Mountain biking is not just focusing on moving forward and accelerating as fast as you can. You also need to learn when to slow down to go faster.

That’s where brakes come in.

And although many might think brakes slow you down. What’s really happening is that they can make you go faster and ride safer as long as you know how to use them properly.

What Do You Need to Know About MTB Brakes?

Type of brakes

There are two main types of brakes. These are the mechanical rim brakes and the hydraulic disc brakes. The former are already considered obsolete, but they can still be found on budget bikes and kids bikes.

These have calipers that clip onto the rims. Meanwhile, hydraulic disc brakes have calipers that clip onto the disc brake, which makes them more capable and provide better braking power.


Bicycle brakes need to be bled regularly so that they function well. Hydraulic brakes have mineral oil inside the cables and hose and these become mirky through time.

What happens during the bleeding process is that these replaces the oil and cleans up the interior of the cables to have more powerful brakes with aftermarket pads.

Correct way of using brakes

The proper way of using brakes is that you shouldn’t pull it very fast and too strong. Learn how to modulate the pulling motion and lever feel so that you won’t get thrown off your bike.

Also, lessen the force you exert on your riding style when pulling the left levers as these are connected to your front wheels. If possible, use your right brake levers 60% to 70% more as this is connected to your rear wheel that supports maneuverability.

Recommended MTB Brakes

Shimano Deore: Best Budget Brakes

SHIMANO Deore BR-M6120 Disc Brake Black, Rear

Shimano Deore is the most affordable Shimano brake set that can be used for leisure riding and all-out racing. This comes with a hydraulic mountain bike disc and a dual-piston braking system.

We recommend the Deore even though it’s an entry-level option compared to most brakes because it has features that are also present in other higher-end versions, albeit in a simpler structure. It also weighs 548 grams, even if it has organic pads to save weight, which is a good deal for trail riding.

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Shimano XT: Best Mid-range MTB Brakes

SHIMANO XT BR-M8100 Disc Brake Black, Left/Front

Shimano XT is a mid-range brake set for trail bikes that are ideal for cross-country and trail riding.

It is one of the best brakes out there because of its low weight, and it has the same 2-piston system as other brakes like the Deore, but it has a more durable lever as it’s made from aluminum alloy alongside split pin sintered pads that can be easily adjusted with an Allen key. And it weighs just 528 grams.

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Shimano XTR: Most Versatile MTB Racing Brakes

SHIMANO XTR BL-M9100 Disc Brake Stealth, Front

Then there’s Shimano XTR, the flagship brake set of Shimano, which boasts a carbon lever body and quad-piston braking system known for its consistent performance and enough power thanks to its free stroke dot fluid features

These are also considered enduro brakes as they weigh heavier at 560 grams, but that’s because it’s packed with more muscle power for extreme braking.

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SRAM Code: Best Overall Brakes for Mountain Bikes

SRAM Code RSC Disc Brake Black/Rainbow, Front, 950mm

The SRAM Code is the best overall mountain bike brakes for enduro and downhill bikes because of the outstanding modulation of SRAM shifters, bite point adjustment and heat-dissipating feature that improves safety and ensures strong braking power. It is the flagship brake set of SRAM, Shimano’s biggest competitor.

Buy on Amazon



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