I recently had a rim failure, my LBS is offering me a ceramic rim.

Assuming I go for that; I currently have KoolStop salmon brake shoes. I see they make those in green specially for ceramics.

Can I keep my salmon shoes and get a set of greens for next shoe-change? or do I need to get the green asap?

  • 2
    I was wondering how one could really make a rim out of ceramic, but from reading up a bit, it seems just the braking surface is ceramic, not the entire rim.
    – Kibbee
    May 30 '13 at 14:06
  • Ceramic Braking surfaces have better friction and less wear. Jul 2 '20 at 13:42
  • Jobst Brandt knows that you shouldn't use ceramic: "Use of insulating materials for rims , such as wood, ceramic, or hard anodizing degrades braking performance." -- source: The Bicycle Wheel
    – juhist
    Oct 12 '21 at 16:22
  • Note that this post was bumped because I edited out the original ceramic tag - I clarified that tag (provisionally) to focus solely on ceramic bearings. I am not sure that Brandt was entirely wrong, but his information may have been old or he may have been commenting on older technology. Ceramic or similar rim coatings today are rare, but they do brake well. NB: I'm not sure what version of ceramic technology the OP was referring to.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Oct 12 '21 at 21:59
  • @weiwen many thanks for this detailed input. I really appreciate the time and cate you put in your answers. Can I ask you if you have learned about the dt swiss oxic since your write up. Does it perform well? Does the ceramic compound wear out with time? If yes, does it affect the looks? The campag shamal mille are well known for going from black to white/grey on the brake track and aging very poorly. Oct 13 '21 at 15:35

I've had Mavic rims with Ceramic braking surfaces - They are brilliant, far better braking power - especially when wet and they last forever.

No specific brake blocks are needed - I just used standard Shimano blocks.

Thoroughly recommended.

  • If you could please edit this to mention your brake pads, then this would answer the question. Do you have specific pads for your ceramic rims, or do you use normal brake pads?
    – Criggie
    Jul 3 '20 at 19:26

My experience with ceramic rims appears to be different to most others -- but mine are a bit worn (ie polished smooth) now. Mine are Mavic Crossmax, 1st gen (which I bought used).

I used them with standard pads initially which worked well in the dry but was very poor in wet weather (no brake power at all, quite scary). I then switched to Kool Stop green pads, which were not really any better.

I currently use some New-Old-Stock Avid (green) pads for ceramic [I was given] and these have been great, there is actually some brake power in the wet. I know these are no longer produced.

Ceramic rims don't really wear out, the surface is hard and doesn't form a wear dip like bare alu. The Ceramic pads are also very hard and wear very slowly, so the first set you buy will be the ones you'll use for a very long time. Don't cheap out.


I have not done this myself but from what I've gathered it should be fine. The green pads are likely harder so they last longer and/or less likely to "gum up" the rim. Running the wrong pads with ceramic rims- which are especially hard- isn't like running the wrong pads on carbon rims- which are especially soft.

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