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Brake pads can make a significant difference in stopping power, especially in wet conditions. Your choice of brake pads can make all the difference in how often they need to be replaced. Some, such as the WTB red compound, trade rim life for stopping power due to an abrasive nature. The braking surface itself can also make a difference: while knurled (serrated) rims have mostly faded into the past, ceramic walls are available for many quality rims to provide a more durable and effective surface.

Mountain Bike magazine did a test of brake pads in wet and dry conditions. The test stopped an unanodised aluminium wheel, weighted to 146 lb, from 30 mph. The test used 10 lbs of force on an Avid Tri-Align cantilever brake with a variety of brake pads. The numbers in the table below indicate the number of 16ths of a revolution which passed before the wheel came to a stop.


















Pads Dry Wet
Dia-Compe OPC66 Grey Matter 46 561
Delta/Madison Aztec 46 1410
Winwood Polybrake 27 980
Kool Stop Eagle Claw 38 672
Scott/Mathauser Superbrake 27 555
Shimano M70 37 487
Ritchey Logic - Black 30 566
Ritchey Logic - Red 35 421
WTB Gripmaster - Black 34 444
WTB Gripmaster - Red 48 111
WTB Gripmaster - Dual 48 114


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