Mechanical vs Hydraulic Disc Brakes on Electric Bike: What's the Difference?

December 5, 2022



When stopping power on an electric bike, the two most popular choices are mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes. Both types of braking systems offer powerful and reliable stopping power, but they also have their own distinct advantages.

Let's dig into the differences between mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes so you can make an informed decision when choosing your electric assist bike.

Mechanical Disc Brakes

On a mechanical disc brake e-bike, a cable system is used to activate and control the brakes. This braking system has been around for decades and is still widely used on bikes today. It's reliable, easy to maintain and generally cheaper than a hydraulic disc brake system.

The downside of mechanical brakes is that they are less powerful than hydraulic disc brakes and the braking power can be affected by cable tension and wear & tear over time. They also require more effort at the lever than a hydraulically operated system.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes

A hydraulic disc brake e-bike uses a more sophisticated braking system that's powered by pressurized fluid. This brake offers much greater stopping power and responsiveness than a mechanical disc brake and the lever requires less effort to operate. You also don't need to worry about cable tension or wear & tear like mechanical brakes.

The downside of hydraulic disc brake e-bikes is that the brakes can be more expensive to replace and the system may require a bit more effort to maintain.



Which Type of Maintenance Do Hydraulic Disc Brakes Require?

When it comes to keeping your hydraulic disc brakes in tip-top shape, you'll need to perform a few basic maintenance tasks periodically.

To start, you'll need to bleed the brake lines every six months or so. This involves flushing out any air that may have gotten into the system and refilling it with fresh hydraulic fluid. You'll also want to check the brake pads and rotor for wear & tear every few months and replace them as necessary.

Which Type of Maintenance Do Mechanical Disc Brakes Require?

Mechanical disc brakes don't require as much maintenance as hydraulic disc brakes, but there are still a few steps you'll need to take in order to keep them in good condition.

First, check the cables regularly and adjust the tension if necessary. You should also inspect the brake pads for wear & tear every few months and replace them if they're worn down. Finally, you can use a lubricant to help keep the system running smoothly and prevent rust buildup.

How Easy Is It to Ride a Fat Wheel Electric Bike With Hydraulic Brakes?

Riding a fat-wheel electric bike with hydraulic brakes is much easier than riding one with mechanical brakes. The hydraulic system provides more control and power for tackling steep hills, corners and another tough terrain. Plus, the powerful braking system allows you to stop quickly without having to apply too much pressure on the brake lever manually.

So, you don't have to pull hard on the brake lever as you would with a mechanical disc brake. This makes riding a fat-wheel electric bike with hydraulic brakes much easier and more enjoyable, allowing you to focus on having fun without worrying about your brakes.

How Easy Is It to Ride a Fat Wheel Electric Bike With Mechanical Brakes?

Riding a fat-wheel electric bike with mechanical brakes can be just as enjoyable as riding one with hydraulic brakes, as long as you adjust the cable tension correctly. The mechanical system provides plenty of stopping power to tackle steep hills or corners, but it requires more effort at the lever than hydraulic brakes. You also need to make sure that the cable tension is adjusted correctly. Otherwise, the brakes may be too weak or too tight. With some maintenance and tuning, you can enjoy comfortable and responsive braking with a mechanical system.

Which Best Budget Fat Tire eBike to Buy?

This is the choice that everyone will have to make individually based on their budget and preferences. However, a few factors should be kept in mind when choosing the best budget fat tire eBike for you.

First, consider the terrain you wish to take your bike over. If you plan to ride mostly on roads or paved trails, a hardtail bike would be the better choice. These bikes have one suspension fork in front, allowing them to absorb shocks and bumps more effectively than a full-suspension bike with both a shock absorber at the front and rear of the bike.

On the other hand, if you plan on riding off-road or tackling rougher terrain, then a full-suspension bike is the better choice. The shocks at the front and rear of the bike will provide a more comfortable ride while also allowing you to navigate even tougher terrain without sacrificing speed or control.

If you find it hard to navigate between the two, then a hybrid bike might also be a good choice. These bikes feature both a front and rear shock absorber, providing great cushioning for roads or light trails while still having enough suspension to tackle tougher terrain when needed.


Hydraulic disc brakes are the superior option for electric assist bikes. They offer more power and control, require less effort at the lever and can be easily maintained. However, mechanical disc brakes are still a good choice for a budget-friendly ebike that provides ample stopping power if you take the time to maintain them properly.

No matter which type of brakes you choose, make sure that you always check and adjust the brakes regularly to ensure your safety and prolong the life of your bike.



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