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Kool Stop Dura 2 Dual Compound brake blocks



Solid stopping power in all conditions, but a bit prone to picking up road grit

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Kool Stop Dura 2s are aftermarket upgrade brake blocks with the dual compound providing good braking performance in a range of conditions and decent longevity too.

Kool Stop are an American brand that specialise in aftermarket brake blocks and pads, and the Dura 2 is their latest road block. It's thicker than their regular Dura block so it lasts longer, and the 7.65mm contact width works well with narrower rims.

They're available in several versions; we've been testing the dual compound type. This mixes their standard black all-weather compound with their salmon compound, which is designed to offer better stopping in very wet conditions. A pair of grooves on the braking surface help to dispel water when riding in the rain.

As with all cartridge brake blocks, they're a doddle to fit and didn't require any adjustment once in place. I swapped out the standard brake blocks (which are made by SwissStop) on a set of SRAM Red calipers and tested them over several months, encompassing all sorts of weather and riding conditions.

In the dry the braking performance was on a par with the standard blocks they replaced. They offer a nice lever feel with good modulation and power, with no grabbing. Where they really impress though is riding in the rain or sodden roads, where they offered noticeably more stopping power over the stock brake blocks.

The durability through this period was good too, with a lower rate of wear compared to the regular blocks, even after riding in some pretty bad weather.

Cut outs reduce a bit of weight, but saving weight on a brake block has never been top of my list of priorities.

Martin Cox has also been using the Kool Stop Dura 2 blocks. He adds:

Swapping them for some well-worn winter-abused pads pads, the effect was noticeable immediately; they brought a new lease of life to the bike. This was especially noticeable on the few occasions they were used in the rain. They gave the brakes a decent level of grip despite the wet stuff, which is always appreciated.

Like most (all?) dual compound pads they attract the grit off the road and it does embed a little too easily for my liking so the risk of rim damage is always there. I find an olive stick removes them quickly though.

While they work effectively in the rain, this level of stone stickiness can be worrisome, so probably best keep them on the dry bike if at all possible.


Solid stopping power in all conditions, but a bit prone to picking up road grit

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Make and model: Kool Stop Dura 2 Dual Compound brake blocks

Size tested: Dual Compound

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?

Kool Stop says:

The Dura2 insert is Koolstop's newly designed road pad. The pad is thicker than our standard Dura type for longer life, has a 7.65 mm contact width for narrow rims and cut outs for reduced weight.

Martin Cox comments: Aimed at those looking to make a step-up from standard stock pads, the Kool-stop Dura 2 Dual Compound pads add excellent performance at a reasonable price. My only concern really is about grit getting embedded a little too easily in the wet.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?


*Water Grooves

*7.65 contact width

*6.5mm pad depth (2 mm greater than the normal Dura)

*Reduced weight

*Rim Friendly Compounds

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:

Great in the wet and mixed conditions

Rate the product for durability:

They've held up to around 1,000 miles of usage with very little wear.

Rate the product for value:

Around the £10 mark, give or take 15% depending on the month seems fair.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Great step-up from Ultegra pads, working well across the spectrum of riding conditions.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Good performance in a range of conditions and ideal for this time of year. Well done to the marketing department for adding the spiel about the cut-outs saving weight - that'll tick a box for someone I'm sure!

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Picking out bits of grit after every wet ride.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes - in Spring.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

Add new comment


RoubaixCube | 6 years ago

Started using these a few months ago after picking them up from wiggle. They replaced the standard koolstop blocks for dry weather on my commuter. So much better!

Wooliferkins | 9 years ago

You can find your local Kool Stop stockist HERE All the dealers shown can get Koolstop pads as only those with retailer accounts are listed.

Roberj4 | 9 years ago

Best road pads on the market, there's nothing out there that's better especially for winter riding. I've used both mixed & salmon pads for years.

rosscado | 9 years ago

I agree with others that Koolstop Salmon brake pads are invaluable in the wet.
Riding in the British Isles I use Salmons all year round, because who knows when it might rain next. But these dual-compound pads could be a good option for the "drier" months mid-year.

ronin | 9 years ago

These and the salmon ones really do work well in the wet. You might not want to go back to normal pads if you've tested these down hill in the wet.

What else compares to them? Swiss stop didn't seem as good, neither did the ultegra or dura ace pads.

chikashi | 9 years ago

I have various models of Kool-Stop salmon and salmon / black compounds installed on different bikes, but I find that they pick up LESS grit than stock pads from Campagnolo. There is no shortage of muck in my neck of the woods, most of the year, namely, Belgian country lanes and cobblestoned paths. On very wet, long Alpine descents, they are awesome.

One word of caution: make sure you are getting the right pads for the model of brakes you have.

andyp | 9 years ago

'Gosh, Google, now why didn't I think of that?'

I can't answer that for you. Only you know.

'Last month...'

A month is a long time. Certainly time for people to get things back in stock.

madindehead | 9 years ago

So, basically, keep them clean between rides if you can. And try and avoid a lot of grit?

Simon E | 9 years ago

Have been using these all year round for a few season now, not had a problem with embedded bits. If anything, I have found them less prone to this than OE pads.

I may try the plain salmon ones next, as they've done a good job on the 'proper' foul weather bike (an old MTB with cantis).

My LBS stocks them, as do SJS, Dotbike, Wiggle and many others.

workhard | 9 years ago

Good pads, if you can find anyone that stocks them...

andyp replied to workhard | 9 years ago
workhard wrote:

Good pads, if you can find anyone that stocks them...

approx 3 seconds with Google (other search engines are available) brings up a list for you. Winstanleys, for instance.

workhard replied to andyp | 9 years ago
andyp wrote:
workhard wrote:

Good pads, if you can find anyone that stocks them...

approx 3 seconds with Google (other search engines are available) brings up a list for you. Winstanleys, for instance.

Gosh, Google, now why didn't I think of that?  39

Last month...

"Hello there, I'd like some koolstop dual compound pads please"
"Yeah, so would we."
"But your website says you have them in"
"Well we don't. Sorry."
"When will you have them in?"
"Dunno. No idea."

and several variations on that theme.

Bike shops saying they've stuff in stock on the interwebs and shops actually having said stuff in stock are two completely different things.

fukawitribe | 9 years ago

"While they work effectively in the rain, this level of stone stickiness can be worrisome, so probably best keep them on the dry bike if at all possible."

So, in summary, don't use the pads with the extra bit added for stopping in wet conditions in the wet....  3

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