Here's a little question for you if you have a road bike. How do you significantly increase the 'effectiveness' of your brakes with one easy purchase? The answer is really quite simple when the brakes in question have standard pads such as those fitted at the factory by many bike manufacturers . Simply, replace the brake pads that they came with (once they've worn out, of course) with Swiss Stop brake pads.
The new Swiss Stop pads instantly gave me the feedback I was looking for
Whilst the brakes on various Shimano and Campagnolo groupsets I have used in the past have never failed to slow me down when required, I have always felt that there is room for improvement. There are many options out there for replacing standard pads including, Shimano, Campagnolo themselves and other manufacturers such as Aztec and Swiss Stop.
For my own winter bike that is fitted with Shimano Tiagra brakes, I opted to replace the worn out standard pads with Swiss Stop Black Flash Pros. Whilst the investment in this option is more than the cost of buying standard pads, the value in increased stopping power was well worth it.
First impressions were brilliant. The new Swiss Stop pads instantly gave me the feedback I was looking for. When I applied the brakes the response was gradual when I wanted it and effective when I needed it without having to apply excessive pressure to the brake levers.
The danger of applying excessive pressure to the levers is that the brakes may suddenly find grip and before you know it you've ended up with a locked wheel - not ideal. With the Swiss Stops however, I have never felt in danger of this happening.
My testing of the Swiss Stops, thus far, has been in mainly dry conditions with only the odd damp day and no really heavy downpours, just the persistent drizzle we all hate. However, on these days I was again impressed by their stopping ability. You should always be looking to brake earlier in the wet, but with the Swiss Stop pads you definitely feel you are in control.
Swiss Stop provide braking solutions for a variety of rims with the Flash Pro being the entry level compound for aluminium rims through to the Black Prince for carbon rims. All of their products are rated out of 10 for stopping, longevity and modulation with the Black Compound Flash Pro scoring 7, 8 and 8 respectively in these areas.
Like all good manufacturers, Swiss Stop work with many partners and Pro Teams to ensure their product remains as good as it is. These partners include Mavic, Fast Forward and FSA. Pro Teams include Trek - Segafredo, IAM Cycling, Team Rompoot and Sunweb - Napoleon Games, essentially Teams at all levels and disciplines.
Personally, I have been extremely impressed with the ability of the Swiss Stop brake pads. However, don't just take my word for it, Jez has done exactly the same as me with his Trek Emonda ALR and moved to using Swiss Stops.
The actual replacement of the brake pads is a relatively straight forward procedure that most bike shops should be happy to carry out for you. For myself though, choosing a Cytech Accredited shop, such as Bay Cycles, gives me the confidence that the work will always be carried out by qualified staff who know what they are doing, and when it comes to brakes, who wouldn't want that!