Compared with standard rim brakes, hydraulic road brakes can be a godsend in wet conditions, especially when riding carbon wheels. But hydraulic road brakes aren’t magically unassailable, especially if you’re dumb enough to go ride for hours on dirt roads in the rain, as I did quite a bit in May.
I put organic and prototype SRAM pads and organic Shimano pads to the test on rainy 60- to 80-mile Colorado farm-road rides, where gritty dirt quickly kicked up all over the bike and down into the brake calipers, causing drag on the rotors and wear on the pads.
The test didn’t begin intentionally. After the ButterGold ride obliterated the pads on my bike and several others, I decided to test other pad compound and models on the same course in the same conditions to see if there was a difference.
While the shapes vary from brand to brand, generally you have two options in disc pads: organic for a softer feel, and metallic for more bite and longer wear in the wet.
SRAM specs organic pads on its Hydro R brakes. The brand doesn’t yet offer metallic pads, but you can buy SwissStop metallic pads that fit SRAM calipers. Shimano offers both.
You can read more at BikeRadar.com