For the longest time, we had a ton of issues and complaints with the brake system on the Can-Am X3. Brake fade, high-temperatures, poor stopping power, you name it and we’ve probably dealt with it! Even though the EBC R-Series brake pads aren’t a fix-all for these dilemmas, we’re convinced that it’s a sizable upgrade over stock. There are definitely some tradeoffs, compared to OEM, that we’ll discuss so that you can decide if these are right for you. Even though this article is tailored for the Can-Am X3, these same exact pads are available for the Polaris RZR as well as other UTVs.-Team Draco Motorsports
Compared to the OEM
How do these compare to the OEM?
From your local dealership, a set of Can-Am X3 OEM pads is going to cost about $67. From a competitive online retailor, such as Rocky Mountain ATV, these OEM pads run at a cost of $57. The EBC R-Series pads cost about $39 from Rocky Mountain ATV. These actually used to cost about 15% less but thanks to inflation over the past year or so, this is no longer the case. Many of the OEM parts you may be familiar with have been dealt the same fate.
This is a tricky one for us since most of our components are replaced long before their service interval. We’ve combined this rating (3.5 / 5) with some of the things we’ve heard, regarding these pads, from trail-riding oriented folks.
Don’t let this rating concern you. We feel that any of the sacrifice on the durability side of things, mostly pertaining to mileage between replacement, is directly reflected back into their performance. For what it’s worth, we’ve had no issue putting an entire Ultra4 race season (including King of the Hammers) on a set of these.
At least on the Can-Am X3, brake fade as well as poor stopping power are painfully common issues. In a racing environment, we’ve noticed that the low surface area brake rotors, combined with their thin profile, transfer substantial heat through the calipers and thus, to the hydraulic system. This is especially prevalent with the stock braking system given that Can-Am utilizes a sintered (aka metallic) brake pad. Generally speaking, sintered pads tend to transfer more heat from the rotors to the calipers. The flip side to this trade-off is that sintered pads tends to last much longer than a conventional organic pad and are much less susceptible to degraded performance in wet conditions.
The EBC R-Series brake pads use a proprietary sintered copper alloy within their R-Series pads. Given the soft properties of copper, we feel that these pads offer greater ‘bite’ against the rotor for optimal stopping power. Another benefit is that the soft copper alloy, compared to the harder compound in the stock brake pads, provides greater insulation against the caliper to prevent the transfer of heat into the hydraulics. If too much heat is absorbed into the brake fluid, as may occur in a racing environment, hydraulic brake fade will significantly erode braking efficacy. Since upgrading to EBC, we’ve certainly noticed the aforementioned characteristics and are pleased with the results. The predictability of these pads are superior and the heat reduction is absolutely noticeable, in our opinion.
- Check for rotor warpage. Anytime you take your UTV through the slightest bit of water, yes even a puddle, the rotors are at risk of warpage. This is the same scenario as taking a hot pan and running it under cool water. Once those rotors get warped, brake performance will be pretty well impacted. Things are going to run hotter and brake surface area (contact patch between the pads and rotor) will be decreased depending on the level of distortion. Always have a competent mechanic/dealership do this. This is a brake system- now is not the time to ‘learn’ how to work on things.
- Check brake fluid for contamination. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning that it is highly prone to absorbing moisture. Air contamination is always a factor as well, especially when brake temperatures exceed a certain level. Always have a certified/licensed and competent mechanic/dealership do this. This is a brake system- now is not the time to ‘learn’ how to work on things.
- Check brake pads for appropriate thickness and contamination, per the service manual. Yes, if grease contacts the brake pads they will need to be replaced- brake pads are highly porous and contaminate very easily. Thickness and perceived contamination are what matter, not mileage. Always have a certified/licensed and competent mechanic/dealership do this. This is a brake system- now is not the time to ‘learn’ how to work on things.
Driver of the #428 Draco Motorsports Polaris RZR. Co-Driver for the #804 Can-Am X3 during King of the Hammers. Ultra4!!