While having a powerful bike is always a plus, a good set of brakes will keep that power under control.
Without brakes, not only would your safety be in trouble, but also the traction and grip to ride over complicated conditions.
In that regard, two types of brakes you should consider are mechanical vs. hydraulic disc brakes.
Even though they share a similar purpose, there are significant differences that set them apart.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at the differences between these types of brakes.
To do that, we’ll first review some of the most valuable picks from each category.
Mechanical vs Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Mechanical Brakes Bike
The mechanical brakes operate through mechanic methods, such as pedals, springs, and levers.
These brakes have several categories, which depend on the shape of friction material. Some of them are block brake and disk brakes.
Mechanical brakes offer several advantages, including the following.
Due to their simple construction, the brakes require little maintenance as well as less effort for their assembly.
When you can’t afford to spend too much money on parts, the mechanical brakes come as affordable yet effective solutions.
These brakes perform well in a variety of applications. More so, they work incredibly well as emergency and parking brakes.
Recommended Mechanical Brakes to Buy
Want to know more about mechanical brakes? Take a look at the next picks!
BlueSunshine MTB BB8 Mechanical Disc Brake 160mm
This cable actuated mechanical disc brake offered by BlueSunshine offers many benefits with little to no drawbacks.
The purchase includes a couple of sets with calipers and rotors, each one working well for the front and the back wheels.
The quality of the parts is pretty good. For instance, there are aluminum alloy calipers, twelve bolts, and a pair of stainless steel G3 160mm rotors, as well as cable, included.
Upon testing, all of these components delivered a solid performance, delivering balance for high or low speeds.
There are many reasons to like these brakes. They’re capable of delivering smooth power modulation, which translates to a better riding experience on the road.
Also, making adjustments is simple, allowing riders to adapt to any circumstances that may come along the way.
Nonetheless, some flaws are highly noticeable. Most importantly, the lack of a manual surely will make using the brakes a bit harder for riders with less experience. Additionally, a few extra disc plates would have made a huge difference.
Other than those issues, consider these mechanical brakes among the best out there currently available.
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BlueSunshine MTB BB7 Mechanical Disc Brake 160mm
Even though many would consider these brakes cheap due to their price, the fact is that their build is incredible.
With a pretty straightforward design, most riders will be able to install the parts easily, allowing them to get on track quickly after receiving the package.
Once installed, the brakes deliver a surprising performance. They work well even with considerable heavy weight over the bike.
In fact, the stopping power provided is enough for a 215-pound rider to reach a safe stop.
The quality of each component is another benefit of this set. For instance, the calipers are outstanding, as they’re durable and highly efficient.
We could say the same thing for the discs, which proved to be excellent after several tests.
If you have issues installing these brakes, make sure to check the instructions or online videos for guidance.
Unfortunately, there’s no manual included, which is disappointing. Ultimately, getting assistance from a professional would be another option, though a more expensive one.
BlueSunshine MTB BB5 Mechanical Disc Brake 160mm
People with previous experience using Avid BB5 will enjoy these brakes thoroughly.
They install and adjust similarly, and even though these aren’t as good-looking as the original Avid BB5, they still have a nice finish that looks good once attached to the bike.
Some customers mentioned that these brakes have zero stopping power, but that’s not the case at all.
Most of the time, you’d have to change the pads and clean the rotors before the installation. If you do, then the brakes will most likely work flawlessly.
Despite requiring some maintenance before installation, the brakes assemble both easy and quickly.
Plus, the stopping power is actually good, giving you the safety needed on different types of terrains under several environmental conditions.
For the price, this set is truly a valuable choice. Besides working properly, they look good, and the installation is a breeze.
As far as mechanical disc brakes go, these are a good example of what they can achieve.
Hydraulic Disc Brakes Bikes
Featuring high-quality parts and outstanding technology, hydraulic brakes provide a performance that hardly any other type of brake can put up.
Despite being a bit more expensive than the rest, buying these brakes is one of the wisest investments riders can make.
Here’s what to expect from hydraulic brakes.
The heat dissipation of the hydraulic brakes is top-notch, providing the stopping power needed in most circumstances.
Not only are the brakes safe, but they’re also durable due to less wear and tear caused.
If you don’t want to deal with brakes that work for one wheel only, then the hydraulic brakes are what you need. The braking effort required for each tire is the same.
Recommended Hydraulic Disc Brakes to Buy
Are you wondering which hydraulic disc brakes to buy? Worry not! We’ve got you covered.
Take a look at the next products to find out which brakes in this category are the most effective.
JGbike Shimano MT200 MTB Hydraulic Disc Brake Set for Mountain Bike Bicycle MTB XC
As expected from this brand, these brakes are compatible with a variety of bikes, including 26”, 27.5”, and 29” models.
For either of those, the brakes come pre-assembled and pre-bled right out of the box, allowing you to do the assembly pretty fast and start enjoying your time riding outside.
Since the brakes are compatible with 180mm front and 160mm rotors, which you’d have to buy separately, you get four brackets/adapters included in the purchase to make the adjustments needed. These adapters match IS/PM mounts seen in older bikes.
The most surprising fact about these brakes is that they can fit a variety of bikes easily.
Better yet, the amount of stopping power delivered for each one of those bikes was enough to keep riders safe during their rides.
One observation to keep in mind is that the factory bleed isn’t perfect. While the brakes will fit in most bikes, some others may require adjustments before the assembly.
TEKTRO HD-M285 Hydraulic Disc Brake Set with 160mm Rotor, MH1748
While hydraulic brakes aren’t the easiest to maintain, the design of this set makes them simpler than the rest.
Plus, a user-friendly design also means easier installment, as well as the capacity to make adjustments as needed. The brakes feature a convenient open, dual-piston system.
Both the lever and caliper feature aluminum builds, making each part durable and resistant.
The pads have an organic compound, which makes them reliable and easy to replace.
As for the calipers, they’re capable of positioning automatically, using front and rear adapters.
Considering these mineral oil-based hydraulic brakes are affordable and perform equally as good as high-end brakes, they’re a valuable investment.
Whether you’re a casual street rider or someone who enjoys off-road trails, these brakes will meet most of your expectations.
The only issue with these brakes is that the levers do seem to have a significant vertical play, which gets more noticeable after taking some bumps. Still, with some work put into it, you should be able to get this issue fixed.
TRP HY/RD Cable-Actuated Hydraulic Disc Brake
With more than one design available, including black, grey, and silver, these brakes would look well on most bikes.
Plus, due to the hydraulic reservoir included, they provide automatic pad wear adjustments, leading to a more satisfactory riding experience on the road.
Besides, the brakes have true ‘plug-and-play’ compatibility, allowing them to work with existing cable-actuated systems.
Once installed, these hydraulic brakes perform efficiently, bringing all the components together for a stable and safe ride.
Above all, these hydraulic brakes are highly convenient. The high HY/RD compatibility with cable-actuated systems means you won’t need to shift levers.
Also, the hydraulic mechanism located at the caliper maintains the bars tidy.
Additionally, if we take into consideration that the pads are compatible with Shimano M525/M515 brakes, finding replacement gear would be an easy task.
Of course, there are some downsides to these brakes. They could be a bit hard to pull and sluggish to snap back into position.
If you’re getting these hydraulics as a replacement, you’d be able to tell the differences, good and bad.
Mechanical vs. Hydraulic Disc Brakes Comparison
Both types of brakes sound good. Now, here’s what we learned after comparing the two.
Mechanical Disc Brakes – Overview
Three benefits to expect from a set of mechanical disc brakes are easy maintenance, and affordable prices.
If we consider those three things, it’s easy to figure out why the mechanical disc brakes are a good choice for specific purposes.
However, the disadvantages of these brakes are highly noticeable. For instance, they need more squeeze power by hand to enable the brakes, you’d also have to do more maintenance, and the parts are heavier.
Hydraulic Disc Brakes – Overview
On the other hand, the hydraulic disc brakes are more likely to last longer. Plus, you won’t have to do much maintenance, and the brake power is much better than the mechanical brakes.
Nonetheless, hydraulic brakes are much more expensive. Additionally, maintenance will be necessary, and caring for these brakes is harder.
Lastly, if you encounter an oil leak, getting it fixed could be troublesome.
Which One is Better?
As you can see, both types of brake have advantages and disadvantages. Still, despite being more expensive and tough to handle, the hydraulic disc brakes are the better choice out of the two. If you want quality, these are the ones you need.
That brings our mechanical vs. hydraulic disc brakes discussion to an end! Remember, if you’re looking for high-end brakes, one of these brakes is more suitable than the other.
Make sure to figure out how much you’re willing to spend, and then you’ll be ready to decide.