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12/01/2020
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Bike Disc Brakes Mechanical or Hydraulic

bicycle disc brakes

Few people know that disk brakes were the first to be invented. At first, they were used to brake sleds and carriages, but gradually they spread to bicycles. At that time, they were something similar to the shoes pressed against the rim of the wheel in case of need, but disk brakes did a great job. Then, by coincidence, drum brakes overtook their predecessor for several decades and became huge and widespread.

The safety and efficiency of the existing design of bicycle disc brakes have been honed for several decades. After all, it is important to ensure the quickest possible braking of the bike in case of need and not to forget about the external aesthetics. At the moment this is the most efficient design.

Hydraulic Bicycle Brake System Design

bike disc brakes

The hydraulic bike brake is quite simple and consists of four key parts: two brake pads, the disc itself, the caliper, and the brake fluid. The main purpose of this design is to make the vehicle change speed.

  • Brake disc. A special part that is screwed to the part of the rim itself with nuts. It is believed that this part is cleaned itself because the shields do not allow dirt to accumulate.
  • Caliper. This is a cast-iron box, which consists of two parts connected. One part of it is rigidly attached to the brake disk, and the other moves relative to it horizontally. To fix them correctly, it is necessary to use guide bushings.
  • Cylinder. This element is made of a movable piston and the case worn on it. The piston itself has a special sealing collar, which is made of rubber. Usually, manufacturers use rubber that is not susceptible to oil and gasoline.
  • Brake pads. They are made of a material that is not susceptible to burning, dense, and derived from asbestos. They should not wear out quickly, these plates are inside the caliper and their purpose is to stop the wheel.
  • Brake fluid. It transfers pressure inside the hydraulic disc brakes bike, it is an important component of the system. It is important to observe the maximum and minimum allowable usage limits of this part of the system. If the air temperature is too low, the fluid will become viscous and if it is too high, the fluid will boil.

How Does Bikes Hydraulic Disc Brakes Work?

hydraulic bicycle brake

Bicycle hydraulic disc brakes work in a quite logical way: the driver presses the brake pedal and the hydraulic cylinder creates pressure in the brake tubes. This pressure actuates the piston that is inside the cylinder. As the piston moves, it starts to press the brake pads, which in turn press the brake disc. At the same time, reverse pressure is applied on the other side of the wheel. It forces the caliper to press down on the disc and it, squeezed on both sides, forces the mechanical vehicle to stop.

It is important to make sure that the brake disc is not deformed. The curvature will cause the pistons to sink deeper each time, eventually, you will have to press the brake pedal several times to get the brake pads as close to the disc as possible. It is the deformations on the surface that lead to a decrease in the efficiency of the entire disc brake for the bike.

When the brake pedal is released, the pressure gradually disappears and the piston returns to its normal position with a slight vibration while the machine continues to move. The brake disc fits perfectly into the appearance of the wheel, does not spoil the design of the vehicle part, and provides the maximum possible controllability.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Disc Brake Bicycle

bike brakes

According to the design of its system, disc brakes are divided into two types: mechanical and hydraulic. Each of them has its own positive and negative features. However, you will have minimum trouble with the hydraulic braking system.

Hydraulics is quite sensitive – even partial compression of fingers is enough to make the brake work. The cables will not break, because they are not used in this type of disc brakes, and the pads will not need to be replaced for a long time. It is believed that this system can be installed without thinking about it all the time – it does not require frequent maintenance and repair. So, what are its flaws?

  • The cost of such products is slightly higher than that of a similar mechanical type of braking system;
  • They are vulnerable to temperatures – at high minus temperatures, the fluid inside such a disc brake becomes viscous and sticky, which significantly reduces the efficiency of this brake;
  • A rare repair will be quite expensive and difficult, you need to be prepared for the fact that it will be difficult to find a suitable master.

Bike mechanical disc brakes are much easier to handle and the purchase price is much lower. Even a novice repairer will quickly find the cause of the breakage. It is extremely simple – the driver pressed the brake on the handlebars – the brake disc on the wheel is clamped.

However, it will be extremely difficult to achieve the sensitivity of the hydraulic brake system – you will need to constantly tighten the pads so that they work correctly. Make sure you don’t over-turn the pads, as the disc brakes are too tight and tend to break completely.

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