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Switching back and forth carbon wheels and alloy wheels: brake pads and cassettes?

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Switching back and forth carbon wheels and alloy wheels: brake pads and cassettes?

Old 01-07-16, 07:53 PM
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kkapdolee
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Switching back and forth carbon wheels and alloy wheels: brake pads and cassettes?

For those of you who switch back and forth between carbon and alloy wheels for training/racing or for whatever reason, how do you go about doing it?

I suppose if your carbon wheels don't have metallic brake surface, you also have to change brake pads each time. Correct?

What about the cassette? Do you switch the cassette from one wheel to another each time or do you keep a spare cassette locked into your spare wheels?

Just wondering what all is involved.

Thanks.

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Old 01-07-16, 07:56 PM
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yes I change the brake pads and adjust the brakes pull/cable. My alloys are not wide (c24s) like my carbon (Enve) .. as for cassette I have the same size cassette on each(2 cassettes)..both 11-28 SRAM RED XG-1190

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Old 01-07-16, 09:16 PM
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I believe the best way is to have a cassette on each set of wheels. Then you only have to switch out brake pads and adjust cables. That is what I do for my alloy and carbon wheels.
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Old 01-07-16, 09:23 PM
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GlennR
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I ride my carbon wheels all the time. So far i've never used the alloy wheels that came on it.

I'm actually looking for a used bike to be my foul weather ride.
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Old 01-07-16, 09:39 PM
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I don't have CF... maybe soon.

I think the Swiss Stop Yellow pads are supposed to work with both CF and aluminium. But, since the pads with alumium rims frequently pick up a little road debris, and even aluminum shards, I think I'd just change pads with the wheels.

Most of my "holders" are disposable, but it would seem like it would be too much of a hassle to deal with putting pads into and out of re-usable holders, but perhaps it is quicker and easier than I would imagine.
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Old 01-07-16, 09:47 PM
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Did the whole changing wheels and pads thing and it was a pain. I did have the same cassette installed on each wheel set so no need for cassette swap. I bought another bike that gave eliminated the switch problem. I need to match up the cassette on both bikes and then the gearing will match up. I do not mind tinkering with my bikes but swapping became an annoyance it became a summer winter thing and less a wet weather thing.
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Old 01-07-16, 10:05 PM
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When I first got my carbon wheels I used to go back and forth depending on the type of ride and road conditions. As time went on, I just ride on the carbon wheels. If you go back and forth between alloy rims and carbon, you should switch brake pads since they'll pick up metal fragments from the alloy rims. It takes less than 5 minutes to change the pads and is very easy to do.

Ideally, you'll have a cassette for each wheel set. They could be different gearing if you prefer. You might want to use the carbon wheels for climbing and allow wheels for the flats for example. If you can work it, they should be near the same stage of wear. You don't want to have one new cassette and one near end of life, since both may not sync well with the chain. This might not be a problem, but I tried to avoid it.
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Old 01-07-16, 11:36 PM
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I have no intention of sounding snobby/elitist, but...

I got so sick of changing pads and adjusting limit screws/cable tension (Novitec hubs vs. Shimano hubs) that I just leave the carbon wheels on and ride another bike (with heavier, more puncture resistant tires) instead. My cross bike with hybrid tires will be the default winter bike.
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Old 01-08-16, 01:26 AM
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The brake pad switching is one reason why I buy carbon wheels with aluminum brake tracks.
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Old 01-08-16, 06:31 AM
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Switching brake pads and adjusting the cables takes like 5 minutes, tops, how often would you plan to swap the wheels? I bought some carbon clinchers a couple months ago and I don't ever see them coming off the bike unless they're in need of service or crashed. Same goes for the cassette, if you have the $10 tool to swap them over it takes a couple minutes. I suppose if I were to use my good wheels for events only and swapped them weekly the process could get old after a while?
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Old 01-08-16, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by dvdslw View Post
Switching brake pads and adjusting the cables takes like 5 minutes, tops, how often would you plan to swap the wheels? I bought some carbon clinchers a couple months ago and I don't ever see them coming off the bike unless they're in need of service or crashed. Same goes for the cassette, if you have the $10 tool to swap them over it takes a couple minutes. I suppose if I were to use my good wheels for events only and swapped them weekly the process could get old after a while?
On this last bit, that was my excuse to get another bike. Swapping from 27mm wide zipps to 20mm wide alloy requires quite a bit of brake adjustment. I don't like riding carbon rims in the rain anyway, so rain bike with alloy rims is a good idea.

I have used the carbon specific pads on alloy rims, they work almost as well as regular pads, but worse than kool stop triple compound pads. If you do this you MUST check the brake pad for slivers of metal before using your carbon rims again. Alloy rims, esp old ones, shed bits of alloy into the pad
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Old 01-08-16, 08:20 AM
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Something that is rarely mentioned when this comes up: find a good shop who will set up both cassettes so that you do not have to change cable tension and limit screws. This makes it super, super painless. I've done it for lots of people and it makes all the difference. Swapping out pads is super easy. Loosen 4 screws, slide pads out, slide pads in, tighten 4 screws. If your alloy rims are narrower, see if you can set it up to where the brakes are set for the alloy rims, and the carbon rims work with the brake QR half open or open or whatever.
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Old 01-08-16, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by kkapdolee View Post
For those of you who switch back and forth between carbon and alloy wheels for training/racing or for whatever reason, how do you go about doing it
I just put on the carbon pads (Swisstop yellow pads) on my bike and leave them there and I don't change them between wheels. I actually like them better on the Al rims than I do the standard pads for those rims. I think they modulate better and if I grab the brakes, there is plenty of stopping force there to go over the bars (i.e. more than I would ever need). Supposedly you can get Al slivers in the pads but in the many years and many thousands of miles I have been doing this, I've never seen it happen. So my guidance is don't worry about it.

I suppose if your carbon wheels don't have metallic brake surface, you also have to change brake pads each time. Correct?
I don't. See above.


What about the cassette? Do you switch the cassette from one wheel to another each time or do you keep a spare cassette locked into your spare wheels?
I don't tend to change my cassette that much so I have one on each wheel set. If I want to change it, it's a 5 min operation and no big deal. I make sure that I change out chains well before they are worn so I tend to keep all the cassettes and chainrings wearing equally.
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Old 01-08-16, 11:17 AM
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Several cassettes, keep 1 on each set at all time usually, takes 5 minutes to swap them around if needed.

Pads switch out no matter what surface I'm switching to/from since once I use a set of new pads on a specific wheel I make sure it belongs to that wheel only until replacement is needed. Of course on the fly (raceday flat, etc.) there's not much choice excect to switch the wheel and put brand new pads on later.
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Old 01-08-16, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
The brake pad switching is one reason why I buy carbon wheels with aluminum brake tracks.
really, how hard is that? 5 min tops if you just change the pads, and leave the holders in place.
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Old 01-08-16, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
I just put on the carbon pads (Swisstop yellow pads) on my bike and leave them there and I don't change them between wheels. I actually like them better on the Al rims than I do the standard pads for those rims. I think they modulate better and if I grab the brakes, there is plenty of stopping force there to go over the bars (i.e. more than I would ever need). Supposedly you can get Al slivers in the pads but in the many years and many thousands of miles I have been doing this, I've never seen it happen. So my guidance is don't worry about it.
You may have gotten away with this, but it isn't something to advocate for others to do. If you get metal splinters from your alloy rims in the pads, this can completely wreck the brake track on the carbon hoops. Maybe you've been lucky and never gotten metal in your pads. But the time, 5 min max, to change the pads is worth the peace of mind that the expensive carbon hoops won't be destroyed. I think its better to be safe than sorry.
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Old 01-09-16, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by dalava View Post
really, how hard is that? 5 min tops if you just change the pads, and leave the holders in place.
To me, it is a pain in the ass. I hate changing pads when they are worn. I like slapping different wheels on and going, which doesn't even take 2 minutes. I also hate brussel sprouts.
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Old 01-09-16, 02:34 AM
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I guess this is the point where disc brakes have the advantage.
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Old 01-09-16, 03:07 AM
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Originally Posted by SnowCYYCling View Post
I guess this is the point where disc brakes have the advantage.
Except it takes longer to change the wheels and you have to fiddle with the rotors to get them not to squeak.
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Old 01-10-16, 08:20 AM
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Get a spacer kit and index your cassettes so you do not have to adjust the rear d. I also set the barrel adjuster on the brakes so I can give it a few turns either way to make up for brake differences. Takes me less then 5 minutes to change wheels and pads. During race season I change wheels at least once a week. Not that hard, takes just a few minutes.
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Old 01-10-16, 05:27 PM
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If you ride enough to justify different sets of wheels, you will probably want different cassettes. I usually keep a 12-23 on my race wheels and 12-27 on my training wheels. Switching pads takes less than 5 minutes, plus quarter turn of the RD barrel adjuster. Easy peasy.
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Old 01-10-16, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
Something that is rarely mentioned when this comes up: find a good shop who will set up both cassettes so that you do not have to change cable tension and limit screws. This makes it super, super painless. I've done it for lots of people and it makes all the difference. Swapping out pads is super easy. Loosen 4 screws, slide pads out, slide pads in, tighten 4 screws. If your alloy rims are narrower, see if you can set it up to where the brakes are set for the alloy rims, and the carbon rims work with the brake QR half open or open or whatever.
Or, steadfastly use the same hubs (PTG3, WI T11) and cassette brand. Doesn't work so well if you're set on a specific race wheel that only uses in-house hubs, of course.
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Old 01-10-16, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dalava View Post
really, how hard is that? 5 min tops if you just change the pads, and leave the holders in place.
Hard, and more than 5 minutes for a clumsy guy like me. But that's what I do anyhow.

I have a different cassette on each wheel, and they're the same width, so at least I don't have to mess with those issues when making the switch.

Haven't made the switch in a long time, though. Since moving to the suburbs, I haven't ridden the carbon bike much except for races last year, and I'm planning to sorta trade it in anyhow (a local shop does the ebay thing and I'm hoping to use the proceeds towards a better fitting rig). Will probably sell the bike with the carbon wheels on it; a) to make it a better deal, and b) because the bike looks pretty hot (i.e., like something someone would want to buy) with the Carbone 40C, not so hot with the originals.
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Old 01-11-16, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by FLvector View Post
You may have gotten away with this, but it isn't something to advocate for others to do. If you get metal splinters from your alloy rims in the pads, this can completely wreck the brake track on the carbon hoops. Maybe you've been lucky and never gotten metal in your pads. But the time, 5 min max, to change the pads is worth the peace of mind that the expensive carbon hoops won't be destroyed. I think its better to be safe than sorry.
It's a 5 second job to check for shards when you change wheels. If you're anal about it, you can take an emery board to the pads quickly when you change.

I always see posts about the dreaded shards, but it's never been a problem in my experience.
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Old 01-11-16, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
It's a 5 second job to check for shards when you change wheels. If you're anal about it, you can take an emery board to the pads quickly when you change.

I always see posts about the dreaded shards, but it's never been a problem in my experience.
Exactly. My experience too. I always inspect the pads when I have the wheels off anyhow. It's the brakes, after all and being able to stop is a good thing.

I got curious and started doing some searches on this. Looks like this was primarily a problem with some Dura Ace pads in around 2009-2012 and probably had something to do with the pad compound. Since then, it seems the specifics have been lost and now it's "all" pads whether that's because of the liability issues or just because.

J.
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