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Bicycle Brakes Overview

Bicycle brake systems are used to slow down or stop a bicycle. There have been various types of brakes used throughout history of which only a few are still in use today. The three main types are: rim brakes, disc brakes, and coaster brakes. Most bicycle brake systems consist of three main components: a mechanism for the rider to apply the brakes, such as brake levers or pedals; a mechanism for transmitting that signal, such as cables, rods, or the bicycle chain; and the brake mechanism itself, a calliper or drum, to press two or more surfaces together in order to reduce the rotational speed of the wheels.


Rim Brakes

Rim Brakes are the most widely used and cost efficient brake type available. This braking system functions by pulling on the brake lever, applying tension to the brake callipers which in turn causes the break pads to press on the rim, using friction to slow the bike down. These brake pads are all made from the same type of material, although the quality of brake calliper can vary. To ensure prolonged use and maximum efficiency it is worth spending a few extra dollars on quality callipers.

Rim Brakes


Coaster/Foot Brakes

Foot brakes are used in a lot of kids bikes, but also some adult bikes, simply because they are easy to use and an effective stopping mechanism. They use an internal hub braking system which is activated by putting backward pressure on the cranks, resulting in metal pads slowing the bike down.

Foot Brake


Disc Brakes

Some disciplines of riding, such as extreme mountain biking, require the highest quality brakes. Disc brakes are the choice for such areas, using callipers to clasp onto a metal disc attached to the wheel hub. This type of brake is priced higher than the other two options, but this merely reflects their superior stopping efficiency.

Disc Brake


If you have any specific questions about brakes, or would simply like to hear more about the importance of brakes, please feel free to contact us.



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