The brakes are essential in our every day’s cycling. They ensure our safety by stopping in time in case of an emergency. And to enhance their performance, we need to choose the right best brake pad for our road bike.

If you’re looking for a quick pick, then we have selected the SWISSSTOP FlashPro Yellow King as your best overall option. The brake pad is destined for carbon fiber rims, providing an incredible stopping power in all weather conditions and nice extra depth to the pads.

To assist you in choosing the best road bike brake pads to suit your personal needs, we have made a list of premium ones and ones for those who are on a budget.

Best Premium Road Bike Brake Pads

1. SWISSSTOP FlashPro Yellow King

Best For Carbon Rim

SwissStop FlashPro Yellow King Brake Pad

These best road bike brake pads sure are the king of pads for the carbon rim.

They hold an outstanding performance under wet conditions. The unparalleled stopping power not only used for carbon rim, but also aluminium rim. These might be a good choice if you switch wheels from your carbon race-day gems to your aluminum training set.

Another great feature is that when braked, they make almost no sound. And their durability makes it long-lasting.

The science behind is that they have deeper asymmetrical grooves and a more pronounced leading edge profile. This helps water “squeezes” out and better modulation. With some more material that adds extra depth to the pad, this is great for carbon rim users as they tend to wear pads faster than alloy rim.

Pros:

  • Great stopping power
  • Can be used for aluminum rims
  • Quiet brake
  • High durability
  • Each package contains 4 brake pads

Cons:

  • Does not move heat efficiently
  • Expensive

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2. ENVE Carbon

Best For Campagnolo

Enve Carbon Brake Pad

ENVE Carbon brake pad will surely give you a serene braking experience. The interface between the brake pad and rim works so smoothly that you’ll be able to confidently stop while being carefree.

What is also good about them is that the longevity between the brake pads and the braking surface will be increased. Despite wet or dry conditions, you can count on them to cease without any issues at all. And with smooth modulation allowing you to feather your brakes in the pack or ’round sweeping corners.

As a bonus, ENVE ensures lifetime incident protection and the bike brakes are compatible with Shimano brake calipers, Campagnolo brake calipers (2000 and newer)

Pros:

  • Smooth brake
  • Great for all weather
  • Lifetime incident protection

Cons:

  • None

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3. MAVIC Exalith II

Best For Stopping Power

Mavic Exalith II Brake Pad

Exalith is Mavic’s signature technique for the upper-echelon of wheels in which it penetrates the rim’s alloy in order to delay rim wear and to enhance braking power. For that, it requires special brake pads as it would easily devour normal brake pads.

Which comes to the MAVIC Exalith II Brake Pad in order to fully enjoy the increased stopping benefits. Furthermore, these brake pads can only be used with Exalith II brake tracks as they are too hard to properly grab a standard alloy braking surface.

But it might be worth it. The powerful stopping power these brake pads give is fantastic and you may be surprised to see the decreased noise associated with the surface.

Pros:

  • Immense stopping power
  • Slide-in cartridge style
  • Compatible with post-2000 Campagnolo calipers or Shimano/SRAM brake calipers

Cons:

  • Only suitable with Exalith II brake tracks
  • A bit pricey

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4. ZIPP Tangente Platinum Pro

Best For Durability

Zipp Tangente Platinum Pro Evo Brake Pad

Despite not having one of the biggest braking power, these best road bike brake pads have the biggest achievement in durability.

The new Tangente pads feature a 1mm reduction in their width from the holder. This feature increases clearance for larger tires, wider rims, and the ever-growing integrated brake systems. Furthermore, the radial height is buffed, giving an expansion in the pad life.

And by using this new dimensional design, helps spread the heat over a larger area of the braking surface and rim. Doing so extends the durability of these brake pads.

Another great addition is that they do well in wet conditions as water will be swept off the rim, while also channeling air over it. This just may be the best durable road bike pad if you are looking for long-term usage.

Pros:

  • Extreme durability
  • No issues under any weather
  • Unique design
  • Great stopping power

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive

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5. SHIMANO L04C Metallic Disc

Best For Shimano Type Disc Brake Pads

Shimano L04C Metallic Disc Brake Pads

This unique bicycle brake pad utilizes both the cooling Ice system and metal construction in order to generate the highest overall stopping power in Shimano’s field.

Despite how harsh the condition will be, the metal pads will give out reliable, high braking power. There is also an additional radiation fin pad to the Ice tech distinction, made from an aluminum and stainless steel pin. Which will improve the pad’s capability to remain chill under hard braking.

Pros:

  • Ice cooling system helps dissipate the heat
  • Radiation fin pad moves heat outwards to keep pads cool
  • Great durability

Cons:

  • Can create annoying noises when wet

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6. SRAM HRD

Best For SRAM Brake Type

SRAM HRD Road & Level Ult Tlm Brake Pads

If you’re looking for a good SRAM bike brake for SRAM hydraulic road disc brakes, as well as Level Ultimate and TLM mountain bike brakes, then this is the right one.

There are two styles you can choose from, the first be the organic compound for a better initial bite and more silent operation. Or second one, sintered, which brings more consistency and finer performance on long descents and in wet or muddy conditions.

On top of that, the pack also comes with a spring, pin, and clip. This is by far the most affordable best premium road bike brake on this list.

Pros:

  • Two different options to choose from, with different purposes
  • Optional aluminum backplate helps the pads run cooler
  • High affordable
  • Besides the two pads, comes with a spring, pin, and clip

Cons:

  • Average stopping power

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Best Budget Bike Brake Pad

1. Kool Stop

Best For Controlled Stopping

Kool Stop Bicycle Brake Pads with X Pad (Dura-Ace Ultegra)

What is amazing about these bike brake pads is that it is installed with a dual pivot adjustment. The Dual Compound Dura Type insert and the aggressive salmon compounds inserts create a unique design in providing a more controlled smooth stop.

The combination gives a marvelous braking experience and more control in any weather conditions. Being made from Ceramic means that rainy days ain’t gonna be a problem anymore. Furthermore, the toe-in can be easily installed. A smooth ride might just be what you are gonna get.

Pros:

  • Amazing stopping power
  • Lightweight
  • Fantastic stopping control under harsh weathers
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • Average durability
  • Wear out fast

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2. Gekors

Best For Heat Resistance

Gekors Bicycle Disc Brake Pads for Shimano Tektro TRP

These may be a good choice who is looking for great brake pads that perform finely in professional training and games. The brake pads are made from ceramic and alloy steel which means the warmer they get, the better they perform. And they are adaptable to various road surfaces.

Despite the fact that they have great heat resistance which is good for hard brakes and going downhills, the stopping power is slightly lacking.

Pros:

  • Good durability
  • Extreme heat resistance, the warmer the better they perform
  • Cheap
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • Lacking braking power

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3. Shimano B01S

SHIMANO B01S Resin Disc Brake Pad & Spring

At first glance of buying this, you might think that’s a knock-off of the Shimano’s line as they were delivered in a plastic bag rather than the Shimano’s standard shelf.

But these sure are genuine Shimano’s parts, providing excellent stopping power while still maintaining good control and modulation under wet and dry weather. The only problem they have is that they will burn through fast if you are going downhills.

Pros:

  • Excellent stopping power
  • Flexible compound
  • Good control and modulation even in wet and dry weather

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Normal durability
  • Burn through fast if going downhills

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4. Jagwire

Best MTB Bike Brake Pad

Jagwire Mountain Sport Bike Brake Pads

These are perhaps some of the better brake pads for mountain bikes with the intended use for the crankset. With the high-performance soft brake compound, the brake pads give out a superior modulation and stopping power.

Going on mountain trails, single track, fire roads, or any other unpaved surfaces, the Jagwire just might be a fantastic option in spite of harsh weather conditions. Especially in wet conditions.

Pros:

  • Powerful stopping power
  • Supreme modulation

Cons:

  • Average durability
  • Only be used for the crankset

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5. Shimano Ultegra BR 6403

Best For Shimano Brake Type

Shimano Ultegra BR 6403 Brake Pads

These simple and beautiful-looking Shimano brake pads with above average stopping power and durability. With also straightforward installation, low cost and low-rim wear compound specifically designed for machined rim.

You might just want simplicity at its finest but still work fine on its own, then these are the right ones for you.

Pros:

  • Great stopping power
  • Good durability
  • Low cost
  • Straightforward installation
  • Good-looking

Cons:

  • Nothing unique
  • Specifically designed for machined rim

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Buying Guide

With a wide variety of options to buy the best bicycle brake pads and almost identical to each other. It is uneasy to pick, but here are some factors that you should consider before buying one.

Compatibility

Of course, it must first be suitable for your road bike, or else it is going to the trash or good enough, a refund. There are two main popular bicycle brakes that the brake pads are put into:

The first is the rim (caliper) brake which is a class of cable-actuated brake. The brake mounts to a single point above the wheel, theoretically letting the arms to auto-center on the rim. This design gives the bike wider tires which is omnipresent to the road bikes.

The second one is the disk brake consisting of a metal disc attached to the wheel hub that rotates with the wheel. Calipers are then attached to the frame or fork along with pads that squeeze the discs for braking. The design performs well in any conditions, however, it requires a hub built to accept the disc.

Which the SHIMANO L04C  might be an excellent choice if you are using this type of brake.

If you wish to dive deeper into their mechanics, here is a video to show more of their design and also their pros, cons:

Quality

Each brake pad has different standards, but all to accomplish the goal of bringing a good stopping power for your bike in case of emergency. What material they were made can determine how durable and long-lasting they can be. And also their performance under harsh weather conditions. Be sure to carefully check the material of the pads.

FAQ

1. How often should bike brake pads be replaced?

For the caliper brake pad, if it becomes a little unresponsive, do take a look at the rubber on the pads. And if you can’t see any indents at all in the pads, it means the top layer of rubber has worn away and this is the time for replacement.

And for the disc brake pads, they always start out with about 3-4mm of compound. And when there is only 1mm left, you need to replace them or else they stop working so well.

2. How do I care for my brake pads?

The only best way to keep braking track and pads for a long time and not letting their performance downgrade too much is to clean them regularly. Whether using a dedicated brake cleaner, or isopropyl cleaner.

Conclusion

I would say that the SWISSSTOP FlashPro are the best road bike brake pads you can buy. Their outstanding overall performance makes them a great choice for carbon rim brake pads.

They will surely provide you spot-on safety with their fantastic stopping power even in harsh weather conditions. And you need not to worry about replacing them, the awesome durability makes it long-lasting.

Second best option is going to the Kool Stop. The incredible smooth stop controlling that they offer makes them excellent in riding in all forms of weather and it’s highly affordable.

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