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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Review: Kool-Stop Salmon Brake Pads

I must have done at least 100,000 miles of cycling by now, and the one piece of safety equipment that I've always relied on was brake pads. They're unobtrusive, doing their jobs quietly --- unless they're cantilever brakes, in which case they don't do their jobs, or do it only grudgingly and noisily.

Over the last 10 years, I've been using Kool-Stop Salmon brake pads. They worked so well that I don't mention them, not even in the substantial information packets I provide to fellow cyclists on grand tours.

Well, during the recent Tour of Hokkaido, I once again forgot to mention them, and during one rainy descent, I commented on how smooth and easy Japanese descents was. No one else agreed with me, to my surprise! Well, it turned out that I was the only one running Kool-Stop Salmon pads. Everyone else was running the OEM pads (not surprising --- it takes a long time to wear out brake pads in California), and those were apparently not stopping the bikes, thereby giving my friends a scary experience.

Come to think about it, during the 2007 Tour of the Alps, and 2008 Tour Across France, the only time I was beating my companions down the hill was when it was raining. Again, I was the only one running Kool-Stop pads. Even if you don't ride in the rain, there's still a good reason to replace them --- here's a comparison between the Shimano OEM pads versus the Kool-stops. Yep, those OEM pads tear up your rims, so your wheels will last longer with the Kool-stops than with the OEM pads.

Given that they're only $6.95 on with free shipping on purchases over $25, they're a cheap and easy upgrade to your brakes, and pay for themselves on the first rainy descent.

Updated: If your brakes are cheap and don't come with brake holders, splurge and spend $19.13 + shipping on the Dura Type Brake Holders.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip--I need to replace the brake shoes on the MB-5, and I'm guessing the canti version will be as good as the caliper ones.

Rogue Scholar said...

Very helpful review! I've seen a lot about these . I'm unhappy with my canti brakes performance (Avid 4 Shorty's on my xc bike) and someone on a forum suggested these pads. Might just have to go with your wisdom. Che'ers, Fidel