Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

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Brucey
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby Brucey » 22 Jan 2019, 12:53pm

there are lots of different shimano compounds and they are all different. Most people think they are all the same. They are not; they are designed for different uses.

https://si.shimano.com/pdfs/ev/EV-BR-SHOE-ROAD-1326O.pdf

In addition any brake block that is used with new rims (esp with machined surfaces) tends to pull swarf out of the rim. A subsequent change to any other brake block greatly reduces this effect (thus usually leading to condemnation of any OEM brake block IMHO).

The reason for this is that there is a finite quantity of once-loose swarf that (during machining) gets trapped behind the tool and gets cold-welded to the (apparently smooth and solid) rim surface. This comes away from a new rim in the first few hundred miles, and some of it will get embedded in the brake blocks so that further braking both sounds and is terribly destructive to the rims. You can get similar effects with small stones getting trapped within brake blocks.

Cleaning the brake blocks helps but is of very little value if you don't use something pointed to gouge out every last fragment of crud; small stones often lurk just below the surface of the brake block and collect aluminium. The aluminium is easy to spot and easy to remove but you can easily leave the real problem behind. Light-coloured brake blocks simply make it easier to see these foreign objects.

IME brake blocks do vary in how easily they pick up swarf, stones etc and also vary in what happens when they are embedded too. But these variations are slight by comparison with the difference between having that stuff around or not.

If you think you have a stone freshly embedded in a brake block and braking is noisy then the best thing is to stop and remove it. However if you brake hard for about 2s, back off for ~1s and then reapply the brakes for ~1s, often a foreign object will be released; I think what happens is that the brake block will heat up, locally soften and briefly lose its grip on the object, and it will often then release even though it won't during continuous braking.

No-one has done any meaningful independent testing; riders report all kinds of observations but their experiences are coloured by all kinds of things including (lack of) routine maintenance (which they are unlikely to repeat after they have destroyed one set of rims needlessly) and the effect of new rims. What makes me chuckle is that we have multiple recommendations of SwissStop blue/green based on rim wear. Not even SwissStop recommend these brake blocks on the basis of rim wear; they quite clearly say that you should use their black compound if you want the least rim wear.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 22 Jan 2019, 1:50pm

I used to use Koolstop salmon because people reckoned they were a good balance of wear and wet braking. I didn't find them especially better than Shimano for either. I've recently been using Swissstop blue (I think they were blue... ) and I reckon they do last longer than Koolstop and give better wet braking, but then again they're rather expensive. It is very difficult to be objective and a lot seems to come down to other factors, like dirty rims.

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AlanW
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby AlanW » 22 Jan 2019, 2:33pm

There are two things that I am very meticulous about, chains and brake blocks.

On my daily commute bike I will remove and inspect and sand as necessary all four brake blocks at the end of every week, or after every excessively wet ride. Even then I can still trash a rear rim in around three months in the winter!

The same goes for the chain, it is cleaned and lubed at the end of every week, or after every wet/damp ride it will be wiped down with a cloth sprayed with GT85 but not necessarily lubed.
"You only need two tools: WD40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape"

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Mick F
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby Mick F » 22 Jan 2019, 3:02pm

AlanW wrote:Listen to a bike braking in the wet with Shimano blocks and then listen to a bike doing the same with either Swissstop or Koolstops. The sound speaks volumes as to which one is damaging your rim the most!
Well ............ funny you should mention this.

All my cycling life with alu rims, you can hear the brakes when they're dirty or wet or both. Release and re-apply, and the noise will go for a time.

I hoped that my new Swisstops wouldn't do this. When riding yesterday, some of the lanes I was on were damp and with a few puddles even though it was a rainless day. The noise was still there with the Swisstops, and went when I released and re-applied as usual. No different to any brake shoes I've used before.

I still remain to be convinced. It could be towards the end of the week before I ride again, but rest assured, I will report how they get on.
Mick F. Cornwall

MikeF
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby MikeF » 22 Jan 2019, 6:53pm

Swissstop make pads and blocks of different compounds as do Koolstop. However most comments refer to the manufacturer and not specific compound. Swissstop have unfortunately stopped making the green V brake inserts, which I have found provide good braking, little rim wear and are generally squeal free. Koolstop salmon V type seem to squeal however they are mounted. Tektro 877.11 I've found are squeal free and stop well, but do tend to wear the rim more.
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

Canuk
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby Canuk » 22 Jan 2019, 7:15pm

MikeF wrote:Swissstop make pads and blocks of different compounds as do Koolstop. However most comments refer to the manufacturer and not specific compound. Swissstop have unfortunately stopped making the green V brake inserts, which I have found provide good braking, little rim wear and are generally squeal free. Koolstop salmon V type seem to squeal however they are mounted. Tektro 877.11 I've found are squeal free and stop well, but do tend to wear the rim more.


The green pads were absolutely stonking. I had them on a cross bike and they never failed me once.

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foxyrider
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby foxyrider » 22 Jan 2019, 9:21pm

Mick F wrote:
AlanW wrote:Listen to a bike braking in the wet with Shimano blocks and then listen to a bike doing the same with either Swissstop or Koolstops. The sound speaks volumes as to which one is damaging your rim the most!
Well ............ funny you should mention this.

All my cycling life with alu rims, you can hear the brakes when they're dirty or wet or both. Release and re-apply, and the noise will go for a time.

I hoped that my new Swisstops wouldn't do this. When riding yesterday, some of the lanes I was on were damp and with a few puddles even though it was a rainless day. The noise was still there with the Swisstops, and went when I released and re-applied as usual. No different to any brake shoes I've used before.

I still remain to be convinced. It could be towards the end of the week before I ride again, but rest assured, I will report how they get on.


I have had some squeal with the Swisstop but only under hard braking from high speed - talking 70+KPH! Does rattle you a bit first time it happens but if there's squealing I know i'm on the edge.

And in wet conditions they really have been a revelation, far outstripping everything else i've ever used - Campag SR are good but do wear quite quickly in wet weather.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

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Mick F
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby Mick F » 22 Jan 2019, 9:42pm

Not a squeal on any brakes I've ever used.

Mine is a grinding noise as the alu dust builds up as a grinding paste.
Mick F. Cornwall

markjohnobrien
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby markjohnobrien » 4 Feb 2019, 12:15am

I agree: I use the same lexicon myself although, don't forget, that brake blocks are used in V brake holders as well on canti brakes on touring bikes.




Mick F wrote:I'm with Brucey on this.
Blocks are inserted into holders and used in calliper brakes.
Pads are used with disc brakes.
Shoes are in drum brakes.

Compare this to a car.
Pads for discs, and shoes for drums.



As for Koolstop, they can't be better or worse than Swisstop IMHO.
It's only rubber inserted in a holder and provides friction against the rim.
The only difference could be when in wet conditions. I have yet to try my £19 worth of rubber in the rain. The original Shimano was good, and my Campag on the other bike are good too.

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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby markjohnobrien » 4 Feb 2019, 12:23am

Interesting article, although quite clearly marketing, however, it piqued my interest and I've added some Fibrax extreme blocks on my winter bike - Dawes One Down with cantis (v brake
holders) and they are far superior to the standard blocks the Tektro 720's came with.

Oh yes, I bought them direct from Fibrax along with some of those spiffy spiral frame protectors which are superb (Road CC flagged them up in a review).

Brucey wrote:I prefer the term 'brake block' to 'pad' simply because it is immediately obvious that you are talking about a rim brake and not a disc brake. Similarly I try and avoid the use of the term 'brake shoe' except in reference to drum brakes, for comparable reasons. I'd also suggest that rim brake block parts are best referred to as 'holders and inserts' rather than anything else, simply for clarity.

it is difficult to know what brake blocks are 'best' because that means different things to different people. AFAIK no-one has independently done any meaningful testing. I'm sure the (good) manufacturers have done lots of testing but if so they are keeping their data secret, or only publishing snippets of it.


FWIW I have never been disappointed with Fibrax brake blocks. A bit of a puff-piece here

https://cyclingindustry.news/fibrax-why-cheap-components-can-be-among-the-most-important-for-an-oem/

in which they reckon their brake products are comparable to (or better than) Swissstop ones.

This is better than the normal fodder dished up by the cycling press;

https://www.cyclist.co.uk/buying-guides/422/road-bike-brake-pads

but even so it contains scant actual information, and has been edited so that it barely makes sense; the 'Blackman' reference is presumably from an interview with Ellis Blackman of Fibrax.

cheers

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Mick F
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby Mick F » 4 Feb 2019, 8:22am

Mick F wrote: I have yet to try my £19 worth of rubber in the rain.
I will be doing this this morning.
Drizzle and damp out there, and mild at last.

Off out by 9am for a couple of hours.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Mick F
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby Mick F » 4 Feb 2019, 3:08pm

Damp and drizzly 18miles.

The brakes worked in the rain. I should expect they would! :wink:

Were they better than any other I've used?
No.

They were fine. No complaints other than the expense. £19 of Swisstop vs a tenner of Shimano. Both as good as each other, so when these wear out, they will be replaced by Shimano.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Mick F
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby Mick F » 16 Feb 2019, 9:08am

Well .....................
Out on a ride yesterday, and I noticed that after 150miles since fitting the Swisstop, they now feel very good indeed.

They took their time bedding in! :shock: :shock:
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby PDQ Mobile » 16 Feb 2019, 1:49pm

Mick F wrote:
Mine is a grinding noise as the alu dust builds up as a grinding paste.


Yes I agree.always when the rim is wet/dirty.
As the rim heats (and it heats pretty fast) this dries and subsequent applications of the brakes remove the dusty coating and allow the block surface to dry.
Can take three or four firm applications.
The sound is the best guide to rim preservation.

A block that creates a smooth polished rim has some significant advantages IMV.
I find Koolstop red ones very good in this regard.

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foxyrider
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Re: Kool Stop vs. Swissstop?

Postby foxyrider » 16 Feb 2019, 6:36pm

Mick F wrote:Well .....................
Out on a ride yesterday, and I noticed that after 150miles since fitting the Swisstop, they now feel very good indeed.

They took their time bedding in! :shock: :shock:


Maybe mine bed in faster due to the terrain I ride in. :roll:
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!