What's the difference between ebike hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes?
The major difference between hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes is that the latter uses a cable similar to a derailleur cable, while the former uses brake fluid similar to what’s used in cars.
As previously mentioned, mechanical brakes make use of a cable in order to brake. Just like a derailleur cable, dirt can affect their performance and stretch them out. Mechanical brakes do not stop as efficiently as hydraulic brakes, however the simple cable makes them easier to adjust. Mechanical brakes offer easy adjustments if you like adjusting your brakes on the fly, and are more common as well as cheaper to replace.
Hydraulic brakes are designed to use brake fluid, which becomes compressed when the brake lever is squeezed and allows the brakes to function. This is a superb technique that offers stronger, more reliable braking performance. However, the technique will cost you more than the brakes themselves. You will have to ensure that the brake lines are air free, and maintain care for the brake fluid in case their performance starts to suffer.
Just like with brakes of your car, you will have to change the fluid at times. (Luckily this only needs to be done every so often.) Keep in mind that these brakes are in an enclosed system, meaning you don’t need to worry about mud and dirt affecting the performance of your bike. The only exception for both hydraulic and mechanical brakes is if the pads themselves get dirty.
Hydraulic Brakes Pros and Cons:
- Excellent modulation
- Unsurpassed stopping power
- Open Systems with huge rotors capable of handling very high loads of heat from “heavy-duty” riders
- More expensive
- Closed systems can blow off or lock-up or blow-off hydraulic seals/lines if overheated