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I've got cantilever brakes with Shimano cartridge style pads, possibly M70R2 model:

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The pads are pretty worn out so I'm going to replace them. I see "S70C" on the pad themselves:

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Searching that model number, I got to Shimano's brake shoes list. However, it seems like everything is "severe condition use."

I also found this kind of cool but kind of hard to understand comparison of brake pad models:

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My questions are:

  1. If I want something that's just significantly different from the S70C's I have currently, what's my best option? E.g. maybe a pad that would have better overall braking at the expense of wearing out faster. Just to change things up. I can look at the comparison above and pick the most different looking radar graph or whatever those are, but a couple of the axes I'm not clear on.
  2. What specifically is "Anti-rim attack"?
  3. What's the best all-rounder of those options? Kind of looks like the S70C to me but curious to hear other opinions.
  4. If I want to stick with the current brake shoes and only replace the rubber pad, is Shimano my only option, or does any other reputable company make compatible pads that would fit?
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  • It’s hard to tell without a photo from the front and side of the brake pad, but are they really that worn? As long as you don’t have any metal-on-metal contact it should be safe to continue using them.
    – Michael
    Sep 15, 2022 at 6:34
  • @Michael The business side of these pads have three or four little channels that cut through them to let water/ muck escape. Those channels are almost completely gone, which is my typical criteria for pads being worn out.
    – SSilk
    Sep 15, 2022 at 18:55

2 Answers 2

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Looking at those my take is

  • R2 - casual fair weather rider who prefers minimal bike maintenance.

  • CT4 - All weather rider who prefers constancy of brake performance between wet and dry.

  • 70C - High mileage (hence wanting to preserve rims) Racer/enthusiast who wants maximum braking in dry. In wet conditions takes it easy, changes pads, or avoids riding altogether.

Personally I would go CT4.

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Koolstop Salmon or Swissstop BXP are generally considered the best brake pads (especially for wet conditions). Unfortunately Swissstop BXP is not available as V-Brake inserts, but their Original Black compound works nicely too. Don’t expect any miracles, but in wet conditions the difference is certainly noticeable. Don’t forget that the condition of your brake cables+housing and setup has a big impact on brake performance too, especially with cantilever brakes.

"Anti-rim attack" probably means how much wear they put on the rims. I don’t know if anyone has done any proper testing how much this is actually influenced by different brake pads.

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  • The "Original Black" pads you linked look like they would fit in the Shimano brake housings I have. Is that your understanding?
    – SSilk
    Sep 15, 2022 at 18:57
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    @SSilk: The Koolstop should too. There are pretty much two sizes for brake pads, one more common on road bikes, one more common with V-brakes. For whatever reason the Swissstop BXP are not available in the V-brake size.
    – Michael
    Sep 16, 2022 at 5:47

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