We offer two types of brake pad compounds: Resin and Metal. Each compound has its own performance characteristics. There’s no better or worse compound, it’s really a game of trade-offs and it’s up to you to decide which is more suitable for you.
Resin pads are made from a blend of fibers bound together by a resin which makes for a comparatively soft pad compound. They have a progressive lever feel (well modulated) which allows you to precisely apply as much, or as little, braking force as you like. Resin pads are quieter than other pad compounds. The downfalls of Resin pads are their relatively low durability and reduced performance in extreme conditions. When resin pads are very hot, or very wet, their power is substantially reduced.
Metal pads are made from a metal powder that is fused together by heat in a process called sintering. The resulting friction compound is very hard which gives them great durability. Metal pads have consistent performance in all conditions including extreme heat and wet riding. The downfalls of Metal pads are that they have a more on/off feel (less modulation), they are noisier than resin pads and they wear rotors out faster.
Power, Durability and Noise are all easy to understand but the importance of modulation is more subtle. More modulation allows you to apply braking force with greater precision. The best level of modulation is your personal preference but there is good reason to have brakes with good modulation. The highest possible braking power occurs when your wheels are rotating but on the edge of skidding, modulation helps you do this. Modulation is particularly useful on steep loose chutes where you want to maximise braking power without skidding.
For most riders, one of the performance characteristics is a dealbreaker and immediately will decide which compound to use. Here are the main ones:
A) Are you a heavy (or aggressive) rider who brakes a lot on long descents? Get Metal
B) Do you hate the feeling of on/off brakes? Get Resin
C) Do you like riding in the wet regularly? Get Metal
D) Do you strongly dislike brake noise? Get Resin (note that they are loud when wet)
E) Do you want to minimise the cost of bike parts? Get Metal
If you desire performance characteristics that are more of a middle ground between Resin & Metal pads then consider using a mixed pair (one of each compound). A mixed pair allows you to get better modulation than Metal pads, with better hot/wet performance than Resin pads. Seems quirky but it’s common for world cup downhill racers. Just remember to use the Metal pad on the wheel side of the caliper as the inner brake pad tends to wear a bit quicker.