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Hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes, which are better?

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Which brakes are better — hydraulic or mechanical? — this question often torments a novice cyclist.

It is important to consider all the nuances, as different types of brakes have significant differences in quality, price, and other important parameters. It is necessary to compare the advantages and disadvantages of both types of brakes to understand which brakes are better and choose the best option for yourself. That is what we will do.

Let’s start with the advantages of hydraulic brakes

bicycles riders
  • You need to apply less force when braking.
  • The disc is clamped on both sides for better braking even in the simplest version of hydraulic brakes.
  • Hydraulics braking is not affected by dirt, i.e. after jolting in the dirt, the brakes will remain as responsive as before.
  • Hydraulic disc brakes wear out less due to the hydraulic line.

But we can’t mention the downsides

  • One of the main disadvantages of such a braking system is its price. Good hydraulics costs a lot.
  • Repair of such a system is also worth a lot.
  • Hydraulic braking systems are quite difficult to maintain. Brakes need to be pumped, and doing it without a set of special tools is very difficult.
  • Hydraulics can freeze when riding in winter.

Advantages of mechanical disc brakes

girl on the road
  • Price is their obvious advantages of disc mechanics compared to hydraulic ones
  • This type of brake can be easily maintained even in the field — the brake handles and cables can be easily changed.
  • Mechanical brakes can be used regardless of the season.

The minuses of disk mechanics

  • A cable in constant motion leads to friction and backlash, and hence to faster wear and tear and less precise braking.
  • The cable is gradually stretched because it is constantly moving, so it is important to watch it and constantly correct it.

Based on the above, hydraulic brakes are suitable if you are a professional cyclist and have a workshop where you can service the braking system nearby. In all other cases, mechanical brakes are better for you.

Don’t save on your safety — choose a quality braking system!

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