When you are considering buying an electric bike, the braking system may not be high on your list of priorities. After all, most people are more concerned about battery power, the motor, the price and the speed of a new electric bike, than they are with the braking system.
Rest assured that when you choose a Hovsco e bike, you don’t have to consider your brake system overmuch. All bikes in the Hovsco range use top of the range hydraulic brakes. These are recognised as the best type of brakes for electric bikes and Hovsco includes these as standard. All Hovsco bikes are fitted with hydraulic disc brakes mtb which means they are powerful enough to use for serious off road mountain biking.
However because the braking system is the prime safety feature of any bike it is important to know about how it works and what the options are.
First up let’s look at other types of bike brakes.
Many traditional style bikes use rim brakes. These mechanical braking systems push the brake pads against the rim of the wheel and as they have been used for decades they obviously work. At one time they were the only option for bikes so if you have an old bike in your garage, chances are it is fitted with rim brakes.
There are numerous variations to rim brakes. Although the basic aim is the same i.e. to push pads against the rim in order to stop the bike, there is a choice of set ups and cable fixings to achieve this end.
V brakes or direct pull cantilever brakes were the original choice for mountain bikes, that is before the world caught onto hydraulic disc brakes mtb! With V brakes the two halves of the brake mechanism are bolted to the bike frame forming a V shape and as the arms are drawn together the brake pads push on the rim.
V brakes became popular on mountain bikes as this type of braking system works well with bikes that have suspension. This is because V brakes do not require a fixed cable stop on the fork or the frame. Some mtb enthusiasts still favor V brakes although today they have largely been superseded by hydraulic disc mtb brakes or mechanical disc brakes.
Many traditional bikes and some cheaper electric bikes still employ the use of V brakes because they can work adequately and can be repaired on the go. However they do not have the stopping power of disc brakes and do not function very well in adverse situations such as snow or wet and muddy conditions.
Mechanical disc brakes
Mechanical disc brakes utilise a brake cable in the same way as a traditional rim brake system. However instead of applying pressure to the rim of the bike wheel via pads, the disk applies the braking force to the rotors which are fitted to the wheel hubs.
Many mountain bikes and trail bikes use mechanical disc brakes and there can be advantages to using this system. One important consideration is that mechanical disc brakes are cheaper than a hydraulic system and are easy to service and maintain.
You can carry out routine brake maintenance at home if you have basic skills. This is just as well because with a mechanical disc brake system you will need to carry out a lot of routine maintenance; the cables stretch over time and grit and dirt can cause damage to the braking system.
When it comes to braking performance, mechanical disc brakes do better than rim braking systems but do not function as well as hydraulic disc brakes.
How does a hydraulic brake system work?
Hydraulic disc brakes feature a closed system of hoses and reservoirs which contain hydraulic fluid which is directed to the rotors situated on the hub of the wheels. This means that when you push the brake lever it operates a plunger pushing the fluid down the hoses and into the brake calliper, pushing the brake shoes onto the rotor stopping the bike.
There is no brake cable involved in the process. Instead the sealed system which directs the hydraulic fluid to the hydraulic disc pads is well protected on the ebike. There is no risk of dirt or grit impeding the brake function.
Why are hydraulic disc brake systems best for electric bikes?
All Hovsco e bikes are fitted with hydraulic disc brakes mtb as standard.
Firstly electric bikes are far heavier than conventional bikes, which mean that the bikes are harder to stop because of momentum. In addition an e bike usually travels at much higher speeds than a conventional bike so the ability to stop in seconds without skidding is extremely important for safety reasons.
Another advantage to hydraulic disc brakes is that this type of braking system is sealed so is hassle free. This means that mud and grit will not impede useage and because there is no brake cable it will not stretch.
Because the hydraulic fluid is locked into a close system it removes the chance of your brakes picking up grit onto the pads and failing to work at a crucial moment. Another advantage of a sealed braking system is that you do not have to carry out as much maintenance as you would with other types of braking system.
Hydraulic Disc Brakes vs. Mechanical Disc Brakes. What is the difference for the rider?
All bike brake systems utilize a brake lever on the handlebars which you depress when you wish to slow or stop. With disc brakes this is connected to the rotor on the bike hub, rather than brake pads situated on the rim of the bike, but otherwise the rider’s experience is the same on all models of bike.
However, with hydraulic disc brakes mtb you do not need to press as hard on the lever to force the bike to stop. You can gently touch the lever and in the same way as braking in a car, the bike will stop. Hydraulic disc brakes are far more responsive and in our opinion provide a much safer option. They work more efficiently than any other type of e bike braking system and do not require as much regular maintenance.
Finally hydraulic disc brakes are hassle free. For many customers this is one of the prime considerations.
Hydraulic disc brake maintenance
Hydraulic disc brake systems do require some maintenance. The system will need to be bled and the fluid replaced every year but this is an easy job for any bike repair shop. . You can tell when this needs doing because the brakes develop a “squishy feel" so it is important to ensure that you factor this into your maintenance schedule.
Obviously with mechanical disc brakes you do not have this issue but instead you will need to check and adjust the brake cable as this becomes slack over time.
Hydraulic disc brakes are best for electric bikes
Mechanical disc brakes work perfectly well and many lower budget electric bikes use this technology. Some bike enthusiasts prefer mechanical disc brakes because they are easier to service and repair and do not require bleeding. However you cannot beat the safety, reliability and performance of an hydraulic disc brake system.
Hydraulic disc brakes are safe and responsive. They are great with heavy electric bikes and are fantastic for mountain biking and trail riding as they are fast and responsive to use. Ideal with fat tires or load carriers, they are also good for commuter bikes because they are so reliable. Here at Hovsco we wouldn’t use anything else.
So if you are considering your ebikes braking system using hydraulic disc brakes mtb gives you the same safety of a highly tuned mountain bike or your family car even when travelling at high speeds through difficult terrains.