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Brake Pads

myidealmyideal Posts: 251
edited September 2016 in Road beginners
I know people talk a lot about the upgraded braking from the better group sets that you can buy, however I just wondered if the actual pad that you buy and fit to your brakes varies and can make a real difference?

For example is their a type of pad that theoretically could be fitted to the cheapest brakes and would actually make a massive improvement? I'm assuming some have better compounds and designs that would be more effective?

Posts

  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    Koolstop Salmon or SwissStop blue BXP for aluminium rims
  • myidealmyideal Posts: 251
    Those SwissStop look quite fancy, however also a bit expensive.... however, if they improve braking then well worth the investment.

    Are we talking real noticeable braking performance or are these just very small improvements compared to the fairly standard blocks fitted to most bikes?
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    The hard one piece rubber blocks that get fitted on most beginner bikes are awful, so yes pads can be a good upgrade. I think generally though its not too much more expensive to buy something like a set of 105 brakes then it is to buy a set of blocks and holders. Any modern dual pivot road brake thats setup properly should be good enough with decent pads.
  • mostlymostly Posts: 113
    I found the swiss stop and salmons to be an improvement in the bog standard tekro brakes, since moving up in the groupset world very little difference, other than swiss stop seem to wear less.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    myideal wrote:

    Are we talking real noticeable braking performance or are these just very small improvements compared to the fairly standard blocks fitted to most bikes?

    Impossible to say really - there are lots of blocks out there and different set ups would make them perform differently.

    Before you go changing - are you sure the brakes are set up properly - so aligned when they touch the rim and are they close enough to the rim ?

    I was always happy with my cheap Tektro brakes - Shimano dual pivot are stronger - but you dont need a lot of power to lock a wheel up.
  • myidealmyideal Posts: 251
    In fairness what I have is fine, its not amazing but it works. I was just interested really in knowing if different standards of blocks existed as think I'm still in the phase of fear of going too quickly down hills, having a light pull on the brakes to slow me down ...guess that is just a confidence issue I need to get over. Lol
  • Godders1Godders1 Posts: 750
    myideal wrote:
    Those SwissStop look quite fancy, however also a bit expensive....
    Swissstop aren't cheap but do bear in mind some pads get sold as two pairs and some as a single pair so make sure you're comparing like with like!
  • balthazarbalthazar Posts: 1,567
    Good pads are a much bigger improvement to any brakes than a step or two up the groupset level (which is invariably only a matter of finish). I haven't used anything but Koolstops for years, so maybe manufacturer pads have got better recently without me noticing, but they always used to be inexplicably awful.
  • onionmkonionmk Posts: 100
    I recently switched out my Sora Pads to some Dura Ace 7900 pads and found they work a lot better than previous pads which felt spongy and didn't respond well in the wet. I eyed up the kool stop salmons and swissstop BXP's but they were too expensive. I got mine for £11 posted from CRC. Bear in mind this doesn't include the cartridge which the pads fit in to but I had some lying around anyway. You can purchase some cheap Clarks or alternative brand cartridges which work just fine with all the pads mentioned above!
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    On my summer bike I swapped out some Tiagra calipers with the all-in-one moulded blocks for some 105 5800 calipers. Operated by older 105 5600 levers, the improvement in braking was astonishing! Still is; makes me grin every time I brake.

    So much so that I bought some 5800 cartridge holders with inserts to replace the all-in-one moulded blocks on the BR450 long drop brakes on the winter bike. This in contrast appears to have made little or no difference, which was a bit of a disappointment.

    So I'm left concluding that the combination of older levers and 5800 calipers offers some mechanical advantage, but there's no difference between the different Shimano brake blocks (the same inserts are OEM in 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace calipers)
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