while sintered metal pads wear out after 1,000-1,250 miles.

Overall, many factors contribute to brake pads wearing out quickly. If you want to learn more about maintaining them, I’ll share everything you need to know in this guide.

Different Factors That Affect Life Expectancy of Brake Pads

The time it takes for your brake pads to wear out depends on the following factors:

Braking Style

Do you hit the brakes strongly and abruptly? Do you use them frequently? If you answered ‘yes,’ you could wear out your brake pads quickly.

Your braking style primarily impacts your brake pads’ condition and longevity. Besides using them when necessary, avoid leaning forward when braking as it puts more stress on the brakes. Instead, lean back to help them reduce speed.


Temperature plays a huge factor in your brake pads’ condition, and it could take a toll on your pads if you live in an extremely hot or cold climate.

Hot weather and sunlight can make the pads crack and dry out. Meanwhile, the cold can cause them to harden, erode, or corrode. Cleaning them prolongs their lifespan regardless of the weather.


Riding your MTB on rough terrain also strains your brake pads. Aside from this, sand, rocks, and mud also damage them. Unfortunately, dirtying them is inevitable. So, always make sure they’re clean and dry to maintain them.


Your weight affects your brake pads since a heavier load puts more pressure on them when braking. If you’re on the heavy side, consider getting a bike supporting heavier weight. For example, since most tall people weigh more, try to get mountain bikes suitable for 6-foot people.

Brake Pad Type

Your pad’s lifespan depends on its type and quality. Ideally, get a quality brake pad made with durable material to ensure a longer life. I’ll discuss the different brake pads in the next section.

Types of Brake Pads

The two brake pads are rim brake pads and disc brake pads.

Rim brake pads are lightweight brakes clamped onto the wheel’s rim. They provide strong braking power, but they’re more prone to wear. When the pad’s grooves or teeth wear down, it’s a sign to replace them.

Meanwhile, disc brake pads use 3-4 millimeters of a compound to stop the rotor from spinning. They’re the most common and strongest brake pad available and include three kinds of disc brake pads.

Organic resin pads use soft pads to reduce heat and noise. They’re ideal for dry conditions, flat roads, and lower temperatures. In contrast, sintered metallic pads use metallic materials that produce more noise and braking power. Try this for wet conditions, higher temperatures, and muddy terrain.

Lastly, semi-metallic brake pads incorporate organic and metallic materials for better durability in most conditions and terrains. However, these usually cost more.

How to Care For and Maintain Brake Pads

Aside from the factors listed above, one main cause for worn-out brake pads is dirt from grease, mud, and sand. So, I make it a habit to check and clean my brake pads regularly, especially after long, strenuous rides, to prolong their lifespan.

When cleaning, wipe them with a cloth infused with alcohol. Then, I like to use fine sandpaper to remove residue and even out the pad. Afterward, wipe it with a wet cloth and let it dry. While drying, I use a degreaser on the tablets, rinse them, and dry them.

I also clean the disc brakes and calipers to ensure my pads don’t get dirty as soon as I assemble them back to the wheel.

Overall, cleaning your brake pads regularly, practicing proper braking form, and using a suitable type of brake pad can all help maintain and prolong pads. See more tips for easy bike maintenance.

When to Change Brake Pads

I recommend changing your brake pads if you encounter one or more of the following:

  • The pads become worn or thin.
  • They have a thickness of fewer than 1.5 millimeters.
  • They produce a high-pitched squeal when used.
  • The pads stop gripping.
  • They have uneven stopping power.


What Is the Difference Between Disc and Rim Brakes?

Disc brakes and rim brakes primarily differ in their position and the wheel part they’re stopping.

You can find a disc brake at the center of the wheels, where it can squeeze against the rotor. Meanwhile, rim brakes sit on the frame on top of the wheel and put pressure against the bike’s rim when applied.

How Hard Is It to Change Brake Pads?

Changing brake pads on your bike only takes a few minutes. Since brake pads are small and light, you can carry spares every ride should something happen.

How Much Do Brake Pads Cost?

MTB brake pads cost around $4 to $132, depending on the brand, type, and quality you need. Always check the product description and review before buying a brake pad.

To Wrap Up

Brake pads last around 900-1,250 miles before changing. However, remember that it could last shorter depending on your braking style, weight, brake pad type, weather, and terrain.

Ultimately, take care of your brake pads to prolong their lifespan and keep you safe on the road.

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