So I want to do a year end review of all the various products I tried this year and provide some feedback. I am insane about my equipment (should probably devote more time to the engine but I digress) and want to share with you some of the observations I have had with stuff that I pay my hard earned money for. Nothing I review is given to me.
First up: SwissStop brake pads.
From the land of financial obfuscation and bank account trickery comes this wonderful pad from SwissStop.
So this season, I rolled on some fast FSA 488 full carbon wheels. (I’ll do a review of these later but net:net…TOTALLY AWESOME WHEELS!). I picked them up dirt cheap during the summer and when it came time to build up my Rock Lobster Scandium Team, the issue I had was the brake pad issue against these full carbon wheels. I have run Empella FroggLegs for years and refuse to run anything else. Unbelievable power and clearance with my Dura Ace levers. The set up is a wee bit tough but once dialed, nothing beats them and all others (Spooky, Pauls, etc) try to emulate this design. So the dilemma was finding post-style brake pads meant for carbon rims to slip into the Empellas as they require post mount pads. I had been told by many many people not to run traditional pads, even if new, as the compound would be horrific if the weather turned sour (read: absolutely no braking power) let alone the squealing and stuttering issues experienced by using pads with compounds meant for aluminum or ceramic coated rims.
My first stop was to talk to my guru in Brandon D at Boulder Cycle Sport. I know he’s tried lots of combinations of equipment before and he faced the same dilemma with a new set of full carbon Zipps he was running for them this year. He located a company BBB Parts who ’sell’ something called the CrossStop from BBB. This product is a post style cartridge system which in theory would be perfect as I could swap out carbon fiber compound pads for aluminum ones (e.g. like you have on your Dura Ace road brakes more or less) if I want to train on the same bike with shitty old wheels. The issue was one of delivery. These guys at BBB could never come through for Brandon and deliver product. The unthinkable alternative was to lose the FroggLeggs and use Avid Shorty's or some like system which you can find carbon pads for. So back to my search...
Days passed and literally I’m thinking I need to sell these FSA wheels as it’s too much hassle. After a long search (and I should have started here!) our peeps at Cyclocrossworld just sourced these pads this year and were exactly what I was looking for. Stu at Cyclocrossworld walked me through the SwissStop Yellow Rat’s for Carbon Rims.
Cost was $50.99 for a set of 4.
Simple. It’s a post mount. But, note on the pads that there are small indicators in English for Front/Right, Front/Left, Rear/Right, and Rear/Left. This I assume does some level of toeing in so to speak. The distance from the post to the front of the pad and the post to the rear of the pad is asymmetrical and thus need to be used differently on the front or rear.
How did they Work?
Delicious. Here are my observations:
1) They modulate beautifully. When the heat up, they feel just like my normal pads on aluminum or ceramic rims.
2) Little chop: After a few rides, the pads and front fork (an 06 Alpha Q) would chop under heavy power-braking. I started to get a bit peeved but literally washed the rim and the pads with soap and water and it re-set them back to their original state. No chop.
3) No build up: I experienced virtually no build up on the rim of pad residue. A barely noticeable trace of yellow streaking.
4) Dry Performance: Excellent.
5) Wet Performance: Excellent. Nearly identical feel to dry in wet conditions.
6) Mud Performance: Excellent: a bit slippery but would hook up fairly nicely once heated.
7) Cold/Snow conditions: I raced these extensively in 45 degree and below weather and met with perfect results. The cold carbon and cold compound did not seem to adversely affect performance. I did not race these in snow unfortunately because I blew a tubular at the 2nd to last race (the last two races were in snow/mud) and was not going to go and repair them for two races left in the season.
8) Use on aluminum rims: I never used this pad or compound on aluminum rims. I decided to preserve the pads for exclusive use on those carbon wheels. Last time I checked, I do not have a contract with Fidea and need to buy these things myself! I don’t need aluminum shavings in my bling carbon fiber, yo!
I hope this helps anyone in search of solving this problem next year. More reviews to come…
Totally picturesque here. White Christmas for sure. My wife is totally rad and filled my stocking with all the goodies to replensih what I burned through during CX season: Degreaser, lube, brushes...all kinds of goodies.
Well back to the boys and building pirate ships and powerranger toys. All teh best and Marry Christmas!
So we're getting out in the snow when we can and having fun but spending a lot of time indoors. Yesterday we laced up the skates and and brought the kids skating for the first time. I laced up my old Daust boots and was stoked . The kids loved it. Bringing them home exhausted, I found some time to go through my work shop. I've been meaning to do this for a while and finally got around to taking all my wheels off the ground (which I often times find my kids literally walking across) and hanging them from the wall. Cheap trick:
Went to McGukins Hardware where legions of old retired men who know EVERYTHING about anything assist you with what you're looking for.
So the Front Range got POUNDED the last few days with snow. This is old school "Storm of '77 " stuff for those of you old enough to have experienced the snow storm we got in that year growing up in New England.
It's been good being off bikes. Looking forward to starting to ride again though. Been running the Hogs Back which is out my door and riding rollers albeit low intensity. I'm trying to release some of that intensity-fitness and re-build again. Having fun though.
I *am* going to do that product review when I can get my act together. I experimented with a lot of things this year from tires (Tufo, Challenge, Michelin) to forks (Alpha Q 06 and 07), Frames (Rock Lobster and Scott Team Issue) to brake pads (SwissStop in particular) along with wheels (FSA 488 Carbon Fiber). There are things I'll change for sure next year but some things will stay the same (e.g. single rung 42 or 44). I'd contemplated going double ring 36/46 but screw that. Too many moving parts.
So stay tuned and Merry Christmas!
Since my post after the CO States, I STILL can not shake this flu. I thought I was getting bettrer in Anaheim but low and behold, I can barley even drum up enough energy to take a shower....or go into the garage to unhook my wheels and tires I want to do a season review of. Stay tuned....
Oh and congrats to the CO CX'ers out there at Nats. Holy Sheeite. What a demonstration:
(from Jared's blog):
Colorado at Cross Natz
How good is the cross scene in Colorado?
Amy Dombrowski~U~23 women
Danielle Haulman~17-18 women
Daniel Summerhill!!!!~17~18 men
Yannick Eckmann. Jr. 13-14
Ned Overend 50-54 Men
Katie Compton Pro women
Not National Champions, but close
Georgia Gould, 2nd Pro Women
Dennis Farrell 2nd, Keister 4th and Hilton 11t, Men's 45-49 Jon Baker, 11th Pros
Brandon Dwight, 4th 35-39
Joey Thompson 2nd ,Troy Wells 3rd Collegiate Men
Gary Thacker, 2nd 50-54 men
Took a couple-a days away from everything related to bikes, work, technology and Colorado and headed with the fam to Anaheim, CA....land of Disney. More posts to come now that we're back. I'm thinking about a tire review if I can get my act together. Tons of detail and feedback on the various rubber I used through the season. Gonna want/need feedback!
So, I need to be in Europe on business in February to visit some partners and customers in the lovely Benelux lowlands . S0 I got to thinking (I do most of my best thinking on the can), what if there's a cross going on? Low and behold there is! Last cross of the season in lovely Kasterlee. They have pro, master and junior events so I could probably hook up a mater event and get my arse kicked by sicko old belgians who have been crossing for as many years as Eric De Vlaeminck has world championships to his name.
Where's is Kasterlee anways?