Has anyone else noted a drastic reduction in braking performance with Zipp's NSW Showstopper braking system as they age? Right now the dry stopping isn't great, but wet stopping is practically nonexistent. The brake pads are the recommended ones and they are adjusted correctly. The brake track looks and feels polished. Zipp/SRAM examined the wheels and said everything is fine. This is the first time that they have heard of this problem? Really? It used to be that I had to clean off copious amounts of brake dust after each ride - not any more. The warranty will be up shortly. Does anyone know of an alternate Shimano style pad that can be used without compromising the wheel?

  • I don't think there's an answerable question, here. Product recommendations are off-topic and the rest of your question seems to be a complaint against Zipp and an opinion poll about whether other people have had the same experience -- the only answers there are "yes" and "no", which don't seem to help with anything. Jan 11, 2019 at 21:51
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    I think the question is fine. It's basically how to get good braking out of a particular carbon rim. The product rec rules are to prevent answers bound to become quickly obsolete or that are flat out opinion based and arbitrary. They're not intended to prevent the solving of mechanical problems just because to do so a specific commercial product might have to be named. Jan 12, 2019 at 0:07
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    @NathanKnutson If that's the question, then it needs editing. Jan 12, 2019 at 0:26
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    Why? IMO this is pretty illustrative of the product rec rules as writ getting in the way of the site being useful. A product recommendation may very well be the only answer here that works. Maybe in a world of perfect information you might be able to say hey, get any carbon pad with x% cork and y% whatever, but that's not the world we live in. Jan 12, 2019 at 2:30
  • @NathanKnutson Why? Because it says "What product should I use?" and you think the underlying, real, question is "How do I get good braking?" I think that's a plausible theory but those are two completely different questions. If the intended question is "How do I get good braking?" then the post needs to be edited to actually say that, rather than relying on people reading so far between the lines. And I agree that, if part of the answer to "How do I get good braking?" is "Use brand X or Y because of A, B and C" then that's absolutely fine. Jan 12, 2019 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


The showstopper braketrack is a textured finish, with very shallow grooves carved into the surface to make it rough and abrasive. This abrasion is what was grinding the powder off your brake pads originally. Unfortunately the rubber of the brake pads has also been very slowly wearing down the surface of the brake track as you've used the wheels and polishing them to a smoother finish.

To test if this is causing the issue, you would need a second new set of wheels with the same braking surface. You will be able to feel the difference by simply dragging your nail along the brake tracks to see if one is rougher than the other.

As for improving the quality of your braking with the current wheels, you simply need to look at which brake pads perform best on carbon wheels with a traditional smooth brake track. Personally, I always found that the Swissstop Black Prince brake pads worked best for me. In the past few years, I've used carbon wheels by Syncros, Roval, Fulcrum, Campagnolo and Shimano Dura Ace, all of which had a smooth carbon finish. Regardless of manufacturer, I always found that the Swissstop pads worked better in any conditions than the pads supplied by the manufacturer (except the Rovals were supplied with Swissstop pads).

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