The 5 Best Road Bike Brake Pads in 2021

Jan Poshenko
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The best road bike brake pads should be effective in stopping the bike, not causing too much noise, and not damaging the rims. You also want them to stop working when wet, and last the longest possible amount of time before they need replacing.

If you’ve ever experienced a grinding noise from your brakes, that’s a sign that you need new brake pads. Replacing them is easy and quick with these 3 easy steps.

I’ve reviewed the 5 best road bike brake pads on the market in order to help you find the ones that provide the best braking power, while staying smooth and quiet all the time.

Check out my top pick for best road bike brake pads below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What brakes are best on a road bike?

Road bike brakes come in different styles and configurations to suit riders of different tastes. As a rule, you should select a brake that corresponds to the terrain you ride on. A good source of information on the different types of brakes out there is an online custom bike builder calculator.

Caliper brakes are made of two hydraulic pistons that squeeze in on either side of a brake rotor. They are the most common option and are often preferred by those with caliper brakes on both their road and mountain bikes.

A clean and effective brake pad compound, such as organic or ceramic, is best for a road bike. Ceramic pads are very slippery and long-lasting, while organic pads are much easier to maintain and advance forward efficiently while in motion. Silicone pads are also good choices if you need an effective brake pad with a higher coefficient of friction to provide enough stopping power when wet.

What are the best V brake pads?

One of the most important question cyclists ask themselves simply is, ʬwhat are the best V brake pads? In many cases, the answer to this is that there isnʼt an actual best V-brake pad.

That is because what the best is for you depends on a number of factors that vary from person to person and make it difficult to have anything definitive be the best for everyone. For instance, some brands offer brake pads that are more sensitive than others whereas others have a longer lifespan.

However, for riders looking for something that is cheap and is easy to install, Tektro MD-C72 is the best value pick in the market.

For someone looking for the best V-brake pads for durability, Tektro PB-CX70 for Shimano, is a great bet. While they are harder to install, they have a more secure and longer lasting fit.

How long should bike brake pads last?

The answer is that it depends. According to many mechanics, it depends on the type of riding. A simple stopping distance can take 10 mm of pad material off, whereas an aggressive braking session can take off 30 mm.

If you ride for 2 hours a week with an average of 2 stops, then your pads should last up to 100 hours of normal riding. If you ride for 5 hours a week with an average of 4 stops, then your pads should last up to 80 hours of normal riding.

To increase the life span of your brake pads, avoid braking hard when you donʼt need to. This improves your gears and brakes by reducing your need to adjust and replace the brake pads and shoes.

Do all brake pads fit all bikes?

It used to be that a big selection of brake pads was widely available. Manufacturers generally gave you the option to choose from the “standard” Shimano pads, the Avid pads, or the Tektro brand.

Then, the industry started heading to a more unified approach under the Shimano brand. With this, the trend in brake pad selection started to reduce until the point where the “standard” SP01 Shimano brake pads became the only viable option.

This made brake pad selection easier for consumers in the sense that you no longer needed to evaluate the specifics of each brand, but it came with a steep downside in the form of a system that was less customizable.

It was also quite strange that Shimano didn’t produce brake pads for STI-style levers when the rest of their system was designed for it. This meant that if you had them, you were stuck with the standard SP01 brake pads.


As you’ve seen, not every set of brake pads will work for every bike. Before you invest in a new set, make sure to compare the sizes and contact points of your old set to the new ones. Another word of advice is to make sure that the model is adjustable as well. This will help you make further tweaks to your brakes if you feel the need to do so.

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