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Which Brake Is Best for the Cycle? Choosing the Right Brakes for Your Bike?

types of bike brakes

For those who like to ride bicycles, including at high speeds, it is important to have good brakes, because your safety would depend on them. There are actually different types of bike brakes that differ from one another. It is significant to be able to distinguish between them in order to understand which brakes are right for you. We will help you determine which brake is best for cycling by talking about all the brakes for a bicycle.

Types of Bicycle Brakes

types of bicycle brakes

Brakes for a bicycle, like for any other vehicle, are an indispensable element necessary for driving a bicycle and ensuring safety. There are the following types: rim, disc and drum. Let’s take a look at all the types of bike brakes to make it easier to understand their work and design.

Rim Brakes

different types of bike brakes

The principle of their operation is the effect of the brake pads directly on the wheel rim of the bicycle. The most popular bicycle brakes at the moment. They consist of levers, brake pads made of soft rubber, a cable in a “jacket”, and brake control levers. When the brake lever is pressed, the cable is pulled and the levers simultaneously press the brake pads against the rim. The more the handle is pressed, the more the rim is clamped, the stronger the braking effect. It is worth noting that there are types of bike rim brakes.

V-brake is the vector brakes, the levers fit the rim in the form of a V, a cable connects both levers. Brakes of this type are the most common. They compete with disc brakes and even leave them a little behind.

The 2015 Tour de France races showed how dangerous disc brakes can be, when a cyclist fell, and his hand fell on the rotating disc brake rotor of the bicycle in front. The arm was severely cut from the elbow to the wrist. Therefore, disc brakes in professional sports are gradually losing ground and V-brakes are taking the lead.

The cantilever is the ancestor of V-brakes, after which they began to go out of circulation. Their design has disadvantages, low braking power and the need for frequent adjustments have sent this type of brakes to the past. Any brakes (even top models) of this type take time to rub in the pads. And until the pads are rubbed in, the brakes work very mediocrely.

Tick-borne brakes, in their appearance, are very similar to ticks, from which they took their name. They have more disadvantages than advantages. One of the advantages is the ease of customization. The disadvantages of this type of brakes are their relatively large weight, mounting on one bolt, which reduces the overall reliability of the structure, and a strong limitation of the thickness of the tire.

Hydraulic is the rim brakes, the control element of which is brake fluid (instead of a cable). This type of brakes is rather an exception and is very rare. The disadvantages of such brakes are the same as those of other types of rim brakes, plus the high price and complexity of repair in the field. You can brake hard even by pressing the handle with one finger.

There are also rim brakes of the U-brake and MiniV-brake types, they are only subspecies of the types discussed above, so we won’t consider them.

Disc Brakes

bike braking systems

Disc brakes are confidently leading today. They were first used in the automotive industry, then migrated to the world of motorsport. Cyclists took over the baton. Officially, since 2011, they have been allowed to be used in cycling marathons.

There are also different bike brakes here: mechanical and hydraulic brakes. In the operation of disc brakes of any subtype, braking is carried out when the rotor (rotating disc), sandwiched between the pads attached to the caliper (brake machine), stops. The caliper is attached to the bike frame or fork with a special adapter, in fact, an adapter. From the brake lever to the caliper through a metal cable (in mechanical devices), or the hydraulic line (in hydraulics), a force impulse is transferred. The caliper transfers it to the pads, which instantly shrink and immediately stop the disc. All rotors differ in diameter: the larger it is, the faster the braking occurs and the less it heats up. The range of values ​​ranges from 140 to 220 mm.

This subtype of braking device is superior in power to rim designs but in some ways inferior to hydraulic ones. The advantages of mechanics can be safely attributed to:

  • the ability to independently control the braking force;
  • independence from weather conditions, dust, rain, and dirt;
  • the efficiency of work on a damaged rim;
  • no rim wear;
  • permissible use of wide bike tires;
  • durability;
  • ease of maintenance and repair.

Drum Brakes

types of mountain bike brakes

Every old bike owner knows how drum brakes work. To stop, it is enough to crank the pedals back in the direction of the bike. The rear hub has a built-in rotating drum, inside which are the brake pads. When braking occurs, they open and cause friction, pressing against the walls of the drum. Today, a similar design is found on city bikes with a planetary gear shift system and children’s bicycles. The advantages include:

  • due to the closed mechanism, dirt, dust, and moisture almost don’t get into it, which is why they are more durable;
  • drum brake doesn’t lead to wear of the wheel rim;
  • ease of maintenance, because they don’t need regular inspection and adjustment;
  • their effectiveness lies in the fact that they work even when the wheel rim is bent.

The advantages of such bike braking systems include their simplicity and durability (the closed structure isn’t afraid of dirt and bad weather). They don’t spoil the rim and are generally unpretentious. But on multi-speed bicycles, installation of such a brake system is impossible. You cannot break abruptly. If the chain slips, it won’t be possible to do this at all. This braking mechanism is heavy and has a low degree of reliability. This is why drums are becoming a thing of the past, giving way to more modern systems.

Are Bike Brakes Universal?

different bike brakes

Roughly speaking, all types of mountain bike brakes, as well as for other bikes, can be considered universal. The difference can only be in their composition (they are soft rubber or metal), as well as the diameter of the pads, but the latter doesn’t matter. This gives you the flexibility to choose any brakes no matter what kind of bike you have. We think you could clearly explain the kinds of bicycle brakes. We recommend that you take into account all the details when selecting the right brakes because even every little thing would be significant for your bike. Also, try doing a bicycle brake type comparison, which would help you decide more easily, and you can determine which brakes are best for you when you understand what type of brakes would suit you in terms of convenience and structure.

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