In mountain bikes, there are basically 3 types of brakes. Here’s the list sorted by cost and where they are usually found.



The cheapest to buy and less reliable. By no means they are bad, they have been used for decades in mountain bikes for a reason. They brake by pulling a cable that presses the rim  sides with the pads. This will work fine as long as your rim is in good condition.

One of the biggest problems with this type of brake system is that any bump that affects the shape of your rim, will also affect the braking.

It’s usually found on budget bikes and big store bikes.

Mechanical Disk Brakes

These brakes use a rotor installed in the wheel hub. They are pulled by a brake cable and the stopping power is considerably better compared to v-brakes. They are also easier to maintain than hydraulic brakes.

They are a big upgrade from V-brakes, though, most v-brake bikes won’t have the frame prepared for installing the brake or rotors.

Usually found in bikes around $500 to $1500.


Hydraulic Brakes

The defacto braking system for all higher-end bikes. They work similar to the Mechanical disk brakes, as they have a rotor installed in the wheel hubs, but the levers pull oil instead of a cable. This makes the braking smoother and easier. Good hydraulic brakes allow the rider to stop by just using one finger.

Some very common hydraulic brakes found in current bikes are:

Shimano SRAM Guide SRAM DB1 Avid
Alivio S DB1 BB
Deore SR DB3 Code
XT Ultimate


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