Best Mechanical Disc Brakes 2019 – Guides and Review

Bicycling has changed a lot. We have come a long way from the days of rudimentary structures with a saddle and two wheels. Modern-day cycling includes a lot of technological developments which has improved the bicycling experience. Adventure bikes and Mountain Terrain bikes (MTBs) often need intricate braking mechanisms like disc brakes to support their high speeds and thin frames.

Best Mechanical Disc Brakes

NameBrandPrice RangeBest Deals
Blue Sunshine MTB BB5 Mechanical Disc BrakeBlueSunshine$$
TRP SPYKE Mechanical Disc brakeTRP$$-$$$
Shimano Tourney Mountain Bicycle Mechanical Disc BrakeSHIMANO$$
Bike Disc Brake Caliper Aluminium AlloyAlomejor$$
An image of mechanical disc brakes

The basic braking mechanism on bicycles generally follows a linear pattern; a friction causing breaking pad is pushed against the revolving wheel which causes deceleration and eventually stops the bike. Earlier, this was achieved through traditional rim breaks which used a braking pad against the rim of the wheel. It is an old technique and if the brake pad and the wheels are well maintained, serves the purpose very well. If you are trying to graduate to using disc brakes from rim brakes, there are a few things you must know.

The best mechanical disc brakes are metal discs fixed close to the center of the wheel with the help of calipers which offer greater braking power and precision as compared to rim brakes. Disc brakes can also be customized for different wheel diameters. A larger disc brake would be better suited for heavier bikes and would also require more effort to be used. A disc brake generates a lot of stopping power, usually more than what is required to stop a bike. This means that gentle braking is enough to bring most bikes to a halt. If you are a long distance rider or are riding downhill, the incessant braking can lead to early fatigue or discomfort in your grip.

Good mechanical disc brakes also offer higher levels of control. Rim brakes when new are quite efficient but tend to wear down quite easily. This makes them unreliable and makes riding slow since you need more stoppage and braking time. Some would counter this argument by saying that riding cautiously is better and that it is more likely to lock your wheel with a disc brake but I believe that you should never compromise on braking efficiency.

Since disc brakes allow more control and respond better, it is easy to deduce the force you need to stop the bike effectively. Disc brakes also help you ride faster because once the braking distance has been reduced, you can spend more time pedaling and increasing your velocity rather than tackling corners. Moving the brake from the rim to the center has also increased the life of wheels and rims.

Constant braking at the rim causes it to suffer wear resulting in reduced safety and wheel strength. With the focus of braking shifted from the rims, designers could concentrate on making the rim more aerodynamic and better clamp to the tire. The resulting lack in friction also deals less damage to the tubes and tires.

Mechanical disc brakes also have the reputation of locking up when applied too hard. On bicycles, the chances of braking hard enough to cause the wheels to lock up are unlikely. If you have managed to jam your disc brakes somehow, making them functional again is quite easy. All you need to do is remove the brake pads and pull out the piston. Cleaning the piston should be quite enough. Disc brakes, when used properly, offer better modulation and braking efficiency, even on wet roads which are reasons enough for you to make the switch.

A lot of amateur riders still prefer rim brakes for their bikes. A lot of them can be attributed to comfort and originality. People are generally skeptical about new advances in transportation technology. While disc brakes have been around for ages now, their utility was earlier limited to engine equipped vehicles since the discs could be large and cumbersome and would increase the overall weight of a bicycle.

 Although most rim brakes are efficient enough to be used in most bicycles, more people are adopting the disc brake as a standard. With time, disc brakes will be further modified and evolved and new improvements and standardization's are inevitable. It is also easy to upgrade or replace your brakes and you can do it at home with these mechanical disc brakes. Here is a list of the best mechanical disc brakes you can buy off Amazon to use in your bike and make it safer and faster:

BlueSunshine MTB BB5 Mechanical Disc Brake Front and Rear 160mm whit Bolts and Cable images

These disc brakes are your basic mechanical brakes with cables. They too require steel cables to move the piston, just like rim brakes. These 160mm discs are on the cheaper side and if assembled well, can perform quite well. The entire package comes with two sets of calipers and rotors; one for each wheel and two stainless steel brake cables.

A set of rotor bolts also form part of the ensemble. The calipers are made of aluminum alloy and are actually quite durable. This entire mechanism can be retrofitted into your bike and can even replace rim brakes. These brakes work with all types of linear pull lever. These BB5s are a bit on the cheap side and experienced cyclists might complain about the lack of an ick’ while braking. However, these issues can be resolved by cleaning the rotors and the pads prior to installation. A sprinkle of brake cleaner should do the job. The key to using this brake at its maximum potential is installing them perfectly so that the static brake pad is as close to the rotor as it can get without touching it. This will make adjusting and applying the brakes very easy. These brakes should last you a while on the road. Although it is more susceptible to wear and tear as compared to say Avid brakes, in the price range it definitely is value for money. They are also easily replaceable once they wear down. Keeping all these parameters in mind, these BB5 brakes are consistent and durable. If you are switching from rim brakes to disc brakes, these might ease the transition for you as they are light and would lack the bite of a larger brake.

TRP SPYKE Mechanical disc Brake Includes 160mm Rotor Dual Side Actuation MTB images

Finding brakes that are excellent to use and easy to set up are not an everyday occurrence. If you are looking for reliable dual sided mechanical brakes which provide precise and even clamping, you have found them. Specifically for MTBs, these brakes provide simple pad adjusting after including a simple cable adjuster.

The design enables even pad wear and these very grippy pads are compatible with Shimano M525/M515. It is also compatible with all cable actuated road levers. The package comes complete with 160mm front and back discs with rotors and adapters for the same. Bolts are also included. These brakes, as mentioned earlier are Shimano M525/M515 compatible which implies that they can be further customized. If you are looking for the ideal brakes for your bike for optimum performance, you shouldn’t have to look any further. These brakes are suited for riding in all kinds of terrain and weather.

SHIMANO Tourney Mountain Bicycle Mechanical Disc Brake - BR-TX805 images

This particular set contains a single 74mm caliper and is cable actuated with B01S Resin pads. The original Shimano seal absolutely guarantees quality and durability. These brakes are crafted with the highest performance as the sole parameter and the top-notch quality of these disc brakes ensures longevity. 

You can use these on all kinds of terrains and weather conditions. High-speed braking is not advisable, although test runs show that these brakes are capable of handling high speeds too. These brakes provide just the right amount of friction so that your tires do not get worn out earlier than expected. Overall, it is a quality product from Shimano that is a good use of money.

Bike Disc Brake Caliper, Aluminium Alloy Mechanical F160/R140 Front F180/R160 Rear 160mm Disc Brake Set images

This is one of the most efficient and durable brakes in the market. Made of a strong aluminum alloy, these brakes do not crumble or deform easily and have high strength and durability. The specifications include F160/R 140 for the front wheel and the same for the back wheel. The 160mm disc brakes are quite sturdy and are compatible with most MTBs and road bikes.

The disc brake also has excellent response timing and a quick bite. If you are an experienced biker, you will find this quite enjoyable. However, as a rookie, you might need some time and practice to get used to the quick brakes. The package contains a pair of brake calipers along with a pair of discs and two packages of bolts and screws for calipers and discs. These brakes are quite easy to install and are especially popular with people who assemble their own bikes from scratch. Great for DIY bike assembly and replacements, these brakes are lightweight and sturdy, despite the good alloy used in their construction. These brakes have a reputation for reliability and for good reason.

As mentioned above, a lot of riders prefer the traditional aesthetic of the rim brakes. Their appeal lies in their weight which is very light compared to the disc brakes and the fact that they are quite efficient braking mechanisms which have been tried and tested for years now.

The basic bicycle has remained largely unchanged since its inception. It’s still a contraption which allows you to travel on two wheels and an axle connecting them. With the advent of disc brakes and modern racing bikes, the world of cycling is about to change. Bikes used for off-road racing and MTBs etc are different from traditional bicycles in a very minute yet significant way.

Some bikes are made for durability and comfort, some are made for racing while others are meant for long distance riding. With the number of options growing, a lot of bicycle manufacturers are trying to increase the mainstream appeal of disc brakes. Disc brakes have long been associated with motorcycles and cars which is another reason why traditional bicycle riders might be skeptical about them.

Traditionally, disc brakes have been too heavy to be used in bicycles and there actually was no need for them. Modern geared bikes have become much faster and there are specialized bikes for all kinds of terrains. This has increased the need for better braking and other options on bikes. Although disc brakes make the overall weight of the bike heavier, with their addition, the rest of the chassis can be made lighter.

Since the braking concern has largely been taken care of, designers and manufacturers can now focus on making sturdier, sleeker machines for improved on road and track performances.

The world is still divided about disc brakes in cycling. A lot of cycling associations have banned the use of disc brakes in races. British Cycling has completely banned the use of disc brakes. They are also banned in most international road racing due to fear of safety. The heavy discs can cause injury in case of a pile-up or a heavy crash. The decision surprised a lot of racers but most people in the cycle racing community applauded the decision.

As an amateur biker, disc brakes will go a long way in keeping you safe. If you want to upgrade to disc brakes or are considering buying a new bike, the disc brakes on offer here might just do the job for you. They come in all price ranges and are suitable for both rookie and experienced riders.

It is always good to understand your machine before you set out on a ride and fixing your own brakes will also help you ascertain the braking efficiency and limit of your bike. It is also suggested that you always clean your rotors and calipers to ensure proper braking efficiency. Sometimes, inefficient braking is a result of an inefficient setup.

If you are a rookie and do not have much experience with brakes and bikes, you should take your bike to a certified mechanic for the replacement or installations of your brakes. The mentioned brakes all offer their money’s worth and depending on the bicycle, should serve you a lot of miles on the road.

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