Brake upgrade. Mechanical or hydraulic

Wayners

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 5, 2023
322
72
54
Gloucester
I'm thinking of buying mechanical disc brake kit as cheap enough. Should I be looking at hydraulic instead? Just thinking for a commute only not off road, so mechanical disc brakes would be the better option?
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
20,091
8,212
60
West Sx RH
Cable disk brakes are no better then rim brakes , one is better to fit hydraulic disc brakes for not much more money.
The EAPC I just repaired for someone had cable disc brakes and they were poor , I cleaned the pads and rotors , adjusted cable /lever tension and mannaged to get a reasonable front application that worked okish but the rear was hopeless.

Opt for a four pot front brake and a 180mm/203mm front rotor and a two pot rear with a 180mm rotor, if braking correctly one will be feathering in the front application as the main braking area and using the rear as a back up to aid the front braking. Typically the front brake will have 70% + better braking force then a rear brake.
 

saneagle

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 10, 2010
4,038
2,007
Telford
I'm thinking of buying mechanical disc brake kit as cheap enough. Should I be looking at hydraulic instead? Just thinking for a commute only not off road, so mechanical disc brakes would be the better option?
You can get good used branded hydraulic brakes from Ebay for less than £40 a pair. I don't think you should worry too much about what type. I'm 100kg and have never found any hydraulic brakes lacking in any way, and I often go well over 40 mph on the many steep hills we have where I ride. You can also get hydraulic brakes from Aliexpress with switches in for you cut-off.

I bought one of these, but haven't tried it yet. It looks OK though:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Wayners and Nealh

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
20,091
8,212
60
West Sx RH
They look pretty much like clones of the similar Shimano entry hdb's so are likely quite good.
If one buys 2 pin brake connector in error they can also be used with controllers with 3 pin connectors, simply omit the 5v ( insulate the 5v) from the 3 pin and solder up the other two.
Cut offs are especially good if one uses a throttle or rides slow technical routes.
 
Last edited:

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
20,091
8,212
60
West Sx RH

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
20,091
8,212
60
West Sx RH
I would be inclined to stay away form zoom /tektro brands.
I had tektro on my Ute cargo bike but they were fairly poor braking wise no matter what I did to try and imptove them, in the end replaced with shimano 4 pot front and 2 pot with disc upgrade rear for far better braking.
 

matthewslack

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 26, 2021
1,621
1,204
Hydraulic, and bearing in mind they easily move from bike to bike, get some good ones! 4 pot front worthwhile, rear also but less important. Larger discs help if you stay with 2 pot.
 

AGS

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 12, 2023
452
131
I’m not impressed with Tektro either. I got a Risunmotor hydraulic brake kit which I think is I very good.


I ended up mixing and matching the parts on 3 different bikes.

So I now have both Risun front and rear hydraulic assemblies on my mtb operating a pair of Clarkes M4 calipers and they work very well.

The Risun 4 pot rear caliper is on my Puch Maxi, operated by a Talaria hydraulic brake assembly. That is superb.

And the Risun 4 pot front caliper is on my Greaser operated by a Tektro hydraulic brake assembly. It’s much more powerful than the original Tektro 2 pot. But I don’t like the Tektro hydraulic assembly.
 

AndyBike

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 8, 2020
1,156
503
Keep in mind the importance of being able to stop. Probably the greatest safety feature on any vehicle.

So understanding that the brakes are the difference between life and death, should you really be looking at buying such a things criteria as being 'The cheapest I could find'

OK I acknowledge not everyone is going to have the same standards or funds available for something like this, but the brakes I use are £200 each end, and that isn't including the rotors.
Me and the bike probably add up to 110kg(or a bit more ;) ) and I want to be able to stop given any circumstance, from a gentle slowing to sudden emergency all fingers to the levers stopping - To be honest on my brakes I can emergency stop on a single finger, but in those special moments, you do tend to grab at them in an 'all hands to the pumps' sort of way.

£100 per end I think is a good price for a proper, up to the job brake.

eg
 
Last edited:

matthewslack

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 26, 2021
1,621
1,204
The Tern GSD locally has Magura MT5 front and rear, 4 pot, big discs, small wheels so higher surface speed at any given road speed. I got a quick go when I changed the chain recently. Extremely impressive.
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
20,091
8,212
60
West Sx RH
I saw the Risun ones when I bought the 48v 250w tsdz2 and thought they looked quite good value , however the AliExpress ones are fairly similar and and they all look like shimano copies of the lower end budget HDB's so should generally do a good job.
 

AGS

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 12, 2023
452
131
I saw the Risun ones when I bought the 48v 250w tsdz2 and thought they looked quite good value , however the AliExpress ones are fairly similar and and they all look like shimano copies of the lower end budget HDB's so should generally do a good job.
Shimano D03S are the replacement pads for my Risun 4 pots, so there is plenty of pad surface area with these brakes. I presume mine came with Chinese copies of these pads, but they still work well.
 
Last edited:

saneagle

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 10, 2010
4,038
2,007
Telford
I would be inclined to stay away form zoom /tektro brands.
I had tektro on my Ute cargo bike but they were fairly poor braking wise no matter what I did to try and imptove them, in the end replaced with shimano 4 pot front and 2 pot with disc upgrade rear for far better braking.
The OXYgen MTB and the earlier S-Cross has/had Tektro and the braking was superb.
 

egroover

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 12, 2016
976
578
56
UK
Been using Tektro hydraulic brakes for years on my ebikes, no complaints from me, I have found them reliable and good stopping power, just make sure you use decent sintered/semi metal disc pads. I have a very steep long hill on my commute on the way home with a road junction at the bottom with a big full on stop, you can see the steam rising from my rotors when it's raining !. Tektro 2 ports with a 180mm rotor up front
 

AndyBike

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 8, 2020
1,156
503
just make sure you use decent sintered/semi metal disc pads
Especially if you like the sound of screaming brakes :D

For those unaware. Sintered will give the best grip in the wet, but tbh heat makes them work or perform better and on a commute thats unlikely most of the time. Plus sintered wear rotors out much quicker than with organic pads. Pads are cheaper than rotors, and while sintered pads last longer, i'd rather replace those than a rotor.

Organic pads wont last as long as sintered or semi, but do give better braking from the off. Down side is organic wear quicker(but not remarkably)

If you plug along at a fair rate and are constantly slowing, as you might do in heavy traffic, you can fit sintered or semi in the rear and organic on the front.

Some offroaders mix resin(organic) and sintered in the same brake caliper. So the resin will provide some initial grip and as the sintered heats up and performs better it gives the best of all worlds. Never went to try that myself, but it depends i reckon on how you brake offroad, more a personal thing if you ride a familiar trail, on and off the brakes a lot, scrubbing speed etc etc and dare i add etc.

Basic Tektro are ideal if you ride like a small child. But add a bit of heat and its brake fade city with a wandering bite point.
 

Az.

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 27, 2022
1,228
555
Plymouth
+1 for good hydraulic brakes. Cheapest I can find:


Good value for money.

If money is a problem - buy front only.

More expensive option:

 

WheezyRider

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 20, 2020
1,660
916
I've got two identical bikes with Tektro hydraulic brakes. One works great, the other doesn't, so it seems they are a bit or or miss.

Don't go for cable, you'll be adjusting them on a frequent basis.

Get a well known brand, so you know what sort of quality you are getting and also, that you will be able to get replacement pads for them.

That Merlin cycles offer posted by AZ looks good. But, note that they will be set up EU style, rear brake on the right, which is bad news if you are not used to it. You will need to swap the tubes over and bleed them (but I am assuming you will get two brakes front/rear of the same type - I assume the MT200 handle will not suit an MT400 type calliper? Experts to advise here!).
 

AndyBike

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 8, 2020
1,156
503
I assume the MT200 handle will not suit an MT400 type calliper? Experts to advise here!).
No all are mix and match
Its only with the better levers you get the servo wave action. So you can increase power by marrying a servo wave lever to a basic caliper.
Calipers are pretty much the same a world over. they're just 2/4 pistons in a metal shell, and thats about all she wrote there. the innovation and power (For The Most Part, before you get to xt/xtr) is in the levers.

Its a bit like Hopes new tech 4 brakes. different pistons(stainless jackets) but the power of the brake is in the lever, so if you have an older tech 3 system(or earlier), just be keeping the same calipers and swopping the levers to Tech4, you can seriously increase the power of the brake.

+1 for good hydraulic brakes. Cheapest I can find:


More expensive option:

Dont forget the rear ;) reduced to 25 quid

The only downside to these is if you notice they have front on the left hand, rear on the right, which is opposite to the normal UK sett up.
OK, its just a simple matter of unscrewing the levers and swoping the hoses over, but it might also then need a bleed, so maybe a bleed kit/time/mess/headache is also involved.
Or you can run them weirdy.
 
Last edited:

Wayners

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 5, 2023
322
72
54
Gloucester
How long will disc break pads last vs rim?
I think I get 4 months wear from a set of rim pads at the moment..