Carbon Wheels without Carbon Brake Pads - Bad Idea?

Just picked up some Zipp wheels but still need some brake pads… I’ve seen a few posts recommending SwissStop Black Prince. Also read a few decent reviews on the Evne pads. Both are similar in price ($50 vs $40, respectively) so not set on any one brand or price point in particular. I’ll likely choose whichever I can get my hands on first.

I am however curious if it’s fine to go out for a quick ride with regular brake pads. Weather has just taken a turn for the better and I’m eager to get out for a quick ride on the new wheels. Am I being too overly cautious or should I just wait for until I’m able to get the carbon specific pads in?

Wait for the pads, they’re designed to work with carbon instead of alloy, plus the pads you use on the alloy brake track pick up micro flecks of alloy. You don’t want to brake and destroy the brake track by essentially sanding it off with old pads.






Go for a ride, but don’t stop!


Thanks for the heads up.

I will wait.

Amazon has the black prince EVO you’ll need in stock. I’ve been using them for years. I believe the ZIPP pads are also made by Swissstop but just rebranded for ZIPP

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I used yellow SwissStop pads for YEARS on both alloy and carbon rims. Never changed the pads, just swapped wheels. Rain, slush, salt, sand, etc…never once had any issues with using the same pads on both brake track materials. No grinding, no horrible noises and certainly no damage to my carbon rims.

Personally, I would recommend a multiuse pad like the SwissStop yellow and just ride 'em.

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Thanks - I hadn’t considered this… Would definitely prefer pads I could use on both wheelsets.

You could luck out and not get any metal shards in your brake pads but how much do you want to risk destroying the carbon rims? It’s very easy for metal to grind at the brake track


IME, this risk is completely overblown. It has been perpetuated for years across forums and lore.

As noted, I have used multi-purpose pads for over a decade with zero issues. Across that long a time span, it isn’t just luck.

Yup…N=1, but I know plenty of others who have done the same thing.

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IME, the alum pads I used on my stock wheels were packed with aluminum bits. Would they work? Maybe. But I wouldn’t want to risk ruining my $2000 carbon wheels to save $40 on special pads

Not saying it wouldn’t work, but for the peace of mind I would personally just get new pads


What multi purpose pads? Sure you don’t have to use the right type of pad but the needs of the brake pads are different between the two rims. Yellow peas are meant for carbon: Yellow King | SwissStop
Alloy specific pads do work better on alloy


How much do you care about the warranty? Zipp Approved Pads | SRAM

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Then they have either changed the compound or changed their verbiage…for years the yellow pads have been sold as multi-material brake pads.

I’ve got enough bike knowledge to not use pads outside of their intended use.

  1. Most new carbon wheels come with pads and if not its relatively cheap to buy carbon specific pads.
  2. It takes like 5 minutes to change the pads whenever you swap between wheel types (which is probably not that often).
  3. Carbon specific pads brake better on carbon wheels.
  4. Every wheel manufacturer recommends carbon specific pads and can void warranty if not used.
    Use carbon specific pads for carbon wheels.
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I dont mind expense… It’s minimal… I just thought to ask as I’m eager to get out no the new wheels.

I swap the whole brake shoe, agree it is a quick job.

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Definitely wait for the brake pads or get them before going for your ride. It’ll probably still stop fine (not sure, just probably), but the old pads might damage the brake track irreversibly. I’d say don’t do it, get the carbon specific pads.

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Carbon Wheels without Carbon Brake Pads - Bad Idea?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Oh god yes.

Longer answer: It’s a quite bad (and expensive) idea. You’ve just likely spent a lot of cash on those fancy new Zipps. Don’t thow it away by ruining the brake track.