Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking about buying a set of Carbon, but I hear some people say their braking power are marginal. What can I expect since I have only been on alloy rims?

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,344 Posts
roadbike_moron said:
I'm thinking about buying a set of Carbon, but I hear some people say their braking power are marginal. What can I expect since I have only been on alloy rims?

Thanks in advance for any help.
Yes, generally all carbon rims fair somewhat worse than aluminum/alloy brake surfaces. A good set of brake pads helps (for instance SwissStop yellows) and a good set of calipers will much improve the situation, but it won't be as strong or subtle as their aluminum/alloy counterparts.

To make matters worse, Carbon hoops get even much worse when wet (than their alloy counterparts do when wet as compared to dry).

Some rim manufacturers are now making carbon rims with scrim strips (textured brake surfaces) that significantly improve braking conditions, but even then it is not as good as alloy, and tends to eat brake pads.

I wouldn't call braking "marginal" on carbon rims, as, all in all, it is better than what we hand in the 70s and early 80s before dual pivot brakes made their debut. Lots of folks riding carbon these days, so it's not like it is unsafe, you just have to be more anticipatory in your braking.

zac
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
zac said:
Yes, generally all carbon rims fair somewhat worse than aluminum/alloy brake surfaces. A good set of brake pads helps (for instance SwissStop yellows) and a good set of calipers will much improve the situation, but it won't be as strong or subtle as their aluminum/alloy counterparts.

To make matters worse, Carbon hoops get even much worse when wet (than their alloy counterparts do when wet as compared to dry).

Some rim manufacturers are now making carbon rims with scrim strips (textured brake surfaces) that significantly improve braking conditions, but even then it is not as good as alloy, and tends to eat brake pads.

I wouldn't call braking "marginal" on carbon rims, as, all in all, it is better than what we hand in the 70s and early 80s before dual pivot brakes made their debut. Lots of folks riding carbon these days, so it's not like it is unsafe, you just have to be more anticipatory in your braking.

zac
Agreed. The marginally poorer braking is a tradeoff I was willing to make in exchange for the positive properties of carbon.
 

·
Moderatus Puisne
Joined
·
15,886 Posts
yes, they do

With carbon-specific pads, in the dry, it's pretty good, actually.

Without them, expect to go through an entire set in one race, and your brakes might be pretty grabby.

With carbon-specific pads, in the wet, it's pretty bad -- noticably worse than alloy, that's for sure.

Without the pads in the wet they're supposed to be horrible, but I haven't actually ridden that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
It took me 500 miles to figure out that a little lighter touch on the levers really seemed to smooth out the braking process. In some cases I was just getting on the brakes a little too hard initially. When the bike didn't slow down like I was use to (on aluminum wheels) I would apply even more brake force which made me uncomfortable with the brakes. As time went on I found that a little smoother brake application produced a much better speed reduction. I have wheels with the scrim strips and ride them for fun only.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,275 Posts
Germany's Tour mag did a test of various high-end (500-275 euro) wheels in June, 2007 & found all carbon wheels in their test exhibited inferior braking performance to the AL wheels tested. And this was using recommended carbon-specific pads. Comments included (via 3rd party translation):
"Carbon wheels save a few grams and seconds, but they are spiteful companions when riding downhill. The braking response is miserable."
Re Zipp 808's- "They show their weakest side when going downhill, however: the braking response is pitiful when scrubbing off speed... The same applies for the other carbon wheels that were tested."
"So should you ride into the mountains with carbon wheels? Better not! Only the unpretentious solid American Classic wheel featuring conventional aluminum rims had no problem going downhill."
And all of these comments were for dry conditions. They found braking got worse in the wet.

High-profile carbon wheels are great for aero on level ground, but serious braking is compromised vs AL braking surface. Marginal? That is a value judgment that depends on your specific use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Carbon pads

I have used the Zipp carbon brake pads on my Bontranger XXX lights with good results wet or dry. Best thing about the Zipp pads is the ability to swap back to aluminum rim wheels without a pad change. Highly recommended.

BTW: Spoke to Campagnolo tech support (good guy- very informative). Campagnolo now has specific pads for thier carbon rims. What is new is the destinction between the Hyperon clincher and tubular rims. New pads are for each individual model rim. "Pad materials are different according to the resins used in the rim construction. Must be used as a system for best results..." Makes sense...
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top