I have been using the Kool Stop Salmon brake pads on my bicycles for almost 20 years now. I haven't tried any other brand/type because these pads work so well in wet and dry conditions and they last a long time. I keep the pads clean using some rubbing alcohol and a scrubby if necessary.
I have been riding over 30 years, and have a taste for top dollar product only if they functionon. In my experience through out the years, the Kool Stop Dura Salmon Pads are the best pads for the money hands down. I often hear or read the most common question of which is better SwissStop or Kool Stops. Well that is a little bit of a complex answer. Both are the best pads in the business, yet there are differences. Kool Stop grabs almost instantly with great power in the dry with no fade under heavy application, and in the rain they stop very well except they have a couple second delay before grabbing and then again very quick strong power delivery. This can startle or even cause lock ups and skidding for some not expecting it. The Swissstops have far better modulation, which means no instant grabbing, rather very smooth initiation and then grab progressively stronger with more lever application. The other nicety is that in rain the Swissstops have no delay rather instant application even when wet, lending to a more predictable braking. For overall stopping power black pads from KS are close in my opinion to SS, but still not their equal, rather the Kool Stop Salmon(wet) vs. SwissStop GXP(Blue-wet) is a clearer winner as the SwissStops have better over braking power and much better modulation. The other key notes in both brakes is that neither cause any wear to aluminum rims, and also last about the same under similar use. The final thing to note is their cost vs performance, here is where the divide comes in as KS are far cheaper and more readily available than SS. So in final I run SS on my road race bike, and KS on my cyclocross rig, as they both certainly have their place.
The bike came with Shimano pads but i found them to be noisy and rough on my expensive rims. I swapped the original pads for these. Great choice. Braking is every bit as good as the originals and the noise is gone. I find the Kool Stops treat my rims much gentler. A great plus as I hate to prematurely wear out the rims because the brake pad material was too hard.
I go through about one set of pads per season on each of my bikes. While the salmon pads do wear a little faster than black or dual compound, these provide the best braking, even on dry rims.
Wet weather braking power is fantastic, even with cantilevers. I have slowly moved all of my bikes to cartridge holders, which is much more economical in the long run. I keep a couple of extra sets n my toolbox so I can swap out a bike at any time.
I ride 500-600 miles per month...and change brake pads twice a year regardless of wear... I think pads dry out or become glazed...and I like the modulation or feel of new pads. The Kool Stops feels softer than Shimano replacement pads...which I like...and you cannot beat the price
I got the combo (wet dry) model to replace the original Ultegra pads. Initially the pads felt a bit mushier than the old pads but they either broke in or I got used to the sensation so it's a not an issue now. The softer feel may have been caused the by the salmon colored wet braking material. The biggest difference is that I get better modulation which is a big plus. At the moment I can't say anything about the longevity (only for less than 500 miles so far) nor very wet weather braking capability. I've not ridden these in rain but they seem to work fine in misty conditions.
Yes, I'd get these again assuming they last relatively long considering the softer material. The stock pads lasted around 7,000 miles.
If you ride in wet weather, you need this salmon softer pad. It does make a significant difference compared to the standard stock-black (harder) pads that come on the bicycle. I run these pads year-round, and replace them more frequently because of the soft composition. But, I like the grab around the rim that the soft pads provide.
The design of Kool Stop brake inserts make it a snap to replace worn out pads. They provide good stopping power. The only negative is they seem to wear out a little fast (the orange ones more than the black pads of course - but overall they wear a little quickly).
I have put a lot of miles on my bike and it was time to replace the brake pads. After discussions, research and study, I chose these. I have put about 500 miles on them so far and they are better than anything I have ever used. Firm and soft (if that makes sense) Wet or dry, they do a great job. Will make these a regular for future use.
These have been my go to brake pads for years as early (2002 vintage) Shimano pads would actually take metal off of rims when riding in wetgrimy conditions.
Of course here in Portland, OR, I have to replace brake pads more often than my previous location, but find these work well in the rain.
I typically keep a set or two in my inventory so I'll have them when I need them.