12 Best Road Bike Brake Pads for 2021 [Ideal for All Conditions]

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The brake is amongst the most essential part for a bike. A good braking system will ensure that you can go around from place to place safely. This is why people look for good brake pads for their bicycles as brake pads are key to the efficiency of their braking system. They can make your riding experience enjoyable, while offering the optimum level of stability and stability.

Typically, road bikes use both rim and disc braking systems. Brake pads are designed nowadays to be compatible with both the systems. However, as you will look for the best brake pad or pads for your road bike, you will be faced with a tough decision. There are a lot of road bike brake pads available in the market today and only a few are able to live to their reputation. This is where we come into play. In this article, we have been able to curate a list of the best road bike brake pads that are available in the market today – for both rim and disc braking systems. We have added comprehensive reviews of each product, which is followed up by a buying guide.

Table of Contents hide
12 best road bike brake pads that you can buy today

Buying Guide: Mechanical disk brakes

Types of road bike brake pads

Road bikes use both rim and disc brake systems, where each system is compatible with the specific brake pad type. We have explored them below.

I. Rim Brakes Pads

These pads operate using the wheel’s rims and are guided by the arms of the pivoted cantilever. They will hold the brake pads in place so that despite the position of the lever of the handlebar, the brake pads will be pressing on the rims easily. Thanks to the simple mechanism, mountain bikes also prefer them.

II. Disc Brake Pads

The brake pads in disc wheels are constituted of the circular metal disc. It undergoes rotation and as the lever is pressed, the brakes are applied. The concept of friction is utilized in a very intelligent way here, and this is what helps to bring the bike to a complete stop as soon as the brakes are engaged.

III. Combination

Finally, rim and disc brakes can be combined as well. It offers the best of both types, like exceptional performance and minimized noise. The system is more tolerant of adverse weather conditions.

Brake caliper compatibility

Brake shoes are offered in different sizes too. The brake shoes must be compatible when they are being replaced.

Manufacturers of road bike brake pads like SRAM, Shimano also offer brake calipers. Their sizes are very similar, and therefore their pads can be used on both brands. There are brands like Swiss Stop which is a great aftermarket brand. The right one must be selected. For best results, the brand of the brake The rule of thumb is to stick to the same brands as your disc brake calipers.

Brake pad material

The materials that are being used for the brake pads is vital to their selection. Typically, the materials being used are resin, metallic, and semi-metallic.

Linear and caliper brakes are more prone to use brake pads made from resin, thanks to the great performance. For conditions that are wet or muddy, semi-metallic pads deliver the most efficient braking. They do not much and there is less fade for the brake pads. Semi-metallic pads usually come as the standard option for most modern road bikes.

Brake pads made from metal are ideal for high-speed riding. Heat is diffused more efficiently by them. In terms of durability, aluminum alloy and rubber that is ideal for heavy-duty use serve best.

Ceramic can be used to make brake pads too. A porcelain and clay mixture is bonded to filaments of copper and flakes. Ceramic brake pads may result in warping of components of a brake system as it is unable to dissipate heat adequately.

Number of pairs

Typically, brake pads come as one pair, while in some packs this can go up to two, three, or even four pairs. As per your requirement, you can go for one pair or several pairs available in packs.

Performance:

The efficiency of the brake pads is an important factor. Brake pads are mostly designed for use in the roughest weather conditions, which is portrayed by waterproof brake pads. They can remain undamaged no matter what is thrown at them. Few brake pads come with sand guide slots that are V-shaped so that braking performance is never compromised.

Pad Backbone

It is crucial that the framework that forms the backbone of the pads be made from materials that are long lasting. This material should be resistant to rusting, and have the ability to tolerate collision pressure. During the long distance rides, you do not want these materials to “give away”.

Scope of Adjustment

The adjustability feature of your road bike brake will determine how you will be able to adjust the road bike brake pads. The available adjustment features should make installation and removal of the road bike brake pads a hassle-free task that can be completed in a matter of minutes.

Which pad for which rim

Rims such as carbon and Aluminum alloy need specific brake pads to be used with them, and this is particularly important in the case of carbon.

Wheels made from aluminum alloy always have Aluminum rims, which is not the case for carbon wheelers. The rims are not always made from carbon.

Carbon road bike brake pads are more likely to heat up during use, unlike the Aluminum brake pads that are used on road bikes. Carbon fibers are held together by resin, which can heat up uncontrollably. The internal tubes will pop, as a result – damping your wheel. Road bike brake pads that have been specially designed for carbon rims embody a construction that will keep heat away from the rim. Road bike brake pads designed for brakes using carbon can withstand up to 320ºC of temperature, while for aluminum rims this maximum temperature is 180ºC. Brake pads for carbon wheels cannot be used on aluminum rims due to their soft structure and short lifespan. However, if it is used – the pads will become embedded with metal bits from the Aluminum rim. Using these pads on carbon rims again will eventually lead to their damage, as the carbon rim will become abraded by the metal bits.

Cartridge vs blocks

Brake pads are offered in the form of singular brake blocks. Additionally, they can be inserted as a cartridge in the direction of the brake shoe.

Systems that are using a cartridge are stiff thanks to the additional support from the brake shoe. As a result, the rod bike brake pad is very responsive and offers great stopping power. When cartridge pads have to be replaced, the old ones can be “popped” out to slide the new ones in. The position of the brake does not need to be readjusted after replacement.

Road bike brake pads are available as “one-piece” too, due to their cost-effectiveness. They are usually common on lower-end road bikes or bikes that are trying to meet the budget limit of customers. Due to this, compounds that deliver low braking performance are offered here. They have a mushy feel about them.

Shape And Thickness

Brake pads may be curved so that they have a similar shape to the wheel of a bike. As a result, they can fit on the rims more efficiently and deliver more braking power. The shape of road bike brake pads can be flicked up on the rear side too. The brake pad functions like a “squeeze” to get rid of any grime.

In terms of thickness, the best road bike brake pads will be 2mm thicker for added durability. Road bike brake pads used for disc brakes typically have a thickness that runs between 3 and 4 mm.

Wear

The grooves that are embedded on-road bike brake pads are not very effective as they disappear with use. If the brake pads are subjected to extensive wear, your rims are likely to be damaged. This will deteriorate the performance of your brake system. Rim wear will be fast-tracked if the pads pick up metal on them.

A convenient way to deal with the wear that affects road bike brake pads is to take some sandpaper and file off the layer prevailing on top of the brake pads. This may improve the braking performance.

Front & Rear Brake Pads

The only difference between the front and rear brake pads is that the rear brakes are not required to be very powerful. This allows them to be locked on the rear wheel easily, prompting some bikers to use different sized rotors on their brakes. The rear usually uses a smaller rotor. However, you can use the same brake pads for both of them too.

Our top pick(s)

We have compiled a list of 12 products that are the best road bike brake pads available in the market today. Amongst them, we have selected SwissStop Yellow King brake pads as the “overall best choice“.

SwissStop Yellow King

Comes in 2 pairs; offers excellent braking in every weather; no rim damage | Overall Best Choice

The SwissStop Yellow King have found its way to the top of our list. We love this product above all others because of its versatility in application and installation. It is made for all weather conditions and is designed with the help of engineers to deliver an excellent modulation system which guarantees that each activity is done to perfection. The operations of these bike pads are silent, while carbon and aluminum makes the unit highly resistant to wear.

  • Synthetic Yellow material
  • Pad depth is more
  • Designed to be used with rims made from carbon fiber
  • Compatible with aluminum rims 
  • Can be used with road bike brake calipers from Shimano and SRAM
  • The brake pads come on as four units

 

A quick view of our selected best brake pads for your road bikes:

Brake PadWeight (grams)Our Ratings
SwissStop FlashPro Yellow King3295
SRAM Road Organic Brake Pads4593
SwissStop FlashPro BXP3391
Campagnolo carbon inserts for Shimano4190
Kool Stop Dura Road Pad3489
Kool Stop KS DRSA21887
Shimano L04C2485
Shimano BR-7900 Road Brake Pads2082
Kool Stop KS- VBHDL44 (pair)80
SHIMANO V-Brakes8078
SwissStop Flash Evo40.876
Alritz25075

12 best road bike brake pads that you can buy today

In the comparison table below, we have presented a summary of why these road bike brake pads are the best in the market. We have taken into consideration all the detrimental factors for road bike brake pads. Comprehensive review of each product can be found just after the table here.

Brake PadPreviewBrake pad materialWeight (grams)Number of padsApplication
SwissStop Yellow KingSwissStop Unisex's Yellow King Brake Pads, One SizeYellow King
( Rubber)
324All bikes
HRD Road & Level ULT/TlmSRAM HRD Road & Level Ult/Tlm Brake Pads Black, Steel, OrganicOrganic/Steel452 ( 1 on each)Road cycling, Gravel, Cross-country
SwissStop FlashPro BXP BlueSwisstop FlashPro (Shim/SRAM Road) Brake PadsBXP224Commuter, Touring, Cyclocross, Time Trial. Road
Campagnolo Carbon inserts for ShimanoCampagnolo Unisex's Carbon Brake Pad Inserts, Red, Shimano Fit (2 Pairs)Carbon414 ( 2 sets)Road
Kool Stop KS-RHDKool Stop Bicycle Brake Pads with X Pad (Dura-Ace/Ultegra)Dual, Salmon344Road
Kool Stop KS-DR2SAKool Stop Bicycle Brake Pads (Dura-Ace/Ultegra, Salmon)Salmon182Road
Shimano L04CSHIMANO L04C Metallic Flat Mount Disc Brake PadsAluminum, Stainless steel242Road bikes
Shimano BR-7900SHIMANO Road Brake PadsRubber R55C202Road Biking
Kool Stop KS-VBHDLKool Stop Bicycle V-Type Holder with Brake Pads (Dual Compound) , Salmon/BlackDual ( Salmon and Black)44(pair)2Mountain and Road bike
SHIMANO V-Brake PadsSHIMANO Deore/LX Bicycle V-Brake Pads - Pair - Y8BM9810AM70T3802MTB, Road
SwissStop FLASH EVOSwissStop Flash Evo Replacement pads for carbon rims Shimano- Black Prince- Pack of 4Black Prince40.84Commuter
Altriz Road Bike Brake Pad SetBike Brake Pads Set, Alritz 3 Pairs Road Mountain Bicycle V-Brake Blocks Shoes with Hex Nut and Shims, No Noise No Skid, 70mm, for Front and Back WheelAluminum and rubber2506Road and Mountain biking

1. SwissStop FlashPro Yellow King: Comes in 2 pairs; excellent braking in every weather; no rim damage | Overall best choice

SwissStop FlashPro Yellow King
  • Material: Yellow ( rubber) compound
  • Weight: 32g
  • Brake compatibility: Caliper (Bolt-on)
  • Number of pads: 4(2 sets)
  • Pad Type: Replacement Insert – Cartridge
  • Use: All bikes
  • Compatibility: SRAM & Shimano, Aluminum rims

Features & Considerations
  • Choose brake compound: SwissStop uses compounds for bikes that are able to deliver great braking performance with all types of bikes, despite the conditions. Riders can choose among the four pad compounds they feel is more suited to their riding style.
  • Yellow compound: Yellow King (Yellow) compound presents a synthetic material on these yellow replacement pads. It delivers excellent braking power no matter the condition. When used with carbon rims, Yellow King offers optimal modulation too. There are no squeaking noises and the rims undergo little wear.
  • Flashpro: Yellow King can be used with carbon wheels on road bikes that have caliper braking systems from Shimano and SRAM, These are supplied in 2 pairs here.
  • Dual use: Riders can also use these brand pads for rims using alloy. Check for debris in the brake pads before using them on carbon rims.
  • Braking Performance: Yellow King road bike brake pad has asymmetrical grooves embedded deep in its profile, along with a leading edge. This will “squeegee” any additional water so that they can perform well even in wet weather and offer better modulation. The pads will undergo wear slowly, thanks to more pad depth.
  • Reduces heat buildup: SwissStop FlashPro Yellow King brake pads for road bikes delivers consistent braking performance upto +40 degrees and -20 degrees. They do little or no damage to the rims.

Some Weaknesses
  • Despite the excellent performance, Yellow King may be an expensive option for road bike brake pads.

SwissStop FlashPro Yellow King road bike brake pad comes in 2 pairs. They were the perfect replacement pads as we upgraded from the stock pads , which were only meant for carbon wheels. It performed great during our test and provided value for the upgrade.

Yellow Kings FlashPro pads allowed us to ride with confidence. Installing them was fairly simple too, and from the word go the braking power was excellent. As we tested the brakes over varying conditions, the brake pads held their strength and delivered consistently. The enhanced modulation means that we could easily rely on the Yellow King brake pads on every lever press. As we rode down the long descents, the brake pads rarely built up heat. This was impressive because heat is a problem for many pads that are carbon specific. The rate at which the pads were wearing was acceptable, and we also appreciated how there was the option to use the Yellow King on aluminum rims too.

SwissStop FlashPro Yellow King

SwissStop FlashPro Yellow King

2. SRAM Road Organic: Multiple options for brake compound; organic pads are quieter; sintered pads offer great performance throughout their long service life

SRAM Road Organic Brake Pads
  • Material: Organic/Steel
  • Weight: 45g
  • Brake compatibility: Disc
  • Number of pads: 1 pair, left and right
  • Pad Type: Original pads
  • Use: Road cycling, Gravel, Cross-country
  • Compatibility: SRAM road bikes using hydraulic brakes

Features & Considerations
  • Different compound combinations: The brake pad kit comes with two brake pads for one caliper here. Retaining pin and clip are provided alongside the spreader spring. Check for “M” behind the brake pad to ensure it is the correct one. The back plate is using stainless steel , while either the organic or sintered version can be used.
  • Performance: In terms of performance, both these are very similar. The organic compound offers more grab initially and operates without any noise, while the metal compound is best for riding in areas that are dry. Overall we get best braking no matter the weather. The steel back plates are responsible for the improved modulation.
  • Organic and Steel combo: We have a black organic compound and steel back plates combination. They offer a much quieter performance, along with a much softer sensation in terms of braking. The brakes are put under minimised thermal stress too.
  • Compatibility: The pads are top loading so that installation and removal is quick and hassle free. The pad compound is compatible with both post and flat mounted hydraulic brakes for SRAM, along with specific mountain and XC bikes too.

Some Weaknesses
  • The brake pad compound may not last a long time.

The SRAM Road Organic Disc Brake Pads are the best brake pads suited for road riding in SRAM disc brakes. The great thing was we had the option to select the braking and backplate here from variable compounds and combinations. In the end, we settled for steel back plates on the organic brake pads.

After we received them, initially we waited for a while for the brake pads to break-in. While coming downhill, we dragged the brakes so that there is considerable increase in the braking power. The rotir was allowed to cool down, which was followed by 20 full stop braking from medium speeds.

During our test runs, these road bike brake pads from SRAM offered maximum braking power in wet weather and extensive downhill travel. They weighed less and did not heat up as easily.Since we were looking to avoid the wheels from locking up, we appreciated this. Additionally, it was easier for us to modulate the speed too. Overall, this is a great product from SRAM through which they have once again inspired cyclists.

SRAM Road Organic Brake Pads

SRAM Road Organic

3. SwissStop FlashPro BXP Blue: Compatible with popular road disc brake systems; offers improved brake feathering; better linear braking

SwissStop FlashPro BXP
  • Material: BXP blue
  • Weight: 22g
  • Brake compatibility: Caliper
  • Number of pads: 4
  • Pad Type: Replacement insert cartridge
  • Use: Commuter, Touring, Cyclocross, Time Trial. Road
  • Compatibility: SRAM, Shimano, Alloy rims

Features & Considerations
  • BXP compound: BXP stands for Blue Extreme Performance. This SwissStop compound is designed for aluminum rims only. The FlashPro version of the BXP can be used ideally on road bike brakes from SRAM and Shimano. BXP is the ideal compound for wet weather.
  • BXP Blue: It is possible to determine whether the SwissStop brake compound is compatible with alloy or carbon rims. Here, BXP compound is blue in color, where the sides feature white writing. So we can use the SwissStop Blue with aluminum rims
  • More braking power: Thanks to the BXP compound, the braking distance is minimised for more increased braking force. Compared to many leading competitors in the market, the braking distance is said to be reduced by 20 per cent.
  • Improved modulation: In terms of modulation, the high braking force can be controlled with the BXP. This is possible owing to the fact that lever response for any input is very linear and predictable. The brakes do not feel sticky at any point, and are able to engage smoothly. With deep asymmetrical grooves, the profile of the BXP features a leading edge that is more pronounced. This will “squeegee” away any additional water so that even in wet conditions, the pads are able to offer improved modulation.

Some Weaknesses
  • On the front wheel, use minimum force with these brake pads. You will also need to exert all your weight on the rear wheel.

The third set of brake pads that was on our list for testing was the SwissStop FlashPro BXP brake pads for alloy rims . We used the 2 pairs as replacement pads on our test road bike. Our conclusion is that the BXP Blue will serve any average rider well, given that they are using alloy rims.

In comparison to the standard pads that we used initially, these brakes offered much more braking power. Whenever we had to shed some speed as we went into the turns, or needed to take off some speed steadily – the pads offered excellent modulation to make this possible. In dry conditions , the braking power was adequate too. We wanted the pads to stop completely from 60 km/hour, which it did. The braking distance was 35 m, which was almost 8m shorter than many competitor pads. Meanwhile, 180 N of input force generated around 100N of braking force. The front pads grabbed really well too. As there was some buildup of dirt in the wheels we did hear a faint noise, which we shrugged off easily. With great braking in all weather, the BXP generated excellent value for their price.

SwissStop FlashPro BXP

SwissStop FlashPro BXP

4. Campagnolo carbon inserts for Shimano: Carbon Rim replacement brake pads for Shimano calipers; offers secured & modular braking

Campagnolo carbon inserts for Shimano
  • Material: Carbon
  • Weight: 41g
  • Brake Type: Caliper
  • Number of pads: 4( 2 sets)
  • Pad Type: Replacement part
  • Use: Road biking
  • Compatibility: Shimano, SRAM brake calipers

Features & Considerations
  • Carbon brake pads: They are available as two pairs here, and are genuine parts from the manufacturer. These carbon brake pads can be used with calipers from Shimano. This would need to be on Campagnolo carbon rims. The 4 pads can be fitted to both of the rear front calipers.
  • Shimano Fit: We have the Shimano version of this brake pad, which is labelled as BR-BO500X1. You must check this as it is crucial that compatibility is maintained.
  • Enhanced braking performance: The brake pads have been designed with a new composition of compound that will deliver long lasting improved braking performance – irrespective of the weather.
  • Compatibility: Delivered without the brake shoes, the Campagnolo brake pads are to be fitted on Shimano brake calipers. It is possible to use them on direct mount Shimano brakes, as well as on Dura Ace brakes. There is a Campag version of this too, where the Campag inserts are perfect for braking systems from Campag.

Some Weaknesses
  • Carbon pads heat up.

The manufacturer states that the Campagnolo carbon inserts for Shimano are an updated version of BR-BO500X. For Fulcrum or Campagnolo wheels, we feel that this is the only brake pad that is able to deliver high quality performance. So we decided to give these carbon specific brake pads a go. During braking, they offered great performance. This allowed them to be effective on both dry and wet terrains. However, during the rides we had to anticipate the brake on a few turns. Noise was an issue with many carbon wheels we had used previously. Campagnolo carbon road bike brakes pads were amongst the few that were able to operate quietly. If you want to get these brakes, make sure you get the correct version.

Campagnolo carbon inserts for Shimano

Campagnolo carbon inserts for Shimano

5. Kool-Stop Dura: Uses Dura Type Dual compound; brake pads engage instantaneously; offers cartridge pads; replacement inserts are offered too

Kool-Stop Dura Road Pad
  • Material: Dual, Salmon
  • Weight: 34g
  • Brake Compatibility: Road Caliper( Bolt in )
  • Number of pads: 4
  • Pad type: Brake shoe + replacement Cartridge
  • Use: Road bike, Racing, Touring
  • Compatibility: Shimano brake systems, Aluminum rims

Features & Considerations
  • Dura-Ace Road Pad: We have a holder made from forged Aluminum here, which is housing the Dura type Dual Compound insert. Additionally, a pair of Salmon compound replacement pads are provided as an extra. Each package will include dual pad sets.
  • Compatibility: This brake pad can be used on road brake calipers like Dura-Ace, Ultegra, or 105 brakes in addition to being compatible with brake systems that are using Shimano cartridges. Best used on carbon rims.
  • Dual compound: This combines two of the best compounds from Kool Stop that delivers excellent braking, irrespective of the weather. It is using Salmon and Black compounds so that braking is smoother and controllable . Thanks to this combination, brake modulation improves too.
  • Ceramic compound: Typically, a pair of replacement inserts are offered too. However, they are not available on the Ks-RHD . A pair of inserts from salmon compounds are provided with delivery too. These ceramic Salmon compound inserts are perfect for aggressive riding in all weather, especially if conditions are wet.
  • Brake pad design: We can find the patented low tip from Kool Stop on the Dura pads here. This is a similarity with brake pads from Shimano. To ensure that the braking power is maximum even if the conditions are adverse, we can find grooves on the pads. The holder features pivot back adjustability so that pad and rim alignment is perfect.

Some Weaknesses
  • Compatibility with other rims might be an issue.

For our first road bike brake pad from Kool Stop, we decided to try the Kool Stop Dura Road pad. They are used by many teams taking part in cycling competitions all over the world, which is a testament to their performance.
Despite being budget friendly, at no point during out tests did we feel that braking power was compromised. Like all best road bike brake pads, these engaged instantly to deliver considerably slower power while we could feel that our control over the bike was far better. Spiking is a usually a common issue during braking, yet there was none in this road bike brake pad. Since they are cartridge pads, we would urge you to check compatibility before purchase. Riding in both dry and wet weather, braking performance was always excellent. There was hardly any noise. Therefore, if you have carbon rims – these Dura type brake pads can be a great option.

Kool Stop Dura Road Pad

Kool-Stop Dura 

6. Kool-Stop KS DRSA2: Salmon compound replacement pads; ideal for aluminum rims; available in pairs; ideal for all conditions

Sale
Kool Stop KS DRSA2
  • Material: Salmon
  • Weight: 18g
  • Brake compatibility: Hydraulic
  • Number of pads: 2
  • Pad type: Replacement Insert
  • Use: Road
  • Compatibility: Shimano, SRAM, TRP, Tektro road brakes

Features & Considerations
  • Compatibility: These are replacement inserts of the highest quality that can be used with road bikes from Shimano that have cartridge brakes, amongst which are the Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets.
  • Salmon compound: This is a famous brake compound from the manufacturer, which can be used in extreme weather conditions.
  • Plow Tip: This is a tiny projection that can be found on most Kool Stop products, and is shaped like a wedge. It functions like a squeegee to free the rim of any grit and water so that there is nothing stuck between the rim and braking surface. The plow tip also ensures that the brake shoes go through accurate ” toe-in”.
  • Angled water groove: Beneath the attachment poitvfornthe stud, we can find water grooves that have been angled so that water that passes the plow tip can be removed easily.
  • Versatile brake pad: In addition to being compatible with Shimano road brake calipers, these can be used on the road calipers from other brands too, given that they have replaceable inserts. With similar specs, they can be fitted in holders from Shimano, TRP, SRAM, and Tektro by just by using a set screw. It can also fit cantilever brakes on cyclocross bikes that are using a pad carrier similar to the road-style from Shimano.

Some Weaknesses
  • These inserts will not fit liner pull or V pull brakes from Shimano.

These Kool Stop KS DURASA brake pads use a compound that is designed for aggressive riding – Salmon. We used them on a new Fulcrum 3 wheelset where Shimano Ultegra pads were damaging the rim. After a quick fit, this issue was solved easily by the Salmon inserts. We would rate this set up more in terms of braking performance, along with minimum noise. It was also possible for us to check the pads regularly for dirt and debris. Almost no amount of grit was picked up. We were also intrigued by the braking performance in wet weather, and were not disappointed. They are probably the best road bike brake pads for wet weather. The pads offered a great feel, there was hardly any grabbing during subtle engagements and the stroke felt progressive throughout. Use them on your rims without any worry.

Kool Stop KS DRSA2

Kool-Stop KS DRSA2

7. Shimano L04C Metal brake pads: Designed for disc brakes, including hydraulic; Ice technology pads: Will not heat up

Shimano L04C
  • Material: Aluminum, stainless steel
  • Weight: 24g
  • Brake compatibility: Disc
  • Number of pads: 2
  • Pad type: Replacement
  • Use: Road cycling
  • Compatibility: Road bikes running disc brakes ( e.g.BR-RS805, BR-RS505)

Features & Considerations
  • L04C brake pads: These metal brake pads are a great replacement option, where a single brake will require two pads that come in a pack. They can be used with road bike disc brakes BR-RS805 & BR-RS505 from Shimano. The manufacturer has ensured that the brake pads can be at a lower temperature thanks to the metal construction and Ice Technology.
  • Ice-Tech pads: Shimano has applied Ice Technology on brake pads so that the technology can keep it cool and offer consistent braking. There are cooling fins now inside the brake pads. They form a three layer sandwich construction with the rotor and pad fins. This allows the brake pads to run low weight, last long, undergo less fade, and make less noise.
  • Cooling fins: The radiator cooling fins are made from Aluminum and steel here. They can get rid of heat faster so that there is no brake fade. They also help to ensure that the weight is low.
  • Sintered design: The metal sintered pads are long lasting and are able to deliver excellent braking power in all conditions. The coverings are made from metal too, and therefore have more braking effect.
  • Compatibility: These L04C are replacement pads for Shimano BR-RS805 and BR-RS505 disc brakes. Mud, sand, rain – the L04C delivers in all conditions.

Some Weaknesses
  • It may be noisy, in comparison to resin pads from the series.

We decided to try these Shimano L04C metal pads on Ultegra calipers that had around 1000 miles put on them. From our first ride, we were aware of their increased braking capabilities.

After installing the brake pads, we adjust them so that they were centered. This would help to minimise any noise and offer great braking power. We mostly tested them out on extreme conditions, and there was hardly any brake fade. We could clearly comprehend that the focus of the design of these pads was to improve control over the braking performance. In the rain, they exhibited excellent braking too. Owing to the Ice Technology, the consistency of the brake pads was noticeable. So far, we have had no issues except for a few squeals. The pads showed that they were able to perform effectively and efficiently right from the beginning.

Shimano L04C

Shimano L04C

8. Shimano BR-7900: For aluminum rims; easy to install; provide excellent durability for high-performance; can be used in different conditions

Shimano BR-7900 Road Brake Pads
  • Material: Rubber R55C
  • Weight: 20g
  • Brake compatibility: Shimano BR-7900 disc caliper
  • Number of pads: 2
  • Pad Type: Replacement insert ( OEM for BR-7900 Dura-Ace)
  • Use: Road biking
  • Compatibility: Aluminum rims

Features & Considerations
  • Cartridge pads: These cartridge style replacement inserts can be post mounted on Shimano Dura-Ace 7900. The cartridge brake shoe has been built to the specs and quality of the original pads on the braking system for compatible Shimano road disc calipers. The delivered pair can be used on either the rear or front braking systems.
  • R55C rubber: The brake pads are using a new compound, R55C rubber that is more long lasting. The pad compound is formulated for Shimano rim brakes on alloy rims.
  • Performance: These brake pads will : I. Eliminate any unwanted noise that may be associated with braking; II. Exhibit durability in wet weather by resisting pad wear; and III. Boost dry terrain braking.

Some Weaknesses
  • Brake shoes are not provided

These Shimano BR-7900 Dura-Ace road bike brake pads have high endurance. While making steep downhill rides or fast turns on unfamiliar road terrain- these replacement pads offer great reliable performance. A closer look at the rubber compound illustrates its speciality, as they can be used on carbon rims. Installation was fairly easy, thanks to the cartridge style adjustability feature. We did not make any additional adjustments to the brakes after installation of the adjusting knob. Only the cable was fitted back to where it was located earlier.

Shimano lives up to its reputation again, delivering excellent braking performance with little or no wear. Since they are ideal replacement pads for road bikes, they can be fit on a wide range of Shimano models. These Shimano pads offer silent braking too. We certainly consider them amongst the ideal brake pads for use in road biking which work well in both wet and dry conditions.

Shimano BR-7900 Road Brake Pads

Shimano BR-7900 

9. Kool-Stop KS- VBHDL: V-type brake pads for threaded post systems; dual compound delivers high performance in all weather

Sale
Kool Stop KS- VBHDL brake pads
  • Compound: Dual ( Salmon and Black)
  • Weight: 44g (pair)
  • Brake compatibility: Rim
  • Number of pads: 2
  • Pad type: V cartridge with replacement pads
  • Use: Road biking
  • Compatibility: Threaded post brakes

Features & Considerations
  • Low weight: The holder for these road bike brake pads are machined and use titanium hardware so that the overall weight is low. Each pair weighs 28g only.
  • Dual Compound: The KS-VBHDL uses a new dual compound on the holders that have been forged from aluminium. The softer black Kool Stop compound is used ahead of the point of attachment, while Salmon compound is found behind this attachment point. Salmon is hard and grips more. This Dual compound will reduce any braking noise while still offering relentless braking power.
  • Asymmetrical shape: Owing to the off-centre point of attachment, we can see that the rear section of these Kool Stop brake pads are longer in comparison to the front. This unusual shape helps to distribute pressure more evenly on the brake shoe surface. The rear end is responsible for a larger portion of the braking as it digs in. At the same time, the front section lifts off.
  • Spherical washers: This Kool Stop road bike brake pad model uses threaded shafts. It also offers spherical washers or nuts that will allow the rider to fine adjust the brake shoe angle. Basically they have a ball-socket mechanism, and the brake arms will not need to bend.
  • Alloy holder: The holder has a V-type design, and made using forged alloy. The pads offer 100 percent compatibility with Shimano pads, since they have the same specs. They can be used with linear rim brakes from Shimano and Avid. It houses a V-type insert pad that is using Dual compound.
  • Plow tip: The brake pads come with a small projection at the rear end, that is shaped like a wedge. It will squeegee the grit and water from the rims so that there are no unwanted particles prevailing in the middle of the rims and the braking surface.

Some Weaknesses
  • It is crucial that the toe- in has been aligned correctly.

We used a pair of the Kool Stop V-type holder with brake pads for the rear brake on our test bike. Lucky for us, we were able to test their performance in rainy conditions on the same date as its purchase. The front wheels were still using the stock pads, which allowed us to instantly compare their braking performance. At the end of our test sessions, we were open to changing the front brake too! However, we would advise you to make adjustments to the toeing of the Kool Stop brake pads. For your convenience, we have mentioned below a few tips that will come handy during installing these brake pads.

  1. When the pads are installed with minimised toe-in, the brakes pads will hardly make any squealing and chattering noises. To ensure that the pads are striking the rims first for braking, the front section of the brake pads have to be angled inwards slightly.
  2. Since the dual compound brake pads are longer in the rear section, the pads were tucking in the back of the forks. We resorted to aligning the pads properly with respect to the rim. This was achieved by vertically attaching them on the lever arms; however, we took care so that this attachment was not too tight.
  3. Toeing could also be adjusted by placing a business card( that was twice folded ) on the rear side of the brake pads. The bolt would need to be tightened while the handle for the brake is to be squeezed.

Kool Stop KS- VBHDL brake pads

Kool-Stop KS- VBHDL

10. Shimano V-Brake: Pads are cartridge-styled; Long-lasting construction; Brake pads are of lx level

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Shimano V-Brake Pads
  • Compound: M70T3
  • Weight: 45g
  • Brake compatibility: Hydraulic Disc
  • Number of pads: 2
  • Pad type: One piece
  • Use: MTB, Road
  • Compatibility: Deore, LX, XT, Alvio, Acera; Standard aluminum rims

Features & Considerations
  • Brake shoe set: This brake shoe set is delivered with a pair of LX/DX brake pads. The mounting hardware has been offered too.
  • Shimano M70T3: Shimano M70T3 are brake shoes intended for V-brakes that come with a threaded post. In terms of braking, the stopping power is above average. M70T3 brake shoes are ideal for wet weather riding, and deliver noise less efficiency
  • Compatibility: The M70T3 brake pads are long lasting, and can be used on a wide range V brake on rim braking surfaces. The V brake pads can be used on the M750 rear derailleur and M600, which is a hydraulic disc brake for the front wheel.
  • Quality: The brake shoe set is an excellent design from the manufacturer, who has a reputation of designing such higher end parts. As every part is tested extensively and analysed, Shimano parts are safe and reliable.
  • Performance: The material used on this Shimano cartridge has linings that are material matched so that the brakes are able to deliver better braking performance. Irrespective of the weather, performance is always good.

Some Weaknesses
  • Pad is heavy.
  • Rim wear is accelerated.
  • Brake fade may occur.

These SHIMANO V-Brake Pads, like their name suggests, are great for V-Brakes. We used them with our trekking bikes. The compound M70T3 seemed to have enough hardness, so we know they would last a long time. The stopping power was adequate and not difficult to predict. We placed the pads pretty high on the rims, but not so high that it would rub with the tyre. The posts were calibrated for fast setup. On the road, they have been running quiet and nice. In some cases, we felt that these pads were better than the original stock pads we had. This was in terms of both noise and braking. These road bike pads can be a great option, especially because the manufacturer has a reputation of offering excellent braking performance on their brake pads.

SHIMANO V-Brake Pads

Shimano V-Brake Pads

11. SwissStop Flash Evo: Delivers ideal braking in wet weather; Lower profile for more clearance

SwissStop Flash Evo
  • Compound: Black Prince
  • Weight: 4o.8( pair)
  • Brake type: Caliper
  • Number of pads: 4
  • Pad Type: Replacement pads
  • Use: CX, TT, Triathlon, Road bikes
  • Compatibility: Carbon rims

Features & Considerations
  • SwissStop brake pads: This brake pad is designed for optimal performance on carbon rims. Here, the pads are delivered as a pack of 4.
  • Black Prince: It features the Black Prince compound, which is only for carbon rims. The Black Prince offers “alloy” braking performance on carbon wheels. Look at the sides for a yellow writing to confirm. Along with superior modulation, braking power and control will increase too. No matter the condition, braking distance will be brought down significantly.
  • Versatile use: The Black Prince compound can be used with road bikes from both SRAM and Shimano. Thanks to the low profile of these pads, they can be used on i. TT bikes, ii. Road bikes that come with brake calipers, iii. CX bikes , iv. Triathlon bikes, and v. Aero wheels that are very wide.
  • Performance: Black Prince pads are designed for more braking power. It does not create much heat, unlike the other compounds in the series. Braking is more linear, and throughout the brake range we will have consistent braking power. It is able to minimize braking distance by 25 percent in wet weather. The Black Prince brake pads minimises the temperature at which the brake pads work at maximum efficiency by 40 percent.

Some Weaknesses
  • The soft rubber wears out quickly.

The third Swissstop road bike brake pad that has made its way into our list is the SwissStop FLASH EVO. Even though it is a little expensive, they offer great value. Braking performance is excellent even when it is wet outside. Unlike disc brakes which make a squeaking noise when they get wet, the Black Prince compound helped to maintain noiseless braking. On top of their low profile, we also found them to be narrow in terms of shape. We found that this attribute offered a clearance of an additional 1.5 mm, which meant that we could use wider rims with the pads. The stock pads for our carbon test wheelset locked up on the very first decent, after which we installed the FLASH EVO. Braking was spot on after this, in dry and wet conditions. The rim on our wheels used rubberised patina to cover the rims, so any wear could be identified easily. Despite offering almost similar Aluminum rim performance, there was no wear or tear.

SwissStop Flash Evo

SwissStop Flash Evo

12. Alritz: Budget choice; Only compatible with V brakes bikes; Wheel-specific

Alritz Bike Brake Pads Set
  • Compound: Aluminum, rubber
  • Weight: 230g
  • Brake Compatibility: V
  • Number of pads: 6 ( 3 pairs)
  • Pad Type: V brake specific
  • Use: Road, MTB
  • Compatibility: Shimano and SRAM mountain and V-brake road bike

Features & Considerations
  • Brake pad set: The manufacturer offers three of 3 pairs of brake pads using 70mm brake pads. It can be used on road and mountain bikes using v brakes only. During installation check the pads for left and right, which is marked on their body.
  • Alritz brake pads: These pads are made from native rubber found exclusively in Taiwan. The rubber does not have any asbestos and emery.
  • Design: There are slots in their shape to guide mud, water, sand, and stones away from their body more efficiently. Braking performance therefore remains unaffected by weather. It follows a curved design which minimises damage to road bike wheels. This also ensures that the pads will make minimum noise even when braking with more power.
  • All in one package: This brake pad set will not undergo quick wear thanks to the aluminum and rubber. They can withstand more temperature and do not damage the bike rims.You should mount 2 pairs on both the wheels while the third set can be used later.

Some Weaknesses
  • Your rims are susceptible to damage with these Alritz V brake pads.

We used the hex wrench for easy installation of Alritz bike brake pads. The pads have been labelled L and R too, for the right and left side. They also come with arrows that points out in which wheel they should be used on. After a little adjustment, they were just close enough to the rims so that there was no unwanted noise. Skid, noise, and wear were all minimized as we used the Alritz brake pads. For long lasting use, the pads were using aluminum alloy and rubber. As we used them in the rain, the sand grooves on the brake pads guided water off them, and we were very surprised by minimum damage to the wheels and the rims. For ease of integrating with the wheels, the brake pads offered large pad clearance thanks to the curved shape. It also improved braking power and minimized noise.

Alritz Bike Brake Pads Set

Alritz


Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can I Use Carbon Brake Pads on Alloy Rims?

Ans.: We can use brake pads made from carbon on alloy rims. The compatibility will be an issue, and the braking performance will simply not be similar due to the mismatch. Brake pads meant for alloy rims should not be used on carbon tacks strictly, as they cannot handle the heat which builds upon carbon tracks. The brakes may fail as a whole, as they will be shred to pieces. The carbon wheels will become damaged too.

Q2. How Do I Reduce the Squealing Noise During Braking?

Ans.: Road bikes that are using rim brakes can have the pad engagement angle with the rim adjusted. The pad should be adjusted in such a way that the front section engages with the rim initially. The reverse can be done too. Road bikes that use discs are contaminated via lubricants. In that case, a degrease can clean the pad and rotors

Q3. How to take care of the brake pads in your bike?

Ans.: For rim brakes on road bikes, we have to use either cantilever or V brakes. For disc brakes, it is ideal if the brake pad is able to clamp the wheel centre. When rim pads wear, they should be replaced with new ones. For best results, look for patterns or grooves too.

For road bike brake pads on rim brakes , the conservation of the rubber compound will determine if the pads have to be replaced. For disc brakes, the wheel has to be removed so that the caliper can be checked. Typically brake pads used on road bikes are 3-4 mm thick. If this thickness comes down to 1mm, replacement is mandatory. In other cases like the hand lever hitting the handlebar needs replacement too. If you the brake pads have a solid appearance and there are still issues – installation or cable problems would need to be determined. Upon examination, if your brake pads look solid, you may be experiencing cable or install issues that need fixing instead.

Conclusion

‘V’ brakes, discs or calipers – no matter your road bike braking system, this article can help you choose the best road bike brake pads. Hopefully you will be able to select the brake pads suited for cycling on the road using our article. It is important that you look out for signs of wear in the brake pads, and try to replace the brake pads immediately if needed. Since brake pads are not too expensive, using one can do more good than harm. We wish you all the best on your quest for the perfect brake pads for your bike.

My name is Dion Lewis. I’ve been cycling since my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions. In my college life, I took a part-time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally. Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or bike gear.

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