At road.cc 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.What the road.cc scores mean
Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
These CL Brakes 4064 RDX Disc Brake Pads are very good, giving a performance that's noticeably better than the original equipment pads that they replaced, and while they aren't the cheapest, they're similar in price to others we've rated highly.
The brake pads are manufactured in CL Brakes' factory in Paris, whose range of cycling products are now available in the UK.
These RDX sintered pads are designed for road and gravel bikes, and as the name suggests are designed for Shimano's callipers. This 4064 version fits the J-Type callipers, which includes 105, Ultegra, Dura-Ace and GRX.
Like most brands, CL Brakes keeps its exact metal powder sintered ingredients to itself, although it does say each compound uses at least 10 different components. I can tell you what isn't in them though, and that's lead, asbestos and nickel.
The overall quality looks and feels to be high, both in the finish of the backing plate and the pad shape itself, being an exact replica of the standard pads they are replacing.
The test period has been around four months, taking in a mixture of road and gravel riding, and the weather has changed dramatically too. It started off warm and relatively dry, but then we entered storm season and all of the rain that brings.
Right from the outset the RDX pads gave a firm initial grip on the rotors regardless of the ambient temperature or conditions, and then they maintained the progressive braking feel of my Shimano callipers easily.
I wouldn't say they were massively better than the standard Shimano models they replaced (which were only a few months old), but there was a noticeable improvement overall.
I'm a bit of a late braker, and the last couple of miles of my local gravel loop contain a very steep, twisty singletrack lane. On a couple of occasions I had to grab the brakes hard when meeting oncoming traffic while doing close to 45mph – with no signs of glazing the pads.
The RDX pads are also very quiet, even when brand new. In the wet or dry there was no squealing or sound of roughness.
It's still early days in terms of wear, but they have seen plenty of really rubbish weather and the conditions that brings and still look pretty much brand new – I can't see any reasons why they won't last for the rest of the year and throughout the next winter.
The RDX pads are priced at £29.95 a pair, about three quid more than the SwissStop Disc 34 RS pads that Liam reviewed at the beginning of 2020.
Aztec's equivalent sintered brake pads are £17.99 a pair, although I haven't used them so I can't comment on their performance.
Overall, though the CL Brakes pads are a bit pricier than some of the competition, I'd say they're worth it for the performance and longevity.
A bit of an investment but worth it in for the performance and wear rates
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: CL Brakes 4064 RDX Shimano Caliper Brake Pads
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?
CL Brakes says, "Competition grade, Excellent grip at high speed. Long life performance. Reduction of wear of discs. Powerful braking in muddy, dusty and rainy wet conditions."
I was impressed with the overall feel of the pads.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sold as a pair
RDX models to fit the majority of road and gravel calipers
Metallic copper backplate
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great braking performance and quiet too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Silent in operation.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really, as long as you don't mind paying for them.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are similar in price to the SwissStop pads we tested a couple of years ago, although you can get pads quite a bit cheaper from the likes of Aztec, as mentioned in the review.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
They're very good: a quality set of brake pads that bring a marginal gain in performance over stock pads.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!