Zipp's carbon brake pads go platinum

Tangente Platinum Plus pads developed with SwissStop

Zipp have developed a new carbon-specific pad compound with the folks at SwissStop that they claim is better able to pull heat away from carbon rims under extreme braking conditions, particularly on long descents in hot and dry weather. SwissStop's latest-generation pad shape includes deeper channels, too, so wet weather performance should be improved as well.

In their official press release, Zipp don't disclose the secret ingredient of the new Tangente Platinum Plus pads, but the name itself – and the color – provides a clue, along with the fact that the company adamantly recommend against their use on aluminum rims.

Most carbon pads are designed merely to resist overheating and/or to maintain a good friction coefficient under high heat (standard pads – and even some poorer carbon-specific ones – can melt in those conditions) but Zipp are claiming the new pads will actually pull heat away from the rims.

"The term Platinum Pro isn't just a catchy marketing phrase," Zipp's technical PR manager David Ripley admitted to BikeRadar after a bit of prodding.  "The material matrix does contain a platinum catalyzed metal, which is softer than the rim so as to be non-damaging while making the pad both thermally conductive and tunable for wet and dry coefficients of friction."

"When you're talking about catalyzed metal powders, it isn't nearly as cost prohibitive as pure metals," he continued. "But to get the properties that we were looking for [and allow] some level of control over the thermal conductivity without mechanically destroying the rim surface, yes we had to get creative."

Though softer than the carbon composite materials to which it's applied, it's that metal content that makes the Tangente Platinum Plus pads unsuitable for alloy rims. Zipp also acknowledge that the new pads may have too aggressive a bite for some riders, so the company will continue to offer the standard cork-based Tangente pads as well. Suggested retail price on the Tangente Platinum Plus pads is US$40 per wheel. Pricing on the standard Tangente blocks remains $75 for a full set.

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