We’ve reviewed Gigapower brake blocks before and now we have a set of their carbon pads in for review. It’s not easy to find out much information about Gigapower as the Taiwanese company are relatively quiet online but they have a good reputation among those in the know…
Carbon wheels require special brake blocks and we are continually reminded that you should not just use any old pad with carbon rims as you might regret it, especially in wet weather.
However, we often come across examples, especially among elite teams’ sponsored riders, where the rules are not followed with no apparent adverse consequence and normal blocks are used on expensive carbon rims.
Whereas it’s impossible to say what the stopping power would be like with such a set-up until you try it, for amateur riders most problems seem to arise when you use the same set of brake pads on both carbon and aluminium rims. Aluminium flecks, clearly visible to the naked eye, find their way into the rubber of the pad and could soon damage your carbon rim’s brake track.
So if you are like us and use carbon wheels come race day but use aluminium wheels in training, then you are probably used to swapping out brake blocks on a regular basis. It’s a bit of a pain but what choice do you have? No point trashing your carbon wheels for the sake of 5-minutes swapping out a set of pads.
The Gigapowers look kike a normal set of pads. No loud yellow or two tone going on here. They are perfect if asthetics are really important to you. Fit is fairly straightforward as you’d expect and they slid home without drama into Shimano holders.
Gigapower’s XC series is designed for modern carbon fibre rims and the pads have 70% ceramic fibre composition which we are told “insulates against friction heat build up and prevents premature aging of the resin of the carbon fiber rim”. Gigapower actually go on to say that these pads will help keep the braking temperature down, to below 100°C. They also reckon on better braking power in the wet.
Well power is spot on even in the wet, with a reassuringly positive response when you squeeze the brake levers. The brake blocks also afford better modulation than I am used to with carbon rims, even though the test Dura-Ace brakeset delivers superbly in this area.
Snatching isn’t an issue with the Gigapower blocks. There is still the usual lag you get in wet conditions but it’s no where near as prolonged as with other carbon pads we have used more regularly.
Gigapower promise squeal free braking as well. I can only comment that we’ve not heard a peep from them. There are a lot of guys we race with who could do with these pads…
We’ve tested these brake blocks alongside Dura-Ace cork carbon pads. The latter produce a distinct burning smell under hard braking whereas the Gigapower blocks are largely fragrance free.
Stopping power seems to be pretty similar between the two, wet or dry, but wear is definitely greater on the brown Dura-Ace pads, especially after running them in a wet race.
Testing these left me wondering what all the fuss is about disc brakes on road bikes. With both the latest Dura-Ace 9000 dual caliper brakes, and the earlier 7800 series, we have incredible stopping power no matter the weather.
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