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I bought a bicycle with carbon wheels, and for training I purchased an aluminum wheelset. I have SwissStop brake pads. Can I use them with aluminum wheels? I don't care much if these pads wear out quickly (I am going to buy new pads for races) but I worry more about braking performance.

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    Aside - new pads (fresh from the packaging) are a bad idea for a race. You want at least a couple of hours riding to bed them in. So you could do your last two rides before the race on the carbon wheels with new pads to bed/wear them in, and iron out any minor mechanical issues before the real race. – Criggie Feb 20 '18 at 22:59
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In short yes you can, carbon brake pads will stop you but you shouldn't. Firstly the brake pads will not be as effective on the alu rims. Secondly the change between alu and carbon rims could be risky to your carbon wheels, a tiny fragment of alu from the training wheels could damage your carbon rims (source: Swiss stop website).

So to answer your question yes you can, but is it worth it for the 2 minutes it would take to switch between the correct brake pads when you change wheels? Personally, I think no but it is down to you.

  • Swapping out the brake pads is dead-simple when the wheel is out. The main risk is stripping the little pad retaining screws, and they do very little so you might choose to leave them completely out. – Criggie Feb 20 '18 at 22:57
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    @Criggie: I would not leave the pad retaining screw out. Try it, pull a brake lightly and move the bike a little bit backwards. It's something that happens easily if you'r standing and waiting somewhere. You'll find the pads on the ground. – Carel Feb 21 '18 at 17:20
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    @Carel not in my experience, but its conceivable some brake pad/shoe fittings could be a little slacker, specially if the pads get swapped occasionally. How about "leave the retaining screw just over finger tight" ? – Criggie Feb 21 '18 at 19:08
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    @Criggie There are also shoes that don't have retaining screw but tiny vertical cotter pins/split pins.. – Carel Feb 22 '18 at 8:31

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