I am entirely happy with Shimano's brake pads, and have replaced like for like several times on my bikes. These guys last 3000-4000 miles, are 100% reliable and predictable, work pretty well in the rain, and don't squeak. There is a little break in period, perhaps 50-100 miles when they seem less grippy than what they replaced, but then pretty quickly wear in.
Super easy to change out.
I'm really happy with the new compound featured in these pads. The old Shimano pads would pick up grit on wet rides and then literally grind the rims until the braking surfaces looked like old LP records. These new pads have almost entirely eliminated that problem. To me, it seems that these pads are also more grippy than the old versions, and I find my stopping distances are decreased. Modulation is very good as well. The only complaint, and not one I am willing to deduct a star for, is that they seem to wear out much faster than the old compound.
I switched back to my alloy rimcarbon fairing wheel set for the Mtn. Momma century. Lots of climbs - I counted 9 with epic, switchback descents. Not once did I feel out of control braking as the Shimano pads instilled confidence in the turns.
These shoes came standard with the newest 9000 DuraAce brake calipers. Between the 9000 levers, calipers and pads, the braking is amazing, both in terms of modulation, stopping power and leverageforce needed to stop quickly. These pads are backwards compatible with many Shimano brakes (including my older 7700 DuraAce calipers) so I installed them on a different bike that has all 7700 components. The stopping grip is improved but still not nearly as good overall as with the DA 9000 leverscalipersshoes. Also, the previous DuraAce pads seemed to melt in wet weather and leave a black residue all over everything, these BR-9000 pads do not, and they seem much more wear resistant and durable as well.
Just spent a few minutes replacing both front and rear pads, after 8000 and 4000 miles respectively. I had started noticing that my stopping was weak and would fade - not good. These pads are great. Inexpensive, easy to install, and long wearing as they replaced the prior iteration of the same pads (although i probably should have changed them some miles back)
These new D-A pads do not melt when wet and do not become impregnated with tiny pieces of metal from the rim or debris from the road, unlike the previous version of D-A brake pads. I was always picking out stuff with an awl before and using fine grit sandpaper to finish the pad surface - no more. The new pads, coupled with the DA 9000 brake mechanisms result in much better stopping power whether wet or dry. I ordered and extra set to retrofit a different bike with older D-A mechanisms.
I have never been disappointed with a Shimano Dura Ace product.
The quality control is so good , I have never experienced any problems.
So, for me, the slight extra cost for Dura Ace is well worth it, and almost always less than the other high end groups available.
I don't experiment with other chains, brake pads, cassettes or anything aftermarket as I feel Shimano makes the Dura Ace parts to work together the best possible.