DP Brake Pads | Review

DP Brakes SDP Sport HH+ brake pads feature a plasma-applied, ceramic heat shield on the backside. This minimizes heat transfer to the brake fluid for no fade and great feel.
DP Brakes SDP Sport HH+ brake pads feature a plasma-applied, ceramic heat shield on the backside. This minimizes heat transfer to the brake fluid for no fade and great feel.

Next to zipping right along, my favorite thing to do on a motorcycle is slow down—rapidly, on demand. Doing that at track days had worn my front brake pads. The slow-speed maneuvering skills I learned in a Ride Like a Pro course had taxed the rears. To refresh the pads and kick up braking performance, I replaced the OEM brake pads with DP Brakes SDP Sport HH+ pads.

DP Brakes says it developed this particular compound for street use “to provide an industry high HH+ friction rating with consistent, powerful, controllable braking performance together with low lever effort, no noise, low rotor wear and reduced dust.” (The friction rating for the matching rear pads is GG.)

Significantly, DP Brakes engineered these pads to prevent brake fade. Brakes convert stopping force into heat, and you don’t want that heat getting transferred to the brake fluid. When brake fluid gets too hot it boils, forming gas bubbles that, unlike fluid, can be compressed. You can feel the compression—brake fade—when your brake lever pulls back to the handlebar as you lose stopping power. To prevent heat transfer and brake fade, DP Brakes uses a high-tech, plasma-applied, ceramic heat shield on the backside of these pads. Ceramic is an excellent insulator…just ask your local astronaut.

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DP Brake Pads
DP Brakes says it doesn’t use a wear indicator groove since it’s typically difficult to interpret without removing the pads, which tends to negate the need for one.

SDP Sport HH+ pads are available for most late model sportbikes and models for which performance is a prime requirement. The Application Guide for all DP Brakes resembles a phonebook (remember those?) and includes sintered brake pads for practically every make of motorcycle, scooter and ATV.

Reading through the Application Guide, I learned that DP Brakes invented sintered brake pads for motorcycle applications. The majority of today’s bikes come standard with sintered pads and brake rotors designed to work with them, but DP Brakes is the only aftermarket supplier that offers sintered pads exclusively. Compared to organic brake pads, sintered pads handle heat better, stop faster (especially when wet), last longer and perform better across a wider variety of riding conditions. Since I zip right along in dry and wet, hot and cold, and light and loaded conditions, sintered brake pads are the smart choice for me.

DP Brake Pads
Ready for new binders.

After carefully inspecting, cleaning and lubricating the brake calipers, I installed new SDP Sport HH+ pads up front and matching GG rated pads in back. Fresh brakes are always nice, but compared to the OEM pads the improvement goes beyond just fresh pads. After a short break in, I’m finding stronger initial bite and a firmer brake lever overall. My seat-of-the-pants meter is recording shorter stops. That hard-to-quantify characteristic called “feel” is noticeably better, making the brakes easier to control.

All of this is great for slowing down rapidly, on demand.

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