Bicycle brakes are as essential as they are for other vehicles. Safety depends on the presence and operation of the brakes on a bicycle. All bikes are equipped with brakes, except for track bikes and those that brake due to deceleration of the pedals.
At the moment, there are many types of brakes that are radically different in design and principle of operation. Bicycle brakes are disc, rim, drum, roller and stirrup. Some are not used at all, and some are rare. Brakes differ in braking power, maintainability and durability. If you are a bike enthusiast and prefer to repair your bike yourself, then you just need to know what kind of brakes a bicycle has and the device of bicycle brakes. In this article, we will look at all the existing types of bicycle brake systems in order of least popularity.
Bicycle jog and roller brakes
Rapid brakes in their principle of action are somewhat reminiscent of the brakes of railway cars, the brake shoe contacts the tread of the wheel, the part that forms the contact patch with the road. It makes no sense to talk about the pros and cons of such a braking system, since they have not been produced for a long time. You can only meet steep brakes on very old Soviet bicycles manufactured before the 1960s.
Eager bicycle brakes
Roller brakes are similar in principle to drum brakes (discussed below), but differ in that they can be installed on high-speed bicycles. High hopes were placed on roller brakes and it was believed that in the future they would replace all existing types. But during operation, it became clear that such a brake system has significant drawbacks and a complex design.
Roller bike brakes
Disadvantages of roller brakes:
- weight than all other braking systems.
- Complex design and high price.
- Does not fit all suspension forks.
- When the brake is depressed, the wheel can spin back.
- not popular, so it is difficult to find them on sale.
Roller brakes benefits:
- Wheel geometry does not affect brake performance. You can even use the brakes with a figure eight on the wheel.
- Complete protection from dirt, dust and water.
- Almost no adjustment is required, these brakes last for years and do not require maintenance.
- One of the most powerful brakes without affecting rim wear.
Drum. foot brake for a bicycle
The foot brake of a bicycle is familiar to everyone and this type of brake was very common on Soviet bicycles. But even now, such a drum brake is successfully used on all types of single-speed bicycles. The drum foot brake is located in the rear hub, such as the most popular torpedo hub. The body of such a sleeve is a drum, and the pads are located inside. When the brake is applied, the pads are pressed against the body and provide smooth braking. For more information on how the rear foot brake works, see our article on rear hubs for bicycles. Drum brakes are divided into two types according to the type of drive:
- Hand-operated. the brake is actuated by a cable. Now this type of drive is very rare.
- Foot-operated. very convenient and does not require unnecessary parts. Braking is carried out by turning the pedals in the opposite direction.
Rear hub with drum foot brake
Drum brakes have significant advantages and many disadvantages.
Drum brakes advantages:
- Brakes are powerful enough to slow down smoothly.
- Due to their design, drum brakes are not subject to contamination, which allows them to be used for a long time without maintenance.
- Drum brakes have no effect on rim wear. In addition, the eights on the wheel have no effect on the operation of such a brake.
Disadvantages of drum brakes:
- Drum brakes are only suitable for single speed bikes and high speed bikes with planetary shift hubs. They are not compatible with other types of bicycles. This disadvantage is the main one, due to which such brakes are not widely used.
- Overheating during prolonged braking.
- The drum foot brake is most effective when the cranks are parallel to the road. Accordingly, if the connecting rods are vertically, then it is almost impossible to brake. this is called the dead zone of the brakes.
- When braking, there is a significant load on the hub and wheel spokes.
- If the chain falls off during movement, then the bicycle is without brakes, which is very dangerous. This problem can be solved by installing additional front rim brakes. Drum brakes can only be fitted to drive wheels.
- It is very difficult to maneuver and still work with the brake.
Such brakes are called rim brakes because braking is carried out due to the friction of the brake pads on a special track of the bicycle wheel rim. Rim brakes are the most popular type of brakes today. They provide good braking power and good maintainability. The design of all rim brakes is the same, but the principle of operation may be different. Rim brake systems consist of a handle, cable, levers and brake pads. These braking systems are ideal for beginners as they are easy to install, adjust and even repair in the field.
Rim brake systems are of four types. caliper, cantilever, hydraulic and V-brake. Let’s consider each type in more detail:
- V. brake. vector rim brakes. The levers of such brakes are attached in a V-shape, and the cable comes from the side to one of the levers and connects both levers. This system provides the best braking power of any rim brake. Vector brake levers are mounted on special mounts on the frame (brake. Bosses), if they are not there, then you can install removable adapter mounts. V. brake brakes are by far the most popular and even overtake disc brakes in popularity.
V. brake. vector brakes
- Cantilever. predecessors of vector brakes. These braking systems were once the most popular of all types of bicycles. But with the advent of the V. brake, brakes began to decline and are now almost never used. These brakes are a bit harder to set up, but if done correctly they are as effective as other rim brakes.
- Tick-borne. the name comes from the shape of the arrangement of the levers, which resemble ticks. Currently used mainly on road bikes. These brakes are lighter in weight, but have only one mount, which makes them less durable.
Caliper U. Brakes
- Hydraulic is a braking system in which the force from the handle is transmitted to the levers using a hydraulic line. The hydraulic fluid can be brake fluid or special oil.
Let’s note the pros and cons of the most popular rim brakes. V. brake.
Disadvantages of V. brake:
- Dirt, water, sand and snow trapped between the rim and pad will reduce braking performance and even affect rim wear.
Rim brakes are highly susceptible to dirt
- Affect the geometry of the frame and can move the frame stays apart.
- On bicycles designed for extreme disciplines, an accelerated process of rubbing the wheel rim occurs.
- Rapid wear of the pads, and therefore their frequent replacement.
- Rim geometry greatly affects brake performance.
Advantages of V. brake:
- Light stress on the spokes and hubs of the bike.
- Significantly low price relative to disc brakes.
- Do not heat up during prolonged use.
- Low weight relative to the same disc brakes.
- Very easy installation, setup and repair.
Bicycle disc brakes
The most modern type of brakes borrowed from motorcycles and cars. The disc brake system consists of a handle, cable or hose, rotor, caliper and pads. The rotor is a brake disc that is attached to the hub of the bike and is clamped with pads using a caliper that is attached to the bike frame in the area of the fork dropouts. Compression of the pads occurs by transferring force from the handle to the caliper through a brake hose or cable. The brake fluid or special oil can be used as a fluid in the hydraulic line.
Rear disc brake
The advantages of disc brakes:
- The rotor and disc brake pads are almost free of contamination as they are in the center of the wheel.
- Disc brake allows for smoother braking.
- The geometry of the rim and figure eights does not affect the performance of such brakes.
- No rim wear, and the disc brake system itself requires almost no maintenance.
Disadvantages of disc brakes:
Brakes for a bicycle, like for any other vehicle, are an indispensable element necessary to control the bicycle and ensure safety. The following types are distinguished:
Drum brakes. 2. Rim brakes. 3. Disc brakes.
Which type of brakes should you choose? To answer this question, it is worth understanding the features of each type of brakes.
The drum brake (otherwise called “foot brake”) is located in the rear hub of the bicycle and has brake pads inside. The braking process is initiated when the carriage rotates against the movement. As a result, the brake pads are pulled apart and pressed against the drum. Friction occurs between the pads and the drum, due to which braking occurs. Drum brakes are commonly found on children’s bicycles and inexpensive city bikes for adults.
This is the most popular brake type today. The principle of their operation is as follows: when a force is applied, which is transmitted through a cable to the brake levers, the brake pads on the brake levers fit tightly to the wheel rim, which ensures braking. Rim brakes are cantilever, caliper and V-brake.
Their mechanism consists of two levers with brake pads attached to the pivots on the fork. With the help of a pair of rods, the cable moves the levers, after which braking occurs. This mechanism is simple and reliable, but it is encountered less and less. It is superseded by other other types of brakes with more effective stopping power.
Most often used on road bikes, but there they are gradually being replaced by other types of brakes. The name of the brakes speaks volumes about its design: the brake pads are pressed against the rim by curved levers that look like pliers. Caliper brakes installed on Forward Impulse bikes (2020).
V-brakes are applied in the same way as cantilever brakes. The brake cable is routed from the side to the top of the brake arm. The brake lever compresses both parts of the brake with cartridge brake pads. This system of parallel pad pressing allows for efficient braking. In addition, cartridge brake pads can be easily changed using a conventional hexagon. At the moment, this type of brake is the most common. It is used on almost all types of bicycles. For instance:
Since V-brakes are the most common type of rim brakes, it is worth considering their advantages and disadvantages separately.
Disc brakes with minor changes, modifications and adaptations came to the cycling world from the world of motorcycles and cars. Depending on the type of drive, disc brakes are divided into mechanical and hydraulic. In a mechanical disc brake, the force from the brake lever to the brake pads is transmitted by a cable, and in a hydraulic disc brake, through a hydraulic system filled with brake fluid. When you press the brake lever at the mechanical brake, a cable is pulled, this force is transmitted to the brake pads, which, pressing against the brake disc, lead to braking. In the case of a hydraulic brake, the required force is transmitted via the hydraulic line from the brake lever directly to the pads. Forward bicycles with disc brakes are very easy to identify: there is the word at the end of the model name “disc” (for example Forward Next 3.0 disc).
Disc brakes device
A disc brake consists of a brake disc (rotor) attached to the wheel hub, and a brake machine (caliper), inside which the brake pads are located. Disc rotors come in several sizes: 140, 160, 180, 185, 203 and 220 mm. The larger the rotor diameter, the more efficiently the brake works, as the arm of the brake force lever increases.
The caliper (brake machine) is mounted on a fork or frame. Inside the caliper there are two brake pads that are pressed against the rotor by one or more pistons.
Brake pads can be filled with metal filings or organic material. Metal-filled pads last longer and are more resistant to wear and tear. Organic pads are softer, wear in quickly and provide smoother braking.
Disc mechanical brakes
Mechanical disc brakes are usually installed on mountain bikes (Forward Next 27.5 2.0 disc (2020), Forward Iris 26 2.0 disc (2020), etc.) and touring bikes (Forward Yukon 2.0 disc), less often on city bikes For example, Forward Tracer 26 2.0 disc (2020)).
Disc hydraulic brakes
In the 2020 model range, hydraulic disc brakes are installed on the following Forward mountain bike models:
Consider the advantages and disadvantages of hydraulic brakes.
Now that you know the features of different types of brakes, their pros and cons, it will be easier for you to choose the bike with the most suitable brakes.
How to set up and adjust disc brakes on a bicycle
Many riders, first encountering hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes on a bicycle, do not know how to properly set, adjust or replace consumables. Many consider their design to be much more complex than V-brakes. but it is not so. Technologically, good bicycle disc brakes, especially if they are hydraulic, are more advanced than v-breaks and perform significantly better at their tasks, but remember that this is not the case for cheap mechanics. Next, we will look at how to properly install and adjust disc brakes yourself at home. But we will start with the design features and differences between disc mechanics and hydraulics. And then we will touch upon all of the above points.
Bicycle disc brakes
Disc brakes are designed to brake a bicycle by converting kinetic energy into thermal energy by rubbing the pads against the brake disc. As mentioned earlier, bicycle disc brakes are mechanical and hydraulic. Their principle of operation is the same, but there are slight differences in design.
Disc Mechanical Bicycle Brakes
Disc mechanics is of the following design.
- Brake handle. Mounted on the handlebars (fastened with a clamp) of a bicycle and is designed to transfer the force of pressing the hand to the brake pads.
- Cable adjuster with lock nut. The cable adjuster is designed to change the tension force of the cable of mechanical disc brakes. Locknut. for fixing the regulator.
- Brake lever adjuster. Allows you to adjust the distance from the brake lever to the handlebars, thereby making it possible to set a comfortable position directly under the length of the cyclist’s fingers.
- Cable shirt. Serves to protect the cable from damage and dirt.
- Cable. Required to transfer the movement of the brake lever to the brake caliper.
- Cable holder. The place where the cable is attached and clamped with a fixing bolt.
- Caliper. A mechanism that activates the brake pads when the cable is pulled.
- Brake pads. They are metal platforms with an organic or metallized substance applied to them. Insert into the caliper.
- Adapter. Serves as a kind of layer between the caliper and the bike frame.
- Rotor (brake disc). Mounted on the wheel hub.
Disc Hydraulic Bicycle Brakes
Disc hydraulics are very similar to their mechanical counterparts. The main difference is that the force applied to the brake lever is not transmitted to the pads by a cable, but thanks to DOT4 brake fluid (on Avid, Hayes, Helix brakes) or mineral oil (on Shimano brakes). Next, consider the design of hydraulic disc brakes.
- Brake handle. Actuates a piston that presses on the brake fluid.
- Brake lever adjuster. As with the disc mechanics, it is designed to adjust the position of the handle relative to the steering wheel.
- Master cylinder. It consists of several parts. An expansion tank with a lid serves as a brake fluid storage. The cap is used when filling and bleeding the brakes. Inside there is also a piston with a cuff and a return spring.
- Hydroline. It is a robust hose that connects the master cylinder and caliper.
- Caliper. A mechanism that, when pressure appears in the hydraulic line, activates the pistons that push the brake pads.
- Brake pads. Used to convert frictional force into thermal energy, thereby stopping the bike.
- Adapter. The part that attaches the brake caliper to the fork or bike frame.
- Rotor. It is a perforated metal disc, on which, when the handle is pressed, the pads rub.
What to do before adjusting the brakes
If you need to adjust disc brakes that have already been in operation for some time, then before making the adjustment, it is advisable to perform the following preparatory work:
First of all, we unscrew the brake rotor from the hub and check it for deformation. This can be done by placing it on a flat surface (glass, mirror, etc.) and inspecting it. If the rotor is loose, it must be aligned before adjusting the disc brakes. If the deformation is insignificant, then this operation can be performed when adjusting the brakes.
We remove the brake pads. To do this, find the extension on the caliper and turn each block in turn by the tongue. If everything is done correctly, it will not be difficult to dismantle them. Next, we make a visual inspection of the surface for chips. In case of severe damage or wear, the pad should be replaced.
Check the condition of the cables and shirts
This item is intended solely for mechanics. Before adjusting the mechanical disc brakes on your bike, you should carefully check the condition of the cables and shirts. If the cable is damaged, namely, if it is fluffed, broken individual fibers are observed, then it should be replaced without fail. It doesn’t matter if the cable changes or not, it must be lubricated before adjusting the brake. We also inspect the cable jacket. If cracks or tears are visible on it, then it is better to replace it.
Check the condition of the brake line for leaks
This item is exclusively for hydraulics. Before adjusting the hydraulic disc brakes of a bicycle, inspect the brake hose for damage (it is advisable to replace it, even if the damage is minor), and also check that there are no oil / brake fluid leaks at the joints of the hydraulic line with the caliper and the master cylinder. Another place where the brake fluid can poison is the rod going from the brake lever to the piston (if the cuffs are leaky). Well, after removing the brake pads, check the absence of leaks on the caliper.
Remove dirt and oil from brake pads and rotor
During cycling, over time, dirt and oil accumulate on the rotor and brake pads, which impair the braking performance of disc mechanics or hydraulics. Therefore, before adjusting the disc brakes, remove it from these surfaces. To do this, you can use fine sandpaper. Remove the rotor from the wheel and clean the surface on both sides in a circular motion. We perform the same operation with pads (naturally on the one hand). Do not be too zealous, just remove a thin layer. After you have completed this procedure, try not to touch the pads and rotor with your hands or oily objects.
Check the correct installation of the wheel
Determine if the wheel is installed correctly. It should be clearly perpendicular to the ground, without tilting to the side. To do this, we put the bike on wheels, loosen the eccentric and, by pressing on the saddle with your hand (keeping the bike level), tighten the eccentric.
How to install a new mechanical disc brake
- We attach the brake lever to the handlebars so that it lies in the same plane as your forearm. If necessary, adjust the distance from the handle to the grip, at which, grasping the steering wheel with your whole hand, you could normally reach it with your index finger.
- Install the adapter on the frame and tighten the bolts until fully tightened, alternately tightening each bolt.
- We pass the cable with a shirt so that it coincides with the places of its fixation to the frame.
- We insert the cable into a special slot on the brake lever and fill in the shirt. Please note that when installing a new cable, the tension adjustment on the brake lever must be tightened completely minus 1-1.5 turns.
- The position of adjusting the tension of the cable on the caliper is set similarly to the brake lever. We pass the cable through the hole on the caliper, put it in the groove of the cable retainer and, tightening, clamp the fixing bolt.
- After that, we put the end cap on the end of the cable and squeeze it. This is necessary so that the cable does not fluff.
- Next, we proceed to the adjustment, which is described below.
How to set up mechanical disc brakes on a bicycle
Adjustment of the disc mechanics is required to be done: after installing new pads, cable, rotor or other brake components; in the case when the rotor rubs against the pads; when it is required to eliminate the long travel of the brake lever, etc.
- We check the tightness of the bolted joints at the points of attachment of the adapter to the frame and the rotor to the bushing.
- Loosen the lock nut and tighten the cable tension adjustment on the handlebars until it stops minus 1-1.5 turns. Then tighten the lock nut. We do the same on the adjustment located on the caliper. Next, unscrew the cable lock, and, pulling the cable by hand, tighten the lock bolt back. (If you have already done these operations when installing a new brake, then you do not need to repeat these steps).
- We loosen the bolts that attach the machine to the adapter (for easier adjustment, you can remove it completely).
- We adjust the position of the fixed (static) and movable shoe. The purpose of this procedure is to achieve an equidistant position of the pads from the center of the caliper slot so that the rotor can fit between them with minimal clearances. To adjust the fixed shoe, loosen the locknut (if any), and rotate the bolt that adjusts its position. To adjust the movable one. rotate the cable tension adjustment on the caliper. After the distance is set, we tighten the static block retainer. If for this procedure you removed the machine, then you should install it in place, but do not tighten the mounting bolts.
- We set the correct position of the caliper relative to the brake disc. To do this, the bolts that attach it to the adapter must be loosened so that it can walk relatively easily left and right. We push the brake lever all the way and fix it with electrical tape, wire, rope or other available means. Next, slightly wiggling the caliper with your hand, screw it to the adapter, alternately tightening the bolts.
- After performing the above operations, in 80% of cases the rotor will shuffle against the deck (s). We determine which of them it clings, and adjust the distance by adjusting the cable tension on the caliper (in the case of friction against the movable block) or by rotating the bolt (if rubbing against the static one). The clearance on both sides should be minimal, at which the rotor does not touch the pads.
You can watch a detailed process of setting up disc mechanical brakes in this video.
There are cases that after adjusting the mechanical disc brakes of a bicycle, the rotor “strikes” against the pads in one (or several) places. This suggests that you have it slightly deformed. In this case, you need to align it. This can be done directly on the bike without removing the rotor. Determine the place where it touches the pads by slowly rotating the wheel. Pay attention to which side the rotor is deformed. Then, we turn this section so that access appears to it, and we bend it in the opposite direction from the place of friction. Be careful not to make things worse. Do not push the rotor too hard. It is better to repeat this operation several times, smoothly adding pressure.
How to adjust hydraulic disc brakes
Although hydraulic brakes are called self-adjusting brakes, it is sometimes possible to notice a rustle or squeak that they emit during braking. In this case, adjust the disc hydraulics of the bike. Also, a similar procedure is necessary on a new bike if the brakes were set incorrectly from the factory.
- Slightly unscrew the bolts that fix the caliper to the adapter.
- We clamp the brake lever and fix it with electrical tape, rope or other available material.
- We make sure that the rotor is clearly in the middle of the caliper slot, and the brake pads are extended equally on both sides. If this is not the case, then you can set its position by slightly pressing on the rotor from the desired side. Due to pressure, the brake fluid will be evenly redistributed between the pistons.
- After that, tighten the mounting bolts and remove the electrical tape from the brake lever.
After you have adjusted the hydraulic disc brakes, turn the wheel and check for friction. If you observe intermittent shuffling, then this is a signal that your rotor is slightly bent. To eliminate this malfunction, it is necessary to determine the place of friction, and on which side of the pads the rotor clings. Then turn the rubbing area 180 degrees from the caliper and gently push in the opposite direction. This should be done very carefully in several passes, with each of which add force until the friction disappears completely.
The hydraulic disc brake setup is shown in the video below.
As it turns out, adjusting the mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes of a bicycle at home is not such a difficult job. The main thing is to do it carefully and slowly. Remember that properly adjusted brakes not only provide a comfortable ride, but are also responsible for the safety of the cyclist and those around him.
DIY repair, adjustment and adjustment of brakes on a bicycle
Timely brake adjustments can help keep you out of trouble
There are two types of brakes on modern bicycles. rim and disc brakes. The braking system used on your bike will determine how you adjust the brakes on your bike. As a rule, the brake does not require frequent adjustment, but there are times when its adjustment is simply necessary. After all, a reliable brake is the key to your safety.
often than not, adjusting the brakes on a bike means placing the brake pads at the correct distance from the rim or disc and symmetrically to each other. Also, it may be necessary to tighten the cable or adjust the brake lever.
- You can learn even more about bicycle disc brake repair from the article.
- Setting up and installing hydraulic brakes on a bike is done in a different way, you can learn more about this here.
- Learn all about vibrake, their setup and installation.
Steps to check and adjust the brakes
- Determine the type of brakes. disc, rim or other option.
Checking the brakes when idle.
Checking the brake pads.
Setting up disc brakes on a bicycle is different from setting up rim brakes because they use different pads and rotating parts. Therefore, we will consider these systems separately.
Setting v brake rim brakes
Today, mountain bikes are widely used with v-brakes, so here’s an example of how to adjust the brakes of a bicycle in the case of a rim brake. Setting up other rim brakes is done in the same way. The only difference is that the bolts and screws that need to be tightened may be in other places. And the approach is the same (even in the case of disc brakes).
So, the basic rule is that the pads should be parallel to the rim. The clearance between the shoe and the rim should be 1mm. And both pads must be symmetrical.
V-Brake. adjusting the brakes on a bicycle video
A small instruction on how to achieve this.
- We find the hex nut that fixes the pads, loosen it and set it as needed. To do this, we press the brake, watch how the shoe touches the rim when pressed and, if necessary, move it (after releasing the brake). The block can move both up and down, and at the desired angle, so you have the opportunity to set it in the right way. The main thing is to understand the essence.
- We adjust the distance of the pad relative to the rim. The distance between the right shoe and the rim and between the left shoe and the rim must be the same. It should be 1-3mm, depending on your bike. In this case, braking should occur even with a minimal push of the handle. That is, it should not be so that you have pressed the handle halfway, and the wheel does not stop yet, and only when fully pressed, braking occurs!
- And finally, you must definitely check the action of the adjusted brakes in practice. To begin with, you can do this with one wheel raised and then the other. But then be sure to check in real conditions. (Sometimes the wheel slows down in the air, but get behind the wheel, press the handle and drive on!) Therefore, drive 5 meters, press the brake and check all the conditions mentioned above. If when you press the handle 50% (before the steering wheel) the brake is applied, congratulations! You did everything right!
Successful rides for rim brake owners!
- You can find out which brakes are the most popular in this article.
- How to adjust and disassemble the roller brake
- Disc brakes or rim brakes are better
How to set up disc brakes on a bicycle, set the correct brake pads. Adjusting and adjusting disc brakes on a bicycle video
Adjusting disc brakes on a bicycle is done mainly by pulling the brake cable, but not only. Replacing pads on a bicycle is necessary when they are not yet completely erased and, as a rule, disc brake pads take longer to wear than rim ones. The hydraulic brakes are self-adjusting as the pads wear out. But in the case of a closed-type hydraulic brake, it is also necessary to adjust them (usually special valves are provided for this).
Adjusting mechanical disc brakes on a bicycle is most often accompanied by tension on the cable to provide reliable braking. The distance between the pad and the disc should be 0.2-0.4 mm. And the pads, as in the case of rim brakes, should be located at the same distance from the disc. Therefore, after you tighten the cable, check the position of the brake pads.
Special bolts are provided to adjust the position of the pads relative to the brake disc. As you twist them, you can see how your last moves. Set the desired distance from the pad to the disc. Make sure that when the wheel rotates, the pads do not catch the disc. After all, the gap of 0.3 mm is very small, and you need to be careful. And of course, make sure that the clearance you set is sufficient to brake the wheel.
Adjusting the disc brakes of a bicycle must always be accompanied by a test under real riding conditions. Drive on level ground for a few meters to determine if your brake is working reliably. Do not forget that if before that you hooked the steering wheel with the handle, now everything can change significantly. Be careful and careful! Braking too hard after tuning may come as a surprise!
Now you can also enjoy going on a long and not only trip on your bike!
- It is more convenient to adjust and adjust the brakes if there is a rack (holder) for repair and maintenance of the bike
How to put disc brakes on a bike?
It often happens that you buy an expensive thing, and then the same thing comes out, only with a new “chip”. It’s the same with a bicycle. you bought a bike for yourself, you ride, you like everything, then you see how more and more often your friends or “random passers-by” appear big with disc brakes. And you wonder. is it possible to install disc brakes on your type of bike? And in general, is it worth it? Let’s try to answer your questions.
If you have chosen a mechanical disc brake and you already have the correct brake levers and cables installed, then you can leave them. Just make sure that the cables are not loose at the ends. If you haven’t changed the cables for several years, it is better to replace them for new brakes, because dust and dirt gets inside the shirts, which can create friction. Since changing the braking system, so thoroughly. Replace cables and shirts.
In case your choice fell on smooth hydraulics, you will need to completely remove all brakes, and install new levers and lay the hydraulic lines. Some frames have rails in which the brake lines can be positioned. Don’t rush to throw away the old brake. If you fail to adjust the hydraulics, or some kind of breakdown occurs far from the city, he can save you great.
Bicycle brakes: slow down expertly
Home »Bicycle device» Bicycle brakes: slow down expertly
The brakes on any bike are designed to stop it or regulate the speed of movement. That is why the braking system is evaluated primarily according to two parameters:
- modulation. the ability to adjust the speed, slow down;
- braking efficiency. the ability to abruptly stop movement.
Bicycle brake mechanisms are divided into:
- drum (pedal);
Only the first 3 species are widespread. All braking systems of a bicycle can be divided depending on which wheel they stop rotation, that is, into front and rear.
Front brakes are usually hand brakes and are activated by pressing a handle on the steering wheel. Rear brakes are most often operated by pedaling backwards and are therefore called foot brakes.
Bicycle handbrake device: everything is in your hands
There are several schemes for hand brakes used on bicycles. Let’s talk about each type in more detail.
Bicycle rim brakes
This group got its name from the word “rim”: it is he who compresses the brake pads, slowing down the movement. The brakes are activated by a cable from the brake lever. Varieties:
Tick-borne brakes, or “crabs”. It is widely believed that such a device for the brake system of a bicycle will soon lose its last fans. But so far, “crabs” are often installed on road and simple mountain bikes. The scheme of operation of such a bicycle brake system is very simple: the pads are attached to arcuate levers and, when the handle is pressed, squeeze the wheel rim, slowing down the speed of its rotation.
Taking a look at the list of advantages and disadvantages of caliper brakes, it is easy to see why they are losing popularity so quickly.
- questionable braking efficiency;
- constant distortions;
- friction of the pads on the rim without pressing the brake lever;
- the inability to integrate them with most suspension forks;
- rapid pollution;
- high price with such unflattering characteristics.
- simplicity of design;
- ease of maintenance.
Summing up, we can say that the very structure of this bicycle handbrake is the cause of most of the problems.
Cantilever brakes. This system of bicycle brakes is quite rare nowadays. Cantilever brakes. another scheme going down in history.
The principle of their operation can be described as follows: a pair of levers with brake pads are fixed with special fasteners to the fork. By pressing the brake lever, these levers are attracted to each other, compressing the rim with the brake pads.
- mediocre braking performance;
- bad modulation.
- ease of maintenance;
- little weight;
- not clogged with dirt.
Today cantilever brakes are found on children’s bicycles and low-cost models. This model is very popular among cyclocross fans.
V-break, or “V-break” brakes. These are the most common type of rim brakes today. This front brake of a bicycle is very similar in design to a cantilever brake. The fundamental difference lies in the way the cable is supplied. This seemingly small difference leads to huge differences in performance.
- the need for professional customization;
- the system must be checked before every ride.
- structural reliability;
- acceptable braking efficiency and modulation.
Hydraulic rim brakes. How hydraulic brakes work on a bicycle is easier to understand for motorsport fans because the same hydraulic principles apply here:
- Braking force is generated in the master cylinder.
- When the handle is pressed, pressure is transmitted through the pipe to the brake cylinders attached to the fork.
- Under the influence of pressure, the cylinders push out the brake pads, forcing them to compress the rim.
- heavy weight;
- complexity of service (impossibility of repair by a non-professional);
- poor maintainability outside the workshop;
- mediocre modulation.
Of the advantages. very high braking efficiency.
Such a specific balance of advantages and disadvantages led to the fact that such a device for bicycle brakes is in demand only in a trial.
Pros and cons of rim brake systems in general:
- braking forces are applied to the rim, which reduces the load on the spokes and hub;
- less heat than disc brakes;
- comparative ease of setup;
- small mass;
- relatively low price.
- an instant decrease in efficiency when snow, water, dirt, oil gets on the rim, but special notches for removing moisture partly solve this problem;
- dependence of braking efficiency on wheel geometry;
- the need for frequent replacement of pads;
- impossibility of integration with many frames and forks;
- rapid rim wear due to friction on the pads.
V-breaks can shorten frame life, and hydraulic rim brakes can simply rip out a feather or mount when braking hard. Depending on how the brakes are arranged on a particular bike, the pads can be made of different types of rubber, and their mount is made of metal.
Disc brakes on a bicycle
Disc brakes are gaining in popularity day by day. They can be front and rear, mechanical and hydraulic. The way the disc brake works makes this type of construction very popular.
A steel disc, or rotor, is placed on the hub, usually on the left side. The caliper, a device that compresses the rotor with brake pads, is also attached to the hub. Braking force is transmitted using a cable or hydraulic line coming from the brake lever on the steering wheel.
Mechanical disc brakes. This design uses the same cable as, for example, in “V-breaks”. The simplicity of the engineering solution explains the pros and cons of this bicycle front brake circuit.
- frequent stretching and jamming of the cable;
- a large number of rubbing parts, and, as a result, the need for frequent replacement of components;
- modulation level worse than hydraulics.
- the possibility of repair “on the knee” due to the simplicity of the design of bicycle disc brakes;
- relatively low price.
Hybrid disc brakes. Their working scheme combines the principles of mechanics and hydraulics. In more detail, the braking force is transmitted to the hydraulic part of the brake using a cable.
This type is not very common: it is believed that its advantages in relation to pure mechanics are not great enough compared to the difference in price.
Hydraulic disc brakes. The disc brake consists of a brake force transmission means and the brake itself. The braking force is transmitted through a special high pressure tube. Pressing the handle forces the brake master cylinder to press on the fluid in the tube, from which pressure is transferred to the brake cylinder in the caliper.
- high leakage potential;
- high price;
- the complexity of repair and adjustment;
- heavy weight.
- high efficiency when properly configured;
- practically unchanged braking force transmission, i.e. excellent modulation.
The way hydraulic brakes work on a bike makes them the best choice for high-end mountain bikes.
Bicycle rear brake design
Bicycle foot brakes are called “drum” brakes, their design is quite simple. In theory, they could be hand brakes, but hand drum brakes are rare these days.
The drum brake mechanism is located in the rear wheel hub. When braking, the pads expand and stop wheel rotation. As you can see, both the circuit and the principle of operation of this rear bicycle brake are elementary.
- ease of maintenance;
- the foot brake device protects the bike from dirt and dust;
- good modulation and braking performance.
- cannot be repaired in the field;
- small margin of safety when used in harsh conditions.
Summing up, we can safely say that there is simply no definite answer to the question of which brake device on a bicycle is better. Which suits you best, foot (rear) brake or disc circuit, depends largely on habit, conditions of use and subtleties of setting.
Only experience will help you find your optimal solution, and there can be only one universal advice: regularly check the condition of your bike’s brakes. Don’t believe cowards invented the brakes. Their creators are smart, responsible, careful people who plan to live happily ever after.