kool-stop aero kool peg finned disc brake pads

Remember those crazy pegged/finned brake pads Alligator showed off at Eurobike last year? Now they’re available in North America as a less expensive alternative to Shimano’s Ice Tech pads, with options for a much wider list of models and brands.

A few months back, Ryan from Lbs. Bikes contacted us about a second company he set up to sell the finned brake in Canada (and the US). Called Stop Components, he built it to sell a wide variety of brake pads for virtually every brand out there at a very competitive $CAD price. And just this week, Kool-Stop branded the same ones for US and UK sales, calling them Aero Kool.

Both share the same design, made in the same Asian factory, using the same alloy back plates and organic resin compound. And both are the same red Alligator showed off. The difference? Branding and US pricing, really.

Stop in past the break for the tech details and a little explanation why so many brands are offering them…

Stop Components Peg Finned mountain bike brake pads

Four versions are on offer:

  • Style 1 – Avid Elixir
  • Style 2 – Formula – R1, The One, RX, Mega
  • Style 3 – Shimano – M985, M785, M666
  • Style 4 – Shimano older style Saint M800, XT M765, XTR M965/966, M975, M765, M585, Hone M601, XT 2004, M665. Also  fits TRP DASH.

Word is Magura has licensed their own pads from the manufacturer, which is why you don’t see Magura options here. They didn’t show up on the latest calipers, though, so perhaps they’re tucking it away for future models.

The back plates are hardened aluminum alloy, so they are very light, with a ceramic organic resin compound. Melnyck says they can’t do a sintered compound because the sintering process creates so much heat that back plate basically is just short of melting, which would leave it very brittle.

Stop Components’ pads retail for $36CAD and include alcohol wipes to clean the pads and rotors. Kool Stop’s $32.50USD suggested retail price works out about the same after the conversion from CAD to USD. Weights per pair (as in, left/right, not front and back sets) are around 22g.

So, why do two brands have the exact same product for the same market? Well, private labeling isn’t uncommon, but this is what happened here: Kool Stop, which is a larger, more established global brand, owns some of the tooling used by the Asian manufacturer, but not all of it. So, the manufacturer makes the pads and sells them to several companies, in this case with no apparent territory exclusivity. So, pick your favorite, or just order from whoever’s more convenient from a shipping standpoint. Or support the little guy (Stop Components). Or ask your local bike shop to order some (from Kool Stop). Decisions, decisions.

KoolStop.com and StopComponents.com


  1. Ilikeicedtea on

    I live in the mountains and get about 2000 off road miles out of organic pads.

    A week, eh? What a badass.

  2. Valilenk on

    +No sintered – no deal.
    And no avid trail version – also no deal)))

    “I live in the mountains and get about 2000 off road miles out of organic pads.” – ok))) and when i ride asphalt roads, pads live forever.

    In DH you can destroy brake pads in two days in case of bad weather.

  3. Bob on

    Interesting idea but has anyone seen any testing data to show these or the Ice Tech pads make any real difference?

  4. Dave on

    Organic or Semi-organic are fine for dry conditions trail riding. On the other hand, I’ve nuked a set in just a single muddy ride. Pick the right pads for the conditions.

  5. TaraFirma on

    Anybody who wears brake pads out in a week is not a beast. They are riding their brakes too much because they are scared.

  6. Al Boneta on

    I am in the same camp as Bob.
    Has there been any real testing to see if there is any measurable performance advantage?

    Right now Shimano is making some really good brakes, but is that due to the pads or the overall design?

    I would give them a try but all of my bikes are set up with Avid Trail brakes.

  7. GetRad on

    Ice Tech Brake testing-http://bike.shimano.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/us/index/news_and_info/shimano_technology/velotech_de_disc_brake.html

  8. Matthew on

    I’ve been riding the Shimano XTR braking system. It’s the real deal. If these pads give any of the upgrade in performance, they’ll be worth it.

    @Al: I personally believe that the jump in performance you get under Ice Tech comes from a combination of the pads, rotors AND brakes themselves. I don’t have any objective data to back that up, but friends who have used just the rotors or just the calipers/pads don’t feel like they’re getting as big a gain as I do.

  9. Jason on

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t they defeating the purpose of cooling fins by only offering them with resin pads? Fins or no fins, my understanding is that resin pads wear too quickly in downhill/all mountain/enduro applications. For this reason, resin pads are most recommended for applications that don’t generate much heat, and downhill/enduro riders use sintered pads to handle the rigor of downhill abuse. Would these fins really reduce heat enough to allow resin pads to be used for downhill/enduro, and provide a benefit over using a normal sintered pad? As far as I’m concerned, having fins on resin pads may look cool, but are about as functional as the big rear spoilers we see on Honda Civics -where the spoiler doesn’t generate measurable down force until the car is traveling 130 mph – and we know these guys never take turns on public roads anywhere near that speed.

  10. Eric E. Strava on

    I get about 250,000 vertical feet of descending out of a set of sintered pads on average, often more if the weather is good. That’s about 3-4 sets a season usually. Organic pads…maybe 50,000 feet. I can go thru a set in a week or two in any weather. No way I can justify that difference in life span. Just my experience, and most of that riding is in a bike park setting..at least they made my Avids not sound like a flock of angry turkeys.

  11. greg on

    plenty of non-downhillers still encounter extended descents. i’m thinking colorado. it also potentially allows a rider to use a smaller rotor, if absolute braking power wasnt an issue. they cant do sintered because the post/fin things are part of the aluminum backing. shimano can do fins on their sintered pads because the aluminum fins are separate from their steel backings.

  12. Jason on

    Colorado trails with extended descents would be considered all-mountain, and would apply to my post above. My point is that there is an inflection point where users opt for sintered pads for rigorous use. XC riders would rather not use sintered due to lack of modulation during their lighter uses, especially since sintered pads have a tendency to make more noise. With more rigorous braking, getting to the point where heat is actually an issue (to the point of NEEDING fins), resin pads wear out very quickly, and the noise and modulation drawbacks of sintered pads diminish the harder you push them. This is what I’m referring to regarding the inflection point. Anyone who uses the brakes enough to warrant cooling fins will tear through resin pads on a regular basis and benefit more from using sintered pads. If Kool stop can’t bond the sintered material to the aluminum backing, then just buy the shimano sintered with fins or admit that you’re just buying these for looks. Truckerco provides great cheap pads on eBay if you care more about function than form.

  13. Jason on

    Mea culpa, so there is an application where these make sense: riders who occasionally experience extended downhills, have had noise issues with sintered, and don’t mind short pad life.

  14. Mindless on

    @Jason: bollocks. If one is not riding in a park, does not mean he should suffer from brake fade and failure on an occasional long descend.


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