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Brake Blocks

kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,162
edited September 2017 in Road buying advice
An unerving ride today and I can't quite fathom why.

I have shimano c50 wheels (these are deep section with an alloy braking surface) - I have recently replaced the brake blocks with like for like shimano - but today on a 60 mile hilly ride the brakes were pretty poor it was drizzly rain- would anything be gained by switching to koolstop \ swisstop or other brake blocks ? or would the problem be the rims ?

Brakes are 2009 ultegra - with the screw in - so hopefully I could just be better blocks in ?

I don't often ride in the wet, but got caught out today
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  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,729
    Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet.
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,162
    Imposter wrote:
    Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet.

    Cheers mate - Ill order some of those right away - thanks again.

    I bet the hours just whistle by in your house ?
  • sungodsungod Posts: 14,360
    on the commute bike, when i switched to koolstop salmon from shimano pads, wet braking was much better
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • lincolndavelincolndave Posts: 9,441
    I use these , and find them A big improvement on the shimano pads,
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/swissstop-flash ... rake-pads/
  • sheffsimonsheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    I use these , and find them A big improvement on the shimano pads,
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/swissstop-flash ... rake-pads/

    I've the swissstop, I now use these

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/lifeline-essent ... pack-of-4/

    Just as good for a fraction of the price.
  • rollemynotrollemynot Posts: 436
    New pads old rims... give your wheels a deep clean and ensure all old contaminants are gone. Do a few hard stops and drag down a descent and I believe e the Shimano pads will be a lot better than first ride out - that's what I found anyway. Also check alignment in case you are not getting full contact.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,773
    I think, as you say, you don't often ride in the wet, so you are not used to the poorer performance. There is no cure for it, other than being more careful, keep more distance to the guy in front if you ride in a group, brake earlier at the junctions and don't draft cars.
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    A set of softer compound pads (like Koolstop Salmon mentioned above) will help but if you ride them in the wet regularly you could easily go through a set in a few weeks rather than a few months like the stock Shimano ones.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,773
    Rubber for wet is a bit of a myth... the reality is that wet metal is very slippery... being that a rim or a disc... the difference is that discs dry quicker, rims dry slower and tend to get wet again. There is no miracle cure and any product aimed at braking in the wet is only an infinitesimal upgrade.

    Typically insects have enough grip to climb a vertical slab of glass, that is orders of magnitude more grip than any pad will ever offer, but if their legs are wet, they can't... same principle, same result
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    How do you not get used to riding in the rain ? I'd not do many miles if I were you.

    I think its more a case of just getting used to the rain and allowing more distance to stop.
  • ryan_w-2ryan_w-2 Posts: 1,162
    I find these work really well:

    FOCUS_Bikes_Mares_Force_1_carbon_red_blue

    HTH :mrgreen:
    Specialized Allez Sprint Disc --- Specialized S-Works SL7

    IG: RhinosWorkshop
  • SMESME Posts: 348
    I just looked at your groupset.

    When I bought my bike I upgraded the chainwheel and brakes just so I could have a matching set throughout (I'm finicky like that). The 5800 series 105 brakes have a pivot on each brake arm/side and give more even braking force - I noticed the difference immediately. Having said that, the old brakes were Tektro - with yours being Shimano the change may not be as noticeable. And it is a greater expense that many don't feel justifiable.

    I use Swissstop BXP pads which have also enhanced braking.

    But, as said above, braking in the wet with rim brakes takes significantly longer, and ugo's advice above is the most sensible.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,729
    kingrollo wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet.

    Cheers mate - Ill order some of those right away - thanks again.

    I bet the hours just whistle by in your house ?

    No, unfortunately we are limited to the same laws of space/time as everyone else. Just like your rubber brake blocks on a wet metal surface are limited to the same laws of mechanics as everyone else.
  • I've used Swissstop Yellow King on Alu rims and are very good in the wet. When braking in the wet you need to brake once to clear the water off the rim then lift off and brake again, this lessens the aquaplaning effect on the rim.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    kingrollo wrote:
    An unerving ride today and I can't quite fathom why.

    I have shimano c50 wheels (these are deep section with an alloy braking surface) - I have recently replaced the brake blocks with like for like shimano - but today on a 60 mile hilly ride the brakes were pretty poor it was drizzly rain- would anything be gained by switching to koolstop \ swisstop or other brake blocks ? or would the problem be the rims ?

    Brakes are 2009 ultegra - with the screw in - so hopefully I could just be better blocks in ?

    I don't often ride in the wet, but got caught out today

    Some incremental improvement with Koolstop Salmon in my opinion. But, it's never great.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Imposter wrote:
    kingrollo wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet.

    Cheers mate - Ill order some of those right away - thanks again.

    I bet the hours just whistle by in your house ?

    No, unfortunately we are limited to the same laws of space/time as everyone else. Just like your rubber brake blocks on a wet metal surface are limited to the same laws of mechanics as everyone else.

    You should tell those F1 racing teams that they're wasting their time with more than one type of tyre.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,729
    Alex99 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    kingrollo wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet.

    Cheers mate - Ill order some of those right away - thanks again.

    I bet the hours just whistle by in your house ?

    No, unfortunately we are limited to the same laws of space/time as everyone else. Just like your rubber brake blocks on a wet metal surface are limited to the same laws of mechanics as everyone else.

    You should tell those F1 racing teams that they're wasting their time with more than one type of tyre.

    Not sure what F1 has got to do with anything here. But someone does usually throw in a nonsense strawman comparison on a thread like this, so maybe this is it...
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Imposter wrote:
    Alex99 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    kingrollo wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet.

    Cheers mate - Ill order some of those right away - thanks again.

    I bet the hours just whistle by in your house ?

    No, unfortunately we are limited to the same laws of space/time as everyone else. Just like your rubber brake blocks on a wet metal surface are limited to the same laws of mechanics as everyone else.

    You should tell those F1 racing teams that they're wasting their time with more than one type of tyre.

    Not sure what F1 has got to do with anything here. But someone does usually throw in a nonsense strawman comparison on a thread like this, so maybe this is it...

    It's an apt analogy. Do different materials have different coefficients of friction?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,773
    Alex99 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Alex99 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    kingrollo wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet.

    Cheers mate - Ill order some of those right away - thanks again.

    I bet the hours just whistle by in your house ?

    No, unfortunately we are limited to the same laws of space/time as everyone else. Just like your rubber brake blocks on a wet metal surface are limited to the same laws of mechanics as everyone else.

    You should tell those F1 racing teams that they're wasting their time with more than one type of tyre.

    Not sure what F1 has got to do with anything here. But someone does usually throw in a nonsense strawman comparison on a thread like this, so maybe this is it...

    It's an apt analogy. Do different materials have different coefficients of friction?

    They have a pattern that clears water and avoids hydroplanning... not sure any pad on the market is designed to avoid hydroplanning, although I suepct the problem is analogous to hydroplanning in some respect.

    If wet tyres were simply softer slicks, they would make almost zero difference
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,162
    Imposter wrote:
    Alex99 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    kingrollo wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet.

    Cheers mate - Ill order some of those right away - thanks again.

    I bet the hours just whistle by in your house ?

    No, unfortunately we are limited to the same laws of space/time as everyone else. Just like your rubber brake blocks on a wet metal surface are limited to the same laws of mechanics as everyone else.

    You should tell those F1 racing teams that they're wasting their time with more than one type of tyre.

    Not sure what F1 has got to do with anything here. But someone does usually throw in a nonsense strawman comparison on a thread like this, so maybe this is it...

    Oh the irony !!
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Alex99 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Alex99 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    kingrollo wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet.

    Cheers mate - Ill order some of those right away - thanks again.

    I bet the hours just whistle by in your house ?

    No, unfortunately we are limited to the same laws of space/time as everyone else. Just like your rubber brake blocks on a wet metal surface are limited to the same laws of mechanics as everyone else.

    You should tell those F1 racing teams that they're wasting their time with more than one type of tyre.

    Not sure what F1 has got to do with anything here. But someone does usually throw in a nonsense strawman comparison on a thread like this, so maybe this is it...


    It's an apt analogy. Do different materials have different coefficients of friction?

    They have a pattern that clears water and avoids hydroplanning... not sure any pad on the market is designed to avoid hydroplanning, although I suepct the problem is analogous to hydroplanning in some respect.

    If wet tyres were simply softer slicks, they would make almost zero difference

    The tread is key for the full wet tyres, as you say. But the compound affects grip in all other cases. With aquaplaning the compound makes no difference because it's not in contact with the road surface. But is this happening with Al rims and brakes?

    I suggest that Imposter does an experiment with hard plastic brake blocks and reports back :wink:
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,773
    Alex99 wrote:
    But is this happening with Al rims and brakes?

    I suspect the reason the braking action is delayed is down to hydroplanning. When the pads clear enough water to get some bite, then a softer rubber might help increasing friction... but I believe the main problem is that brakes don't respond very quickly in the wet, regardless of the compound and I also suspect if it's really wet, they might not be able to clear the water.
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,162
    Alex99 wrote:
    Alex99 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Alex99 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    kingrollo wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet.

    Cheers mate - Ill order some of those right away - thanks again.

    I bet the hours just whistle by in your house ?

    No, unfortunately we are limited to the same laws of space/time as everyone else. Just like your rubber brake blocks on a wet metal surface are limited to the same laws of mechanics as everyone else.

    You should tell those F1 racing teams that they're wasting their time with more than one type of tyre.

    Not sure what F1 has got to do with anything here. But someone does usually throw in a nonsense strawman comparison on a thread like this, so maybe this is it...


    It's an apt analogy. Do different materials have different coefficients of friction?

    They have a pattern that clears water and avoids hydroplanning... not sure any pad on the market is designed to avoid hydroplanning, although I suepct the problem is analogous to hydroplanning in some respect.

    If wet tyres were simply softer slicks, they would make almost zero difference

    The tread is key for the full wet tyres, as you say. But the compound affects grip in all other cases. With aquaplaning the compound makes no difference because it's not in contact with the road surface. But is this happening with Al rims and brakes?

    I suggest that Imposter does an experiment with hard plastic brake blocks and reports back :wink:

    yes that will be worth waiting for.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Alex99 wrote:
    But is this happening with Al rims and brakes?

    I suspect the reason the braking action is delayed is down to hydroplanning. When the pads clear enough water to get some bite, then a softer rubber might help increasing friction... but I believe the main problem is that brakes don't respond very quickly in the wet, regardless of the compound and I also suspect if it's really wet, they might not be able to clear the water.

    The issue is probably that it's not just water. It's a aluminium oxide / dirt / water mixture, which probably get thicker as you brake and depending on re-application of water. But eventually, you get to a situation where there is enough contact for the compound to have some relevance. Also, will a soft compound and a hard compound wipe a wet surface with exactly the same efficacy? Window cleaners don't use bricks to clear the water away. I'm a bit tired, so I'm trying to think if this is another straw man.

    It would be good to do a blinded test. But there are at least some reasons to think that the compound could have some effect.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,729
    Alex99 wrote:
    I suggest that Imposter does an experiment with hard plastic brake blocks and reports back :wink:

    I don't think anyone here has ever suggested that compound would not make a difference, which is why I found your attempt at an F1 analogy so strange. But the fact remains that wet weather braking on rim brakes (on any compound) will never be as good as dry weather braking. You are, of course, free to disagree.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Imposter wrote:
    Alex99 wrote:
    I suggest that Imposter does an experiment with hard plastic brake blocks and reports back :wink:

    I don't think anyone here has ever suggested that compound would not make a difference, which is why I found your attempt at an F1 analogy so strange. But the fact remains that wet weather braking on rim brakes (on any compound) will never be as good as dry weather braking. You are, of course, free to disagree.

    "Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet."

    This, in the context of the OPs question about brake block options.

    If the OP had asked: I was out cycling and for some reason my brakes were bad. Water was falling from the sky. I can't quite make the connection. Can someone help?
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,729
    Alex99 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Alex99 wrote:
    I suggest that Imposter does an experiment with hard plastic brake blocks and reports back :wink:

    I don't think anyone here has ever suggested that compound would not make a difference, which is why I found your attempt at an F1 analogy so strange. But the fact remains that wet weather braking on rim brakes (on any compound) will never be as good as dry weather braking. You are, of course, free to disagree.

    "Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet."

    This, in the context of the OPs question about brake block options.

    If the OP had asked: I was out cycling and for some reason my brakes were bad. Water was falling from the sky. I can't quite make the connection. Can someone help?

    Still not really sure what you are on about. Are you agreeing, or disagreeing with my original reply?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,773
    Alex99 wrote:

    It would be good to do a blinded test. But there are at least some reasons to think that the compound could have some effect.

    There might be minor gains to be had, but if a compound was better in the wet, then it's bound to be worse in the dry, otherwise it would be industry standard. On balance, we ride less in the wet than we do in the dry, so I'd rather compromise on wet braking, rather than compromise on dry.
    You have to slow down in the wet anyway, as tyres grip is poor too, in exactly the same places as pad grip is poor, so it's actually good to have pooor brakes in the wet, as the tyre would not cope with good ones.

    I always lock my rear tyre in the wet when I am on disc brakes*... waste of time

    *forgetting that rear braking is not allowed on BikeRadar
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Imposter wrote:
    Alex99 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Alex99 wrote:
    I suggest that Imposter does an experiment with hard plastic brake blocks and reports back :wink:

    I don't think anyone here has ever suggested that compound would not make a difference, which is why I found your attempt at an F1 analogy so strange. But the fact remains that wet weather braking on rim brakes (on any compound) will never be as good as dry weather braking. You are, of course, free to disagree.

    "Newsflash - rim brakes don't work as well in the wet."

    This, in the context of the OPs question about brake block options.

    If the OP had asked: I was out cycling and for some reason my brakes were bad. Water was falling from the sky. I can't quite make the connection. Can someone help?

    Still not really sure what you are on about. Are you agreeing, or disagreeing with my original reply?

    Disagreeing. But never mind
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,729
    Alex99 wrote:


    Disagreeing. But never mind

    You think they DO work as well in the wet? That's certainly an interesting position to take...
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