When it comes to braking systems on e-bikes, these two are the popular options. Before opting for one, riders should be aware of their advantages and possible drawbacks. Mechanical disc brakes use cables and levers to brake, while hydraulic disc brakes utilize fluid pressure. Understanding the differences between these two options can help you make an informed decision based on your needs and preferences. So, let’s learn in detail about their various aspects in our mechanical vs hydraulic disc brakes on ebike guide.
Mechanical Vs Hydraulic Disc Brakes on Ebike
The brake type that the bicycle is equipped with is one of the main factors to consider. Although braking systems may have a similar appearance, there are important differences between them. Choose the braking system wisely for speed control and steady stops. It also plays a crucial role in determining the bike’s stopping point. Brake systems from different manufacturers exhibit various levels of performance. Among the different types of bike brakes, there are two basic categories for electric bicycles – Mechanical brakes and Hydraulic brakes. Both serve different purposes and come with traits making them suitable for various tasks.
The objective of this guide is to assist you in comprehending the braking systems and the vital distinctions between them. Each of the brakes on your e-bike has its own strengths and weaknesses, although they both guarantee a prompt stop. Let us compare the mechanical vs hydraulic disc brakes on ebike.
Mechanical brakes, also called cable disc brakes, are the pioneers of disc brakes in the cycling industry. The brakes have a simple setup with only a cable, brake lever, and mechanical disc. The open design of the brake system facilitates repairs and maintenance, making it more convenient for users. To keep the brake working properly, just change the cables and tighten the levers as needed.
The hydraulic brakes are equipped with an enhanced mechanism that offers exceptional braking performance. In a completely sealed fluid-filled braking system, the fluid plays the role of substituting conventional steel cables. These brakes will work well in unfavorable conditions and won’t reduce your control, braking power, or speed. They provide full control over your bicycle and its speed along with optimal stopping power and efficiency.
One thing that they have in common is that both mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes operate similarly. Both types of brakes have the same effect on the function of an electric bike, particularly when it comes to braking. E-bikes have both types of brakes with a brake lever linked to a brake caliper. The brake caliper of each e-bike is located in the wheel center. The caliper functions by exerting resistance against the rotor as you push it toward the wheel. This increases the difficulty of steering the bicycle, consequently decelerating the rotation of the tire. As you increase the pressure on the brake lever, the caliper exerts a greater force on the rotor. As a result, the enhanced resistance provides superior braking power.
Unlike conventional rim brakes, disc brakes do not generate resistance on the rims, but their focus is more on the rotor. Disc brakes are popular on mopeds because they perform better with very little friction.
3. Brake Power
In this mechanical brake system, the force from the brake lever is reduced before reaching the caliper. Friction is caused by the cable running inside the brake housing. A certain amount of the force exerted on the brake lever is utilized to overcome the friction. Consequently, there is an energy loss within the system, and you might not have the necessary braking power. In that scenario, the stopping distance will be considerably greater.
Due to their increased efficiency, these hydraulic brakes are better at stopping than mechanical brakes. The force applied to the lever is multiplied in a hydraulic brake. The braking power exceeds the input force applied to the system. In addition, the disc brake’s brake fluid generates minimal friction, which results in less energy loss in the system.
4. Control and Precision
Controlling the braking force can be a bit challenging with a mechanical disc brake, as it requires exerting a more pulling force on the brake lever. To operate it correctly, it will require exerting a considerable amount of pressure on the lever. Yes, increasing speed and heavy weight further lead to inefficiency.
With a light weighted hydraulic disc brake, you can easily control the braking power of your bike. The brake can be easily applied with minimal effort, and you can achieve the desired amount of braking force by gently pressing the lever. You don’t need to lock the wheels when stopping faster.
Also Read: Can I Put Fat Tires on a Regular Bike?
The braking performance of mechanical brakes can be compromised when dirt or grit enters the system. If you know how to clean rim brakes, you can easily clean mechanical disc brakes.
They are extremely low maintenance as they utilize sealed fluid, preventing any dirt from entering the system. In case of a leak, hydraulic brakes can be more challenging to repair due to their complexity. Further, let us read ahead to understand operational consistency in mechanical vs hydraulic disc brakes on Ebike guide.
6. Operational Consistency
When the housing on mechanical disc brakes holds the cables, friction is generated. The fact that the system is an open structure increases the likelihood of dirt contaminating the housing. With increased resistance, the system struggles to perform smoothly. To overcome this resistance, you need to apply more force than normal. As a result, the braking consistency is reduced.
Hydraulic brakes are smoother and more consistent brakes. The hydraulic brake system operates without any obstructions or interruptions. Moreover, the closed system is scarcely prone to being contaminated by dirt or debris. With this system, you can be confident in achieving reliable and uniform braking power.
7. Parts Availability
Finding spare mechanical brake parts is easier compared to finding hydraulic brake parts. Mechanical brakes use the same levers and cables as traditional rim brakes, thus they are easily available. Their levers and cables are readily available in virtually any bike shop, even in remote areas.
The availability of hydraulic bike brake spare parts can be somewhat challenging. Finding replacement calipers, levers, brake fluid, brake lines, or maintenance tools can be quite a difficult task. It is even more challenging for riders residing in remote areas. You might have to visit specialized bike shops in order to find the required parts.
Mechanical brakes come at a more affordable price point compared to hydraulic disc brakes. Here is a quick comparison of mechanical vs hydraulic disc brakes on an e bike cost.
The maintenance of mechanical brakes is considerably less expensive and their cables only amount to a few dollars. You only need a small knowledge of basic bike tools to do the required repairs or maintenance. There’s no need to go to pricey bike stores.
Opting for hydraulic disc brakes or bicycles equipped with them entails a higher investment. The pre-prepared components are already prepared for instant use or installation. The cost of maintenance for a hydraulic disc brake is higher as well. You will have to perform a brake bleeding process and replace the brake fluid, which calls for the use of specialized tools. These tools may raise the overall expenses involved.
Overall, if comparing mechanical vs hydraulic disc brakes on an e bike cost your preference is most important. If low cost is your main concern, then mechanical brakes are a more affordable option initially. However, you tend to pay more to maintain a hydraulic brake setup. The main factor is whether you prefer a smaller initial payment or a smaller payment over a longer time period. Now, for more information, let’s go through the mechanical vs hydraulic disc brakes on ebike pros and cons in the next segment.
Mechanical Vs Hydraulic Disc Brakes on Ebike Pros and Cons
After learning about mechanical vs hydraulic disc brakes on ebike working and pricing, let us understand their pros and cons.
1. Mechanical Disc Brake
- Easy maintenance
- Affordable than others
- Easy to maintain
- Easy availability of spare parts
2. Hydraulic Disc Brake
- More likely to last longer
- Smooth and more consistent brakes
- Requires less maintenance
- Powerful brake-stopping power
- Less cleaning and good sealing
- Low friction during operation
Also Read: Mercedes E Bike Specifications and Price
1. Mechanical Disc Brake
- Requires stronger hand pressure
- Requires more maintenance and adjustments
- Possibility of brake cables getting overstretched
- Low efficiency and more friction
2. Hydraulic Disc Brake
- Requires minimum effort
- Complex maintenance
- Special tools and fluid management required
- Periodical requirement of deflating pipeline
The decision to choose mechanical vs hydraulic disc brakes on ebike is determined by personal preferences and specific needs. If you require accurate and effective braking, hydraulic disc brakes are an excellent option. But if you prioritize simplicity and affordability, consider mechanical disc brakes. Do not neglect factors such as the performance of your e-bike, terrain, and budget while deciding.