Hydraulic VS mechanical disc brakes on a mountain bike


hydraulic disk brakes reviews

Are hydraulic disc brakes better than mechanical disc brakes, on a mountain bike? Well, this one of the most common question in the world of mountain biking today.

Mountain bikes are becoming more and more advanced to create room for the more hard-hitting riding trails and styles that people are after. And with all these advancements come greater speed, and when you going faster you will definitely need to ensure that you can stop.

This is where both hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes come into picture. These brakes aren’t entirely a new feature in mountain bikes, but at the same time they haven’t really been around been around for a long time compared to the time that mountain bikes (full-suspension and hardtail) themselves have been around.


Hydraulic vs. Mechanical Disc Brakes

The major difference between hydraulic disc brakes and mechanical disc brakes is that the latter uses a cable that is similar to a derailleur cable, while the former uses brake fluid like the one used in cars.

Now, just like with many other things in life, each of the two types of brakes comes with its own share of pros and cons, but generally hydraulic brakes if you are after maximum stopping power.

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Mechanical disc brakes drawbacks

mechanical disc brakes review

As previously mentioned, mechanical brakes usually make use of a cable in order to brake and just like a derailleur cable, dirt can affect their performance and they can also get stretched out. These brakes also don’t stop as excellent as hydraulic brakes, however, they are easier to adjust because it is just a simple cable.

Moreover, you will not have to dig deeper into your pocket in order to purchase them. In extreme cases, some people have reported of having issues with the brakes snapping cables, and hence most people tend to avoid them when buying a bike.

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Why hydraulic disc brakes are superior?

Hydraulic brakes are designed to use brake fluid, which becomes compressed when the brake lever is squeezed and this is simply what makes the brakes to function. This is a superb technique that offers more reliable and stronger braking performance.

However, the technique will cost you more than the brakes themselves. For example, you will have to make ensure that the brake lines are air free, and also maintain care for the brake fluid in case their performance starts to suffer.

And, just like with brakes of your car, you will have to change the fluid at times but the good thing is this will definitely be rare. Taking into mind that these brakes are in an enclosed system you definitely don’t need to worry about mud and dirt affecting the performance of your bike, unless you end up getting the pads dirty and that is the same case with mechanical brakes.

Hydraulic Pros and Cons
  • Excellent modulation
  • Unsurpassed stopping power
  • Open Systems with huge rotors capable of handling very high loads of heat from “heavy-duty” riders
  • Expensive
  • Closed systems can blow off or lock-up or blow-off hydraulic seals/lines if overheated

Hydraulic disc brakes are somehow better than mechanical disc brakes, on a mountain bike. Their ease of use and multiple benefits to the use, makes them the best choice of brakes that one should really go for.