What Are the Various Types of Bike Brakes?

What Are the Various Types of Bike Brakes?

If you enjoy cycling, you know that there is no better way to do so than with a solid set of brakes. But what distinguishes one set of brakes from another? Which ones should you buy? Your riding style, money, and personal preferences will all influence your decision. With that in mind, the purpose of this essay is to shed light on everything related to bike brakes.

What is bike brakes and how does it work? 

Bike brakes are a system that applies pressure against the wheel rim to slow or stop a bicycle. They do it by friction (as with cantilever brakes) or by forcing the rim inward (as with caliper brakes).

How does it work? 

Each cycle brake is designed for a specific purpose and is built around a brake pad. When the brake pads come into contact with the rims, friction is created. This friction slows the rotation of the wheels, causing the bike to come to a halt. Furthermore, the amount of pressure applied determines the braking force.

The positive thing about brake systems is that they help lower speed when traveling downhill. They do, however, have some drawbacks. If you apply too much pressure, for example, the brake pads may be ruined. Furthermore, if you do not use the brakes properly, you may be unable to control the bike at all. They are also vital safety equipment. You could crash and injure yourself if you don't know how to use them.

Different types of bike brakes explained 

There are three types of bike brakes, including disc brakes, rim brakes, and drum brakes.

1. Disc brakes 

This brake system often employs a metal disc or rotor as the primary disc brake component. The idea behind disc brakes is simple: the two brake pads apply pressure onto the rotating disc, causing friction and slowing down the rotation of the wheel. 

The amazing thing about disc brakes is that it provides high reliability, incredible braking power, and exceptional functioning temperature range. It also has an advantage over other brake systems because it doesn't require any maintenance.

2. Rim brakes

Rim brakes use friction generated from the contact between the inner surface of the wheel and the brake pads. As the wheel rotates, the brake pads push the wheel rim inward. This creates friction and causes the wheel to slow down.

Types of RIM brakes 

(a) Caliper Brake 

Being a cable-activated brake, it uses cables to connect the brake levers to the brake calipers. The idea behind caliper brakes is simple: when the brake lever is pulled, the brake caliper will move toward the rear wheel until it contacts the brake pads. Once the brake pads touch the rim, friction occurs and the wheel slows down. 

(b) Cantilever Brakes 

It uses a spring to activate the brake pads. The brake pads are attached to the frame using springs. When the brake lever is pushed, the spring pushes the brake pads away from the rim, creating friction and slowing down the wheel. 

(c) U-brake

A U-shaped brake lever is used to activate the brake pads via a cable mechanism. The brake pads are connected to the frame using a cable. When the brake lever moves up, the brake pads are moved away from the rim, allowing the wheel to rotate freely. When the brake lever goes back down, the brake pads hit the rim, causing friction and slowing the wheel down.

(d) V-brakes

V-brakes have a similar function to U-brakes but differ in their design. Instead of having a straight lever, v-brakes have a curved shape. Because of the curve, the brake pads cannot be directly activated by the brake lever. Instead, the brake lever must first go through a linkage before activating the brake pads.

3. Drum brakes

Unlike the others, which all rely on friction to generate braking forces, drum brakes use mechanical action to produce braking forces. In order to do so, the brake shoes are pressed against the inside of the drums, which then roll against the outside of the wheel's rim. This generates friction and slows down the wheel.

These three types of brakes can be found on most bicycles today. However, there are some differences among them. You should know what each one does and how they work.

Types of bike brakes lever explained

There exist two main categories of bicycle brake levers. They include flat bar brake levers and drop bars.

1. Flat bar brake lever

Mountain bikes frequently use flat bar brake levers. These brake levers are preferred by most mountain cyclists because they provide better control than drop bar brake levers. This is due to the fact that most mountain bikers ride with one hand on the handlebar and the other on the brake lever.

2. Drop Bar brake lever

On road bicycles, drop bar brake levers are often utilized. These brake levers are typically used on race bikes. Road cyclists prefer them because they have easy access to both sides of the handlebars. However, because the brake lever is positioned at the bottom of the handlebar, some riders find it difficult to operate.

What type of bike brake is suitable for you

Depending on your riding style, the various types of bike brakes are appropriate. If you primarily ride off-road, you should go with a cantilever brake. If you ride mostly on roadways, a disc brake is an option. A drum brake is ideal for folks who enjoy long journeys. If you just bike short distances, a v-brake will suffice. If you want to save money, you can choose a set of cheap cantilever brakes that are adequate for commuting.


Brakes play an important role in ensuring cycling safety. It assists riders in maintaining their speed and avoiding accidents. There are various types of bike brakes available on the market today. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you know what type of brakes you need before purchasing a new pair of bike brakes.

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