Kool Stop are an American brand that has provided aftermarket brake pads for many years. Their latest Salmon ‘extreme conditions’ pads are designed specifically with road riders in mind and a very welcome addition to riders wanting increased performance, especially from Shimano Brakes. They are harder wearing and provide increased performance.
The wet days in the big tours can see a team get through a full set of pads and we’ve already noticed a few pro teams using KoolStops on Shimano brakes, so their worth has already spread to the pro rider’s mechanics.
For nasty winter conditions they transform a set of Shimano Dura Ace calipers – especially in the wet and grungy weather we are currently used to. However we’ve also used them in the summer through the mountains and the results are reassuring. There’s no rim grabbing or brake fade as the compound heats up on long descents. In fact all the Kool Stop stuff seems to wear very well.
The Carbon compound is equally impressive (we’ve tried these in all weathers too) and they certainly provide confident and progressive braking. It’s worth noting that manufacturers do tend to stick with one manufacturers compound so check that they are still OK to use with your wheels. We used them on a set of Zipps.
Salmon: for wet conditions
Black: for normal conditions
Green Z-Chromium: for ceramic rims
Black – carbon: for Carbon rims
The new Tectronic brake pads are a forged alloy holder like a mountain bike V-brake shoe and they allow you to customise your pad set up. The friction inserts are designed to interlock together. The Pad-Lock washer system has been improved by incorporating the convex pivot adjustment into the backing plate – this reduces the need for all of those fiddly washers and domed spacers.
Why would you want to customise? Well as a cyclo-cross rider or commuter you may be keen to improve stopping performance. The Tectronic pads come with a multi friction compound set up but single or dual compounds can be configured. Black, Salmon, Ceramic and Carbon Fibre. So if you really want to fine tune braking performance for different weathers and conditions this is going to be right up your street. They look pretty trick too.
In wintry conditions the Salmon pads are superb. KoolStop’s standard offering are also as good as those supplied with brake sets from all manufacturers, in the case of Shimano they are a big step up in wear-time and performance and well worth fitting next time you service your brakes.
As for availability in the UK, well they are currently trying to set up more distributors, however you can buy them from Perception Products 02380 631923 who sell them for £12 for 4 shoes (Salmon).