Brakes For Road Bikes :Rim Brakes VS Mechanical Disc VS Hydraulic Disc

When you're choosing what kind of brake bike is right for you, there are several options to consider. Mechanical disc brakes, hydraulic disc brakes, and rim brakes each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, we will compare these three types of brakes to help you make an informed decision.

What are Rim Brakes?

Rim brakes, called caliper brakes, are braking systems consisting of two brake arms (such as U-shaped, V-shaped, or cantilever) to which the brake pads are attached. The brake arm is connected to the brake lever by a cable. Is the traditional type of brake used on most bicycles. They use brake pads to grab the sides of the rim to slow or stop the bike. Rim brakes are lightweight, affordable, and easy to maintain. However, they are less effective in wet or muddy conditions as the rim's braking surface can become slippery.Rim brake bikes are most commonly found on traditional road and city bikes.Suitable for flat roads and general city riding, light riding and commuting.

rim brake road bike

What are Mechanical Disc Brakes?

Mechanical disc brakes use a cable to activate the brake caliper, which then squeezes the brake pads against the rotor to slow down or stop the bike. They are typically less expensive than hydraulic disc brakes and are easier to maintain and repair. Mechanical disc brakes also offer good stopping power and are less affected by wet or muddy conditions compared to rim brakes.Disc brake bikes are widely used on mountain bikes, road bikes, and city bikes, especially on high-end models.Ideal for a variety of riding environments including rugged hills, steep descents and slippery conditions

Mechanical Disc Brakes bike

What are Hydraulic Disc Brakes?

Hydraulic disc brakes, on the other hand, use hydraulic fluid to transfer force from the brake lever to the caliper. This results in more precise and consistent braking performance, as hydraulic systems are self-adjusting and require less maintenance. Hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power and are highly recommended for riders who frequently ride in wet or muddy conditions.Hydraulic disc brake bikes  are commonly used on high-performance mountain bikes and some high-end road bikes.For professional riders who require higher braking performance and greater precision in brake adjustment

Hydraulic disc brake bike

Pros and Cons

Now that we have a basic understanding of each type of brake, let's compare their pros and cons:

Mechanical Disc Brakes:

  • Pros:
    • Good stopping power
    • Less affected by wet or muddy conditions
    • Easier to maintain and repair
  • Cons:
    • Requires more hand effort to activate
    • Less precise and consistent braking performance compared to hydraulic disc brakes

Hydraulic Disc Brakes:

  • Pros:
    • Excellent stopping power
    • Highly consistent and precise braking performance
    • Self-adjusting and require less maintenance
  • Cons:
    • More expensive than mechanical disc brakes
    • Can be more challenging to repair

Rim Brakes:

  • Pros:
    • Lightweight
    • Affordable
    • Easy to maintain and repair
  • Cons:
    • Less effective in wet or muddy conditions
    • Braking performance can be affected by rim wear

Why we use thru-axles instead of quick release levers on disc brake bikes?

1. Easy to remove and install
2. The thru-axle is more rigid and stable than the quick-release lever. This design improves the performance of a disc brake system, especially in intense braking conditions such as mountain biking or steep descents.
3. Impact on riding: The thru-axle design usually reduces the movement between the hub and rim, thus improving the overall hub stiffness. This is beneficial for improving riding stability and handling.
3. Brake disc and brake caliper alignment: Using a thru-axle makes it easier to ensure the alignment between the brake disc and brake caliper. This is because thru-axle designs often include a tighter fit that helps maintain accurate alignment and improves disc brake performance.
4. Suitable for heavy-duty riding: For heavy-duty riding that requires greater strength and rigidity, such as downhill riding or off-road riding, thru-axles are generally considered a more reliable and safe choice.
5. Limitations of the quick release lever: In some cases, the design of the quick release lever may have some limitations, especially when dealing with high braking forces or extreme riding conditions. Thru-axles provide more strength and durability.

Ultimately, the choice between mechanical disc brakes, hydraulic disc brakes, and rim brakes depends on your riding style, budget, and the conditions you typically ride in. If you prioritize stopping power and consistent performance, hydraulic disc brakes are the way to go. However, if you are on a tight budget or ride in dry conditions, mechanical disc brakes or rim brakes may be sufficient. Consider your needs and preferences before making a decision, and always prioritize safety when choosing brakes for your bike.