Advice wanted: Good breaks for Road Cycle


New Member
Apr 16, 2009
Been training in some mountains with some real windy downhill courses that I really get some speed on. Hit 38mph the other day and had my life flash before me as the brakes just faded away and seemed I wasn't going to be able to stop before the guard rail. One guy w/ me was able to slow w/ no problem. Everything is tight and it brakes hard from the start, but the heat is killing these pads.

What is the 'best' pad that won't fade for wheel rim brakes? Is there something I can do to improve the performance (like sand paper the pad or clean the wheel w/ something)?
What brakes are you using? Most brakes these days from the major component makers (ie, Shimano, Campy, SRAM, etc) have more than enough stopping power if setup correctly. Even the very cheapest brakes are not a problem (I use Tiagra on my TT bike!).
Having said that, Mavic makes a stone to clean rims for better braking performance. Also, Kool-Stop Swiss pads get rave reviews from many cyclists.
However...not to be flippant...but if you have good downhill and cornering technique, this will obviate the need for overly-relying on your brakes. IOW, it's vital to hone technique so that you aren't using your brakes so much. I realize that most downhills in Honshu are much "curvier" than up here in Hokkaido, but 38 mph isn't so fast that you shouldn't be able to stop quickly...or negotitate a tricky corner. Again, a matter of technique, not equipment.
Been working on the cornering techniques to be able to carry my speed through the turns, but brake fade is brake fade, something about my equipment is wrong for the hills I'm on.

Not sure how much to lean in w/ these skinny road tires, compared to fat, round motorcycle tires w/ your knee nearly on the ground. Haven't found the limit on the bicycle (ie. rear tire slips out) and I'd really rather not at speed. Anybody have a link to a video for the correct way to take a very hard turn on a road bike?

I'm heading to the bike store tonight or tomorrow and see what pad options they have and hopefully the Mavic stone like you said to clean the rims. Hope to tackle the mountains again this weekend w/ much more confidence in the turns.

Thanks for the advice.
topherbd16 said:
... Is there something I can do to improve the performance
One thing that's easy to try is to brake harder but shorter. Heat build-up isn't supposed to be entirely proportional to brake force, so shorter but harder is supposed to give less heat build up than long and smooth brake sequences.