Kool Stop Threaded Mountain Salmon Brake Pads Review
Part Number KS-MTTSA
Price Paid: $12.94/pair Ebay
The OEM brakes on Carolyn’s Jamis Aurora weren’t sounding so good. They started squealing. Then they started squealing like a stuck pig. It got so bad, I would brake behind her instead of next to her. It was painful and embarrassing. Then the back brake started with a scraping sound. That was it. I couldn’t take it. I had to do something. I was afraid she would damage her rim.
By the way, she got about 3000 miles out of the original brakes. Pretty good I’d say.
So back on the internets I go, searching and researching for her new brake pads. The ones I kept coming back to were the Salmon pads from Kool Stop. They have a reputation for being quiet, especially on noisy cantilever brakes and having a lot of stopping power. It didn’t hurt that they were highly endorsed by the Sheldon Brown website.
I bought two pair off of Ebay for just about $13 each including shipping. Good deal.
When they arrived in the mail, the first thing we noticed was their size. They were much larger overall than the stock pads. These are designated as Mountain Bike Pads, but I figured for all the weight we carry and varying terrain and weather conditions, having something a little more heavy-duty would be a good thing.
Time to install them. I serviced the front brakes first. I pulled the old pads off. They were pretty beat and glazed. See the pictures. After I pulled the old pads, I inspected the braking surface of the rim and then cleaned it with rubbing alcohal. I then installed the Kool Stops and readjusted the brakes. The lever felt nice and firm. I did the same for the rears. Then we took it out for a spin. Carol’s immediate reaction was “Oh my God! What a difference” I could have guessed as much 😉
Anyway, we just went up and down the street a bit to make sure they didn’t rub or move from their positions or anything. After a few quick stops, they started squeaking. After a few more quick stops, they started to wear-in and became completely silent. I was delighted. Carol said they had way more stopping power than the old brakes ever had, and a better feel.
I jumped on her bike and rode it a bit then. I was doing some slower stops and the front wheel started to chatter, like the brakes were off and on every tenth of a second. I gave the bike back to Carolyn and she could not reproduce the effect, so we decided it was her bike anyway and went off for a longer test ride about town. We were gone all afternoon! The brakes performed as expected for the entire day over a broad range of on and off road, wet and dry. The only time they squealed just a bit was at the very end of a very steep descent into the Flats from Tremont (we were going to check out a new section of trail being built. Watch for our story on it).
One thing of note: One of the Kool Stop pads had an issue where the beveled adjuster bushing would not slide all of the way down the post- a manufacturing defect. I got around it by using one of the old bushings. They were a slightly different size, so I used the same old bushings on both sides.
The Kool Stop Salmons sure seem to be one heck of an upgrade from stock. We’ll beat on them for a few hundred more miles and then update this initial review with our observations. Check back soon…