I have a pair of 16" plastic wheels on a scooter-bike that is slowly being refurbished. The brakes have been tweaked to remove slop, and I have fitted new cables and brake levers.

The brake blocks are a bit old and I can hear them sliding on the plastic rims, so replacement seems in order.

Question What brake pad types are most suitable for plastic rims? Pads for CF are supposed to be "gentle" on the rim, which is not really needed here.

Note this is not carbon fibre, it really is plastic.

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I've searched the site and we have no answers about plastic wheels at all.

I have tried fitting some single and dual pivot road bike calipers but they just don't have enough reach, so I'm stuck with these stamped metal ones for now.

Edit - more detail, and photos with some decent zoom.

Closer shot of the wheel in question The back is identical, cos there is no cassette.

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Closer photo of the wheel's brake track. Seems to be curved with age and/or wear.

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Here's what looks to be the underlying problem - the pads are old and hard and are also intended for alloy wheels.

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Finally - some clarification on the "Adult" in Adult scooter. I'm 185 cm tall (6 foot 3 inches) and I can ride this with both hands on the handlebars, while standing straight. Its not a kid size. Also, I'm 9x kilos and this carries my weight fine. It goes off a normal kerb/curb okay, but not up one because of the small wheel size.

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I'm not sure what the style is named, but I've referred to it as a Macklemore scooter, and my calls it a Scooterbike.

Update - have replaced the pads with new ones. The caliper arms were quite bent too, forcing uneven wear in the original pads. Once brakes have bedded in, will compare braking. If no better, will source some replacement 16" rims, probably two front wheels from kid's bikes will do

  • 1
    Do your rims look the like BMX Tuff Rims ? Might see themn on old 80s BMXs with 5 or 6 spokes. Some lasted very well but some cracked when stunting and gave the idea a bad rep. Whatever brake pads they used would be ideal.
    – Pete
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 8:48
  • 2
    I think manufacturer put there anything that fits and is cheap, without taking care of which pads would be the best for that rim, assuming that this kind of bike will not be used so much, so long and so extensively, that parts choice wil really matter. I would put old-fasioned, rubber pads sth like ikartrans.home.pl/miasto-rowerow/…
    – krzyski
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 9:28
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    Is this a kids' bike? By "scooter" do you mean balance/run bike? Or can you test ride it yourself? The reason I ask is that the stopping power needed by a child+bike of 25kg is much less than that of an adult at 3-4× that, especially with the short wheelbase increasing the risk of going over the bars. I'm thinking that cheap, quite soft, pads might work well, and that a harder compound may slip over the plastic (your current pads have probably hardened).
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 9:50
  • 1
    So you've got a shorter wheelbase than a normal bike and small wheels. If you were going really fast modulation would probably be more of an issue than maximum stopping power, but fresh rubber pads would be a huge help.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 7:33
  • 1
    They're really plastic and are designed to take a rim brake?
    – Batman
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


Kool Stop Composite Continental pads are designed for use with composite wheels. They are available in different colors to match the wheel. Many BMX riders complain of streaking on the brake surface. I would carefully clean any residue off the braking surface. Failure to do so will likely result in uneven braking. If these pads are unavailable check for BMX "mag" wheel pads or pads for composite wheels.

  • 2
    If they're designed for composites (which normally refers to carbon fibre in a bike context ) , why would they be good for plastic?
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 12:19
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    KoolStop web site lists them as "mag" friendly and for use on "Old School Caliper Brakes". These are standard BMX references.
    – mikes
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 1:30
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    If "mag" = plastic then it sounds good.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 6:58
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    Carbon fibre is (reinforced) plastic, in effect. The carbon is completely encased in resin.
    – Useless
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 17:45
  • 3
    @Useless plastic wheels are usually nylon. This has interesting friction properties which are very different from those of the resin used in composites.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 9:56

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