Brake pads just like tyres are one of the most important pieces of equipment on the car, but 9 out of 10 times brake pads are forgotten and neglected until it hits the indicator and requires changing. Even then most workshops and mechanics will tell you that people either just want the cheapest pads, thinking it will do or think that the most expensive, high performance package is the right item for them. Either choice normally leads to a less than satisfactory experience. Being too noisy and dusty or the performance wasn’t there when it was required.

Just the other day I was looking through the forums for brake pad recommendations. After googling and hitting the search button on the forums I found some great threads of people posting up their recommendation with no real info. Just people blurting out brands names, without asking questions like, how the user was going to use his car or what the user expected from the pads. This left me wanting to know more.

Luckily, Tim our Bendix application engineer is only an email away and always happy to help. So with a pen and pad in hand and 30mins of scribing down some questions regarding Bendix Ultimate that I felt needed answers too, this is what he came back with.

Bendix Ultimate brake pad formula – is it a hard or soft compound?

"Hard or soft compound" is not useful or a meaningful terminology. People use these terms as a blanket to cover lots of very different properties - compressibility (as I discussed briefly in another thread), friction level, wear rates, and God knows what else.

Ultimate is generally quite low in compressibility, high in friction, and rather abrasive. The abrasive friction behavior causes rotor wear.

Are Bendix brake pads dusty? Is Bendix heavy duty a better option, for member who requires less dust?

As a whole, Bendix brake pads are very specifically NOT dusty. That is, we have our mainstream product line, General CT, which is not dusty. I think it's really important to squash any talk of "Bendix is dusty", because our core product absolutely isn't. On the other hand, Ultimate is dusty. Brake dust is mostly made up of rotor iron.

I have heard of Abrasive and Adhesive pads, what are they?

Abrasive friction turns rotors into brake dust. The simplest kind of friction is abrasive friction, where the two sliding components effectively grind each other to bits as they slide over one another. More sophisticated is adhesive friction, which is more of a viscous effect - the two components stick to each other than break apart and re-bond, continuously as they slide across each other. Abrasive friction causes wear to one or both parts; adhesive friction doesn't.

The problem then is that adhesive friction is very difficult to manage over a wide temperature range, because the adhesive properties of the materials change. At room temperature, you might get a good adhesive friction effect with something sticky like honey. But honey doesn't stay sticky when it warms up. So they have different compounds in the friction material to provide the adhesive friction behavior at different temperature ranges, resorting to abrasive friction as a fall-back option when the pads get too hot for normal operation. Generally with pads that are designed to use adhesive friction, the friction material starts to wear away rapidly at high temperatures.

Abrasive friction has a much wider temperature range. You can grip on cold concrete, and you can grip on glowing red hot concrete. But skidding on concrete wears things out.
Likewise with friction materials - that's the trade-off. In order to get high temperature performance, and especially to get stable friction across a wide range of temperatures, you're going to have to rely on abrasive friction. Abrasive friction causes wear. Wear causes brake dust.

For "users who require less dust", General CT is what they're looking for. General CT is what everybody is looking for, unless they have a particular need for sustained performance at very high temperatures.
Heavy Duty is all about low wear, especially under demanding conditions. It's less dusty than Ultimate, but Ultimate is more stable. For Heavy Duty, think taxis, work vans or for towing your boat/caravan, more than a real "drivers car".

Does Bendix Ultimate wear out rotors faster than other high performance pads?

No. There is some difference in rotor wear rate between high performance pads - some are slightly higher and some slightly lower in wear at different temperatures - but high performance pads will all wear out rotor faster than general purpose brake pads.

Any pads that cause significantly less rotor wear than Ultimate are certain to be lower in performance under demanding conditions. Not just "a really hard stop from highway speeds and the brakes didn't fail" demanding... I mean stop, after stop, after stop. Our standard performance test includes friction measurement during 15 hard stops in a row from 100km/h. That's certainly not the end-all of brake testing (we have other track simulation and abuse tests for that), but it's the kind of treatment that will highlight the difference between a performance pad and a pretender.

What are Bendix Ultimate designed for?

Stable friction and high performance across a wide range of temperatures, speeds and pressures, from driveway speeds on icy mornings to spirited driving on mountain roads, to emergency braking in heavy traffic. Ultimate is designed to give better than OE brake performance for road cars.

What are the difference between ultimate and SRT?

SRT goes beyond Ultimate. More stable over a wider range of conditions. It's an extremely high performance friction material for use on high performance cars... that are used to their potential. Track ready, but just as at home on the road.

I have heard that the Australian Highway police force chooses to use Bendix Ultimate. Is this true and why?

Yes, for all the same reasons. They have their own standards and tests that need to be passed, and Ultimate passes.

For more information on Bendix Products please click the links below
Bendix Ultimate
Bendix General CT
Bendix Heavy Duty
Bendix SRT