Kool Stop High Performance Bicycle Brake Pads

10 Sep

Many years ago I drove by an automobile brake shop and noticed the slogan on their sign, “If you can’t stop, don’t start.” Well, the same thing is true for cyclists—it doesn’t matter how fast you can go on your bike, if your brakes are sluggish it could cost you your life. Earlier this year I rebuilt an old Trek 1200 road bike and customized it to handle foul weather (mainly rain). The finishing touch on this rebuild was the brake pads—and after a bit of research I chose Kool Stop Bicycle Brake Pads due to their superior stopping power in wet weather.

Kool Stop Bicycle Brake Pads

Kool Stop High Performance Bicycle Brake Pads

Kool Stop International, Inc., a company based in Oregon, has been making bicycle brake pads for over 30 years. They make a variety of brake pads, but my Trek 1200 uses their Dura Road Pad set (Dura-Ace/Ultegra), so that is what I have used. The Dura Road Pad (like their Campi Pad) is a dual compound insert that fits inside an aluminum holder. This holder has a “dual pivot adjustment” (a conical washer) and is very easy to adjust.

Kool Stop Wet Weather Bicycle Brake Pads

Kool Stop Brake Pads

Kool Stop manufactures several different compounds for use in their brakes—some compounds are best for dry weather cycling and others are very aggressive for use in wet weather. As the name implies, the “dual compound” brake pads are a combination of two compounds—it uses a black compound usually found in their dry weather pads along with their aggressive salmon colored pad that offer superior stopping power in wet weather. Kool Stop ships these brakes with the dual compound pads preinstalled, but they also include an extra pair of salmon colored pads (for really nasty weather).

Even though the Chicago area has had a drought this summer, I have been able to ride a few hundred miles in the rain (mainly in the spring) with these brake pads and they work as advertised. While the brake pads I took off the old Trek 1200 were pretty worn, the Kool Stop brake pads allow me to stop in about half the distance as before.

If you have never replaced a pair of brake pads on your bike before you might wonder how difficult a job it is. There is no reason to have the local bike shop put these pads on for you—a total amateur can put on a set of these brake pads in under 15 minutes, and the second set will probably go on in 10 minutes.

Kool Stop Bicycle Brake Pads with X Pad (Dura-Ace/Ultegra) retail for $23 a pair and you should be able to find them at your local bike shop. These brake pads are nearly twice the price of other brake pads, but they are worth it (if you value your life).


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13 responses to “Kool Stop High Performance Bicycle Brake Pads

  1. billgncs

    September 10, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    interesting, I have to admit between riding my road bike and my mountain bike with they hydraulic disc brakes that the same amount of pressure on the disc brakes that is required to stop the road bike will result in a skid or flip.

    • irishkatie

      September 10, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      Hmmm….I know I will be in the market for a new road bike next season … and was thinking of getting one with disc brakes, as I heard they do better in the rain. Your experience is that it does not?

      • billgncs

        September 10, 2012 at 9:59 AM

        they can stop you on a dime with much more stopping power than traditional brakes. You just need to be very careful on the front brake.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM

      I have hydraulic disc brakes on two of my mountain bikes, but am not sure I’d want them on my road bikes due to the extra weight. However, as you have probably observed, disc brakes on road bikes are available — but since I don’t have any big hills where I ride I don’t feel the need for them (yet).

  2. irishkatie

    September 10, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    This is SUPER timely. It just started to rain today … and I don’t have rain gear. While I meant clothing so I can keep drier … I realize after reading this that I should think a bit more about braking and other safety issues.

    (By the way, the cygolite came in the mail this past Friday. It is SUPER bright. Yeahhhh. I cannot WAIT to use it. I had a hard time figuring out how to strap it to my helmet as the instructions were not very clear. But its on now yeahhh. I do notice that the rubber cover on the USB port on the light does not easily pop back in though … I read somewhere about a tip on how to make it stick better….where did I read that? hmm….time to search again.)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 10, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      Glad you like the Cygolite! The little cover over the USB port does take a little getting used to, but it does work well. As for cycling rain gear, just click the “Cycling In The Rain” category on the right-hand side of this page — I’ve been able to review of LOT of rain gear. Ride safely!

      • irishkatie

        September 11, 2012 at 10:29 AM

        I started looking at some of the stuff in that category, but have not gone though all of it yet. (I saw something about cycle wear that intrigued me…you had a friend review since it was for women. I liked the look, but noticed that the neck portion … back of the neck – was not covered…and that for me is a bit more important than…ack…wait…let me find that post later and comment there. Ack … wrong post place for this.)

        Anyway, I rode in this morning using the cygolite…YES!!!!

  3. bamboogirl

    September 11, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Hmm. I think I need some of these 😉 I’ll see if they are @Interbike this year. Thanks for the review!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 11, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      You are going to Interbike this year? I am so jealous! I had thought about trying to get a pass, but the rest of my life got in the way (I still have to work for a living).

      • bamboogirl

        September 11, 2012 at 5:21 PM

        I have to go for work 🙂 It’s getting a little crazy with the “health & fitness” addition they added the past year (kettle balls anyone?). . If I see anything awesome, I’ll see if I can’t snag you some swag!

        Well, the more awesome reviews you do, I can’t see how you wouldn’t make a living off them sometime soon 🙂

        • All Seasons Cyclist

          September 11, 2012 at 5:34 PM

          Thank you so much! I would love the “swag” if anyone is willing to send it my way.

          I’ve had several companies want to either buy advertising space on my blog or have paid links, but I always turn them down. I have a feeling that if I was making money off the products I review I would not be very objective (even though I might try).

          Have a safe trip!

  4. simonnurse

    September 11, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    Good review (as ever!). With winter not far away, braking options are an important consideration.

    Disc brakes on road bikes – agree completely. Currently they’re too heavy and modulating your braking using cantis is fine (South Wales is full of hills and fast descending).

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      I need my disc brakes on my mountain bikes, but am getting by just fine without them on my road bikes. Considering what we spend for a carbon fiber bike just to save a few ounces it doesn’t make sense to add any weight to the bike unless absolutely needed.


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