I'm a big fan of hydraulic disc brakes because of the braking power and relatively infrequent maintenance. What is the best kind of brake other than disc for braking power and modulation? And is it the case that rim brakes tend to need adjustment more than hydraulic disc? For context, I've been warned off cable disc as a poor substitute for the hydraulic type, but I don't have first hand experience here. To improve the question in response to comments, is it possible to say what kind of mechanical brake gives the best mechanical advantage, ie best lever-to-pad travel ratio? Many thanks.

  • As written, this is probably too opinion-based and seems to be aiming for a discussion. Can you refine your question down more? Ask a more specific question ?
    – Criggie
    Apr 25 '20 at 12:40
  • This is really opinion-based. All of mechanical disc brakes, v-brakes and road caliper brakes can serve very well, depending on the actual product, pads and so on. Even cantilever brakes, but they are less needed these days and I would go for any of the former three where possible instead.
    – Vladimir F
    Apr 25 '20 at 14:58
  • 2
    For braking power it's hard to beat a brick wall. It's not too good from the modulation aspect, though. Apr 25 '20 at 17:31

Brake type is a matter of personal preference, and going with what gives you the most satisfying experience on your bike. That being said, I had a couple (cyclocross) bikes with disc brakes when disc brakes started to get popular on cyclocross bikes, and after a year or two I went back to rim brakes. I found disc brakes to be unreliable and unpredictable. They can have decent stopping power, but they are heavy, ridiculously noisy, and the hype about better modulation makes no sense. If your caliper or canti brakes are set up correctly the will have much more usable modulation by design. Disc brakes are a gimmick that the bike industry has been pushing on consumers to turn bigger profit. If you are a mountain biker, there is one advantage to having disc brakes- they work great when your wheels get muddy and everything is wet. If you do most of your bicycling on pavement, rim brakes are going to be much more practical and stop you just as well. Consider that rim brakes are also disc brakes, but much bigger, quieter, and hassle free.

The best type of bike brake is a side pull cantilever for over all power, reliability and cost.

  • This is just a rant, unfortunately it was clear these were coming when they let the question open. And the conclusion disagrees with the experience of many people, not the least people who need every second they can get (professional cyclocross racers). The disc brakes completely won in cyclocross (and before in MTB) and for a good reason. BTW "they work great when your wheels get muddy and everything is wet" is the description of cyclocross. And also, canti's can squeal very loud, perhaps louder than any disc brakes. If your disc brakes are ridiculously noisy, you set them up wrong.
    – Vladimir F
    Apr 26 '20 at 19:26
  • I opened by saying that brakes are a matter of personal preference. You clearly prefer disc brakes. I think they stop bikes pretty good when they are working optimally, but I don't know of or see to many people who have figured out how to have that be the case without a lot of frequent hassle. I Rarely encounter a rider with disc brakes that aren't squeaking, so I suppose almost everyone doesn't have their brakes set up right? My Paul cantis never need attention and I stop just as well as disc equipped riders. I don't think either of our rants are wrong. Thank you for sharing yours.
    – bradly
    Apr 28 '20 at 1:23
  • That is nonsense, I bought a rim-brake road bike this year and I have an older MTB with V-brakes. I just don't like such single-sided answers that just fuel a flame war and claim that a reliable and years proven technology is just a marketing trick. Disc brakes work and work well.
    – Vladimir F
    Apr 28 '20 at 7:14
  • I think they work ok too. I can't hep you if my opinion angers you. I don't disc brakes are ideal for most bicycle formats. Simply saying they aren't the best shouldn't be interpreted as "just fuel a flame war " Lets please stop bickering at each other, it really isnt helping answer the question.
    – bradly
    Apr 29 '20 at 15:35

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