Which is better, mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes?

Which is better, mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes?

We feel obligated to point out that the braking system of an e-bike has a direct bearing on how safe the ride is and how enjoyable it is to ride. Having good brakes may make riding more enjoyable while also ensuring that you are as safe as possible when you are out on the road. Hydraulic brakes and mechanical disc brakes are the two most common types of braking systems found on electric bicycles now available on the market. When looking to purchase an electric bicycle, you should evaluate both of these braking systems and pick the one that works best for you based on your preferences and needs. Are you prepared to acquire new knowledge along with us at this time? Here we go!

Current main kinds of electric bicycle brakes

Hydraulic Disc Brakes

The fact that the hydraulic disc brake electric bike has a small hydraulic oil tank that may contain mineral oil is not hard to find. The tank is located on the brake lever. The force that is generated by your hand when you squeeze the brake lever acts on the piston inside to compress the fluid (ie mineral oil). The fluid is compressed, and as a result, it moves through the tube and into the brake caliper. Once there, it pushes the piston within the brake caliper, which in turn drives the brake pads to clamp the disc and, ultimately, produces a braking action that prevents the machine from moving. This is the mechanism behind hydraulic disc brakes.

Let's start with the benefits first. The following three benefits are normally present in a competent hydraulic disc brake:

Mineral oil-filled hydraulic disc brakes have a smooth brake lever since there is hardly any friction between the oil tube and the bicycle shell. You can feel the smoothness of the hydraulic disc brake when you grip the brake lever. This makes for an excellent riding experience.

  • Significant braking impact with less effort: Hydraulic brakes have the ability to generate a significant braking effect with less effort. The energy loss is reduced since there is essentially no friction between the tube and the shell. This implies that hydraulic brakes respond sensitively and with little effort with only a tiny squeeze. In this regard, those with limited strength or small hands, such as some elderly or thin ladies, can benefit greatly from hydraulic brakes. Compared to mechanical disc brakes, they are simpler to operate.
  • Lower weight and fewer adjustments: Because hydraulic disc brakes employ oil tubes rather than brake cables and cable bases, they are slightly lighter than mechanical disc brakes. The hydraulic brake's structure is more sophisticated, necessitating less adjustment. Two brake pads on each side of the rotor of the hydraulic brake move in the direction of the rotor and uniformly distribute pressure. On a mechanical brake, there is only one pad, and the direction of the mechanical brake's movement is constant. In order to preserve their sensitivity, mechanical brakes must be adjusted frequently, and the rotor must be changed more frequently. This process is slowed down by hydraulic brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes rarely need to be maintained or adjusted by the user themselves in regular usage, provided that the brake pads are not excessively worn and require replacement. They are therefore better suited for beginners.

Let's now talk about the drawbacks of hydraulic disc brakes:

  • Maintenance is more difficult: Although hydraulic disc brakes don't often need maintenance, it can be challenging to fix them when something goes wrong. It is fairly challenging and labor-intensive to ensure the sealing and integrity of the hydraulic brake's mineral oil. Customers find it challenging to repair on their own. Also, once there is an oil spill, the situation will worsen. For experienced cyclists, we advise having some professional repair tools on hand, such as the Himiway 16 in 1 Multi-Function Bicycle Repair Tool, and it is best to be familiar with basic repair techniques. For those who are new to the world of bicycles, simply locate a nearby cycling shop and ask for assistance; we believe they will be more qualified to address your issue.
  • Costlier: Compared to e-bikes with mechanical disc brakes, hydraulic brakes often cost more because of their more complicated structural design. Thus, kindly stick to your budget when making purchases.

The performance of hydraulic disc brakes may be marginally impacted by altitude and temperature because the fluid may expand or become frozen in areas with high altitudes, low air pressure, or extremely cold temperatures. These consequences, nevertheless, are essentially insignificant.

In conclusion, hydraulic disc brakes have a variety of benefits, including a smooth brake lever, effective braking with less effort, reduced weight, and fewer modifications. They do, however, have certain drawbacks, including more expensive and difficult maintenance, as well as somewhat reduced performance due to altitude and temperature. Make a well-informed decision before making a purchase by taking your budget and riding circumstances into account.

Mechanical disc brakes

When using a mechanical disc brake, the force of pulling that is generated by squeezing the brake lever is used to tighten the wire that connects the brake lever and the brake caliper, which in turn acts on the brake caliper. The brake pads will eventually grip the disc in this manner, which will ultimately result in the application of braking force. Despite the fact that its operation is not overly complicated, it is nonetheless capable of producing a significant amount of stopping force.

Let's examine a few advantages of mechanical disc brakes.

Mechanical disc brakes are simpler to adjust and maintain. These brakes have a more straightforward mechanical design, so users don't need to go to a specialized cycling shop to fix them. Instead, they can do it themselves with standard tools. For people who wish to save money on repair costs or who love performing their own bike maintenance, this can be a considerable advantage.

The cost of mechanical disc brakes is also less than that of hydraulic disc brakes. For individuals who want to complete their cycling journey on a budget or who want to be cost-effective, a mechanical disc brake ebike will be a smart option. The price of a mechanical disc brake e-bike is affordable for the majority of people.

Mechanical disc brakes have several drawbacks. 

One of them is that they need more maintenance than hydraulic disc brakes do on a regular basis. Mechanical disc brakes may require more regular adjustments and repairs due to their more basic nature. For people who don't want to put in a lot of time and effort maintaining their bike, this may be a drawback.

Mechanical disc brakes require greater force to apply the brake. This implies that people with weaker grips or smaller hands might find them less acceptable. For instance, some elderly or thin women may find it more difficult to control mechanical disc brakes.

Mechanical disc brakes vs. hydraulic disc brakes

Efficiency Comparison

When considering the effectiveness of the braking system, it is unequivocally apparent that hydraulic disc brakes are the preferable choice. The hydraulic system enables more accurate control and modulation of the braking power, which results in improved braking ability as well as an increased level of safety. In addition, hydraulic disc brakes are less impacted by situations that are wet or muddy, which allows them to provide constant braking performance regardless of the weather.

Maintenance Comparison

Hydraulic disc brakes are also the more convenient alternative when it comes to maintenance. In comparison to mechanical disc brakes, these brakes need to be adjusted less frequently and are more resistant to wear and strain. A positive aspect of this is that it will require less of your time and money to maintain your braking system, which is always welcome news.

Engineer Design Comparison

Hydraulic disc brakes are the more technologically advanced choice, and this fact alone makes them the superior choice. They feature a design that is both more complicated and more efficient, which enables improved performance and durability throughout the course of their lifetime. Hydraulic disc brakes are also more configurable, allowing for the system to be fine-tuned to suit the rider's specific riding style and preferences. This is another advantage of using hydraulic disc brakes.

Price Comparison

When compared in terms of cost, hydraulic disc brakes are typically more expensive than their mechanical counterparts. Yet, the greater performance and reliability that the hydraulic system offers justifies the additional expense that is incurred to purchase it.


Finally, investing in a hydraulic disc brake for your ebike provides a number of benefits that can significantly improve your riding experience. It is a fantastic alternative for riders of all skill levels. Before making a purchase, it is usually advised to conduct research and speak with experts to ensure that your choice is well-informed. Whatever you decide, put safety and maintenance first to prolong the life and performance of your electric bike brakes.

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