Bike Brake Buying Guide

Bike Brake Buying Guide

There are many different types of brakes these days. Looking after your brakes is vital, and we stock replacement parts for V brakes, cantilever brakes, disc brakes, u brakes, and calliper brakes.

Mountain bikes generally come fitted with 'V' brakes or disc brakes. Almost all mountain bikes over £500 come equipped with disc brakes. Disc brakes have the advantage of being placed in the centre of the wheel and as such avoid most of the mud and water that gets onto the rim during off road riding. Disc brakes allow consistent braking whatever the weather conditions this gives you the same braking power in the wet as in the dry unlike rim brakes that have to clear the water from your rim in the wet to start braking fully. As mountain biking has become more and more extreme the need for high power brakes has increased. Disc brakes come in two distinct varieties, hydraulic and cable operated. The most popular by far is the hydraulic versions which offer a sealed system that dirt can't get into and degrade the braking performance. All performance mountain bikes come fitted with hydraulic disc brakes. 'V' brakes are fitted to bikes sub £500.

Road bikes come fitted with Calliper brakes. These brakes vary in quality and at the higher end they can be very powerful. Most road bike brakes are cable operated currently with only Sram having a hydraulic operated brake calliper available and a few brands have hydraulic disc brakes available however these have been restricted by certain cycling governing bodies due to safety. Road bike brakes can be subject to the ingress of dirt due to them using a cable system so it's important to keep your brakes in good working condition by regally servicing them and replacing the pads on a regular basis. As you spend more money on road bike Brake Callipers you will get a lighter weight unit, increased braking power, smoother actuation and a longer lasting system. Shimano have recently released their new coated cable system that does have a fairly hefty price point but the braking power in comparison to a standard cable set in phenomenal.

Brake Pads

    It is a legal requirement to have 2 working brakes on any bicycle in the UK. There are many different replacement brake pads which will suit a wide variety of brakes, having good pads is a necessity of having a safe and well performing machine. You can buy different compounds of brake pads if you want to taylor the performance of your bike further. Disc brake pads come in 2 distinct versions organic and sintered. Sintered are more suited to wet weather riding and will last a bit longer than the normal organic pads. Organic disc brake pads are softer and consequently provide a slightly better braking performance but will wear out faster especially in bad weather.

    Road bikes generally come with aluminium rims and most of the brake pads on the market are designed for aluminium rims however if you have carbon fibre rims you will need special carbon specific brake pads which are designed to cope with the higher rim temperatures better under prolonged braking.

    A normal rim brake whether it be a 'V' Brake, Parallel pull brake, cantilever or u-brake will use one of two types.

    The first has a threaded mounting rod with a number of domed washers to allow for a perfect set up. This is probably the most commonly used brake pad for bikes of £200 an upwards.

    The second looks very similar however has an unthreaded mounting rod and is supplied without the washers as these are incorporated into the design of the brake unit itself.

    Various brands manufacture both types and companies like Shimano, Clarks, Fibrax and Kool Stop offer very good quality pads.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.