Mechanical or Hydraulic Disc Brakes ?

If you have decided that you want disc brakes, the next step is determining whether you want mechanical or hydraulic mountain bike disc brakes. There is a lot of controversy on which type is better. There are very good brands of both types.

Mechanical Disc Brakes

With mechanical mountain bike disc brakes, a tensioned steel cable activates pistons that cause the brake pads to compress against the rotor when the brake lever is pulled.
  • Easier to set up and maintain mechanically
  • Less expensive than hydraulic disc brakes
  • Can not modulate amount of brake force as easily as hydraulics
  • Have to apply more pressure to brake than hydraulic brakes

Hydraulic Disc Brakes

With hydraulic mountain bike disc brakes, instead of a steel cable, hydraulic fluid pushes pistons inside the caliper, which compress the brake pads.
  • More precise control and sensitivity, which is good for technical riding
  • Don't have to use as much pressure to brake
  • Have a crisper feel than mechanical brakes
  • More complicated mechanically to set up and maintain
  • Can not fix on the trail if they fail because of the special equipment that is needed