Mike is a serious randonneur who puts in tremendous mileage. He tested a set of prototype VO brake pads. Here's his report:
Thanks so much for allowing me to try out the “squeal proof brake pads” you had at Velo Orange.
These brake pads are GREAT! They are amazing! And I’m not usually impressed by most bike-part “breakthroughs.”
Let me explain:
What causes brake squeal? Search the Internet on this subject for Sheldon Brown’s, or, better yet, Jobst Brandt’s discussion of brake squeal on bicycle brakes. The fact is squeal is often an engineering consequence of the functional relationship of certain brakes/brake parts/frames/forks/wheels and other related components, which can cause brake squeal, *even when the brakes and pads are perfectly adjusted.* This is especially so for cantilever brakes on the front fork of a bicycle. Even when brakes are well-designed, and extremely stiff, like a Pauls, they can still squeal.
To test the pads I put them on both a Surly Long Haul Trucker and a Soma Double Cross front cantilever fork. I put the pads on low-end Tektro cantilevers (aka Avid or Cane Creek), and a low-end Shimano $15 V-Brake. The pads spent about 600 miles on the road, in all kinds of weather. The package the pads came in said install them flat to the rim with no toe-in, so I did. The rims they pads rode on were worn: a Mavic Open Pro; and a newer but still grooved and worn Velocity Aerohead. The brake levers were Tektro; the cables new, but the housing old.
The pads NEVER made a peep! Not a single chirp or squeal. I’ve had brakes that squeal during initial, easy braking but become quiet when the braking becomes hard; and vice versa. I’ve had brakes that don’t squeal under light braking or heavy braking – but do squeal under moderate braking! This is particularly annoying as this kind of braking is done often.
No matter the conditions – rain or dry; or blazing hot, from dragging the brake down long hills (2-plus miles) – the brakes never squealed. Amazing.
And, last but not least, the braking action is good, as good as Kool-Stop Salmon pads (although this is a much more subjective claim than whether they squeal or not).
I was SO SKEPTICAL that these brake pads would work. But they do. Can I buy ten pairs of these pads? Where can you get more of these?...
Kyle has only had his set for a few days, but I was interested to know if he had an immediate reaction. He writes:
As much as I enjoyed literally screeching to a halt at every stop
light, these new pads are definitely worth the upgrade. In addition
to being completely silent - whether the rims are dry or wet - they
seem to have better stopping power than the standard Tektro pads. I
highly recommend the upgrade... you might even start to enjoy stopping
as much as going.