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Fibrax Xtreme wet weather pads really bring budget stoppers up to scratch without running up an overdraft. They're not just for side-pulls or centre-pulls either – there's a version for V brakes. Folks with ceramic or carbon rims will need to look elsewhere though since they're only designed for conventional alloy rims.
Fibrax won't says what's in their Xtreme compound, other than to say a key ingredient is unique to Wales. Apparently, the pads boast a unique condition specific pattern, in this case clever channelling that uses water to flush accumulated dirt and grime away, theoretically preventing sidewall erosion. Look closely at the shoes and you'll notice they're cutaway, while supposedly shaving the odd gram or two.
More significantly, ours seemed a genuinely universal fit, swapping between contemporary Miche/Tektro brakes and some 1980's single pivot Modolos. Toe in is equally simple and the shoes only need a half-turn from a 5mm Allen key to sit snug, although I put a precautionary trace of wet lube on the threaded sections just to be sure.
Predominantly paired with a combination of Cane Creek brakes and Miche wheels, modulation and feel felt notably improved over a rival brand's dual-compound pads. Post-ride clean ups aside, I haven't needed much persuading to whip the Teenage Dream for a quick twenty mile blast in the spring monsoons.
Good brakes certainly encourage a quicker pace and it wasn't long before I was haring along the zigzags, confident of leaving braking to the last minute. Approaching the next left-hander, lo and behold, a Lamborghini tractor complete with some seriously sadistic looking hardware emerged from a siding. A quick press of the right lever scrubbed off the necessary speed and I overtook on the next straight section.
No matter how filthy the roads, grit doesn't seem to accumulate in these pads, so grinding, squealing or sludge-purging rituals should be pretty rare even on a winter bike. Descending the odd 1 in 4 saw the computer registering 42mph, but feathering the brake kept things well mannered into the final bends.
Since the test-mule bike weighs 22lb, I'd like to test the V brake version to see how they cope with a heavily laden tourer but with my 70 kilos, we've had no problems, whether riding in the bunch or tricking through lines of stop-go traffic.
Impressive, wet weather aftermarket pads at a good price too
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Make and model: Fibrax Road Caliper Xtreme Compound Brake Pad/Holders Set
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Road Caliper Brake Holder Complete with a Pair of Xtreme Pads, suitable for alloy rims. One pair of holders and inserts packed in a blister pack."
Laughably undersold pads that markedly improve the performance of budget to mid range brakesets.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fibrax were incredibly tight lipped other than to say the unique 'foot print' is designed to encourage clean braking channels for optimum performance in all weathers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Fibrax Xtreme Performance pads improve the stopping power, modulation and feel of budget to mid range road callipers. Ultra responsive, they've induced ear to ear grins and rider confidence in all situations.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Transformed the stopping power, modulation and feel of budget/mid range brakesets.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing to date.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)