Best modulating brake pads for carbon wheels?

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by drmutley

Hi all,
I've recently gone from alu braking tracts (DA 7900 C50s) and green Swissstops to ENVE full carbon clinchers (65s) with yellow Swissstops.

I find the rear very grabby, and difficult to modulate. It seems like very little pressure difference between minimal stopping power, and locking the back brake up. Calipers are DA 7900.

Is this just the norm with full carbon wheels? Or will other pads (ie enve or cork) offer better modulation?


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by Calnago

I had some Reynolds DVUL46 clincher cargon rims in 2010 and used the DT yellow Swisstops. Worst ever braking that I've experienced. But at the time, that's what seemed to be at the top of the recommended pads for carbon rims. A lot of advances have been made in brake pads for carbon rims since then, maybe more than in the rims themselves although I suppose the resins have gotten better at dissipating heat than in the past. Still with carbon clinchers, moreso than tubulars, you need to be careful, but that's discussed in many other places. Bottom line is the vast majority of rim manufacturers recommend only their own pads. When Reynolds came out with their cryo blue pads I used them. Worlds of difference over the Swissstop. Actually modulate and got rid of the screeching. And now Swissstop has the Black Prince pads but I have no experience with them. On my Boras (tubulars) I use the Campy Red pads designed for it. They are great. I would suggest you start with Enves recommended pads and go from there. But I'd say from my experience Swissstop yellows are at the bottom of my list of pads. Go with what the manufacturer recommends, especially on carbon clinchers. That way, if you do have a warranty issue down the road, they can't say "well, no wonder... you weren't using our pads".

Oh, and I don't care what anyone says about braking being equal on carbon rims versus good alloy rims. It's simply not imo. But once you adjust, it can be good enough in most conditions.
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by kode54

the enve brakes pads are nice. i just ordered a set of swissstop prince pads...but haven't tried them out yet.
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by lannes

I find reynolds blue works the best on my reynolds and dura ace carbon rims, using shimano 9000 calipers

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by carlislegeorge

Have over 200 miles on swissstop black prince pads on generic chinese carbon rims with basalt braking track. Really nice. Using with DA 7900 calipers, braking is just as good or better than the standard shimano setup on alloy rims.
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by Geoff

There's the rub: modulation.

I still find that the best braking comes from natural cork pads. I personally like the Corima cork pads best. They probably don't have the same 'stopping power' as some of the composite products out there, but they are really grabby. As an aside, there isn't much braking from the rear wheel of a bicycle anyway.

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I really like the older Zipp Tangente cork pads. I'm using them on Hed Stingers, and they modulate really well and work reasonably well in the rain. The downside is that there's a little less absolute stopping power, but if you grab a handfull of brake you can still lock up the wheels; you just have to squeeze harder. The also wear really well. The yellow Swissstops are very on/off, and I didn't like them, particularly in the rain. I haven't tried the new SS pads, but the Zipp corks work so well I haven't had a reason to look at anything else. It's as close to aluminum rim braking as I've found.

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by BeeSeeBee

I've got Tangente Cork on one bike, and the new Platinum pads on another (both 6700 calipers), I much prefer the cork pads (note: I don't ride my carbon wheels in the rain/wet). Modulation feels better, they're a lot quieter, and they stop me just fine.

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by 113245

for what its worth, i have a pair of Reynolds DV46ULs. I have run them with reynolds blue pads (not sure if those are just rebranded swissstop or what) and regular black ultegra pads. The blue pads felt pretty grabby with a light pull right away but a harder pull was not much grabbier (sort of like a sqrt(x) ). The ultegra pads were more or less the opposite, requiring a harder pull but grabbing surprisingly well (x^2 if you will).

Then again, these are the only carbon wheels I've ever ridden so I don't have a lot to compare to.

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by eric

Note that Reynolds (and many other rim makers) may not honor the warranty if you damage the rims by using the wrong pads. Swiss Stop yellows can ruin some rims, like Bontragers. And the cork pads that work with the Bontragrs are disrecommended by Reynolds. As far as I know no rim maker recommends using regular aluminium rim pads on carbon wheels. That can also void the warranty.

Not all carbon rims are the same composition. Different pads work best with different types of rims. The first thing you should try is what the rim maker recommends. Most of them test these things and have an interest in their customers using the pads that work the best with their rims.

Carlislegeorge, can you compare the Swiss Stop black prince vs Reynolds blue on the Farsports rims?

Drmutley, I second the suggestion to use the Enve pads. Enve does testing, so you are getting the pad they found to be the best.

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by HillRPete

Eric, I've been using Swiss Yellows and Reynolds Blues on Yishun rims, which might be similar to Farsports. The "power" was pretty much the same for me, but maybe a bit smoother response and less squealing with the Reynolds. Unfortunately still a lot of squaling when everything heats up on a longer descent. (C7 calipers, hoping to improve on that with something sturdier this season, like DAs)

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by carlislegeorge

eric wrote:...Carlislegeorge, can you compare the Swiss Stop black prince vs Reynolds blue on the Farsports rims?....

The Farsports are my first carbon rims, and I put the SwissStop on straight away, so can't add any more to the dialog. I do find that after a little break-in period, the Black Prince provide excellent modulation...not too much, not too little. Farsports recommends SwissStop yellow (having not tested the Black Prince), also Reynolds and their own "blue" pads.

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by laleme

Zipp Cork pads have been much better for me than the Swiss Stop Yellow. Here's what I've experienced:

-good stopping power
-excellent modulation, not grabby
-leaves no residue on the rim

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by carbon2329

I have used:

-SwissStop yellow
-Corima (red red carbon) (made by SwissStop, I believe, for Specialized)
-Reynolds (blue)
-Enve (gray)

On 3 Enve rims and 1 Reynolds rims (all carbon)

Enve has been the best for me: good modulation and not grabby

--Reynolds came in a close second
--Corma a distant third (not too grabby, but noisy)
--SwissStop an even more distant forth (just too grabby and noisy)

Enve & Reynolds work GREAT for me.

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by Juanmoretime

I've used generics, Koolstop, SwissStop and now on the Reynolds blue. They work awesome in the dry and perfectly silent. I haven't had them long enough to comment on their wet weather performance.

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