Thursday, July 02, 2009

New brake pads for the ST3

I needed to get some new brake pads installed on the ST3 before I could do any more long rides. I went by the local Ducati dealer to inquire about new brake pads and I was floored by the price. I ended up getting EBC brand brake pads for the ST3 and saved hundreds of dollars. Yes, I said HUNDREDS of dollars. I was told by the Ducati dealer that the EBC brake pads would not last as long as the ones they wanted to sell me.

OK. I’m sure the Ducati brake pads are better but the way I see it, the EBC brake pads should last me at least 10,000 miles, probably more the way I ride. But even if they only lasted 5,000 miles, getting six sets of the EBC brake pads, that is still way cheaper than the one set of Ducati brake pads which are supposed to last 30,000 miles. Now, usually I do some research and shop around. But since 4 days ago I just got back from a 13 day ride and tomorrow I was heading back out on another multi-day ride, I purchased what I could easy get since I didn't even have time to get anything from the internet.

Dalton and I had a three day ride planed over 4th of July and we were leaving tomorrow morning. I needed to put these new brake pads on so he rode over to my house after work to help me install the new brake pads.

Unfortunately this week was a bit crazy. I didn’t have any time to wash the bike before heading back out with it tomorrow on yet another ride. It was pretty dirty after 13 days on the road and it would have to stay dirty for a few more days.

So why the emergency brake pad install on the ST3? Back in Illinois when I had my bike in for valve service I was told by the dealer to start thinking about new brake pads for the front - like, the bike needed new pads already. I honestly don’t think they had even checked the pads themselves, they probably looked the maintenance scheduled and were hoping that I’d agree to have them install new brake pads. The ST3 was at 26,000 miles back then and the brake pads were fine.

Taking the brake caliper off

There is still some life left in these old brake pads

The brakes on the ST3, even when the bike was brand new, were never as good as the brakes on my 954RR. The Honda stops on a dime and the the brake lever is firm. The Ducati’s brake lever was always kind of squishy.

Old stock brake pads (top) new EBC brake pads (bottom)

In the last thousand miles my brakes started to make a noise, a metallic sort of squeaking noise. The brake lever felt even more squishy then before. The brake fluid was fine. After I returned from the last ride I was pretty sure it was time for new pads but when I got the calipers off and we took the old brake pads out, the front pads were still OK. Since we had the old brake pads off I just decided to install the new pads. Not sure why the brakes on the ST3 were making noise, maybe the brake pads had some debris on them.

Inserting the new brake pads

Inserting the clip

Inserting the retaining pins

Inserting the cotter pins

1 - clip
2 - cotter pin
3 - brake pads
4 - retaining pins

After the new EBC brake pads were installed I took the bike for a short ride to make sure everything was working correctly. It was too early to tell if the new pads make any difference since you have to allow the new pads to bed in completely before any hard braking can be done. The brake lever still felt squishy but it might firm up after a while. If things didn’t improve in the next few hundred miles I was planning on bleeding the brakes.


Anonymous said...

Those "old" pads are like new. Don't throw them away. You need to use your brakes a little harder and get the glaze off. The noise just means they need cleaning.

Anonymous said...

Those grooves in the "old" pads are the wear indicators. When there are no grooves left then the pads need to be replaced.

Anna said...


The plan is to clean the original pads and put them back on the bike when the EBC pads ware out. I might get another 20-30,000 miles out of the original pads :)


Tom said...

You can deglaze "old" pads by wet sanding them with 220-400 "wet or dry" sand paper.
Every time brake pads are changed caliper`s pistons need to be cleaned up before they are pushed in.
Brake Parts Cleaner and ,let`s say,old tooth brush will do the job.
Otherwise dirty part of the piston may damage internal seals and negatively effect performance.

Payne said...

Hundreds of dollars for Ducati pads? Sheesh. You made the right decision by going with EBC; they make excellent pads that perform well and last a long time.


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more noise said...

Late post, not sure if you're a still an ST3 owner, but this still comes up when searching for ST3 brake pads. Thought I'd mention there's a lot of advice on the 'net for improving ST3 braking. Two main problems are the pads and disks getting build up of brake material, and the fact that the rotors are only semi-floating. One fix for the first issue is to pull the anti-rattle clips off the front pads, and replace the cotter pins with safety wire. For the second issue, you can either upgrade the stock rotors with floating buttons, or buy full floating rotors from a number of manufacturers.

Anna said...

more noise,

Yes, I still have the ST3. Good info. The braking never was as good as on my 954RR but I've gotten used to it over the last 5 years.