Product Test: DP Brakes
DP Brakes is not a familiar name to mountain bikers—yet. They have a 30-year history of making brake shoes and brake pads for motorcycles, and they have taken their expertise and technology to launch a line of mountain bike disc brake rotors and brake pads.
Tech features: Since we were using a long-travel trail bike as a test bed, we opted for the DP Brakes $19.95 XC Pro Sintered brake pads instead of the $16.95 XC Eco Organic brake pads, knowing that the Pros would offer more bite.
The XC Pro Sintered pads are made of a mix of metallic powders (absorb heat), refractory material (provide friction), friction modifiers (alter feel) and graphites (minimize rotor wear and eliminate noise). This concoction is mixed together, shaped and then sintered at high temperature and pressure.
We used an Avid Elixir CR brake for our test and decided it was best to use DP rotors instead of gamble on mating the DP pads to old rotors where contaminants could greatly affect the pads’ performance. Up front we used the $49.95 BMR 2 Series 7-inch-diameter rotor with a $36.96 6-inch-diameter BMR 1 Series rotor in the rear. Both rotors undergo a cryogenic treatment that causes the molecular structure of the 410 stainless steel to change. The cryogenic process supposedly changes more of the retained austenite (a larger softer crystal) into martensite (a smaller harder crystal). What should this mean? A longer rotor service life than an untreated rotor according to DP.
The two-piece front rotor and hard- ware weighed 5.1 ounces, while the one-piece rear rotor was 4.5 ounces. The brake pads came in at .7 ounces.
Field test results: You weight weenies will be thrilled to hear that swapping the stock pads for the DP pads saved a little over an ounce at each wheel. Installation was simple (that pretty much goes the same for swapping any brake pads).
We admit that we gave these brake pads a big advantage by replacing the rotors at the same time. Taking our time, we mated the pads to the rotors by doing a series of stops from 10 miles per hour, using steady pressure to the brake levers (instead of jamming on the brakes). We repeated this about 15 times.
Breaking in your brakes properly is the best way to get the most out of them. We enjoyed great modulation and plenty of stopping power for the rest of our evaluation. The pads remained quiet, except after a water crossing and even then they quieted down again after a few applications.
How long will they last? That depends on how you use your brakes, the terrain that you ride, and you and your bike’s weight. We expect to get a season out of our brake pads (for trail riding), and judging from the pads’ wear, we are confident that the DPs will match that service life.
The DP brake pads did everything a quality replacement pad is supposed to do. The extra star came because they shaved a bit of weight and they come in at a very competitive price over the stock pads.
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