I’ve got lots of questions about hydraulic disc brakes VS mechanical disc brakes, which one is better , Pros and cons.
So I made this article to answer those questions, As a personal point open for discussion .
1, hydraulic disc brakes
hydraulic disc brake use oil as a medium to drive power to actuate the brakes, the oil is a light oil. Less impurities, not easy to dissolve oxygen, high permeability, light quality.
Different brands or models of hydraulic disc brake, equipped with different levels of brake oil, most of them is the same oil, but there are special ones.
Let’s take Shimano as example, all of Shimano hydraulic disc brakes under XT level using Advanced mineral oil as medium.
Construction and working principle
hydraulic disc brakes is generally composed of three parts, brakes handlebar, pipe, cylinder; hydraulic disc brakes is a high-precision seal, pinch the brake to make the oil compression, and then push the clip and disc friction, so the brake occurred.
1.3 the Pros of hydraulic disc brakes
Let’s take Shimano as example again，In shimano hydraulic disc brakes series，even the most low end hydraulic disc brakes is still better then mechanical disc brakes.
A s the standard equipment of professional cycling, Mainly have the following three advantages：
- Good braking performance，The hydraulic disc brakes are using two-way floating brake system, both sides of Brake Lining to make the friction at the same time,
it’s able to fully touching the disc side, resulting in greater friction, so that it can quickly brake;
- Comfortable hand feeling，Oil disc is fully sealed, in the brake process, the brake design on the use of the principle of leverage, even if we use very little effort to pinch the brakes, you can get a very good braking effect, Under normal circumstances only a finger can completely control the hydraulic disc brakes, inching braking, So it greatly reduces the strength of our hand when the downhill brake, Can effectively avoid prolonged riding fatigue caused by the brake is not enough, resulting in the loss of control of the bicycle.
- Easy to maintain. As a high-precision sealed parts, as long as not because of riding full down, or other reasons break the Cylinder , then the hydraulic disc brakes is very stable, and it does not need to change the oil often (some people say that it’s need regular oil change, that is Wrong! he must too bored, in fact, as long as the cylinder is not destroyed, you can always use it for 10 years)
1.4 The cons of hydraulic disc brakes
If you have to point out some cons of hydraulic disc brakes, there are only fews. some guys says when you disassemble the quick release wheelset and reduction the Cylinder, there are Disc friction happens some times. This is simply irresponsible of speaking, very wrong! because for all the quick release wheelset, The strength of the clamping is not the same, you just need find the appropriate strength to install the QR wheelset, then this problem is gone.
In my opinion, the real cons of hydraulic disc brakes only has two.
1 the pro level of hydraulic disc brakes is too expensive. even the little better ones cost over 150USD,
2 Its also expensive for repair, what if the Cylinder got crashed from a fall down, you need refill oil, cost another 50USD. also that required you know a good technician guy.
So it’s all about the cost issue.and if you don’t fall often and have a good budget, just go for a hydraulic disc brakes.
2、mechanical disc brakes
2.1 mechanical disc brakes，means brake with wire rope instead of oil which We mentioned above.
let’s take the AIVID BB5 as example, most of mechanical disc brakes using the single side floating brake. means the one side keep it’s position and another side compressing. then tighten the clip.produce the friction.
There are also have two side compression brake disc, like winzip made in China. just the both side mechanical disc brakes has higher cost, I mean if the cost similar with hydraulic disc brake, when don’t just go with hydraulic disc brake.
For the Pros and Cons of mechanical disc brakes,
they are two main Cons of mechanical disc brakes:
1 Mechanical disc brakes depends on wire rope drive the power to brake, but the wire explored in the air, if they got rust or oxidation. then you will lost the precise brake control.
2 Also what if the spring for reset the wire is aging. then you may have a big issue on brake. You release your hand from brake handle bar, but the brakes do not stop.
Since 2012，disc brake is almost the Standard configuration in mountain biking, disc brake has easy understanding structure, good price ,easy to play with, so disc brake kicked off the V brake in MTB biking. so disc brake is most widely used brake system.
But I have to say now it’s the time to move on hydraulic disc brakes.