Winter training forces brake pad replacement

My trusty Enigma has been back in full service for the commute to work and regular training rides, and it’s been taking quite a battering recently, as the weather has taken a decided turn for the worse.

In particular the brakes have been showing their struggle against the water and grit present on the roads, with the  blocks – known as pads these days – rapidly vanishing and the thick black trails of brake dust coating the forks and frame the only evidence of their previous existence.

So time to replace the blocks, then, but what with? It seems too obvious to just fit some new Shimano Ultegra blocks, so it seems a good opportunity to test some aftermarket brake blocks.

A couple of phone calls and a few days of waiting later, and these arrived on my desk; Jagwire from and Ashima courtesy of

First up, the Jagwire Sleek Pro brake blocks, pictured here with silver shoes but available in black, grey or white, feature the company’s Pro Series compound which is claimed to deliver good durability and impressive stopping power all at the same time. At £19.99 per end they’re clearly pitched at the top-end user.

Next up is Ashima’s Alumium Brake Shoe, a more affordable option at £12.99. They lack the Jagwire’s machined shoe, but the pad compound is said to offer all round performance in all conditions.

I’ll be testing these brake pads over the following weeks back to back to see which perform the best at the most demanding time of year on road bicycle brake pads. Will the extra cost of the Jagwire’s be worth the difference? I’ll soon find out.


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