09 September 2008

bikefix Exclusive Review: SwissStop Disc brake pads

While the company is best known for it's widely-adored brake pads for carbon fiber road rims, SwissStop's disc brake pads have been making a name for themselves in the British magazine reviews for some time. I finally checked with my local shop to see if we could get them here in the USA and we could. When it came time for new pads, I ordered a set for my Formula Oro Puros and waited for them to show up. When they arrived, I wasted no time installing them on my bike. While it may not be for everyone, the bright green backing plates scream “aftermarket pads”- I think they look cool.

SwissStop's These pads are a blend of what are usually called (in the disc brake world) organic and sintered compounds. The actual materials are Ceramic (of some type), Kevlar, Brass, and Resin. What this seems to achieve in real world terms is: strong braking power, good wear and reduced squealing. Generally speaking, sintered (metallic) pad compounds are stronger and last longer than organic compounds, but the organics are quieter and modulate a bit better. This seems to be exaggerated in certain climates or situations and some people have taken to installing a sintered pad on one side, while putting an organic pad on the other- to get the best of both worlds. Swissstop has done this for you at the compound level.

After riding these pads for over four months now, I won’t say that these pads make for any more powerful braking than the metallic pads that came with my Oro Puros- but then they aren’t weaker either. They are however, much quieter overall, and only immediately after stream crossings do they squeal a bit. Modulation is excellent- a bit better than with standard metallic pads, though not by too much. Durability is very good and they are still going strong after a long summer of big rides. To be fair though, durability isn’t much of an issue out here in New Mexico where most brake pads last a fairly long time [I just replaced my rear Oro pads after nearly a year- marc]. Also, If any Downhillers are reading this, I can’t comment on the suitability of these pads for that sort of use (I have heard good things though). The best part for everyone that wants the SwissStops a shot is that, at $22.00, they're no more expensive than standard replacement pads.



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