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Disc Brakes

Disc Brakes

All about disc brakes

Where disc brakes were only used on sporty mountain bikes, we now see this type of brakes more and more on e-bikes. And that’s for a reason. Hydraulic disc brakes provide very good braking performance and lasts a longer period. But how exactly do disc brakes work and what are the advantages and disadvantages of a disc brake compared to a 'normal' rim brake? Would you like to know more about disc brakes on our (*A) electric bicycles? Then read on!


How do disc brakes work?

We won't make it more complex than it is: an (*B) electric bike with disc brakes actually works very simply. A steel disc is mounted in the middle of the axle of your front and rear wheel. This disc smoothly rotates with the wheel when you ride your bike. Furthermore, the brake disc also consists of a kind of 'claw' between which the disc rotates. When you put pressure on the brakes, you activate the caliper and blocks are pressed against the disc. This ensures that friction is created on the disc brake, so that you can brake calmly and in a controlled manner.

Braking with a disc brake is different from the traditional rim brake. With the rim brake you slow down your speed because rubber brake blocks press directly on the rim of the wheel. This also ensures that the rim brake wears over time. So if you are going for a braking mechanism that lasts as long as possible, then disc brakes are the right choice.


What different disc brakes are there?

There are two different types of disc brakes, namely: hydraulic disc brakes and mechanical disc brakes. At Timyo we only use hydraulic disc brakes from Magura or Shimano.

Hydraulic disc brakes use a hydraulic fluid to allow the bike to come to a stop. When the brake is pressed, this brake fluid moves through the brake line to the caliper. This creates a certain pressure that causes the pistons in the brake caliper to press against the brake disc. The effect is that you can slow down in a very controlled manner. In addition, these brakes work in all weather conditions.

Mechanical disc brakes work with an inner and outer cable. Squeezing the brake lever on the handlebars puts pressure on the brake pads. This means that no brake fluid is used, but the cables tighten the brake pads. A disadvantage of this is that the braking force is less than hydraulic disc brakes, especially in wet weather conditions. However, mechanical disc brakes are easier to install and slightly cheaper.

What are the advantages of disc brakes?

As mentioned earlier, disc brakes have many advantages over traditional bicycle brakes. We are happy to list them for you:

The best braking performance

Thanks to the smart technology, hydraulic disc brakes offer the best braking performance of all brake types. Even in wet weather or mud, the braking performance remains consistent.

Controlled braking

Because the hydraulic disc brake works with a brake oil, you are able to brake very well. Even with a light pressure on the brakes ensure that you brake reliably.

Safe braking on long descents

Where rim brakes brake directly on the rim of the bicycle, disc brakes do this by using a caliper on the disc. This means there is no risk of heated rims or blowout tires. So you can brake safely and calmly on a descent. 

Last longer than other bicycle brakes

The combination of brake fluid and a unique composition of disc brake pads makes hydraulic disc brakes the most durable option when choosing a bicycle brake.

Replacing a drive is cheaper

Because you constantly brake on the rim with rim brakes, you will notice that the rim flange is completely worn over time. You are then forced to purchase a completely new wheelset. This is often more expensive than just replacing a disc brake.


What are the disadvantages of disc brakes?

It should be clear: disc brakes are the best option for a well-performing bicycle brake. But we must be honest, there are also some drawbacks:

More difficult to maintain than rim brakes

Compared to rim brakes, disc brakes are more difficult to maintain. For example, the correct brake fluid must be topped up and the disc must always be free of oil and grease. Our dealers are happy to give you more advice about the maintenance of disc brakes.

Weight and price

Because disc brakes consist of more than just rubber pads, they are heavier than rim brakes. This makes your e-bike with disc brakes about 500 grams heavier than an e-bike with rim brakes. In addition, disc brakes are also a bit more expensive.

Squeaky disc brakes

While disc brakes don't lose braking power in wet weather and mud, they can still squeak. Even if you spill brake oil or grease on the disc during maintenance, the disc brakes can make noise. If the latter happens, please contact (*C) one of our dealers.

Braking in

The pads of your disc brake are made of resin containing pieces of metal and plastic. That resin is meant to lubricate a fine layer over your disc brakes to help you brake better and avoid squeaky brakes. It also makes the brake discs and pads last longer.

For braking in, do the following:

1. Obtain a speed (without using your brakes) of about 30 mph

2. Brake firmly with both brakes until you are at walking speed

3. Repeat this about 20 times.

Here's how to get the most out of your disc brakes

To make your disc brakes last as long as possible, it is smart that you maintain them properly. In any case, it is important to degrease them before first use and to replace disc brakes on time. A good time for replacement is when the brake pad is about 0.5 mm thick. When you do your own maintenance on disc brakes make sure not to touch them and keep them grease and oil free. Also, do not squeeze your brake lever when changing the wheel or when your bike is upside down, this allows brake fluid to escape. Last but not least, make sure you have the right brake fluid. Just like fueling your car, the wrong brake fluid can be harmful to the brake cables and disc brake itself.

  • Degrease before first use
  • Replace when brake pads are about 0.5 mm thick
  • Always keep disc brakes oil and grease free
  • Do not squeeze your brake lever when changing your wheel or when your bike is upside down
  • Make sure you have the right brake fluid

Disk brakes: Q&A

What is the difference between disc brakes and rim brakes?

A rim brake brakes directly on the rim with a rubber brake pad. This causes wear on the brake pad and the rim of your bicycle. A disc brake lets you brake by activating the caliper between the disc. This causes rubber pads to be pressed against disc, giving you metered and sustained braking.

Why are my disc brakes squeaking?

Wet weather or mud can cause your disc brakes to squeak. This also happens when you spill brake oil or grease on the disc. Not sure how to fix this? Then stop by (*D) one of our dealers.

How to brake in my disc brakes?

To use your disc brakes, you must first brake them properly. You do this by pressing the brake levers firmly twenty times. You do this best at a speed of about 30 km/h. 

What different disc brakes are there?

There are two different types of disc brakes: hydraulic and mechanical. Hydraulic disc brakes use a special brake fluid and allow for controlled braking under any Weathers conditions. Mechanical disc brakes work with an inner and outer cable and have less stopping power than hydraulic disc brakes. 

When should I replace my disc brakes?

It is important to replace the disc brakes on your e-bike in a timely manner. A good time to replace your disc brakes is when the brake pad is about 0.5 mm thick. If you're not sure if your disc brakes need replacing, visit (*D) one of our dealers for advice.

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