Frictive SRAM Level Brake Pads (FR205)
Brake pads are the most regularly replaced part of a mountain bike. Sadly, pads tend to be expensive and perform well OR cheap and perform poorly. These pads are different: they perform well at a reasonable price.
These brake pads are for brakes which fit SRAM Level pads. A list of brake models these pads are compatible with can be found on the tab above.
We spent five months testing a variety of brands under fifteen accomplished riders to find which brake pads we should bring to the NZ market. Frictive pads came out on top for performance and happen to be at a great price point. The test riders found their pad performance comparable to the big name brands you know and love.
Amusingly, after all of that testing it turned out that Frictive is NZ based, apparently we didn't need to look too far. We are stoked to see an NZ based brand offering good products and trying to address the generally overpriced market for braking products, something we can fully get on-board with.
Put simply, these pads perform well. We will refund you if you disagree. Easy as. Just let us know if you’re unsatisfied and we’ll sort the rest. Further details about the Performance Guarantee can be found here.
- Descriptions of the performance differences between pad compounds and answers to some frequently asked questions can be found on the tabs above
- We recommend that you try both pad compounds to get a feel for the differences so you can make an informed choice about your preferred compound. Even at downhill World Cups, different riders use different compounds as it's a personal preference. We’re excited to be able to offer these pads at prices that make personal pad testing possible for more riders!
Do I need Fins?
Probably not. Finned pads decrease the chance of fade in really heavy braking situations. Brake fade is the reduction in stopping power that occurs when brakes are very hot. Finned pads increase the convective surface area (the area exposed to air flow) of your braking system. An increased convective surface area increases the rate of heat dissipation, which in turn decreases the temperature that your brakes run at for a given amount of braking. A lower temperature for a given amount of braking means that fins decrease brake fade. Additionally, lower operating temperatures reduce the wear rate of the pads.
That is to say that fins can improve hot braking performance and decrease pad wear. But unless you experience brake fade, fins will not improve your braking performance noticeably. Most riders will never experience brake fade and thus will not benefit from finned pads. The slightly decreased wear rate of finned pads does not justify the large cost difference. Even the most experienced riders in our test group felt no need to “upgrade” to finned pads.
What compound should I run on an e-bike?
E-bikes are like normal bikes except they are roughly 10kg heavier. In terms of braking requirements, there is no difference between riding an e-bike and riding a normal bike after eating 10kg of pies. Contrary to what marketing may tell you, e-bikes don't require any special brake pad materials or rotor type.
We suggest you try Resin pads and Metallic pads to get a feel for the differences and then make a decision based on your own experiences. Refer to the “Compound Differences” tab for more information.
- Not compatible with non-AXS. Non-AXS use SRAM Road shape
- SRAM Force eTap AXS
- SRAM Red eTap AXS
- SRAM Level, T, TL, TLM B1 from 2020 model, Ultimate B1 from 2020 model
- SRAM DB (all models)
Avid Elixir 1, 3, 5, XX, XO (Not the trail models)
- Piccola Carbon
- CLEG 2
Resin tend to have slightly more bite when cold than Metallic. Metallic perform better at higher temperatures, i.e. very long descents
Resin have a progressive feel whereas Metallic are more on/off. It is easier to crawl down steep things without skidding with Resin
For a given amount of riding you would use roughly 3 pairs of Resin pads to each pair of Metallic
Resin are very quiet, Metallic are always a bit noisier. At high temperatures, or in the wet, Metallic sometimes screech (you know the sound)
Metallic tend to outperform Resin in the wet
Brake fade is the reduction in stopping power that occurs when brakes are very hot. Resin tend to fade at lower temperature than Metallic. That said, with these Resin pads we haven't been able to get fade in any situation - including the infamous Mt Oxford descent!
Rotor Wear Rate
Resin pads cause lower wear to your rotor than Metallic pads
Total Ongoing Costs
Even after accounting for the lower rotor wear rate from Resin pads, Metallic pads will cost you about half as much as Resin pads in the long term for total brake maintenance costs
To maximize the braking force from new pads it is important to bed them in systematically. It is tempting to forgo this step, but this will leave performance on the table. 'Just riding' a new pair of pads results in inferior braking compared to intentionally bedding in those same pads.
A good bedding in process transfers an even layer of brake pad material to the rotor. Pad material transferred to the rotor generates more friction with the pad than the rotor material does. Think about the difference between two grippy surfaces touching versus two slick surfaces. Bedding in your pads creates the best possible match between your pad and rotor surfaces. Which in turn maximizes braking force.
1) Clean your rotor with a non-residual cleaner like isopropyl alchohol (you can forgo this step if you don’t have any around)
2) Install pads
3) Install wheel
4) Pedal bike up to speed and apply your brakes with a consistent pressure (gently at first is best).
5) Take off brakes before you stop. Stopping fully ends up causing an uneven transfer of pad material
6) Repeat steps 4-5 ten to twenty times
It always surprises us how different the brakes feel after we’ve gone through this process. We do this on a downhill road (ideally at the top of a chairlift ;) ). Stops us having to pedal up to speed a bunch of times, which can make for a serious puff-fest!