Bicycle Brakes Assembly – Which One To Choose?
In simple language, “Bicycle Brakes” are a mechanism that stops your bike from moving further. Furthermore, It refers to both the levers at the bars and the braking mechanism that stops the wheel from turning. There are few options available from which you can choose depending on the type of ride you do.
Bicycle Brake Types & Uses
This article will have a detailed description of the types of bicycle brakes available and their uses. Let’s elaborate further.
“V” Brakes Or Rim Brakes
Mostly you see the road bikes & Hybrids equipped with V brakes, I have not seen many MTB’s with this kind of brake mechanism, however, I am sure there are bikes. Furthermore, rim brakes feature pads that grip onto the wheel rims. Let’s take a look at the PROS and CONS of using V brakes.
- Well, V brakes or Rim brakes are economical as compared to disc brakes. The assembly and the brake pads are easy to replace and are readily available in the market.
- The negative about V brakes is that they wear out after a certain distance covered by your bike. Furthermore, with usage over a period of time, the rim of the wheel also wears out. This leads to wheel replacement. These brakes are less effective in wet & muddy conditions. They also need a considerable amount of finger effort in order to stop.
Disc Brakes – “Mechanical & Hydraulic”
These are now the most common brake type available. Almost majority of bikes now, MTB, Hybrid, and road bikes are coming with disc brakes over a certain budget level. These feature brake pads that grips onto a brake rotor mounted to the wheel hub. There are two types of disc brakes available.
Hydraulic brakes are used when you need stronger braking. Most noteworthy that these brakes come with self-adjusting pads which adjust themselves when you brake to avoid brake pad wear.
Mechanical brakes work similar to hydraulic brakes. The difference is that these need manual adjustments.
Let’s take a look at the PROS and CONS of using disc brakes.
- More consistent braking in all conditions. These are cheaper when replacing as you just need to replace a worn rotor than a whole wheel. Performance is amazing in steep decline and wet terrains and less finger strain as compared to v braking system.
- Disadvantages being that they are more difficult when it comes to inspect pad wear and replace pads. Hydraulic brakes are more expensive to service.
Coaster Brakes – BMX, Kid’s & Cruiser Bikes
You must have seen all those BMX videos, rider doing stunts on their bikes. If you noticed the BMX bikes move forward when the rider pedals and also, it stops when rider turn the pedal backwards. Exactly! That is the coaster bike setup.
Let’s take a look at the PROS and CONS of using coaster brakes.
- Firstly these brake comes with a low maintenance. Secondly, people with limited strength can use it very well. Like them kids! Even people with limited hand strength of no hands, like parathletes, can use them. They also work in any weather conditions.
- The disadvantages being that these brakes cannot be used with rear derailers. Causes a lot of skids, and hence accident prone. Also once you stop it is difficult to start riding again if the pedals are in starting positions.
Lastly, drum brakes have a little typical assembly. They are activated by levers on your handlebars and are integrated within your wheel hubs. If you look at the picture closely you will find how the name drum brake got its name.
Let’s take a look at the PROS and CONS of using drum brakes.
- Advantages: Weather resistant; generally require very little maintenance.
- Disadvantages: If a drum wears out, the hub and often the wheel need to be replaced; tend to be heavier than other brake styles. Hence they add extra weight to your bike.
So next time when you are out purchasing a bike, so look at the brake types available. Personally, I am more inclined towards disc break because of obvious reasons.
“Riders: Please feel free to comment below, if I have missed anything”