The Bicycle Association has published safety advice on carbon rims and pads.
Peter Eland, technical manager of Bicycle Association, said: “I have been made aware of a safety issue which can arise from the need for very specific brake blocks to be used on some brands of carbon rims.
“If the user manual is lost and non-approved aftermarket pads (even those advertised as 'for carbon rims') are used, there is a safety problem.”
He said that the issue can be addressed at very low cost and has made recommendations for precautionary actions by manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
They are for durable labelling of rims, and for 'appropriate' wording on packaging and online descriptions for pads sold as 'for carbon rims', but which are not compatible with specific brands of carbon rim.
The recommendations are:
(1) Carbon rim/wheel manufacturers
If the rims require specific brake pads, check that this is clearly stated on a durable label attached to the rim (many brands already do this).
This means it will be obvious even if the user manual is missing that only specific pads can be used.
Also, review the information online and ensure that customers can quickly and easily find details of which specific pads are compatible with the rims (for both current and previous product years).
(2) Brake pad retailers
Review the online product descriptions and retail packaging for all brake pads marketed as 'for carbon rims'.
Ensure that there is a warning visible to end users before purchase to the effect of, for example: 'Check your rim or wheel user manual to confirm compatibility before use', or: 'Confirm rim compatibility before use'.
(3) Distributors (pads and rims)
If either labels (on rims) or warnings (on pads packaging and descriptions) are not in place as above on relevant products which are distributed, request from suppliers that they are put in place at the earliest opportunity.
If providing product descriptions for P&A to retailers electronically/automatically (for them to use in online shops etc.) ensure that appropriate warnings are included in carbon rim brake pad descriptions, as above.