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Ok, what's the deal with Kool-stop salmon brake pads?(10 posts)

Ok, what's the deal with Kool-stop salmon brake pads?KG 361
Oct 16, 2003 9:48 AM
In the past week or so I keep seeing them mentioned. I've heard of Kool-stop before but what's with the salmon pads? Are they going to make a big difference in my ability to stop? I ask because I need new pads anyway, and since I'm hearing a lot about the Kool-stops, my curiousity over came me. Where's a good place to get them?
re: Ok, what's the deal with Kool-stop salmon brake pads?terry b
Oct 16, 2003 9:52 AM
Got mine from Excel. The made a huge difference in the stopping power of my Cane Creek single pivot brakes, but it looks like they might also be wearing faster (which, I suppose could be expected.) I like them well enough, but I would not consider them a life changing product.
My 2c ..Steve Young
Oct 16, 2003 10:29 AM
They've been around for a while I think. As far as I recall there are at least two variants - Black ones and Salmon (actually orangy) ones.

I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure that the Salmon ones are a slightly softer compound. My main comparison recently is with the stock pads that came with my Ultegra equipped bike.

I think the Salmons do work better although there is a consequent reduction in lifespan - i.e. they wear down a bit more quickly. They're quite good in the wet.

Others have commented that they are less hard on the rims than the Shimano offerings (that may be more of a reflection on the Shimano pads that a factor that differentiates the Koolstops particularly).

I don't think there's anything really special about them - they're just a good solid product that work well. At the end of the day they are "only" brake pads and don't cost that much so satisfying your curiosity will be a lot cheaper than me satisying my curiosity about a custom Ti fame :)

Sheldon Brown Discusses Thempeter in NVA
Oct 16, 2003 12:04 PM
They started with Mathhauser pads years ago, they have some iron oxide of sorts in them. I used them on my cross bike for a while. I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the black pads, except the mud ground them down rather fast.
I think most rim pads of all companies are made by Koolstop, they make disc pads also.
Thanks for the input.KG 361
Oct 16, 2003 12:27 PM
I think I'll stay with good 'ole Shimano black pads. Salmon would clash with my paint scheme =) Besides, as one of the owners of my favorite lbs says, "stopping is over-rated".
I sure notice a differenceramboorider
Oct 16, 2003 1:16 PM
Unlike the other posters, I notice a very definite difference. Not to say they're necessary, but they're a lot grippier than the black Shimano pads. Almost too grippy until you get used to them. I have them on all of my bikes. I'd forgotten just how much stronger they were until I recently bought a used bike that had stock Shimano pads on it. It felt like it had no stopping power. I put salmon pads back on and it's like getting power brakes. Most of mine are the old Malthauser style blocks, but I've used Kool Stop too with the same effect.

If you're happy with the Shimano pads, don't switch, but there is a difference.

I'm not sure, but I like them.jw25
Oct 16, 2003 1:19 PM
I have both the black and salmon inserts for Shimano holders. The black pads are a fairly soft compound, stops great, and doesn't leave gunk on the rims, but it's not as good in wet weather. Not bad, just not as good as the salmon. The salmon pads also stop great, but they do it in any weather, and seem to clean off already-gunked rims better than the blacks.
Mine are wearing very well, though I've only done 5-6 rainy rides on them. They look new to me, once you wipe the road gunk off them, and they haven't picked up any grit yet.
IMHO, definitely worth the money to get them. I think I found mine at, but a google or search should give you a few sources.
I also just bought a few sets of the Aztec Formula 1 pads off Ebay. These use a similar (probably the same) compound, but have a lighter, stiffer holder, but aren't replaceable. They were $5 a pair, definitely a better deal than the $20 retail. Worth a search, and I'll post results when they show up.
Mine are on orderpitt83
Oct 16, 2003 3:18 PM
From $7.95 a set; I thought that was a pretty good price considering I was bundling with new MTB chin rings and a chain and was paying shipping already.

I can't believe what a mess the Ultegra pads make! That black crap is everywhere! The 105's weren't this messy. Even if these Kool-Stops are simply cleaner, I'll like them better.
Doesn't that black crap come from your rims? (nm)B2
Oct 16, 2003 4:04 PM
Which black crap?Kerry Irons
Oct 16, 2003 4:48 PM
The fine dusty black crap definitely comes from the metal of your rims - aluminum powder. The gunky black streaks and deposits comes from (poor quality) brake pads.