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Pad Testing
The pads arrived two days before my scheduled track event, so there was plenty of time to get them installed and bedded in (so I thought - more later). Of course, the racer's curse meant I didn't get to install them until the night before the event.

A cursory examination of the pads before install showed them to be quite normal in appearance. Both compounds seem to incorporate a fair bit of metal in their pad material. They have approximately the same material thickness as OEM Honda pads. The material is bonded, not riveted to the backing plate, so there is no worry about grinding your disc with a rivet (as I painfully found out on another set of pads once). As with most racing pads, there is no brake wear indicator (makes a squealing noise when the pad is worn down), so you'll have to keep an eye on pad thicknesses yourself. Additionally, the rear pads do not have the alignment post for the rear caliper piston. This feature is designed to assist the self adjusting function of the parking brake. The parking brake will work fine without the pin, but it may not properly adjust if you were to use them over a long period of time on the street.

Once installed, I proceeded to bed in the pads on a deserted loop of public roads nearby. Cobalt did not include a recommend bedding in procedure, so I used the methodology of increasingly hard stops from increasingly high speeds (with cool down) until pad fade occurred and then diminished. My first impressions were good bite, lots of dust, and a bit noisy under street conditions. Not a major issue though, as these are track pads.

Track day found me waiting at Willow Springs far too early in the morning. The weather was perfect. A bit nippy at sunrise, but warming to mid 60's during the day with lots of sunshine to keep the track surface warm. My S2000 was equipped with some nicely worn down Toyo RA-1 tires (where they're at their best), C&T Automotive Engineering brake cooling system, Motul RBF600 brake fluid, stock suspension and a couple of horsepower parts (worth about 15 hp over stock). The Streets of Willow is my favorite test track, as I know it quite well (9 events there now) and am fairly consistent with my line and lap times.

Willow Springs



For this event no timing devices were used, and weren't really relevant as we weren't doing back to back testing of different compounds on the same day. As I went out for my first session, I did a couple of off-pace laps to warm things up and then went for it. The first two laps went well, with the pads showing good bite, excellent modulation and nice balance. Then, on the third hot lap they faded. It wasn't bad fade, but it was definitely pad fade. I did a cool down lap and then came in to let the brakes rest. I was pretty sure that I had just not bedded them in enough on the street. Take this as a warning - bedding your race pads on the street may not be enough, so take it easy on new pads until you're sure they're at consistent operating conditions.

In the next session, I gradually built up my pace and detected no fade, so I began to really push the pads. The overall balance of the car remained quite good. I felt I could move the car around a little more under braking than with my past setup, but the car was quite stable. Initial bite was excellent, although the pedal felt a bit softer with these pads than with my previous setup (but much harder than with OEM pads).

By the third session, I was very comfortable with the pads. I proceeded to undertake a marathon 20 lap stint running pretty hard all the way through. The pads handled it marvelously, with no fade whatsoever and very consistent performance. Being able to trust your brakes is important to consistent lap times, and this setup certainly engendered trust.

Finishing the day, my wheels were caked in brake dust, but it washed off fairly easily. The pads also were quite noisy in low speed application on the street with a high pitched squeal even with light pedal pressure. Rotor wear appeared quite good with no grooving and virtually no discernible thickness decrease in the front, and only a slight thickness decrease in the rear. Many people are of the belief that race pads will chew your rotors up, but many race pads are actually quite kind to the rotors, provided you operate them at proper temps. On the street, when they're cold, they seem to be more abrasive and cause more wear. Something to think about.

Back at the shop a few days later, I removed the Ferodo/Cobalt combo and replaced them with OEM pads. Both pads exhibited some signs of wear. I estimate that, for my particular setup and driving style, these pads will last at least 4 events, but probably no more than 6. Pad wear was relatively even on both the inside and outside pads, with only slightly asymmetrical wear from leading edge to trailing edge (as is normal with single piston calipers). Only one pad exhibited normal wear. The driver's side front, inside pad showed a bit of crumbling/breakdown on the trailing edge. The overall pad still shows good integrity and breakdown on the trailing edge would be the last place I'd expect it. We asked Cobalt for their opinion and Andie said, "The Ferodo pad molding tends to be a lower density than some other compounds, but a little crumbling, as long as it is on the edges and not in the center, is not detrimental to the pad's integrity".

Overall, these pads work very nicely. The same basic setup should work well on the RSX-S (which uses the exact same front pads). Wear and expense are acceptable and performance is excellent. Combined with excellent customer service and a knowledgeable staff to assist you in your brake choices, Cobalt should be on your shopping list when its time to buy new track pads. Cobalt can be reached at:

http://www.cobaltfriction.com

or

(877) 562-9237

UPDATE: We ran a second track event with these pads and they performed flawlessly again. Our estimate of 4-6 track events seems to be spot on as we're about halfway through the pads now. Also, Andie Lin at Cobalt tells us that they're getting ready to release their GTR Spec VR pad for the S2000. These pads have a 0.65-0.66 Cf and a fade critical point of 1600F!! If you need a heavy duty race pad, these might be your answer.


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  S2000 and RSX-S -- Same Pads F&R
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  Compare it to other pads?
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