The rear end of a sport bike

Motorcycles frequently use either ceramic or organic brake pad material.

Allen Rockwell/iStockphoto

Motorcycle Brake Pads

­Motorcycle brakes work on the same principle as automotive brakes: The transfer of an action from the driver into a force that stops the wheels. When the driver of car or truck applies the brakes all four wheels work together to slow or stop the vehicle. On a motorcycle, the front and rear brakes usually operate independently of each other. Most motorcycles have independently controlled front and rear brakes but the controls differ: The front brake is controlled by a hand brake lever, while the rear brake is controlled by a foot pedal. The front brake tends to be more effective, delivering the majority of the stopping power. Because of this, motorcycle brake pads are a key component of motorcycle safety and an important brake part.

Motorcycle brake pads are manufactured using the same materials used in automotive brake pads; however, ceramic and organic brake pads are the most common. Because motorcycles are smaller and weigh considerably less than cars and trucks, organic brakes pads don't wear as quickly as they would on a car. 

Up next, we'll find out how the big trucks slow their heavy loads to a stop.