Can you use normal brake pads on carbon wheels?

Can you use normal brake pads on carbon wheels?

When it comes to choosing the right brake pads for your carbon wheels, it’s important to consider the specific requirements and characteristics of this type of material. Carbon wheels are becoming increasingly popular among cyclists due to their lightweight properties and improved aerodynamics. However, they also demand careful attention when it comes to using the appropriate brake pads.

It is generally not recommended to use normal brake pads on carbon wheels. The reason for this lies in the unique properties of carbon as a material. Carbon wheels are made of carbon fiber composites, which are known for their high strength-to-weight ratio. While this makes them an excellent choice for performance and racing, carbon is also more susceptible to heat and wear than traditional materials like aluminum or steel.

Normal brake pads, also known as metal or sintered pads, are typically made with a metal compound, such as steel or brass. These pads are designed to work optimally with aluminum or steel rims, where the friction generated between the pad and rim helps to dissipate heat. However, when used on carbon wheels, the increased heat buildup can cause damage to the rims, potentially leading to delamination or even catastrophic failure.

To address this issue, specialized brake pads have been developed specifically for use with carbon wheels. These pads are typically made with a softer compound, such as cork or rubber, which helps to reduce heat buildup and prevent damage to the carbon rims. They are also designed to provide optimal braking performance without compromising safety.

When choosing brake pads for carbon wheels, it’s crucial to select ones that are specifically labeled as compatible with carbon rims. Many reputable brake pad manufacturers offer carbon-specific options, which have been thoroughly tested to ensure compatibility and performance. These pads often come with specific instructions on installation and maintenance to help you get the most out of your carbon wheels while ensuring their longevity.

In addition to using the right brake pads, it’s also important to adjust your braking technique when using carbon wheels. Carbon rims have a different braking surface compared to aluminum, which can affect braking power and modulation. It’s advisable to apply the brakes more gradually and avoid sudden or excessive braking force, as this can increase heat buildup and potentially damage the rims.

In conclusion, using normal brake pads on carbon wheels is not recommended due to the increased risk of heat damage to the rims. To ensure optimal performance and safety, it’s advisable to use brake pads specifically designed for carbon wheels. By following this recommendation and adjusting your braking technique accordingly, you can enjoy the benefits of carbon wheels without compromising their integrity.


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