8 Best Bike Brakes in 2020 for a Quick Stop

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There are a lot of people who own bikes these days and use them for various purposes. However, whether they’re being used for work, exercise, and etcetera, there are certain features that all bikes are expected to have. One of these features are the bike brakes. Brakes are mechanisms that are used to bring your bicycle to a halt.

In fact, riding a bicycle that doesn’t have any brakes is a bad decision – you never know when you’ll find yourself in an emergency situation that requires you to stop quickly and suddenly.

You should never ride a bicycle with brakes that have compromised integrity. Even if you’ll need to spend some extra cash on quality brakes, make sure you do – never risk your safety.

Best Bicycle Brakes

When searching for the best bike brakes, you’ll be presented with a lot of tempting options. However, not all these options are reliable and efficient.

We’ll review the top ones that you can lay your hands on today.

1. SRAM Brake Caliper

The first item in this review of the best bike brakes is the SRAM Brake Caliper. This product is efficient and reliable – thanks to an integration of titanium bolts and cold-forged arms.

There’s a narrow inner cable wire that extends from the caliper’s arms, through the adjuster lockout, and into the larger cable that extends to the brake lever. In any event that requires bringing your bike to a sudden stop, this SRAM Brake Caliper can be relied on.

Also, if you ever need to detach your bike’s wheel, you can do that easily by engaging the brake’s quick-release system.

Pros
  • Smooth transmission
  • Features a fast-release mechanism for detaching bike wheels
  • Available in different colors
  • Designed for high performance
Cons
  • Not a set

2. Shimano M820 Saint Disc Brake Set

Next in our review is the Shimano M820 Saint Disc Brake Set. This is a product that offers bikers with a remarkable amount of bike stopping force. 

In fact, you’d have to be cautious when engaging these brakes – so as not to get thrown off the bicycle. Although the brakes offer a high level of stopping force, they are quite heavy in weight.

Hence, depending on what your preference is – remarkable stopping power or light-weight for high speed – you can decide if these brakes are what you need or not.

Apart from its heavy weight, this product also releases a significant amount of heat due to its huge stopping power. The excess heat generated is addressed by the brakes’ vented pads and lengthy hose banjos.

The brake modulation offered by this product could be a lot better – it doesn’t compare to the excellent modulation provided by other rival products in this article. However, the Shimano M820 Saint Disc Brake Set is one of the best bicycle disc brakes available for purchase.

Pros
  • Pre-bled and also has one way bleeding for convenient bleeds later on
  • Short stroke Servo-Wave feature for quick engagement
  • 15 finger levers with ergonomic pivot and reach adjust
  • Ceramic 4-piston calipers that provides a large braking force
  • I-spec compatibility
Cons
  • Shaky pads

3. Magura MT5 Next Brakes

Magura MT5 Next Brakes are a versatile product that can be effectively applied in various situations.

The brakes are capable of stopping your bicycle quickly with a remarkable amount of force. This product is made available to bikers at an affordable cost. The brake modulation offered is also fair enough.

Make sure to check out the brake’s lever before purchasing it – this is to see if its length would be conveniently engaged by your fingers. In case the lever isn’t comfortable enough, it can still be adjusted to fit your fingers.

Pros
  • Remarkable amount of stopping force
  • Provides high quality at an affordable price
  • Quick stop
Cons
  • Brake lever is too long
  • The pad drags and produces unpleasant noise

4. SHIMANO XTR 9000 Disc Brake

If you’re hoping to buy the best bicycle brakes, then you shouldn’t overlook this product. This SHIMANO XTR 9000 Disc Brake is a quality product that has been manufactured with quality materials.

Thanks to a carbon fiber fabrication, this brake is equipped with a long-lasting lever that’s gentle on the hands.

In addition to its fantastic lever, this product is also built to withstand high-temperature condition – this is achieved through a blend of cushioned layering and insulated glass fiber piston.

Apart from this, the SHIMANO XTR 9000 is also light-weight. Bikers that want to move with the lightest possible weights should opt for this product.

Pros
  • Quick and simple setup
  • It’s a light-weight product that won’t slow you down
  • Wonderful brake modulation
Cons
  • The entire unit must be bought together – brake caliper can’t be bought without other components

5. TRP Spyre SLC Mechanical Disc Brake Caliper

We couldn’t afford to forget the TRP Spyre SLC Mechanical Disc Brake Caliper. Installing these brakes is a simple and straightforward process.

The brakes effectively bring your bicycle to a halt when engaged – thanks to a dual-sided actuation. In fact, if you want to buy the best road bike brakes, you should consider these ones.

This TRP Spyre is a new and improved form of the former Spyre model. This model has a significant amount of stopping force. The brake has good modulation that allows you to precisely input the right amount of force into the levers for fast braking.

Pros
  • Works almost as effectively as a hydraulic braking system.
  • Good weight distribution – thanks to the carbon actuation arm
  • Equal wearing of pads on both ends
Cons
  • Doesn’t work well in muddy conditions

6. Clark’s Cable Systems Front Hydraulic M2 Brake

Another good choice of effective brakes is this Clark’s Cable Systems Front Hydraulic M2 Brake. It’s a product that has been manufactured to satisfy high standards, and it provides you with quality at a reasonable price. The system also features an extensive lever that offers you with a good brake modulation.

One disadvantage associated with this product is that the brake pads become noisy when wet – this means that you’d be making a lot of disturbing noise when you engage the brakes in rainy weather or other wet situations. Regardless of this, the Clark’s Cable Systems M2 Brake is still one of the best bicycle hydraulic disc brakes available for purchase.

If you don’t want those noisy wet pads, you can replace them with Shimano pads – as these Shimano pads are an excellent match to Clark’s brake system. Installing this product is also a simple and straightforward process.

Pros
  • Mineral oil fluid
  • Lever reach adjustment
  • Designed for bicycle front wheel
  • 2 piston hydraulic brake
  • 160mm disc rotor
Cons
  • None

7. Shimano BR-M9020-Kit Disk Brake Set

Although it is sold at an expensive price, this product offers you a lot of quality for your money.

There’s a Servo Wave feature that makes it easy to achieve powerful braking by engaging the lever with just a little force. Apart from that, you won’t have a problem setting up the brakes – all you really need is a good screwdriver, and you’ll set it all up in no time.

When installing this set of brakes, you use different approaches to set up the front brake and the rear one – a couple of Shimano bolts will completely install the front calipers, and another set works for the back calipers. These installations are simplified further with the aid gotten from a Shimano bleed kit.

Generally, this set of bike brakes – both rear and front included – is highly effective and reliable, although there’s a little difference in effectiveness between the rear and front brakes. Also, the brake’s lever doesn’t feel firm enough.

Pros
  • Effective stopping ability
  • Quick and simple setup process
  • It has a light weight of just 360g
  • Insulated pad coating
  • Advanced heat control
Cons
  • The lever could be made firmer
  • It’s a pricey product

8. SRAM Code RSC Disc Brake

The SRAM Code RSC Disc Brake is one of the best bicycle brakes available on the market today. It’s a wonderful product that’s capable of effectively stopping your bike when the need arises.

This brake has smooth modulation that enables you to stop your bike with a slight push of the lever. The brakes are also designed to perform well in high-temperature conditions.

The SRAM Code RSC Disc Brake is also versatile and it can withstand different weather conditions. Even in the extreme winter cold, these brakes won’t suffer damage – as they are capable of fending off icy mud and moist debris while riding.

The brakes are also long-lasting, and you won’t have to buy new ones every time. The high purchasing price of this product is well justified by the quality it offers.

Pros
  • The brakes can withstand the cold winter weather
  • Fast and flawless stopping action
  • Excellent brake modulation
  • Long-lasting design
Cons
  • The pads aren’t so effective once they start to wear

How to Buy the Best Bike Brakes

There are different bike brakes available for purchase. However, the best brakes for you would be determined by your needs and personal preference.

For instance, someone who’s into MTB would need the best mountain bike brakes that can effectively halt the bicycle on sloppy mountainous terrain.

Before making a final purchase, these are the things you must consider:

Bleeding

Bleeding of brakes is simply a process used to change brake fluid. This bleeding is done when the present brake fluid isn’t good anymore.

Different brakes have their own unique bleeding system. The best bleeding systems should allow bikers to change brake fluid within the shortest possible time, without much stress.

Modulation

The brake’s modulation would determine how effectively it can bring your bicycle to a halt.

This effectiveness is a measure of braking power delivered by a certain amount of lever pressing force – good brakes shouldn’t require too much pressing of the lever before bicycle halt can be achieved.

Make sure you find out how good the brakes’ modulation is before making a final purchase.

Contact Point Adjustment

Certain brakes are equipped with contact point adjustment features.

There’s an adjustable mechanism – like a dial – that sits on the brake’s lever, and this mechanism can be used to determine which part on the lever travel should engage the initial stopping force.

Reach Adjustment

This feature has similar controls with the contact point adjustment feature. However, its function is to customize the lever’s positioning for a more convenient grip and finger engagement.

Types of Brakes

There are broad classifications of bicycle brakes – disc brakes, coaster brakes, and rim brakes.

These types of brakes all have their own unique functions and advantages.

Rim Brakes

First, we have the rim brakes. Under this classification are two subdivisions – the V-brakes and cantilever brakes.

The cantilever types function through the use of a sturdy cable wire that extends from the handlebar-positioned lever to the brake pads on the wheels.

The brake pads and calipers are engaged through the pressing action of the handlebar-positioned lever – pressing this lever causes the pads and caliper to grip the bike’s rims firmly till it comes to a halt.

Disc Brakes

The disc brakes are a bit more efficient than rim brakes. They have a remarkable amount of stopping force that brings your bike to a halt once engaged.

These disc brakes work via a couple of discs positioned in the middle of the bike’s rim. Once the lever is engaged, these discs press towards each other and firmly clasp the rim till the wheel comes to a halt.

Coaster Brakes

Lastly, we have coaster brakes. Compared to the disc and rim brakes, these ones have a basic structure.

The brakes are engaged through a backward pushing action of the bicycle’s pedals. These coaster brakes are used for children’s bicycles since they are simple and safe.

However, the brakes would require a bit of experience so that they won’t be applied at a bad timing – which could result in falling off the bike.

Conclusion

Out of all the items reviewed in this article, we think the SRAM Brake Calipers are the best bike brakes.

They combine titanium bolts with cold-forged arms. You can rely on these brakes for quick stops and they also come with a quick-release system.

James is a passionate bicyclist who has done about every kind of biking there is. He loves the wind in his hair, the sun over his shoulder and maybe even the bugs in his teeth. No, just kidding about that last item. He isn’t crazy about road burns, either, but acknowledges that to have the good there is the occasional tumble. James feels that his bike is the place where he can unwind, leave troubles alongside the road, meet new people, go new places, and live the life of adventure that he loves. He is ready to share the ride with you.

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