Hydraulic vs Mechanical Disc Brake – A Discussion

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Hey there rider, we guess the title has caught your attention and you are here to learn the difference between hydraulic vs mechanical disc brake. Well, you have landed on the right page.

In this article, we will help you clear your doubts on these two-disc brakes with proper meaning of each brake and their advantages and disadvantages. By the end of this article, you will be able to distinguish between hydraulic vs mechanical disc brake and choose the most appropriate one for your riding.

So, without further ado let us quickly jump into the article, shall we?


The disc brake is an incredible feature that is used in a number of modern bikes & cycles and also the use of these brakes is rapidly increasing. This is because disc brakes have many advantages over traditional brakes like disc brakes have more precise controlling and braking and they don’t heat the rim.

Disc brakes also are more effective in wet weather in comparison to the rim brakes or traditional brakes. Due to these advantages, the cycling community is opting for disc brakes for their adventure and endurance bikes.

Now, there are two main types of disc brakes used in cycles and those are, you guessed it right – mechanical and hydraulic disc brake.

What is the difference between hydraulic and mechanical disc brake?

So now you know there are two types of disc brakes for your bike one is hydraulic and the second is mechanical disk brake. So what is the difference between the two? Let us break down each type and see.

Mechanical disc brakes

Cable actuated brakes or mechanical disc brakes function in a similar way as rim brakes. The mechanical disc brakes rely on a braided steel cable which activates the piston and compresses the brake pads when the brake lever is pulled.

Here below are some highlighting features of mechanical brakes:

  • The brake medium in mechanical disc brakes is braided steel cables.
  • Mechanical disc brakes require frequent maintenance and check-up.
  • The adjustments in mechanical disc brakes are easy and simple.

Advantages of Mechanical disc brakes

One of the biggest advantages of mechanical disc brakes in your bike is that it is very easy to use and operate. This is because it is the same as cables brakes and most people have the knowledge and understanding of such types.

Another advantage of mechanical disc brakes is that the parts involved in this type are readily available at a cheaper price in comparison to hydraulic disc brakes.

Disadvantages of Mechanical disc brakes

One disadvantage of mechanical disc brakes is the weight. (It is heavy)

The brake performance of mechanical disc brake is – it requires more force and also it is less efficient.

Hydraulic disc brakes

Hydraulic disc brakes function with the help of hydro or fluid that shifts the force from lever to caliper. The fluid works similarly as cable disc – it transfers the force on the brake pads against the rotor or disc to cause friction and stop the bike.

The notable point, however, is that it is more effective and efficient.

Features of Hydraulic disc brakes

  • Hydraulic disc brakes operate with the help of fluid, no cables are involved.
  • It does not require maintenance.
  • The adjustments in hydraulic disc brakes are complex.

Advantages of Hydraulic disc brakes

One of the biggest advantages of using hydraulic disc brakes is that it is very effective and has a lot of stopping power.

There is no chance of contamination because hydraulic disc brakes are sealed up. Another advantage is that it does not have complicated wiring inside the system which helps to make it light and efficient.

Disadvantages of Hydraulic disc brakes

The downsides of hydraulic disc brakes are that they are expensive, a bit complex.

Hydraulic vs mechanical disc brake

Here are some segments which will help you distinguish between hydraulic vs mechanical disc brake.

Brake medium

Hydraulic disc brake – Fluid

Mechanical disc brake – Cables


Hydraulic disc brake – It does not require maintenance (Sealed)

Mechanical disc brake – It requires frequent maintenance.


Hydraulic disc brake – Light

Mechanical disc brake – Heavier than hydraulic disc brake.


Hydraulic disc brake – Expensive

Mechanical disc brake – Cheaper

Efficiency/ Brake performance

Hydraulic disc brake – More efficient than a mechanical disc brake. (No complicated cable system)

Mechanical disc brake – Less efficient due to cable friction issues.

Final Thoughts

Considering all the points mentioned above it is clear that hydraulic disc brakes are much more efficient than mechanical disc brakes. However, if you look at the downsides of hydraulic disc brake it is more expensive and complex than mechanical disc brakes.

This is it, time to wrap up the article regarding hydraulic vs mechanical disc brake. Hope you find the information helpful. Happy and safe riding!

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