Bicycle brakes for your safety
The brakes on the bike are used to stop you and are essential to ensure your safety, so they must be well adjusted and maintained.
2 types of MTB disc brakes: mechanical brake and hydraulic brake
The system consists of a lever, a hose assembly and brake fluid or cable and casing, a caliper, a disc and a pair of brake pads.
An adapter may be required to assemble the caliper and/or the disc.
Mechanical MTB disc brake
One of the two brake pads is fixed close to the disk and the other stays mobile. The movable plate is actuated by a lever on the caliper, the force between the lever on the handlebar and the caliper is transmitted by the cable which slides in the casing.
This system retains the maintenance and adjustment constraints of the calliper brake, and is thus rather uncommon.
Hydraulic MTB disc brake
The action of the lever has the effect of pushing the liquid into the caliper, causing the pistons to press on the brake pads against the disk.
Once purged and adjusted (operations carried out by an MTB repair shop), this system requires little maintenance, a purge every 1 or 2 years and brake pad changes when the casing is worn.
If the replacement of the wafers is very simple without special knowledge or tools, the purging of the system requires reading the purge instructions as well as a specific purge kit.
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There are two main types of disc brake: mechanical and hydraulic
A disc brake is a system comprising a lever, a hose with brake fluid or a cable and housing, a caliper, a rotor and pads.
An adaptor is sometimes needed to fit the brake caliper and/or the rotor.
Mechanical disc brake
Mechanical disc brake uses the same cable and housing found on standard brakes such as V-Brakes.
The caliper uses two brake pads. Generally, one pad is fixed and only one pad is moving to contact the rotor. When braking, the rotor flex to push against the fixed pad.
Mechanical disc brakes are generally found on low-end mountain bikes.
Hydraulic disc brake
Hydraulic disc brake system uses a specific lever to push brake fluid through the brake hose. Then, the brake fluid push a set of pistons at the caliper and this set of pistons push the pads to the rotor.
A hydraulic disc brake bleeded and adjusted requires little maintenance. However, after 1 or 2 years, brake fluid should be replaced because it will become contaminated with dirt and moisture.
It is very easy to change brake pads but you need to be careful if you want to bleed your hydraulic disc brakes. It is critical to use the correct type of brake fluid and the correct bleed kit designed for your brakes.
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