E-bike Disc Brakes: Mechanical vs. Hydraulic. Ebike hydraulic brakes

How To Remove And Inspect Your E-Bike’s Mechanical Disc Brake Caliper And Brake Pads

Your e-bike’s brakes are among the most important parts of the bike. That’s because it’s impossible to have a safe ride without safe brakes. So the better you understand how your brakes function, how to inspect them, and how to maintain them, the better off you’ll be.

We’ll review the difference between mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes (including which Magnum e-bikes feature mechanical brakes vs. hydraulic brakes), the importance of regular inspections and maintenance, and how to remove and reinstall your mechanical caliper yourself.

Safety Warning: If you are unclear about any of the information described in your e-bike manual, this article, or the video linked at the end of this article, please make an appointment with a Magnum dealer to service your bike. Improper brake maintenance, repair, or installation can result in serious injury or death.

Prefer to watch a video? No problem — jump ahead to watch !

Mechanical vs. Hydraulic Disc Brakes

All bike brakes work by pressing brake pads against a surface on the wheel to create friction and slow the bike down. The biggest difference between the mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes is efficiency. While both options perform better than traditional rim brakes, particularly if it’s wet conditions, mechanical disc brakes struggle to match the efficiency of hydraulic systems.

While there are significant variations in the quality, durability, and performance of many e-bike brake brands and styles, the essential function is the same. With both mechanical and hydraulic brakes, a rider slows and stops their e-bike by activating the brake, pressing brake pads against part of the bike’s wheel to slow its rotation.

But that’s where the similarities end.

Here are the key differences in mechanical vs. hydraulic disc brakes on e-bikes:

Pressing the brake lever generates force onto cables, which squeezes the brake pads stops the bike

Pressing the brake lever expels brake fluid through hoses, which squeezes the brake pads stops the bike

Force applied to the brake lever is equal to the force applied to the brake

Force applied to the brake lever is multiplied by the force of the brake fluid, increasing overall force delivered to the brake

Regular maintenance is required for optimal performance; ok for a home mechanic

Minimal maintenance is required; ok for an experienced home mechanic, but best handled by a bike shop or dealer

Magnum E-Bike Models With Mechanical Brakes

Cosmo S

Metro S

Navigator S

Pathfinder 350

Why Your Safety Depends On Regular Brake Inspection

Without proper maintenance, both mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes are subject to compromised performance. At best, this can mean reduced brake responsiveness, resulting in increased time to reach a full stop. At worst, it may result in total failure, putting you at risk of a crash, serious injury, and even death.

What’s more, despite your efforts to regularly maintain your brakes, incorrectly performed maintenance or repairs can damage your bike.

Loose brake pads can fall out while riding, leaving you unable to stop. Improperly installed brakes can also cause damage to your rotor. At that point, you not only need to replace the brakes (again) but also other parts of your bike.

That’s why regular and comprehensive brake inspection, maintenance, and occasional replacement are essential steps to safe and responsible e-bike ownership. And when in doubt, make an appointment with a trusted dealer or repair shop to handle anything you aren’t sure about.

Is The Mechanical Brake Caliper Removal Process The Same On All E-Bikes?

Not a Magnum E-Bike owner? If you have a rear hub motor e-bike with mechanical disc brakes, the steps to remove your mechanical caliper will be similar to what we describe here. However, you should consult your own manual or manufacturer with any questions.

And whether you’re a Magnum E-Bike owner or not, if you should need to remove your full brake system (rotor and all), please consult a dealer or repair shop with experience for your specific bike. Improper installation of your brake system can result in severe damage, crash risk, and even death.

Equipment You Will Need

Bolt sizes will vary across models. Be sure to choose the tools that match your unique bike.

  • Allen wrench(es) that match your retainer bolt and derailleur guard bolt size (ex. 3mm and 5mm wrench)
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • 60-80 grit sandpaper
  • Rag or cloth
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol

How To Remove The Mechanical Caliper On Your E-Bike

Here’s how to remove your mechanical brake caliper for pad inspection or replacement.

Step 1: Remove Bolts And Adapter

First, locate the bolts holding your brake caliper to the rear triangle. There will be one at the top and one at the bottom. Take the appropriate wrench for your bike and remove both of those bolts.

Loosen and remove the bolts holding on your brake caliper.

The adapter is the piece in the middle, located between the caliper and the rear triangle.

Step 2: Remove Cotter Pin

Now find the cotter pin that secures the brake pads inside the caliper. It’s a metal pin with a looped head; the pin end is bent to keep it secured in place.

Use long pliers to bend the cotter pin end until it’s straight.

We need to remove the cotter pin to inspect the brake pads, so grab your needle-nose pliers and bend the end of the pin until it’s straight. Then push the pin out and set it aside.

Step 3: Remove Brake Pads

Gently push down on the mechanism that’s underneath where the cotter pin used to be. Now flip the caliper around; you’ll see that the brake pads are emerging from the caliper.

Inspecting Your Brake Pads

When examining your brake pads, there are several key things to look for:

  • Integrity: Make sure there are no chunks, indents, or pieces missing. If there are, replace the damaged brake pads before your next ride.
  • Thickness: There should be at least 1.5mm of pad material remaining. If you don’t have a ruler handy, a grain of rice is about 1.5mm thick (width, not length). If the pads are thinner than that, it’s time to replace them.
  • Cleanliness: Your brake pads should be free of oil and other contaminants. If they’re dirty, and especially if they’re oily (a big safety hazard!), they need to be replaced.

Cleaning And Reinstalling Your E-Bike’s Mechanical Brakes

To clean your caliper, spray the inside (where your brake pads used to be) with a solution of 99% isopropyl alcohol. Two quick spritzes should do it.

Spray the inside of your caliper with a couple spritzes of 99% isopropyl alcohol.

Next, pinch your cleaned or new brake pads between your fingers so they press together. Insert them into the caliper and push in.

Now reinsert your cotter pin until you see the straight end poke through. Push the head of the pin so it stays in place; while pushing, pick up those needle-nose pliers and bend the end against the edge of the pinhole, securing it in place with that 90-degree bend.

Reinsert your cotter pin and bend back into place at a 90-degree angle.

Find the space in between the 2 brake pads (also known as your pad gap) and place it onto the rotor so that the rotor sits between the pads.

Find your adapter and place it back behind the caliper.

Make sure the washers are still on the 2 bolts you removed at the beginning of the process. Finally, use those bolts to secure the caliper and adapter to the rear triangle.

Top Tips For Mechanical Disc Brake Care And Maintenance

Check brake lever pressure. Check this before every ride to ensure you can stop comfortably and safely.

Check brake pads. We recommend checking your brake pads weekly to ensure they are operating as they should.

Lubricate brakes and cables CAREFULLY. Your brakes and brake cables should be lubricated monthly, depending on use. Only use lubricants designed for mechanical brakes. Contaminating the brake pads or rotor with oil can lead to brake malfunction.

  • Hear a noise when braking, or feel a lack of responsiveness on your brakes? You may have exposed them to oil!
  • Stop riding and take your bike in for service if this happens.

Adjust cable tension as needed. Mechanical disc brake pads consist of 1 mobile pad and 1 stationary pad. Over time, the stationary pad wears down, so you need to adjust the cable tension to compensate! Don’t attempt this at home; take your bike to a reputable shop to adjust.

Replace brakes and cables as needed. Depending on use, you can expect to replace the brake pads and cables on your mechanical disc brakes annually.

E-bike Disc Brakes: Mechanical vs. Hydraulic

What is the main difference between mechanical disc brakes and hydraulic disc brakes? Before you go out and buy your first e-bike, there are a lot of factors you should consider first. The performance of an e-bike is affected by each component. Whether you know it or not, the brakes on your e-bike are very important. Although most braking systems look the same, they are not. For starters, you have to keep in mind how you will use your e-bike. When buying an e-bike, you need to be clear that it has brakes you think you can trust. It is especially important to understand the braking systems of e-bike, so you must be very aware of the differences between the various types of e-bike braking systems.

It has to be said that the braking system is related to the deceleration speed and stopping stability of the e-bike. We all know that all e-bikes worth buying come with disc brakes, even cheap electric mountain bikes. Today, you can find disc brakes on almost any category of an e-bike, from e-bikes and road bikes to full-suspension mountain bikes and gravel bikes. Disc brakes are mechanical disc brakes and hydraulic disc brakes. These two types of braking have different advantages and costs. Thus, we recommend comparing the two braking systems before buying an e-bike to choose the one that works best for you. This guide is designed to help you understand these braking systems and their key differences. This way, you can make an informed decision when buying an e-bike or replacing your brakes. Ready to learn with us?

Disc brakes

Disc brakes are made up of three main components: rotors, calipers, and friction pads. When the caliper clamps on the spinning rotor, the pads are the wearing components that generate friction. While rim brakes apply braking power directly to the rim of each wheel, disc brakes do not.

Disc brakes, on the other hand, move the braking surface from the rim to the rotor. The rotors are mounted on the hubs, while the calipers are mounted on the forks close to the axle. This design is more like what you see on e-bike brakes and has been used on mountain and trail bikes for years because the calipers are less likely to get clogged with mud.

Another major difference is how each braking system is activated. Rim brakes use a cable system to close the calipers on the rim. For disc brake systems, the main difference between mechanical disc brakes and hydraulic disc brakes is how the braking force is transferred from the lever to the disc. Next, we’ll keep looking into it.

Mechanical Disc Brake

There are two basic types of hydraulic disc brakes: mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes use a piston and brake pads to provide brake pressure to a rotating disc. However, the lever and piston transmit force in different ways.

A steel cable links the brake lever to the caliper, which is how mechanical disc brakes work. Most rim brakes, such as calipers, cantilevers, and V-brakes, operate in the same way. Some cable routing systems can be very hard to understand, prone to wear and tear, and affected by friction inside the routing system.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes

The little hydraulic tank for storing mineral oil that is a feature of hydraulic disc brake e-bikes may be seen on the brake lever. When you apply pressure to the brake lever, your hand’s force acts on an internal piston to compress the fluid (i.e. mineral oil). The fluid is compressed and forced via the oil line to the brake caliper, where it pushes the piston, forces the brake pads to grip the brake disc, and ultimately creates a braking effect to stop the moving machine. In this way, hydraulic disc brakes function.

e-bike, disc, brakes, mechanical

Comparison of Mechanical and Hydraulic Disc Brakes

While both types of brakes will ensure your e-bike comes to a swift halt, they each offer advantages and disadvantages. In this section, we shall contrast mechanical disc brakes vs hydraulic disc brakes.

Mechanical disc brakes are generally less expensive than hydraulic disc brakes, both the brakes themselves and the e-bikes that come with them. The maintenance costs of mechanical disc brakes are greatly reduced compared to hydraulic disc brakes because the cables only cost a few euros. In addition, you only need to have a basic understanding of basic electric bike repair tools, and you can also do DIY repairs at home. Because it’s much simpler and easier to build, you don’t need to spend money on a professional e-bike repair shop.

When purchasing hydraulic disc brakes or e-bikes equipped with them, you will discover that they are more expensive than mechanical disc brakes. While you can retrofit either sort of mechanical disc brakes to an e-bike with hydraulic disc brakes, the process is time-consuming and costly because hydraulic disc brakes require hydraulic-specific levers and if attached to an e-bike with internal wiring. Much relies on the application and the degree of installation and use complexity.

Operational Ease and Consistent Braking

Hydraulic disc brakes provide a smoother and more consistent stopping experience than mechanical disc brakes. Hydraulics have a stronger grabbing sensation to them. As a result, pressing the lever is never unpleasant. Closed systems, on the other hand, are essentially dirt and debris-free. Braking power is more predictable and constant due to this consequence.

Friction is created when traveling through the housing of a mechanical disc brake. The enclosure is more vulnerable to soil contamination since it is open. As a result of this, the brakes may not function as smoothly as before. You’ll have to use more force than normal to overcome this obstacle. As a result, the stopping power is inconsistent.

Having said that, mechanical disc brakes that are clean and well-adjusted perform quite consistently. A little more effort is all that is required.

Repair Parts

Mechanical disc brakes are easier to fix because they use cables and don’t need any special tools, but they may be difficult to set up and wear out faster. Their levers and cables are sold in almost every bike shop.

On the other hand, it is more difficult to find parts for liquid disc brakes. Even though hydraulic disc brakes are very reliable, they are harder to fix because fluid drive systems often need special tools and a lot of knowledge to fix or adjust.

How to choose the best brakes for your e-bike?

Both types of braking systems have their strengths and weaknesses. In terms of stopping distance and performance, hydraulic disc brakes do a better job than mechanical disc brakes in every category. Hydraulic Disc Brakes Compared to mechanical brakes, hydraulic disc brakes offer better modulation, stronger stopping power, and less daily wear and tear.

When it comes to servicing, hydraulic disc brakes are more difficult to maintain than mechanical disc brakes, but hydraulic brakes require less regular maintenance than mechanical disc brakes.

The most important thing is to choose a perfect e-bike. We at Shengmilo have various types of e-bikes for everyone, such as road e-bikes, mountain e-bikes and folding e-bikes for city commuting and more. These e-bikes are each equipped with hydraulic disc brakes or mechanical disc brakes. Do you have a clearer view of them now? Hydraulic disc brakes that perform better but are cumbersome to maintain, or mechanical disc brakes that require regular maintenance but are more cost-effective, which one do you prefer? Check out more specs of Shengmilo e-bikes and choose the one you like best according to your budget!


los frenos hidraulicos son mas eficaces, que los mecanicos. cierto quelos mecanicos son mas sencillos pero yo me quedo con los hidraulicos.

e-bike, disc, brakes, mechanical

Everything You Need to Know About Electric Bike Brakes

Electric bikes have become a popular mode of transportation and recreation for many people, offering an eco-friendly and efficient alternative to traditional bicycles and cars. Like conventional bicycles, electric bikes require a reliable braking system to ensure rider safety and control.

However, electric bikes often travel at higher speeds and carry more weight than traditional bicycles, making the choice of braking system even more critical.

This guide will examine everything you need about electric bike brakes. We’ll cover the different types of brakes available for e-bikes, factors to consider when choosing e-bike brakes, how to maintain them, and more.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be left with a better understanding of e-bike brakes and be able to make an informed decision when choosing the right brake system for your electric bike.

The Basics of Electric Bike Brakes

Electric bike brakes function in the same way as traditional bicycle brakes, but they have to handle more weight due to the presence of an e-bike battery and motor.

Different Types of Electric Bike Brake Systems

There are two main types of electric bike brakes: rim brakes and disc brakes.

Rim Brakes: Rim brakes are the more common type of electric bike brake, and they work by using friction to slow the bike down. They operate by pressing brake pads against the rims of the wheels. There are two sub-types of rim brakes: caliper brakes and V-brakes. Caliper brakes are found on road bikes and are lighter, but they can be less powerful. V-brakes are more powerful and found on mountain motorbikes.

Disc Brakes: On the other hand, Disc brakes use a rotor and brake pads to slow down the bike. They are more powerful than rim brakes and are preferred by many riders for their superior stopping power and consistency. There are two sub-types of disc brakes: mechanical disc brakes and hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes use a cable to activate the brake, while hydraulic disc brakes use a fluid to activate the brake.

Components of an Electric Bike Brake System

The components of an electric bike brake system can vary depending on the type of brakes used, but generally, they include:

Brake Levers: The brake levers are used to activate the brake system. When the rider squeezes the brake lever, it pulls on a cable or activates a hydraulic system, which applies pressure to the brake pads.

Brake Pads: The brake pads are part of the brake system that makes contact with the wheel rim or disc rotor to slow down or stop the bike. They can be made from various rubber, metal, or ceramic materials.

Calipers: Calipers are the mechanism that holds the brake pads in place and applies pressure to them when the brake lever is squeezed. They can be either mechanical or hydraulic.

Brake Cables: In a mechanical brake system, the brake levers are connected to the calipers by a cable. When the lever is squeezed, it pulls on the cable, which applies pressure to the brake pads.

Brake Rotors: In a disc brake system, the brake pads squeeze a rotor mounted to the wheel hub to slow down or stop the bike. The rotor can be made of various materials, such as steel or aluminum.

How do Electric Bike Brakes Work?

Electric bike brakes work the same way as traditional bicycle brakes, with the added complexity of the electric motor and controller.

Rim brakes are the most common type of brake found on electric bikes. They press brake pads against the wheel’s rim to slow or stop the bike. The brake pads are typically made of rubber or other materials that grip the wheel’s rim when pressure is applied. When the rider squeezes the brake lever, the cable pulls the brake pads towards the rim, creating friction and slowing the bike.

Disc brakes are becoming more popular on electric bikes because they offer better stopping power and are less affected by wet or muddy conditions. Disc brakes work by pressing brake pads against a metal disc or rotor attached to the wheel hub. When the rider squeezes the brake lever, hydraulic fluid or a cable pulls the brake pads towards the rotor, creating friction and slowing the bike.

The brake system is often integrated with the motor and controller on electric bikes to provide regenerative braking. Regenerative braking is a feature that converts some of the kinetic energy of the moving bike into electrical energy that is stored in the battery when the rider applies the brakes. This can help extend the range of the bike by reducing the amount of power needed from the battery to accelerate again.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Electric Bike Brakes

Riding Style and Terrain

When choosing electric bike brakes, it is crucial to consider your riding style and the terrain you will be riding on. Different brakes are designed to perform better in different situations, so understanding your needs and preferences can help you make an informed decision.

For example, if you are an aggressive rider who enjoys high-speed descents or technical mountain biking. you may consider hydraulic disc brakes. A hydraulic brakes bike like the Himiway Cobra is ideal for this type of terrain; it comes with a Tektro 180MM hydraulic brake and aluminum alloy comfort grip brake levers with a motor cutoff switch fit to ride in mud or snow.

Weight of the Rider and Bike

The braking system of an electric bike needs to be strong enough to slow down and stop the combined weight of the rider and bike.

If the braking system is not powerful enough, it may not be able to stop the bike quickly or may even fail, which could lead to accidents or injuries. Therefore, it’s essential to choose brakes that can handle the weight of both the rider and the bike.

Different types of brakes have various weight capacities and braking power.


Electric bike brakes come in various types and price points, and it’s essential to understand how much you’re willing to spend before making a purchase. One of the main factors that can affect the cost of electric bike brakes is the type of brake.

Hydraulic brakes are the most expensive option, but they offer the best stopping power and require minor maintenance.

Another factor to consider when considering the budget is the brake and battery maintenance required. Rim brakes are the easiest to maintain, requiring simple adjustments and regular pad replacements.

Disc and hydraulic brakes may require more frequent maintenance, such as bleeding the brake lines or replacing the brake fluid. One of the best budget-friendly long-range electric bikes with a hydraulic brake is the Himiway Zebra.

The Himiway electric fat tire bike has a powerful 750W gear hub motor and upgraded inner ring. The design of the 26-inch Kenda fat tire strengthens the traction, avoiding slipping on the ground and sinking in mud or snow. It also comes with hydraulic brakes of Tektro 180MM, which is ideal for rugged terrain.

Brake Pad and Rotor Compatibility

Brake pads and rotors are two primary components of a disc brake system commonly used on electric bikes.

The brake pads are the replaceable inserts that clamp onto the rotor to slow or stop the wheel. The rotors are circular metal discs mounted to the wheel hub and spin with the wheel.

Not all brake pads are compatible with all rotors, and using incompatible components can result in poor braking performance or even damage to the components. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the brake pads and rotors are designed to work together.

Maintenance and Care of E-bike Brakes

Periodic Checks

Regular checks can ensure your brakes are working correctly and reduce the risk of accidents.

Here are some things you can do as part of your periodic checks:

Check the brake cables: Make sure that the brake cables are not frayed or damaged. If they are, replace them immediately.

Check the brake levers: Test them to ensure they are working properly. Make sure they are not loose or wobbly.

Check the brake fluid: If you drive a hydraulic brakes bike, check the brake fluid level. If it is low, top it up. If the fluid is discolored or has air bubbles, you may need to bleed the brakes.

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning your electric bicycle brakes regularly is another vital part of their maintenance and care. Here are some tips to help you clean your e-bike brakes effectively:

Use a clean rag: Start by wiping the brake calipers and pads with a clean rag. This will help remove any loose dirt or debris.

Use alcohol: If your brakes are particularly dirty, use isopropyl alcohol to clean them. Apply the alcohol to a rag and use it to wipe the brake calipers and pads.

Avoid water: Avoid using water to clean your e-bike brakes, which can damage the brake pads and reduce their effectiveness.

Replacing Brake Pads and Rotors

Over time, brake pads wear down and become less effective at stopping the bike, while rotors can become warped or damaged, leading to reduced braking performance or even dangerous brake failure.

Look for signs of wear, such as thinning brake pads or grooves in the rotor surface. If your pads are less than 1mm thick or your rotors are visibly damaged, it’s time to replace them.

Bleeding the Brake System

Bleeding the brake system involves removing any air bubbles or contaminants from the brake fluid, which can cause the brakes to feel spongy or reduce their stopping power.

You’ll need a brake bleeding kit, brake fluid (make sure to use the specific type recommended by the brake manufacturer), and a catch basin to collect any spilled fluid.

Common Brake Issues and Troubleshooting Tips

Squeaking Brakes

Squeaking brakes are caused by the brake pads’ vibration against the rotor, often due to a buildup of dust, debris, or rust on the brake components. If you hear a persistent squeaking noise when you apply the brakes, addressing the issue promptly is important, as it may indicate a safety concern or potential damage to your braking system.

Here are some troubleshooting tips for addressing squeaking brakes:

e-bike, disc, brakes, mechanical
  • 1. Clean your brakes pads
  • 2. Replace the brake pads.
  • 3. Lubricate brake components
  • 4. Check the brake alignment.

Loose or Slipping Brakes

Loose or slipping brakes are issues that can be caused by various factors, including worn brake pads, a loose brake caliper, or low brake fluid can cause. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you diagnose and fix the problem:

  • 1. Check the brake cables.
  • 2. Inspect the brake pads.
  • 3. Adjust the brake caliper.
  • 4. Bleed the brakes.

Over-Heating Brakes

Overheating brakes are among the most common issues with e-bike brakes, particularly on long downhill rides or in stop-and-go traffic. If not addressed promptly, this can lead to reduced braking performance and even brake failure. Here are some common troubleshooting tips:

  • 1. Adjust your riding style.
  • 2. Upgrade your brake pads.
  • 3. Reduce weight
  • 4. Check your brake system for damage.

Unresponsive or Sticky Brakes

Unresponsive or sticky brakes are caused by Worn brake pads, Dirt, debris on the brake rotors, Stretched or frayed brake cables, and Low brake fluid. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help resolve the problem:

  • 1. Clean the brake rotors.
  • 2. Check the brake cables.
  • 3. Bleed the brake system.
  • 4. Check the brake fluid level.


Electric bike brakes are crucial to any e-bike, as they should be in the rider’s safety checklist. E-bike riders must understand the differences between the types of electric bike brakes and choose the one that best suits their needs and riding style.

Maintaining and servicing electric bike brakes regularly ensures they function correctly and safely. Electric bike brakes can provide a reliable and safe riding experience for years with proper care and attention.

Hydraulic Brake levers for model Hammer with brake pads

  • Vendor: ecotric
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  • We offer free shipping on all of our bikes everywhere within the lower 48 states!(Excludes: Alaska/Hawaii,Puerto Rico, US Protectorates, APO/FPO, PO Box)
  • Shipping time varies from 2-3 business days if electric bike is in stock
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It is a new set of hydraulic brake levers, including left and right and disc pads.

We send them to you by USPS, please write the right shipping address.

Customer Reviews

They came out smooth better than the originals that came with the bike. I love Ecotric !! Super fast delivery. I paid 50 bucks to get it installed at a local bike store.

Early delivery, easy install, I love my bike!

Good price and quick shipping after waiting because of back orders. With some help from a friend easy to install. I had to replace because of a fall.

My Ecotric Hammer slipped off of my car rack. Fortunately the only real damage was a crushed left bike lever. A new one was out of stock for a couple of months, but the company let me know right away when it became available and shipped it to me in less than a week. Bike shop installed with no issues, and I am back riding. Lesson learned about the need to properly secure the bike to the car rack.

Fast delivery, breaks are solid. Customer service getting better

Mechanical Vs. Hydraulic Disc Brakes For Electric Bikes

When it comes to choosing the right brakes for your e-bike, there are two main options: mechanical disc brakes and hydraulic disc brakes. Both types of brakes are effective at stopping an e-bike, but they work differently and each has advantages and disadvantages. In this blog, we’ll take a look at mechanical versus hydraulic brakes, comparing their performance, maintenance, cost, and other factors to help you make an informed decision about which brake is right for you.

Before comparing mechanical brakes and hydraulic brakes, let’s introduce their working principles, advantages and disadvantages.

Mechanical Disc Brake.

Mechanical disc brakes, also known as cable brakes, use wires or cables to transmit the braking force from the brake lever to the brake pads. This simple and straightforward system has been used on bicycles for over a hundred years, carried over to electric bikes, and is the choice of most e-bikes today.

One of the advantages of mechanical brakes is that they are relatively inexpensive compared to hydraulic brakes. They can also be easily adjusted and replaced by the rider, making them a good choice for e-bike DIYers or those on a budget. Additionally, mechanical brakes are generally considered more reliable than hydraulic brakes because they have fewer moving parts and are less prone to failure.

However, mechanical brakes also have disadvantages. One of the downsides is that they may have issues with poor braking performance in wet or muddy conditions because the cables can get stretched or rust over time. This results in longer stopping distances and weaker control, which can be dangerous in some situations. Also, mechanical brakes require more effort to activate the pads, which can be tiring on long rides.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes.

Hydraulic disc brakes use a sealed fluid-filled system to transmit braking force from the brake lever to the brake pads. The braking system is more complex than mechanical brakes, but it can provide many benefits in braking performance.

One of the great advantages of hydraulic brakes is their excellent braking performance. The fluid system allows for more precise and consistent braking force, resulting in shorter stopping distances and better control in all weather conditions. This is especially useful on mountain bikes or road bikes, where strong, reliable brakes are critical to safety. Hydraulic brakes require less effort to activate the pads, which can be more comfortable on long rides.

However, hydraulic disc brakes also have some disadvantages. A major problem is their higher cost compared to mechanical brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes are generally more expensive to purchase and maintain because they require periodic bleeding and fluid replacement. This can be a huge expense over the life of an e-bike. Additionally, hydraulic disc brakes are more difficult for the average rider to adjust and service because they require specialized tools and knowledge to operate. That means any maintenance or repairs will likely need to be done by a specialist bike shop, adding to your bill.

Performance comparison.

So, how do mechanical disc brakes and hydraulic disc brakes compare in terms of performance? Generally speaking, hydraulic brakes are considered a better choice because they provide more precise and consistent stopping power. This results in shorter stopping distances and better control in all weather conditions, which is important for safety and confidence on the road or trail. Speaking of safety, if you are new to electric bikes, you need to read our 9 electric bike safety tips.

However, it is worth noting that the performance of mechanical and hydraulic brakes will vary based on many factors, including the quality of the components, the condition of the pads and the technique of the rider. With proper maintenance and settings, mechanical brakes can provide good stopping performance, but they may not be as reliable or consistent as hydraulic brakes in all conditions.

Maintenance comparison.

When it comes to maintenance, both mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes require regular servicing to ensure optimum performance and safety. Mechanical disc brakes require adjustment or cable replacement over time, while brake pads need to be replaced as they wear. This maintenance can be done by the rider, but requires some basic knowledge and tools.

Hydraulic disc brakes, on the other hand, require more professional maintenance. The fluid in the system needs to be bled and replaced periodically to ensure proper operation, and the brake pads need to be replaced as they wear. This maintenance can be done by a professional bike shop, but it can be more expensive than maintaining mechanical brakes. Also, if there is a problem with a hydraulic system, it can be more difficult and costly to diagnose and repair than a mechanical system.

Cost comparison.

A major factor to consider when choosing between mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes is cost. In general, mechanical brakes are less expensive than hydraulic brakes, both at the risk of initial purchase price and ongoing maintenance costs. This can be an important factor for budget-conscious e-bike users or those who don’t want to spend a lot of money on maintenance and repairs.

However, it’s worth noting that the cost of brakes can vary depending on the specific component and brand. Some high-end mechanical brakes can be as expensive as hydraulic brakes, and some low-quality hydraulic brakes can be less expensive than high-quality mechanical brakes. It’s important to carefully compare the costs of different braking options and consider long-term value for money before making a decision.

Other factors to consider.

In addition to the above factors, there are a few other factors to consider when choosing between mechanical and hydraulic brakes for your e-bike.

One factor is brake compatibility with e-bike frames and forks. Some frames and forks are designed specifically for use with hydraulic brakes, while others may be better suited for mechanical brakes. It is very important to check the compatibility of your brakes with your e-bike before purchasing.

Another factor is the weight of the brakes. Generally, hydraulic brakes are heavier than mechanical brakes due to the extra components and fluid in the system. This may be a consideration for e-bike users looking to reduce the weight of their bike, or those who need to lift or carry their e-bike frequently.

Another factor is disc brakes. Hydraulic brakes usually require better disc brakes to be used together, and the diameter of the disc brakes is usually required to be higher, while mechanical brakes only need ordinary disc brakes, there is no special requirements, even small diameter disc brakes can be used.


When it comes to e-bikes, there are pros and cons to both mechanical and hydraulic brakes. Mechanical disc brakes are an economical and efficient option, but may not provide optimal braking performance in all conditions, and are prone to overstretching and rusting. Hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent braking performance, but are more expensive and require more maintenance. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the e-bike rider. It is important to carefully consider performance, maintenance, cost and other factors before making a decision and choose a high-quality braking system that is compatible with the e-bike and meets the needs of the rider.

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