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Mechanical vs Hydraulic Disc Brakes : Know the Exact Difference

People who like cycling around or are beginners know it is vital to have an efficient brake system. Now you get options for the brakes of your bicycle too due to innovations in almost every field today. These innovative ideas use a modern approach and latest technology that make these brakes more efficient and user-friendly. There are mainly three types of bicycle brakes: Rim brakes, drum brakes and disc brakes. Disc brakes are ideal for the mountain cycling while the rim brakes are more lightweight for cycling around the city. In this article, we will specifically focus on disc brakes. 

There are two types of disc brakes: Mechanical brakes and Hydraulic brakes. These brakes share a lot of similarities, but at the same also have some differences. To know how they differ from each other and which one is more suitable for you, read this article on mechanical vs. hydraulic disc brakes.

Mechanical Brakes:

Mechanical BrakesThese types of breaks use mechanical components like drum brakes for the braking system. Mechanical brakes function on the friction caused between two surfaces. The friction between these components helps in slowing down the cycle or stopping them depending on the force applied. The braking or stopping power of the brakes depends on the friction caused on the surface area as well as actuation force.

Hydraulic Brakes:

Hydraulic BrakesThe brakes use a fluid to transmit the force on the brake pedal to the final disc caliper. This force further helps in reducing the vehicle and also for stopping it. The force that is transmitted is much higher than the ones in mechanical brakes. The fluid in the brakes helps in quick and efficient braking. The design and mechanism of the hydraulic brakes is simple as compared to the other types of brakes.

Mechanical vs Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Mechanical Brakes Hydraulic Brakes
These brakes use friction between the heavy cables like rim brakes for its function. As the name suggests, hydraulic brakes use a fluid mechanism to apply brakes.
Mechanical brakes are heavier in weight like the calipers or cantilevers. Hydraulic brakes are lightweight as they work on the fluid actuation.
As the brakes can stretch during cycling and are exposed to dirt and dust all the time, cleaning will be required frequently for the smooth functioning. The brake system is sealed and hence no dirt or grime can enter the brakes and cause any issue.
It is essential to look after the maintenance of these brakes for maintaining their efficiency. Hydraulic brakes are maintenance-free and work more efficiently than mechanical brakes. It just needs attention when the fluid boils, or there is a leak.
Mechanical brakes perform better than the traditional rim brakes. But there might be some issues due to the friction between cables, which reduces its efficiency. When it comes to performance and efficiency, hydraulic brakes better than mechanical ones. The fluid is easier to modulate to deliver efficient braking power.

Now that we know the differences between both types of brakes, let’s discuss how both of them are better than rim brakes. 

  • Disc brakes are recommended for the people who like riding their bicycles on mountains or in wet weather.
  • The brakes also offer much higher stopping power which is essential for cycling in hilly areas.
  • It does not lead to the heating of rim, which helps in avoiding tire blowouts. 
  • The brakes work efficiently for wider tires.
  • Disc brakes offer more stopping power and precise braking thus preventing the wheels from locking up.

Concluding Remarks

Well, it can be said from this article that disc brakes are more preferable than the rim ones due to their easy mechanism. Also if you are confused, just go through all the features of both types of the braking system. Hydraulic brakes are lightweight, require no maintenance but expensive. Whereas Mechanical brakes are cheaper than the hydraulic ones but require more maintenance and are also heavy. You can select the one according to your preference. But if you are someone who likes to have a smooth ride, then I think hydraulic brakes will make an excellent choice for you.

Elizabeth Davis

Hi, I am Elizabeth Davis. I am an auto enthusiast and love writing about cycles, bikes, cars, and other automobiles. After being the motoring journalist for over five years, I decided to share my knowledge regarding the details, performance, and techniques of riding different vehicles. Apart from writing, I love traveling around the world on my bike and trying new cuisines.

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