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  1. #1
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    Brake pads - aluminum vs carbon rims - does it matter?

    I no longer have any aluminum wheels, just a set of approximately 1 year old Mavic carbon wheels with the somewhat textured brake track and a pair of ENVEs with the new Gen 2 brake track. Unfortunately, I got a little ahead of myself on replacement pads and have multiple sets of brand new DuraAce pads and some yellow Swiss Stops .I also have new Zipp carbon pads. I've had them long enough that the LBS doesn't want to take them back.

    Is there any issue with using DuraAce pads with carbon wheels? I realize they will likely get chewed up and worn out quickly, but at least I'd get some use out of them.

    Any issue with using the Zipp carbon pads with Mavic and ENVE wheels?

    I don't want to be penny-wise but pound-foolish, so if it's a bad idea, I'll skip it.

  2. #2
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    Only one issue: You'll void every warranty you have.

    Sounds like your Mavic wheels have the Exalith brake track, so they aren't carbon...it is basically an aluminum rim w/ carbon fairing...am I right? You can't really get an accurate answer til you let us know exactly which Mavic wheels you have. I would NEVER use anything but Enve pads on Enve rims.

    And of course I'd be remiss if I didn't add that you've posted in the wrong forum section.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    And of course I'd be remiss if I didn't add that you've posted in the wrong forum section.
    Technically, twice the OP asked if there was any issue using xxx PADS with yyy RIMS, so he's in the right forum. If he asked what if there were any issues using xxx RIMS with yyy PADS then he should have been fed to the lions.

    OK cx, I seriously want to get something useful out of this thread as well. Are there better PADS to use with Aeolus RIMS than the stock Bontragers?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogre View Post
    Technically, twice the OP asked if there was any issue using xxx PADS with yyy RIMS, so he's in the right forum. If he asked what if there were any issues using xxx RIMS with yyy PADS then he should have been fed to the lions.

    OK cx, I seriously want to get something useful out of this thread as well. Are there better PADS to use with Aeolus RIMS than the stock Bontragers?
    As in the cork Bontrager pads? I hate them, they seem to make a lot of noise. The Swissstop Black Prince seem to work pretty well. They're approved and sold through Trek so they're good to go.
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    Quote Originally Posted by multirider View Post

    Is there any issue with using DuraAce pads with carbon wheels? I realize they will likely get chewed up and worn out quickly, but at least I'd get some use out of them.


    Carbon is very soft compared to alloy. You have that backwards if you mean the pads will wear out quick with carbon rims as compared to alloy rims. How much quicker your carbon rims wear as compared to using the right pads? No idea but I wouldn't want to find out. You also have the overheating/delamination issue to consider using the more aggressive alloy pads.

    I once used Carbon pads on Alloy rims by mistake and the pads wore very quickly. that should tell you something about the visa versa scenario.

  6. #6
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by multirider View Post
    I no longer have any aluminum wheels, just a set of approximately 1 year old Mavic carbon wheels with the somewhat textured brake track
    Double check your mavic wheels. What you're describing sounds like their aluminum rims with carbon flarings. The aluminum has their Exalith coating which makes them black and makes it hard to tell they're aluminum at first glance. Oh, and you can't use your DuraAce pads on them. You need the Green Exalith pads for them (and can't use them on carbon).
    https://shop.mavic.com/en-us/cosmic-...html#1028=3283


    Is there any issue with using DuraAce pads with carbon wheels? I realize they will likely get chewed up and worn out quickly, but at least I'd get some use out of them.
    I don't think you want to chew up your expensive carbon wheels... which is what will happen. And probably overheat them too.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Carbon is very soft compared to alloy. You have that backwards if you mean the pads will wear out quick with carbon rims as compared to alloy rims. How much quicker your carbon rims wear as compared to using the right pads? No idea but I wouldn't want to find out. You also have the overheating/delamination issue to consider using the more aggressive alloy pads.

    I once used Carbon pads on Alloy rims by mistake and the pads wore very quickly. that should tell you something about the visa versa scenario.
    No, he's correct. Carbon rims wear out regular pads very quickly. The carbon may be easy to cut w/ a saw, much like plastic but it doesn't really wear from brake pads. They definitely don't wear like aluminum rims...they last much much longer. It will tear right through normal pads, partially because of the heat created. There are a lot of different carbon pads...some are cork which is obviously very soft. Some are much harder, like the Swissstop. It all depends on how they're made.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    No, he's correct. Carbon rims wear out regular pads very quickly. The carbon may be easy to cut w/ a saw, much like plastic but it doesn't really wear from brake pads. They definitely don't wear like aluminum rims...they last much much longer. It will tear right through normal pads, partially because of the heat created. There are a lot of different carbon pads...some are cork which is obviously very soft. Some are much harder, like the Swissstop. It all depends on how they're made.
    okay I guess I'll stand corrected.

    Here's an anecdote though. I once rode maybe 5 miles with a badly out of true wheel that rubbed the tire on the chain stay of a carbon bike and wore a nice gouge into the carbon. I'm reasonably sure that wouldn't have happened to an alloy frame.
    I know frames ain't wheels and tires aren't brake pads but.......

    I wonder if what you've seen is really "carbon" wearing pads quicker per se or a coating used by carbon rim makers on the brake track? Not that it matters in the context of this topic.

    I can't make sense of how I wore out carbon pads in no time on alloy brake tracks could make them less prone to wear on a more aggressive brake track of carbon but if it happens it happens.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    okay I guess I'll stand corrected.

    Here's an anecdote though. I once rode maybe 5 miles with a badly out of true wheel that rubbed the tire on the chain stay of a carbon bike and wore a nice gouge into the carbon. I'm reasonably sure that wouldn't have happened to an alloy frame.
    I know frames ain't wheels and tires aren't brake pads but.......

    I wonder if what you've seen is really "carbon" wearing pads quicker per se or a coating used by carbon rim makers on the brake track? Not that it matters in the context of this topic.

    I can't make sense of how I wore out carbon pads in no time on alloy brake tracks could make them less prone to wear on a more aggressive brake track of carbon but if it happens it happens.
    Carbon frames and rims are very different in materials and construction for obvious reasons.

    Think about it for a minute...there is more than 1 type of carbon. F1, MotoGP, LM prototypes ALL use carbon rotors. High end sports cars from numerous manufacturers use carbon rotors. It's not the same stuff as a carbon frame. Different material, different resin, different manufacturing processes.

    There are a bunch of different brake pad materials as well. The softest (cork) have surprisingly long service lives. The Zipp Platinum Pro pad is really soft and it lasts pretty well too. Swissstop is a pretty hard compound and logically they last well. They're all designed to work w/ a fairly specific surface. Carbon brake tracks last and last and last and last. I think in the last 10 years I've maybe seen only a couple that were 'worn out' and they were most likely used w/ the wrong pads.

    I wouldn't say that all carbon pads would wear quickly on all alloy rims. Some might, the ones you had apparently did. Enve and Zipp are the only 2 manufacturers that now have an 'aggressive' brake track and they do wear out pads at a faster rate than say a Bontrager carbon rim.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    As in the cork Bontrager pads? I hate them, they seem to make a lot of noise. The Swissstop Black Prince seem to work pretty well. They're approved and sold through Trek so they're good to go.
    +1 for the Swissstop, they work well with the Aeolus Rims

  11. #11
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    I change wheels back and forth pretty frequently and don't want to swap brake pads each time. The 2017 Mavic Ksyrium SSC 32mm deep wheels came with the bike. They have what looks like a fish scale brake track. I put durable training tires on them and use them for every day rides (less likelihood of flats, more mileage). I use the ENVEs with fast tires for racing.

    I had the previous generation of ENVE wheels with the smooth brake track and used the grey ENVE pads with them. I purchased the 4.5s used and they didn't come with brake pads, so I kept using the grey pads. The new 4.5s pretty much vaporized those pads. I have some of the new pads on the way.

    In the meantime, I have multiple sets of DuraAce pads and 2 sets of yellow Swiss Stops.

    Not sure there was a clear answer -- would using the DA or SS pads damage the wheels? I'm thrifty and want to use the pads that I have, am willing to watch them get vaporized by the aggressive brake tracks, but won't do it if it would compromise the wheels.

    Not sure which forum would have been a better choice, please advise.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by multirider View Post
    I change wheels back and forth pretty frequently and don't want to swap brake pads each time. The 2017 Mavic Ksyrium SSC 32mm deep wheels came with the bike. They have what looks like a fish scale brake track. I put durable training tires on them and use them for every day rides (less likelihood of flats, more mileage). I use the ENVEs with fast tires for racing.

    I had the previous generation of ENVE wheels with the smooth brake track and used the grey ENVE pads with them. I purchased the 4.5s used and they didn't come with brake pads, so I kept using the grey pads. The new 4.5s pretty much vaporized those pads. I have some of the new pads on the way.

    In the meantime, I have multiple sets of DuraAce pads and 2 sets of yellow Swiss Stops.

    Not sure there was a clear answer -- would using the DA or SS pads damage the wheels? I'm thrifty and want to use the pads that I have, am willing to watch them get vaporized by the aggressive brake tracks, but won't do it if it would compromise the wheels.

    Not sure which forum would have been a better choice, please advise.
    I would NEVER use anything but Enve pads on those wheels. If anything happens your warranty is vaporized faster than the pads. The Yellow SS are notorious for holding heat and damaging rims. There is no way to know if you'll have any problems but when expen$ive wheels are involved I'd always err on the cautious side. I'll back off on my previous comment about posting in the wheels/tires forum, we are talking mainly about brake pads.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Only one issue: You'll void every warranty you have.

    Sounds like your Mavic wheels have the Exalith brake track, so they aren't carbon...it is basically an aluminum rim w/ carbon fairing...am I right? You can't really get an accurate answer til you let us know exactly which Mavic wheels you have. I would NEVER use anything but Enve pads on Enve rims.

    And of course I'd be remiss if I didn't add that you've posted in the wrong forum section.
    +1..... Exalith braking surface on Mavics require Mavic pads. They are the only ones that seem effective with that braking surface. I've tried others and they get chewed up pretty badly, plus they don't stop nearly as well (wet or dry) than the Mavic pads. The Mavics do seem to have a shorter life than I'm used to, but they are the most effective for those wheels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Double check your mavic wheels. What you're describing sounds like their aluminum rims with carbon flarings. The aluminum has their Exalith coating which makes them black and makes it hard to tell they're aluminum at first glance. Oh, and you can't use your DuraAce pads on them. You need the Green Exalith pads for them (and can't use them on carbon).
    https://shop.mavic.com/en-us/cosmic-...html#1028=3283


    I don't think you want to chew up your expensive carbon wheels... which is what will happen. And probably overheat them too.
    It's not necessarily that the pads will chew up your wheels. In fact the wheels will destroy the pads. However, if the Dura Ace pads have been used on an aluminum wheel before, they will ruin your carbon wheels do to debris from the aluminum wheels cutting into your carbon wheels. Those are Dura ace pads however. Check to see if they are the C4 models. Those are the Dura Ace pads that can be used on carbon wheels. If they are brand new, then they are carbon wheels friendly... just not with the wheels you have there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    As in the cork Bontrager pads? I hate them, they seem to make a lot of noise. The Swissstop Black Prince seem to work pretty well. They're approved and sold through Trek so they're good to go.
    Quote Originally Posted by sgc View Post
    +1 for the Swissstop, they work well with the Aeolus Rims
    I got the Black Prince pads and got to ride 30 miles on them today. I think there's a noticeable improvement in braking, (feels more like traditional pads with alloy rims, more stopping power), and my front brake is silent, even when I tried a 'panic' stop from 33 mph.

    Thanks for the suggestion and endorsement.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogre View Post
    I got the Black Prince pads and got to ride 30 miles on them today. I think there's a noticeable improvement in braking, (feels more like traditional pads with alloy rims, more stopping power), and my front brake is silent, even when I tried a 'panic' stop from 33 mph.

    Thanks for the suggestion and endorsement.
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