Best Brake Pads for Zipp 303 carbon tubular wheelset

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by bluhorizan

Just bought a new Zipp 303 tubular wheel set. Zipp is recommending Platinum Pro gray brake pads for carbon wheels. They are $40 per pair and have been developed in collaboration with Swiss Stop. Would these be your first choice or would you choose Swiss Yellow Stop or other pads?

by Weenie

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by HillRPete

I would really recommend to try different pads, to find out what fits your terrain, style and climate best.

Here's the list of approved pads:

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by s4one

i was in this situation last week when i got my 404s. i went to the shop and asked what they had. they had both zipp pads and the new swissstop black something. i ended up going with the zipp pads, for no particular reason.

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by Sisbud

I use corima brakepads on my carbon clinchers. They give good modulation and less issue with overheating

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by Geoff

Good man (the pads, not the clinchers).

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by dmoneysworks

I e-mailed zipp the other day asking whether they were going to certify the new Swiss stop "Black Prince" pads for use with my tub's (FC 404's) and they responded stating that the testing crew weren't going to get to it till May/June!! I use Swiss stop Yellow Kings and they work mint!

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by fdegrove


Geoff wrote:Good man (the pads, not the clinchers).


Very weightweenie too. (the pads, not the clinchers)

Ciao, ;)
Being a snob is an expensive hobby.

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by motorthings

the platinum pro pads are amazing...great power and feel.

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by CharlesM

Rather than ignoring the op question and just making this a name all wheels and all pads thread,

Swisstop yellow are not the best pad for the new 303/404/808. (In fact, they haven't been the ultimate pad for several wheels for a few years now, yet chat room folks keep repeating the "info" over and over again without any real knowledge of the changes in pads in the last roughly 2 years). Neither are anyone's cork. The yellows are a little "melty" gooey and the cork just don't have any place near the bite relative to the latest version zipp hoops... The nice thing about cork is that it's consistently mediocre at best, meaning they don't get grabby like lots of rubber pads do, but they also lack stopping power relative to almost all other pads.

The newer wheels have a different brake track comp than anything else in the market.

The platinum pro evo pads are hands down the pad for the op's new 303's.

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by bluhorizan

Thanks for all the replies. Thanks Charles for feedback on the Platinum Pro Evo's. I just talked to Zipp customer support and info I got is that the evo is their latest designed pad which has more surface area to work with a wider variety of wheel models and better disperse heat and is thinner in profile. That pad is made in collaboration between Zipp and Swiss Stop. Did say that the new Swiss Stop Black Prince would be okay under warranty for Zipp wheels but had no feedback of performance or from those who had yet used it.
Last edited by bluhorizan on Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by eric

Apparently cork works well on Bontrager carbon wheels.... and Swiss Stop Yellows destroys them. That's according to one of the larger Trek road bike shops in the US. They've seen a number of destroyed Bontrager carbon rims due to Swiss Stop Yellows. Bontrager doesn't warranty that.

So the lesson is to use the pads the manufacturer recommends.

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by atakaoka

I'd recomend Zipp Tangente cork pads.
cycling,a great individual sport,were you can't reach anything,whithout group effort.

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by tetonrider

to the OP's question -- the issue at hand is really the combination of the pad and the rim. there is no single best pad for all carbon rims -- one needs to consider what composition pad works well with each type of rim.

zipp has their recommended list of pads, and i'll comment on 3 that i have used extensively with zipp firecrest rims.

1) their cork pads. the poster above had it right -- they are consistently mediocre. they are poor in the wet. i find they modulate well and last reasonably long, but they don't have all that much power.

2) the tangente platinum pads. i find these to be a marked improvement over the cork pads. braking in the wet is not amazing, but there is SOME braking. i find significantly more power (same wheels, same brakes) and modulation seems on par with cork for me. i'm not a brake-dragger, but the pad life seems to be at least as long for me as the cork pads. i rotate bikes throughout the year but have yet to replace a set of pads. they last me more than a season (800-1200 miles/month).

3) the zipp carbon pads (black). these are actually quite good. i think i'd rate them more highly than the platinum pro pads in terms of all around performance. the issue is they wear very quickly. conversations with the folks at zipp confirmed this same experience -- they are great but wear too quickly, which is why they are no longer their #1 recommended pad.

in an emergency (think: wheel change in a race where you get a wheel with an alu braking surface), the zipp black pads will still work. i haven't tried the cork or platinum pads on a carbon rim, but i would doubt the cork would work at all in that scenario and i don't know if the platinum pads would have much, if any, braking ability.

curious for opinions on that last bit. (what is the best pad for a racer who starts out riding carbon zipp rims but may wind up with an alu rim before the race is through?)

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by Waldo

dmoneysworks wrote:I e-mailed zipp the other day asking whether they were going to certify the new Swiss stop "Black Prince" pads for use with my tub's (FC 404's) and they responded stating that the testing crew weren't going to get to it till May/June!! I use Swiss stop Yellow Kings and they work mint!

Seeing as I am the testing crew, allow me to chime in.

As I told Denham when he relayed your question, lab testing is not yet underway (we have a rather large queue of items that we've deemed higher priority and have a finite quantity of machines and manpower). That will be completed by the end of the year, but the field testing is the more time-consuming facet of the "recommended pad" process. I'm sorry the timing is not to your liking.

As Charles and others mentioned, it's imperative to use appropriate pad/rim combinations. Those manufacturers that actually test the product put forth recommendations based on safety and performance, and often this affects warranty validity. The best pad for our rims is not necessarily the right pad for a Corima, Reynolds, etc. rim, and vice versa, despite what you may see from the occasional forum post.

From our perspective, recommendations are based on the performance in wet and dry conditions: power, modulation, heat management, pad wear, and rim wear. Obviously these are a lot of factors to consider, particularly when you take into account rider preference (e.g., some riders like the grab of the yellow pads, many do not), so I urge people to heed their rim manufacturer's suggestions over what they might find on a forum.

tetonrider, I also like the old black carbon pads. Wear isn't much of an issue in the midwest, and brakes only slow you down anyways. :beerchug:
ENVE contract engineer | Former Zipp test engineer

by Weenie

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by theremery

I just followed the link to Zipps brake pad "help sheet"
Congrats Zipp. That is possibly the most retarded thing I've read recently. You have not got a sh!t show in hell of being sure you've removed all those Alu shards from the pads by "Filing, sanding and picking".
$65 pads or $1500 for replacement rims.....Hmmmmmm :unbelievable:
What respect I had for Zipp as a company just took a mighty big hit just then.
Updated: Racing again! Thought this was unlikely! Eventually, I may even have a decent race!
Edit: 2015: darn near won the best South Island series (got second in age
-group)..woo hoo Racy Theremery is back!!

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