How does the foot brake of a bicycle work?

Bicycle jog and roller brakes

Rapid brakes in their principle of action are somewhat reminiscent of the brakes of railway cars, the brake shoe comes into contact with the wheel protector, 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 expectations were placed on roller brakes and it was believed that in the future they would replace all existing types. But in the process of operation, it became clear that such a brake system has significant drawbacks and a complex design.

Roller bike 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 backwards.
  • They are not popular in Russia, so it is difficult to find them on sale.
  • Wheel geometry does not affect brake performance. You can use the brakes even 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.

Rim brakes

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 braking 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.

There are four types of rim braking systems. 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 a 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. The vector brake levers are attached to 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 brakes are the forerunners 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 decrease their position and are now almost never used. These brakes are a little harder to set up, but if done correctly they are as effective as other rim brakes.

Cantilever 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.

Hydraulic brakes

Let’s note the pros and cons of the most popular rim brakes. 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, there is an accelerated process of wiping the wheel rim.
  • Rapid wear of the pads, and therefore their frequent replacement.
  • Rim geometry greatly affects brake performance.
  • Low stress on the spokes and hubs of the bike.
  • Significantly low cost 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 brakes

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 bicycles 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 bike 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.

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, an example of which is 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 can be found very rarely.
  • 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.

  • Brakes 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 do not affect the operation of such a brake in any way.
  • 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.
  • With prolonged braking, they can overheat.
  • 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 bike 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.
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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 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.
  • The rim does not wear out, and the disc brake system itself is almost maintenance-free.

Between foot brake and hand brake

Once upon a time, the choice of a bicycle was limited to the correct height parameters, brand and color. Today the assortment is so diverse that it is simply impossible to pick up even a simple urban model without minimal knowledge of the structure of modern bikes. In particular, this applies to the variety of braking systems.

Habitual foot brake

If you learned to ride a bike as a child, you are most likely used to using the foot brake. The principle of its operation is extremely simple: in this case, a chain drive serves as a drive and, in order to start braking, you need to turn the pedals in the opposite direction. Such a device works fine on singlespeeds, but is incompatible with traditional manual transmission.

Thus, the foot brake has survived as an attribute of fixed speed urban bicycles. The mechanism itself is located in the rear axle, which offers a number of advantages:

  • the tightness of the device guarantees protection from precipitation, road dust and dirt;
  • lack of maintenance or frequent repairs;
  • overheating of the rim is excluded.

However, in some cases, the foot brake may not be reliable enough. For example, if the chain comes off or breaks when your feet accidentally slide off the pedals, you will not be able to use the foot brake for an emergency stop.

does, foot, brake, bicycle, work

Alternatively, advanced models are equipped with mechanically or hydraulically actuated disc brakes. It is worth noting that the cost of such systems is several times higher, and the device is much more complicated. However, disc brakes are most reliable in extreme conditions. They are not sensitive to the vagaries of the weather or the characteristics of the coating. Their only drawback is the complexity of the repair: if the disk hydraulics fail, they will have to go to the workshop.

Reliable handbrake

Most manufacturers install hand brakes that can complement the foot brakes or work independently. Over the years, they have built a reputation for being stable and safe. regardless of design. All braking systems on the market are divided into rim and disc, both have supporters and opponents.

When completing city bicycles, V-Brake rim brakes are most often used. They are distinguished by good power, unpretentious maintenance and simple service in the event of a breakdown. However, in rainy weather or on strong off-road conditions, such a system can easily become clogged, which reduces the quality of work.

Which brakes are better?

The optimal solution for a particular bike depends on its purpose. So, for a city bike that will never test its strength in the deaf off-road or on a downhill, V-Brake rim brakes are more than enough. Some models are equipped with foot and rim hand brakes for the convenience and safety of cyclists. Thus, the systems duplicate each other, ensuring maximum safety.

Bicycle foot brake repair

Bicycle foot brake is a device that provides smooth braking of the driving rear wheel. Other names are pedal brake, drum brake. The location of the node in the structure of the bicycle. rear axle.

Bicycle foot brake is a device that provides smooth braking of the driving rear wheel. Other names are pedal brake, drum brake. The location of the node in the structure of the bicycle is the rear axle. Used as a primary brake or supplemented with a manual front brake. Scope of application. old bicycles of the USSR period, children’s bicycles, singlespeeds, modern city bicycles with a fixed speed, with one gear or with a planetary type gear derailleur. The device is incompatible with the classic manual transmission system.

Operating principle. For braking, the pedals rotate in the opposite direction, opposite to the working rotation. The drive functions are performed by a chain drive. The rear wheel hub or a portion thereof is a drum. When braking, the inner brake pads assume the position of the spacer and brake drum clamp.

Technical features. The rear foot brake system on freewheel bikes allows for tricky freestyle tricks by rolling backward without forcing the bicycle pedals.

  • Frequent bicycle foot brake repairs and scrupulous care are not required.
  • Due to the tightness of the structure, protection from dust, dirt, rain is guaranteed.
  • When using this type of brake, the rim does not overheat.
  • The device has a low cost.
  • The mechanism allows you to ride a bicycle with a curved wheel geometry (figure eight).
  • The inability of emergency braking in the event of a chain break or foot slipping off the pedal.
  • The need for some getting used to the effective use of the foot brake.
  • Lack of compatibility with external derailleur.
  • Additional stress on the hub and spokes during braking.
  • Low braking power.
  • Difficulty maneuvering with alternating braking and acceleration.
  • The possibility of overheating during long descents from the mountains.

When is it necessary to repair or prevent a bicycle foot brake?

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The drum brake is durable and durable. However, the node needs to be checked, debugged, or replaced periodically. To test the functionality of the device, you need to rotate the bicycle pedals in the opposite direction. With a working mechanism, the brake is applied after the reverse stroke of the pedals has made a quarter of a wheel turn. If the brake is applied later, the device does not work correctly. Since the foot brake mechanism is fully housed in the interior of the rear hub, self service is not recommended. Disassembly should be entrusted to a qualified bicycle technician.

Check the brake control lever periodically. Structurally, it is a flat steel handle (on the brakes of the Bendix brand). The lever is connected to the rear axle and is attached to the bicycle frame. When checking, make sure that the mount is fixed. Loss of locking can cause the control arm to rotate with the axle. If the lever is found to be detached, it must be locked towards the nose of the bike.

Today, the following models of rim brake systems are distinguished:

The most common are V-brake models. Their name reflects the V-shaped mount of the levers.


This review will consider the main types of braking systems. But in order to understand their inherent advantages and disadvantages, some terms should be clarified in advance.


The most important criterion for the performance of a braking system is its modulation. This term reflects the ability of a vehicle to change the amount of braking force depending on the level of pressure on the brake lever. Next is the braking distance, which does not need a detailed explanation.

Braking efficiency refers to the ability of the brakes to work in various weather conditions (during snow, rain, frost). The level of reliability is the ability of the braking system to operate under severe operating conditions. For example, while hiking in mountain passes, under the influence of extreme loads, after soaking in the mud, and so on.

And the last term that will be used when describing braking systems is demanding maintenance. This refers to how often owners of two-wheeled vehicles will be required to change components, periodically adjust the system, and also tune its operation.

How the bike works

A two-wheeled bicycle is a comfortable, practical and useful vehicle that has firmly established itself both in the city and in the countryside. In addition to its direct use, velik is widely used in various sports. The overall design is identical when compared to a simple city bike, road bike, or XC. The simple design of a bicycle, however, is not limited to the description of the wheel, handlebar, saddle, pedals and includes a number of subtleties. In this article, we will dwell on the components of the bike and explain the purpose of each of them.

Wheels and their components

Over the long years of existence, the structure of bicycle wheels has not undergone any fundamental changes. Wheels come in different diameters and tread widths, depending on the type of bike. But traditionally, the rear wheel is the leader, and the front wheel is the driven one (responsible for steering). Wheels consist of the following parts:

  • Sleeve. Holds the spokes and allows the wheel to spin. Transmission sprockets are attached to the rear bushings, which are directly involved in unwinding when picking up speed. In road models, in addition, the bike hub device is supplemented with a braking system.
  • Rim. Round ring that attaches to the hub through the needles.
  • Spokes.One of the most vulnerable elements in the design of bicycle wheels, which is exposed to both the load from the cyclist and the impact of road irregularities. The spokes are installed in the rim crosswise, or radially. Their number depends on the diameter of the wheel, but on average it is 32-36 pcs.
  • Tires, consisting of a tire and a tube.The cameras are the same in all models. And tires are of various types: slicks, semi-slick, aggressive, hybrids and road tires. They differ in the tread pattern and directly in the width.
  • Katafot.It is a small orange beacon that makes the cyclist visible in the dark. reflects light.

Drum brakes

A drum brake (otherwise called a 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 arises between the pads and the drum, due to which braking occurs. Drum brakes are commonly found on children’s bicycles (e.g. Forward Meteor 12, Forward Timba girl) and inexpensive city bikes for adults.

Roller brakes

Many experts classify roller braking systems as drum brakes. But they have a slightly different principle of pressing the pads against the drum. Roller brakes were invented at the end of the last century and should have become worthy competitors to disc models. But due to their design features, their use was limited, which affected the level of production. Among the advantages are: power, ease of use, a high level of protection against moisture, snow, dirt.

A bicycle is a fairly extensive mechanism, and consists of a large number of components. During operation, an important indicator is the good condition of each of them. Now that we know how a bicycle works, we can diagnose, repair and service spare parts.

Bicycle rim brakes

This group got its name from the word rim: it is he who is compressed by 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 you press the handle, 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’s 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 design 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 work 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;
  • do not clog up with dirt.
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Cantilever brakes are now used on children’s bicycles and low-cost models. This model is also very popular among cyclocross fans.

V-break brakes, or V-breaks. These are the most common type of rim brakes today. The design of this front brake on a bicycle is very similar 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 functionality of the system must be checked before each 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:

  • The braking force is generated in the master cylinder.
  • When the handle is pressed, pressure is transmitted through the tube 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 maintenance (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.

Disc brakes on a bicycle

Disc brakes are gaining more and more 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, 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 is worse than in hydraulics.
  • the possibility of repairing 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 considered 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 means of transmitting the braking force 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 customization;
  • 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 brakes: slow down expertly

Home Bicycle device Bicycle brake device: slowing down expertly

The brakes on any bike are designed to stop the bike or to regulate the speed of movement. That is why the braking system is evaluated primarily according to two parameters:

Start Up: The hydraulic brake system

  • modulation. the ability to adjust the speed, slow down;
  • braking efficiency. the ability to abruptly stop movement.

Bicycle brake mechanisms are divided into:

  • rim;
  • disk;
  • drum (pedal);
  • roller;
  • striving.

Only the first 3 species are widespread. All bicycle braking systems 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 pedaled 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.

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 customization;
  • 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 wear of the rim 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.

Bicycle rear brake design

Bicycle foot brakes are called drum brakes, and their device 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 the rotation of the wheel. 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, largely depends 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 came up with the brakes. Their creators are smart, responsible, careful people who plan to live happily ever after.