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12 Best MTB Brakes (Reviewed Nov, 2020)

Finding the best mountain bike brakes for your bike is one of the most important and crucial component decisions you will ever have to make while upgrading your mountain bike. However, picking the best one according to your riding style, personal preferences, and of course, your mountain bike can feel like an impossible job. Therefore, we have brought you the solution. Our article will provide you with the knowledge and insights that will make you an expert in this field!

Through our research, we have chosen a selection of some of the finest MTB brakes that are being sold right now. We have tested the brakes to see if it meets our standards and we can assure you that you will find the right MTB brake for yourself from our collection.

Out of the 12 top MTB compatible brakes, we have picked the Shimano Deore XT M8000 Hydraulic Disc Brake Set as our Overall best choice because of its immense braking power and smooth performance.

Shimano Deore XT M8000

Incredible Power, great heat dissipation, smooth performance | Overall Best Choice

The Shimano Deore XT M8000 is the best hydraulic disc brake set that you will find right now. It provides very high braking power and control so you can stay in charge no matter how rough the terrain gets. It also offers great brake modulation and comes with a ceramic rotor which is not only great at heat transfer but is also highly durable. Perhaps the best part is that you will get all these amazing features at a very affordable price! Also, they are perfect for all types of mountain riding. Therefore no matter what type of riding you are into, this excellent brake set has you covered!

  • Best For: Cross Country, All Mountain
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brake
  • Pad Type: Resin, Metal
  • Pad Mount: Pad Axle
  • Weight: 402.5 grams
  • Brake Mount: Post Type
  • Brake Lever: BL-M8000 (2 fingers)

 

A quick view of our list of some of the top MTB brakes:

MTB BrakeWeight (grams)Our Ratings
Shimano Deore XT M8000402.595
SRAM G2 RSC24893
Sram Code R49991
Magura USA MT7 Pro25590
Magura MT Trail Sport25589
TRP Slate G-Spec28588
Shimano M820 Saint30687
Hayes Dominion30186
JGbike Shimano MT20085
Magura MT5 Disc Brake25583
Shimano Deore XT M8100 M812041081
Tektro HD-M29029580

12 best MTB brakes you can buy today

BrakesPreviewBest ForBrake TypePad TypeMaterialWeightBrake MountBrake LeverScore
Shimano Deore XT M8000SHIMANO Deore XT M8000 Hydraulic Disc Brake SetCross Country, All MountainHydraulic Disc BrakeResin, Metal402.5 gramsPost TypeBL-M8000 (2 finger)95
SRAM G2 RSC Disc BrakeSRAM G2 RSC Disc Brake Diffusion Black, Front, 950mmMTBHydraulicSteel-Backed OrganicAluminum - Stamped248 gramsPost Mount93
Sram Code RSram Code R - Front 950mm Hose - Diffusion Black (Reach) (Rotor/Bracket Sold Separately) B1: Black 950mmMTBHydraulicSteel-backed metal sinteredAluminum - Forged499 gramsPost Mount91
Magura USA MT7 ProMagura USA MT7 Pro Disc Brake Black/Neon Yellow, Left or RightGravity,Enduro, E-MTBHydraulicCarbotecture SL, Flip-Flop-Design255 gramsPost Mount / IS1 Finger90
Magura MT Trail SportMagura MT Trail Sport 2701389 Bicycle Brake 1-Finger HC Lever Left/Right Suitable Set Consisting of Two Brakes for Front Wheel 4 and Rear Wheel 2 Pistons, Black, One SizeMTBHydraulicCarbotecture255 grams (Front), 230 grams (Rear)Post Mount1 Finger89
TRP Slate G-SpecTRP Slate G-Spec Disc Brake Black/Silver, Front/LeftCross Country, TrailHydraulicDimpled and Drilled Aluminum285 grams (Front), 327 grams (Rear)Post Mount1 Finger88
Shimano M820 SaintShimano M820 Saint Disc Brake Set, Rotor And Mount Not IncludedMTBHydraulic Disc BrakeResin, Metal with cooling finsAluminium (Anodized)306 gramsPost Type1 Finger87
Hayes DominionHayes Dominion Rear Disc Brake, Black/BronzeMTB, E-BikeHydraulic Disc BrakeT106 Semi-Metallic and T100 Sintered MetallicAluminium310 gramsPost Mount2-Finger86
JGbike Shimano MT200JGbike Shimano MT200 MTB Hydraulic Disc Brake Set for Mountain Bike Bicycle MTB XC Trail, e-Bike, Fat Bike, The Best Upgrade kit for Mechanical Disc BrakeMTB, XC Trail, E-BikeHydraulic Disc BrakeB01S ResinAluminiumPost Mount3-Finger85
Magura MT5Magura MT5 Mountain Bike Disc BrakeGravity, Enduro, E-MTBHydraulic Disc BrakeCarbotecture255 gramsPost Mount2-Finger HC, Aluminium83
Shimano Deore XT M8100 M8120SHIMANO XT BR-M8100 Disc Brake Black, Left/FrontMTBHydraulic Disc BrakeD03S Resin / D02S Metal / N03A Resin / N04C MetalAluminium410 gramsPost Mount2-Finger Aluminium (Anodized)81
Tektro HD-M290Tektro HD-M290 Hydraulic Disc Brake Front 850mm with 160mm RotorMTBHydraulic Disc BrakeOrganic CompoundForged Aluminum Body295 grams (Front) / 315 grams (Rear)Post Mount2 Finger Blade, Cast Aluminum Lever80

1. Shimano Deore XT M8000: Incredible Power, great heat dissipation, smooth performance | Overall Best Choice

Shimano Deore XT M8000

  • Best For: Cross Country, All Mountain
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brake
  • Pad Type: Resin, Metal
  • Pad Mount: Pad Axle
  • Weight: 402.5 grams
  • Brake Mount: Post Type
  • Brake Lever: BL-M8000 (2 fingers)

Features & Considerations
  • High Power: These Shimano Brakes are very well-performing. They provide high power and can be easily controlled no matter what type of mountain bike riding activity you are planning to do.
  • Smooth Shifting: This brake offers precise shifting and is easily adjustable. It offers a great range and will allow you to ride according to your own terms.
  • Budget-Friendly: Shimano is known for offering great quality at a reasonable rate. They did just that with the Deore XT M8000 Hydraulic Disc Brake Set.
  • Ceramic Rotor: The ceramic rotor provides incredible performance as it has the ability to handle the high heat produced while braking. It is also very durable.
  • Color: This brake system is available only in Black.
  • Accessories: This package includes brake caliper, brake lever, and hose (1000 mm front, 1700 mm rear).
  • Warranty: Shimano provides a limited warranty of two years along with the purchase of this product.

Some Weaknesses
  • The crank finish unfortunately wears out a bit too soon.
  • The wide-range cassette consists of large steps.

The SHIMANO Deore XT M8000 is a Hydraulic Disc Brake Set. It is a great match for any type of mountain bike riding. Whether you are into cross-country or enduro-style riding, these brakes will be perfect for you! An amazing feature of this brake set is that it enables you to choose the chainrings according to your preference. Also, the use of mineral oil as the hydraulic fluid is far safer to work with instead of the DOT fluids used by most other bicycle brake brands out there. If you feel like you are not prepared to handle a 12-speed drivetrain, or if you are into this brand’s fast-shifting, then this XT brake is the best choice for you. Overall, the Shimano Deore XT M8000 group by offering top-notch performance at such reasonable price points. Therefore, if you are planning on buying a new set of mountain bike brakes then you will have a tough time finding a better pair than these!

Shimano Deore XT M8000

Shimano Deore XT M8000

2. SRAM G2 RSC: Lightweight, personalized experience, positive pad engagement

SRAM G2 RSC

  • Best For: MTB
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic
  • Pad Type: Steel-Backed Organic
  • Bracket Type: Direct mount DIR
  • Material: Aluminum – Stamped
  • Weight: 248 grams
  • Brake Mount: Post Mount

Features & Considerations
  • Contact Point Adjustment: The contact point adjustments will allow you to choose the ideal position of your fingertips when you hit the brakes. This makes them personalized to every rider.
  • Lightweight: Weighing just about 248 grams, these brakes are very light and will not add any extra weight to your mountain bike.
  • S4 Caliper: The S4 Caliper comes with 4 machined & moly-coated aluminum pistons for consistent rollback and easy installation. It also provides insulation from heat and easy bleeds.
  • SwingLink: The SwingLink provides a new and special cam shape that allows for less deadband and more positive pad engagement when you apply the brakes.
  • Color: The SRAM G2 RSC Disc Brake is only available in Black.
  • Accessories: This package includes calipers, hoses, brake bodies, and organic pads.

Some Weaknesses
  • This brake system uses DOT 5.1 fluid instead of safer mineral oil.

The SRAM G2 RSC is a Disc Brake offering an excellent choice for your mountain biking needs. Installing this brake on your bike is very simple and easy. However, what is even better is the riding experience. They provide an absolutely solid performance and are very precise. We have tested them on tracks consisting of several descents and found them to perform extremely well. They also held up well in high-speed and muddy conditions. The only thing that we noticed is that the rear pads seem to have discolored slightly, though this has not impacted the performance of the brakes in any way. So, if you are looking for some new brakes that will enhance your mountain riding performance, then these are the ones for you!

SRAM G2 RSC

SRAM G2 RSC

3. Sram Code R: Easy bleeding, offers excellent control, has an efficient heat shield

Sale
Sram Code R

  • Best For: MTB
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic
  • Pad Type: Steel-backed metal sintered
  • Bracket Type: Direct mount DIR
  • Material: Aluminum – Forged
  • Weight: 499 grams
  • Brake Mount: Post Mount

Features & Considerations
  • Bleeding Edge: SRAM has relocated the bleed port to the caliper’s base. This not only allows the four pistons to interact directly but also makes bleeding much more convenient and consistent.
  • Directlink: The SRAM Code R comes with the Directlink lever layout. This will allow you to press the lever and apply the brakes in a much more smooth manner.
  • Piggyback Reservoir: The Piggyback Reservoir is basically the brake fluid reservoir and it provides a convenient and reliable way of controlling the brake fluid.
  • Expandable Bladder: The brake lever also consists of an improved bladder that removes air from the lever and pushes the fluid in instead. This also helps move out any air bubbles in the lever.
  • Heat Shield: The heat shield is built with stainless steel and it does not let the temperature of the caliper fluid exceed 20°C no matter how hot it gets.
  • Color: The SRAM Code R is available only in Black.
  • Accessories: This package includes brake caliper, brake lever, and hose.

Some Weaknesses
  • The feel of the brakes changes a lot over time.

The SRAM Code R is a very powerful set of mountain bike brakes. They work really well no matter what the conditions are. Every rider has a different preference when it comes to how they want to apply the brakes. SRAM understands that and they delivered the solution by providing the reach adjust. Reach adjust offers easy adjustment of the lever and even allows one-finger control of the lever. Apart from power and ease of use, the SRAM Code R is also quite popular in the bicycle community. This means that it is sold in high volume and you can get its replacement parts literally anywhere. You will find that almost all bike shops stock their parts at all times. So if you ever need anything fixed or just need to switch out a specific part, odds are you will find it at your local bike shop! So what are you waiting for? Get these brakes while you still can!

Sram Code R

Sram Code R

4. Magura USA MT7 Pro: Lightweight, radial design, features Magura technology

Sale
Magura USA MT7 Pro

  • Best For: Gravity, Enduro, E-MTB
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic
  • Material: Carbotecture SL, Flip-Flop-Design
  • Weight: 255 grams
  • Brake Mount: Post Mount / IS
  • Brake Lever: 1 Finger

Features & Considerations
  • Lightweight: Weighing just about 255 grams, the Magura MT7 Pro is extremely lightweight which is a great feature for any bicycle component.
  • Solid Build: The Carbotecture SL material used to build the brake is made up of composite material containing polymers and carbon fibers. This material allows the brake to be both light and strong.
  • Radial Design: The radial design of the brake decreases drag and allows for both small & large transmission ratios. This helps to lower transmission losses and also allows ease of control.
  • Braking Performance: This brake consists of a 4-piston caliper made of forged aluminum. This makes it quite rigid and allows it to provide the ultimate braking performance and stability even in extreme conditions.
  • Magura Technology: The new patented MAGURA technology significantly improves brake and clutch responsiveness. Also, the advanced seal technology prevents air from penetrating the hydraulic system.
  • Color: This amazing brake system is available only in Black-Fluro-Yellow (Master) & Mystic Grey Anodized (Caliper).
  • Accessories: The package includes the brake caliper and lever.
  • Warranty: Magura offers a five-year leak-proof guarantee for all MAGURA brake masters and brake calipers.

Some Weaknesses
  • The brake pads move around inside the caliper when braking.

The Magura USA MT7 Pro is a very high quality and well-built product. It is designed, engineered, and manufactured in Germany. Therefore, the Magura MT7 Pro adheres to the highest international standard and quality. The disc brake is much lighter when compared to its competitors in the market. This brake system uses the much better mineral oil instead of the old fashioned dot brake fluid which is much more susceptible to corrosion. It also has a single finger lever which makes it much easier to use. And the best part is no matter how rough the terrain or how long you go downhill, the brakes will have a consistent and stable pressure point. Also, you will be happy to know that this system is equipped with easy bleed technology for faster bleeding. So if you think that these brakes are a good match for you, get it to enhance your mountain bike riding experience today!

Magura USA MT7 Pro

Magura USA MT7 Pro

5. Magura MT Trail: High quality, easy bleed technology, has magnetic pistons

Magura MT Trail

  • Best For: MTB
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic
  • Material: Carbotecture
  • Weight: 255 grams (Front), 230 grams (Rear)
  • Brake Mount: Post Mount
  • Brake Lever: 1 Finger

Features & Considerations
  • Made in Germany: The Magura MT Trail Sport Bicycle Brake is designed and built in Germany. This ensures its high-end build quality is needed to make such a powerful product.
  • Carbotecture Lever: The carbotecture lever housing makes it more lightweight than aluminum while offering the same strength and build quality. It consists of high-tech polymers and carbon or glass fibers.
  • MagnetiXchange: The Magnetic pistons fit perfectly into the brake caliper and assures fast and smooth brake pad replacement.
  • Easy Bleed Technology: This technology is essential for any type of brake system as it offers easy and fast bleeding to provide excellent braking performance.
  • Color: The MT Trail Sport is available in black with mystic grey anodized.
  • Accessories: This package includes 1-Finger HC Lever and Brake Cables.
  • Warranty: Magura offers a five-year leak-proof guarantee for all MAGURA brake masters and brake calipers.

Some Weaknesses
  • The Magura brake pads are not of the best quality.

The Magura MT Trail provides astounding performance for the price! This brake just makes everything easy for you. The installation is easy, bleeding is easy, and it is definitely easy to use. They are quite powerful. The front brake is a bit more powerful than the rear as we felt the front brake had a lot more left when the rear brake locked up on our test ride. There is a slight break-in period. You might take a bit of time to get used to it, however, after the break-in period, the brakes are much stronger. Also, the levers are adjustable which means you can use them in whichever way you are comfortable. The levers also provide plenty of feedback so you can dial in the perfect amount of braking.

Magura MT Trail

Magura MT Trail

6. TRP Slate G-Spec: Reach adjustability, offers excellent modulation, has exceptional heat dissipation

TRP Slate G-Spec

  • Best For: Cross Country, Trail
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic
  • Material: Dimpled and Drilled Aluminum
  • Weight: 285 grams (Front), 327 grams (Rear)
  • Brake Mount: Post Mount
  • Brake Lever: 1 Finger

Features & Considerations
  • Reach Adjust: This amazing brake is equipped with a reach adjustment system that offers quick & easy adjustment of the lever so that you can use it according to your style and convenience.
  • Mineral Oil Brake: The brakes use mineral oil instead of the more widespread dot fluid. There are quite a few advantages to this, while the main one being that it is non-corrosive and much safer.
  • Heat Dissipation: The brake consists of four hybrid pistons which allow for improved heat dissipation. Therefore, no matter how extreme the conditions are, you can always count on your brakes.
  • Excellent Modulation: The four-piston design utilizes two different diameter pistons for excellent modulation during braking.
  • Color: The TRP G-Spec Slate is available only in Silver.
  • Accessories: This package comes with lever, caliper, rotor, and 950mm hose (front), an IS adapter, and post mount adapter for 180mm and 203mm rotors.
  • Warranty: TRP’s Slate Hydraulic Disc Brake Systems are warranted against manufacturing defects in materials and/or workmanship for two years from the date of original retail purchase.

Some Weaknesses
  • The aluminum build makes it a bit heavier than other brakes.

The TRP Slate G-Spec is the perfect choice for you if you want great modulation and optimum stopping power. This brake comes with large and convenient levers which you can customize according to your riding preferences. They are also quite easy and straightforward to install on your mountain bike. Also, a fun fact about this brake is that it was designed by the collaboration of the TRP development team and none other than the world cup champion, Aaron Gwin. Therefore, you can understand just how unique and well-designed this product is. There are a lot of mountain bike brakes out there, however, the solid build, impressive design, and performance of the TRP Slate G-Spec allow it to be on any top list of best mountain bike brakes.

TRP Slate G-Spec

TRP Slate G-Spec

7. Shimano M820 Saint: Features ice technology, requires simple maintenance, consists of servowave technology

Shimano M820 Saint

  • Best For: MTB
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brake
  • Pad Type: Resin, Metal with cooling fins
  • Pad Mount: Pad Axle
  • Material: Aluminum (Anodized)
  • Weight: 306 grams
  • Brake Mount: Post Type
  • Brake Lever: 1 Finger

Features & Considerations
  • Ice Technology: This technology basically provides cooling for the brake. The rotor blade is made up of aluminum and stainless steel. It provides improved radiation performance which allows it to get a minimal surface temperature.
  • Servowave Technology: Shimano’s very own servowave technology improves the modulation ability of the brake lever.
  • Easy Maintenance: The brakes come with a one-way bleeding caliper and an easy hose joint system which enables the exchange of brake hoses to be completely seamless. As a result, this brake is very straightforward and easy to maintain.
  • Ceramic Pistons: The 4-piston caliper made of ceramic provides an exceptionally well heat management system and also offers smooth deceleration of the bike.
  • Color: The Shimano M820 Saint is only available in Black.
  • Accessories: This package also includes brake levers, calipers, and hoses.
  • Warranty: Shimano provides a limited warranty of two years along with the purchase of this product.

Some Weaknesses
  • The brake pads of this system are not really up to the mark.

The Shimano M820 Saint is very reliable and user-friendly. The lever design makes them very easy to use. The 2-finger levers feature tool-free reach and free stroke adjustment. And they are reliable because of their solid build and heat management system. No matter how hard you brake you can rest assured that your brakes will not be damaged due to excessive heat. The only drawback of these brakes is the weight as it is a bit on the heavy side. Therefore, they are probably not the optimal choice for an all-mountain or enduro bike, but for downhill, these brakes are the absolute best. Basically, if you need to stop hard and fast, the extra weight will help you a lot. So hurry up and get these fantastic brakes to take your performance to a whole new level.

Shimano M820 Saint

Shimano M820 Saint

8. Hayes Dominion: Features a rigid structure, has tremendous braking sensation, offers outstanding heat management

Hayes Dominion

  • Best For: MTB, E-Bike
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brake
  • Pad Type: T106 Semi-Metallic and T100 Sintered Metallic
  • Pad Mount: Pad Axle
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 310 grams
  • Brake Mount: Post Mount
  • Brake Lever: 2-Finger

Features & Considerations
  • 4-Piston Caliper: The caliper utilizes four pistons in a very rigid structure. It has a cold-forged caliper & a pad retention bolt that allows it to be highly stiff.
  • Bleed System: The brake system comes with a 2-stroke dual-port bleed system that provides smooth and swift bedding and also allows for safe venting.
  • Bearings: The cartridge bearing mounted lever offers much better braking sensation and swift engagement.
  • Heat Management: The pistons are made up of aluminum and so operate smoothly across all temperatures and also provide great heat management.
  • Color: The Hayes Dominion Rear Disc Brake is available in Black & Bronze.
  • Accessories: This package also includes a brake lever, a brake caliper, a brake hose, an olive, an insert pin, a pair of T106 semi-metallic brake pads, a pair of T100 sintered metallic brake pads, 2 screws for the brake caliper.
  • Warranty: Hayes Dominion offers a conditional Lifetime Leakproof Warranty covering the master cylinder assembly and the caliper.

Some Weaknesses
  • The company does not offer a rotor along with the package.

The Hayes Dominion is a great choice to meet your mountain biking needs. What we loved about this brake is how it was designed with the user in mind. The brake has a very small dead stroke when you initially apply it. This will allow you to keep a finger on the brake at all times without mistakenly activating it from minor unintended squeezes. There is always a chance of mistakenly pressing the brakes. It happens to everyone. This prevents it from actually stopping or slowing down the bike when that happens. It has great control and plenty of stopping power to bring your bike to a quick halt on fast descents. However, it won’t make you feel like you are jumping off your bike. It will definitely enrich your mountain biking experience!

Hayes Dominion

Hayes Dominion

9. JGbike Shimano MT200: Highly versatile, features one way bleeding, great for beginners

JGbike Shimano MT200

  • Best For: MTB, XC Trail, E-Bike
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brake
  • Pad Type: B01S Resin
  • Pad Mount: Split Pin
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Brake Mount: Post Mount
  • Brake Lever: 3-Finger

Features & Considerations
  • Versatile: The JGbike Shimano MT200 brakes have a very flexible design and so it allows the brakes to fit any type of bike. So you can be confident that these brakes will go very well with your mountain bike!
  • MTB Beginners: These brakes are the perfect match for new mountain bike riders as the braking power is adjusted to make it easier to use. The braking power for the MT200 is exactly 90 percent of the MT400 brake set.
  • One Way Bleeding: This was introduced to allow for a speedy and effortless restriction of air from the brake system. They have simplified the oil route of the system to reduce the chances of air or air bubbles being caught up in the brakes.
  • Braking Performance: The brakes provide solid and reliable performance. The 2-piston caliper and the smooth bleeding system provides the ultimate performance.
  • Quiet Ride: The brake system offers a very quiet ride and the 40 percent wide pad clearance reduces the rattling noise that is usually created by the pads.
  • Color: The JGbike Shimano MT200 brakes are available only in Black.
  • Accessories: This package also includes a Shimano SM-BH59-JK-SS brake hose 1000 mm (front) or 1700 mm (rear), a pair of Shimano B01S brake pads, an insert pin, an olive, and two caliper bolts.

Some Weaknesses
  • Some of these brakes are not pre-bled and so you have to bleed them yourself or take them to your local bike shop.

The JGbike Shimano MT200 is very to use and is great for entry-level riders. The brake lever is accessible by everyone as they are designed to accommodate small hands as well. It provides a minimum reach of 75 millimeters. The installation process is very simple and straightforward. You might find the initial riding and braking a bit uncomfortable as the pads are not bedded. However, after the pads have been bedded properly, you will find its performance as smooth as ever. Even though the brake power is reduced by 10 percent compared to the MT400, the stopping power is still sufficient for descending or cutting corners. They will help new riders ease into mountain bike riding and gain a valuable learning experience. So if you are just starting your mountain biking journey, go for these fantastic brakes to have a truly wonderful beginning.

JGbike Shimano MT200

JGbike Shimano MT200

10. Magura MT5 Disc Brake: Highly rigid, features incredible design, made from carbotecture material

Sale
Magura MT5 Disc Brake

  • Best For: Gravity, Enduro, E-MTB
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brake
  • Material: Carbotecture, Flip-Flop-Design
  • Weight: 255 grams
  • Brake Mount: Post Mount
  • Brake Lever: 2-Finger HC, Aluminum

Features & Considerations
  • Radial Design: The brake’s radial design minimizes the friction which allows for lower transmission losses. This also improves the modulation of the brakes and allows you to control it easily.
  • High Rigidity: The one-piece 4-piston caliper is highly rigid. This allows it to provide exceptional braking force and even better modulation when you are riding out in the mountains.
  • Carbotecture Material: Carbotecture housing comprises high-tech polymers and carbon fibers. This enables the brake to half the weight of an aluminum brake.
  • MagnetiXchange: The brake caliper can flawlessly accommodate the magnetic pistons. This ensures swift and trouble-free brake pad replacement. Therefore, making your life much easier.
  • Easy Bleed Technology: The quick and easy bleeding offered by this technology provides smooth and seamless braking performance.
  • Color: The Magura MT5 Disc Brake is available only in Black.
  • Accessories: This package includes a caliper, lever, pads & hose.
  • Warranty: Magura offers a five-year leak-proof guarantee for all MAGURA brake masters and brake calipers.

Some Weaknesses
  • The brake cables are very long and you might have to get them cut on your own.

The Magura MT5 features incredible stopping power and performance. Not only that but they also look the part. It has a great finishing and the stylish black color will definitely suit your mountain bike. We realized its potential and quality when we tested it for ourselves. It provides a tremendous feel and also controls when you brake while cutting corners or riding downhill. Also, it provides great modulation even if you brake late. You will also love the reach adjust on the brakes and you can use it according to your own convenience. The installation process is incredibly easy. However, if you require a little additional help, you can watch their set up video on the Magura website. So whether you are into gravity, enduro, or just regular mountain biking, get this bike to make the most out of your biking endeavors.

Magura MT5 Disc Brake

Magura MT5 Disc Brake

11. SHIMANO Deore XT M8100 M8120: Offers easy assembly, gives off less noise, highly adjustable

Sale
SHIMANO Deore XT M8100 M8120

  • Best For: MTB
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brake
  • Pad Type: D03S Resin / D02S Metal / N03A Resin / N04C Metal
  • Pad Mount: Pad Axle
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 410 grams
  • Brake Mount: Post Mount
  • Brake Lever: 2-Finger Aluminum (Anodized)

Features & Considerations
  • One Way Bleeding: This concept is executed on the system’s oil route and it helps to prevent the presence of air or air bubbles in the braking system. This also makes it easier to maintain or take care of your brakes.
  • High Rigidity: The Shimano Deore XT M8100 & M8120 is 10 percent harder than the M8000. This is true even when the brakes are going through high-temperature conditions.
  • Highly Adjustable: The brakes can be adjusted and customized according to your riding style. It offers tool-less reach adjustment so that you can apply the brakes efficiently and also free stroke adjustment for your convenience.
  • Easy Assembly: This brake system consists of banjo type connection and inside hose routing which is quite simple and can be assembled very quickly.
  • Less Noise: This disc brake system produces much less noise as the disc brake rotor does not vibrate or shake much due to the high braking power.
  • Color: The Shimano Deore XT M8100 & M8120 is available in Black.
  • Accessories: This package includes a BL-M8100 brake lever, a BR-M8120 caliper, brake pads, and an SM-BH90-SBM brake hose.
  • Warranty: Shimano provides a limited warranty of two years along with the purchase of this product.

Some Weaknesses
  • Shimano packs the olive into the brake which is a hassle as you have to get it out of your own and you might get some fluid on your hands.

The Shimano Deore XT M8100 M8120 are absolutely top-notch brakes. They provide an unbelievable stopping power and that too without locking out your wheels. This makes them very safe to use as you will not jump or fall off your bike even if you brake very hard. These brakes are much more improved and provide better performance than the previous M8000s made by Shimano. They removed the floating bite point issue that the previous models had. The brake is very easy to set up and comes with the standard Shimano easy bleed process so that you can get rid of any remaining air bubbles from it. The users of this brake seem to be very happy with its performance. And we certainly did not face any type of technical issue when we tested it ourselves. So if you are currently searching for a new mountain biking brake system, then this is the one you should go for!

SHIMANO Deore XT M8100 M8120

SHIMANO Deore XT M8100 M8120

12. Tektro HD-M290: Has dual-piston, offers easy installation, serves great adjustments | Our Budget Choice

Tektro HD-M290

  • Best For: MTB
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brake
  • Pad Type: Organic Compound
  • Bracket Type: One Piece Cast Aluminum Bracket
  • Material: Forged Aluminum Body
  • Weight: 295 grams (Front) / 315 grams (Rear)
  • Brake Mount: Post Mount
  • Brake Lever: 2 Finger Blade, Cast Aluminum Lever

Features & Considerations
  • Dual Piston: This Tektro brake comes with an open system designed dual-piston caliper that provides tremendous performance. Due to the dual-piston caliper, the pads have to be larger in size. This allows the brakes to withstand more heat and will be more durable as larger pads provide even pressure distribution.
  • Budget-Friendly: This brake system is our budget choice and it is the most affordable brake in this article.
  • Mineral Oil: These brakes use mineral oil instead of dot fluids. Mineral oil is non-corrosive and more environment-friendly when compared to dot fluids and therefore is the better option in a lot of cases.
  • Easy Installation: The installation process is quite easy and will not take you much time to set up. Therefore, you can take your mountain bike out for a ride with your new brakes as soon as possible.
  • Great Adjustments: The Tektro brakes can be adjusted swiftly and easily as per your requirement. So that you can hit the brakes as comfortably as possible when you are riding in the mountains.
  • Simple Maintenance: The dual-piston caliper, large pads, and mineral oil fluid allows this bike to remain in very condition and therefore do not require any serious maintenance to keep it in good shape.
  • Color: The Tektro HD-M290 Hydraulic Disc Brake is only available in Black.
  • Accessories: This package includes factory bled caliper, lever, hose, rotor, and mounting hardware.

Some Weaknesses
  • The brakes are a bit noisy when they are wet.

The Tektro HD-M290 is our budget choice and offers amazing stopping power at the price range. It also comes with its own bleed kit which is a great advantage. The hydraulic actuation will provide you with super-smooth performance. They provide the perfect balance when it comes to braking performance. They are effective but too grabby either so that you can break with absolute ease. Also, you will not face any trouble setting up this bike as the package comes with instructions on how to set it up. You will also enjoy the fact that this brake arrives pre-bled straight from the factory and also comes with a very nice and flat rotor. It saves you the trouble of buying a rotor separately. So if you are in the market for a budget-friendly and yet well-performing set of mountain biking brakes, then this is the one for you!

Tektro HD-M290

Tektro HD-M290


Buying Guide: MTB brakes

T8025 MTB 1

Image Source: www.canyon.com

Different Types of Brakes

There are mainly two different types of brakes out there: Rim Brakes & Disc Brakes.

  • Rim Brakes

For rim brakes, the braking surface is basically the wheel’s rim. When the braking pads are pressed against the rim, the bike slows down. Rim brakes are quite popular on road, city & BMX bikes. They are preferred for their simple mechanical layout and lightweight. There are a fair number of rim brake types out there. However, the two most popular or well-known ones are cantilever & caliper brakes. They are both fantastic in terms of quality and performance. However, each of these brakes come with their own set of benefits, drawbacks, and are suitable for different types of riding styles. Rim brakes are not very common in mountain bikes, however, some models do come with a specific type of rim brake known as V-brake.

  • Disc Brakes

Disc brakes utilize a round metal disc that is set on the wheel’s hub as it’s braking surface instead of the rim. The disc rotates via a caliper. The caliper consists of the brake pads. Pressing the brake lever exerts the pads towards the rotor, and thus decelerates the bike. Two types of disc brakes are used on bikes. They are mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes are those in which the caliper pistons are switched on by the use of wire cables. Hydraulic disc brakes are those where the pads and pistons are shifted by the compression of hydraulic brake fluids contained in sealed hoses. Most modern mountain bikes come with a hydraulically driven disc brake system.

T8025 Brake Anatomy 2

Image Source: www.liv-cycling.com

Features of MTB brakes

1. Brake Pads

Three main types of brake pads are used in disc brakes. They are sintered semi-metallic and organic pads.

Semi-metallic pads are capable of producing much more braking power and they are also more durable than organic pads. Most mountain bike brakes will come with semi-metallic brake pads from their respective manufacturers. Sintered pads, sometimes referred to as metallic pads are mostly popular among gravity riders. This is because they offer a lot of friction which is required in this type of riding. Actually, sintered pads can perform better at high temperatures. This is because they create friction in very high or hot temperatures. So you will not get a very powerful initial bite with these pads, but during heated conditions, they will outperform everything else. Organic pads also referred to as resin provide excellent modulation and do not make much noise. With that being said, they are not very durable and should not be used in wet conditions. Now that you know about the different types of pads available for you. Check out the pads of your new brakes before purchasing them.

2. Brake Modulation

Brake modulation is basically how the braking power is influenced by the brake lever’s position. A mountain bike brake with high brake modulation provides low stopping power when the lever is slightly squeezed. On the other hand, if your brake system has very low brake modulation then the stopping power might shift from a slight brake to a complete stop with just minimal pressure on the lever. Even though disc brake systems offer a lot more stopping power, they generally provide less brake modulation than rim brakes. It is important to note that some brake system models enable the rider to adjust the lever piston in accordance with the caliper piston. This allows the brakes system to offer much better modulation when braking.

3. Reach & Stroke Adjustment

Reach and stroke adjustment features can be found in disc brake systems in the mid and high-end price ranges. A reach adjustment enables the rider to adjust the distance between the brake lever and the handlebar. This is a great feature especially if you have small hands as you can adjust the brake lever according to your comfort. On the other hand, stroke adjustment is basically how much pressure you have to apply on the brake lever to hit the brakes. This differs from rider to rider. You prefer a short stroke to stop your bike or maybe even a longer one. You should know that these aforementioned adjustments influence modulation.

4. Rotor

A disc brake system’s rotor is basically a round disc that is mounted on the wheel. The brake caliper grabs onto this disc to slow down or stop the bike. The rotor’s prime feature is to disperse the heat that is generated from braking. That is why nowadays, new and innovative materials and designs are used to increase the airflow and heat distribution. The diameter of the rotor plays an important role in heat transfer. And so you will notice that some of the diameters of the rotor in some bikes are larger than others. For example, bikes used for gravity riding have a larger rotor than those used for general mountain riding or cross country bikes. High-end rotors are designed in two pieces. This helps to make it lightweight and also enhances heat transfer. You can also purchase your preferred rotor for your brakes. Most brake systems come with adapters so that you can fit different rotors. This will allow you to customize your brakes according to your riding style.

5. Bike Compatibility

Before you purchase your new MTB brakes you should check if your bike is compatible with them. To be precise the frame, forks & wheels of your bike must be able to fit your new brakes. First, let’s talk about your frame & forks. There are two kinds of disc mounts for mounting calipers to your frames & forks. They are known as: International Standard and Post Mount. You will need an adaptor to attach an international standard mount to the caliper. However, you can directly attach a post-mount to the caliper. Even though international standard mounts are still found in many disc brakes, post mount systems are quickly gaining more popularity as they are more appropriate for forks.

Your wheels must also be able to fit your new brakes. There are two main types of systems for rotor mounting. They are six-bolt and center-lock systems. Six-bolt systems come with hubs that have six uniformly spaced holes that can be used to attach it to a rotor. The center-lock system has a hub-rotor interface that is fixed with the help of a locking ring. Center-lock systems take much less time to set up, however, six-bol systems are still more preferred as they provide a lot more convenience.

F. A. Q.s

Q.1: Why are hydraulic brakes better than mechanical brakes?

Ans.: Mechanical brakes are solid and perform well. However, they are inefficient at transmitting power from the brake lever to the caliper. They also get contaminated quite easily and you have to manually adjust the brakes if and when the pads wear out.

Compared to that, hydraulic disc brakes are much lighter, automatically adjust in case the pads wear out and also keep out contaminants. In addition to all that, they also provide less friction. You can know more about them by watching the video linked below:

Q.2: How long do brake pads last?

Ans.: It depends completely on the pads themselves. Some disc brake pads do not last after one ride in extreme wet conditions while other pads last for more than a full season. Disc brake pads outlast rim brakes if they are used in good riding conditions. However, riding regularly in extreme conditions such as very wet or muddy terrain will see any type of pads deteriorate in terms of quality and performance over time.

Q.3: Are disc brakes better than V brakes?

Ans.: V-brakes are lighter, less expensive, more aerodynamic, and easier to repair than disc brakes. However, disc brakes offer much more braking power, better heat transfer, and offer more precision. Disc brakes also perform better than V-brakes in wet or bad riding conditions. With that being said, which one you will like more completely depends on you and your riding style. You can watch this video to find out more:

Q.4: Are disc brakes safe?

Ans.: Disc brakes systems prevent the rim from heating up. This is a huge advantage as rim brakes often heat the rim which causes the tire to blowout especially during long descents. Disc brakes are also well known for providing much more precision while breaking. Therefore, they are absolutely safe to use.

Q.5: Do disc brakes require ‘bedding in’ before they’ll work properly?

Ans.: After purchasing a new disc brake, it will need a certain breaking-in period during which its performance will not be the best. This is because the brake rotor’s surface needs to be toughened up so that it can work efficiently. You can speed up the process by taking out regularly and slightly applying the brakes but remember to not stop all the way. This will help the brakes to break in faster.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you were able to learn something new about mountain bike brakes. Our main goal is to provide you with the most important and accurate information so that you can have a successful and fulfilling cycling life. We hope you will not rush into your decision and spend as much time as possible to learn more about mountain bike brakes before your final purchase. Thank you for reading this article. Take care!

Related readings on Bike Brakes:


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Last update on 2020-11-25 at 10:50 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

I’ve been cycling from my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.

At my college life, I took a part time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.

Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or a bike gear.

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