When you buy a mountain bike, there are many things to take into consideration such as suspensions, frame size, tires, or the specific type of riding you plan to do. There is something, however, that is significantly more important than every other feature, especially when it comes to safety, and that is having the best mtb brakes you can afford clinging onto your wheels.

The best mountain bike brakes you can find are what’s going to stop you or slow you down when you are hurtling down a slope, surrounded by sharp rocks and hard branches, so you need to do your research before you buy a pair. To help you in the task, we have compiled reviews of the best mtb brakes you can buy in the article you are about to read, so keep scrolling to discover what the market has in store for you.

How To Choose MBT Brakes – Buying Guide


Type Of Brake

Two main kinds of brakes can be used on a bike. These are either disk brakes, or V-brakes. V-brakes work by pinching the wheel between two pads that move closer to each other when you squeeze the brake lever. Disk brakes apply the same principle to a rotor that is connected parallel to the wheel, on the hub, and will slow it down when it slows down. Both kinds of brakes convert the kinetic energy of the wheel into thermal energy. A mountain bike with disc brakes is usually preferable. You can still get good results with V-brakes but the way disk brakes are built makes them more reliable in adverse weather conditions. The pistons and calipers are better protected and the holes in the rotor edge allow for mud and water to pass through without accumulating. Also, stopping power is usually greater on disk brakes since the pistons can be made extremely stiff, which is harder to do with brake pads on a V-brake. Disk brakes further divide into mechanical and hydraulic, with the difference being that the former use a cable to move the pistons while the latter do so by changing the pressure of a liquid inside a tube. Hydraulic brakes are more advanced and can generate the maximum amount of stopping power, but they are also the most expensive. 

Type Of Bike

Just as your riding style will determine the kind of bike you choose, so will it guide your choice of brakes. For trail or cross-country bikes you can get away with both kinds of brakes, rim or disk, since any one of them should provide enough stopping power to prevent you from going where you do not want to go. If you plan to hurtle at top speed down a steep slope, on the other hand, you’ll have to have some tough downhill mountain bike brakes on your side. Again, there are good options on both sides. V-brakes will work fine with most situations, and on some higher-end models you won’t even feel a difference with disk brakes unless you push yourself extra hard. As soon as you get into more technical territory you need specialized gear that is built for the job, and disk brakes are the ones that you should be aiming for. 

Brake Pads

Brake pads deserve some consideration because they are greatly responsible for the amount of stopping power your brakes can generate. On the market, you will find pads made of metal or organic materials, such as resin. The best mountain bike brakes will use metal brake pads, since these are the most durable and provide the strongest grip on the wheels or the rotor. They will also last longer and are easier to clean and maintain, but, as you may have suspected, they are also more expensive. Organic brakes use natural materials that are kept together by resin, and are still a good option even if your pockets are not as deep as you wish they were. They provide good modulation and are very versatile, as well as doing a very respectable job of stopping your bike when you want them to. If paired with a good braking system, organic pads will not make you regret buying them instead of a fancy metallic pair.


When you are using disk brakes, you are not applying the stopping force directly on the wheel, but rather on a rotor that is fixed on the wheel hub and turns parallel to it. Before purchasing mtb hydraulic brakes, or mechanic ones, you need to make sure that your wheels are compatible with disc brakes and that the rotors are of the correct size. Rotors can stretch from 140mm to 180mm in diameter, with the largest offering the most stopping power, and they need to be mounted on a specific type of hub which is not found on every wheel. The best rotors are made of stainless steel and are easy to clean and maintain in good shape. You might find some that are also riveted with aluminum to make them less likely to get deformed. The edges of the rotors have holes on them which are designed to make them stay clean longer, since mud and water can slide through them, and this makes the whole braking system more resistant to bad weather and dirty conditions.


Modulation refers to how gradual is the braking process when you start applying force on your levers. Stopping power is a must, but as a rider, you need to be able to control how strong you brake, not just come to an abrupt stop anytime you touch the levers. This greatly influences how well you can govern your bike during sharp turns or how early you have to start braking before changing direction. With both mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes mtbs offer some room for adjustment, so you can customize how your brakes feels and make them adapt precisely to your riding style. Take some time to get a real feel for your brakes so to understand what needs to be adjusted before you take them out on a serious ride.

Reach Adjustment

Operating your mtb brakes requires a lever, and the position of it with respect to the handlebars can be adjusted thanks to a screw. It might seem like an insignificant difference, but as your skills improve you will start feeling the need for a more personal experience, so it’s nice to have a small feature that can go a long way into making your bike more comfortable to ride. Furthermore, this can reduce some strain on your fingers and since several parts of your body will already probably be sore from riding it’s good to have a system that at least takes care of your extermities.

Contact Point Adjustment

Contact point adjustment is crucial to achieve good modulation, which in turn, as we have said earlier, is important to have control of your bike at any moment. Thanks to another screw mounted on the brake’s levers, you can control how soon the pads come in contact with the wheel rim when you give your brakes a squeeze. Not every brake has this feature, but the more advanced riders will surely appreciate the ability to precisely adjust the responsiveness of their brakes. Knowing exactly how your bike will perform in a given situation will allow you to get the most out of it in times of need.

Bleeding System

While mechanical disc brakes mtbs won’t be concerned by this problem, for hydraulic brake users it might become a serious issue to deal with. As we have said earlier, brakes convert the kinetic energy of the spinning wheel into heat. This heat can become so intense as to boil the liquid that is used in hydraulic disc brakes. Different liquids have different boiling points, so you don’t always need 100 degrees Celsius for this to happen. Once it does, you need to remove the liquid in order to purge it from all the air that has accumulated inside. There are several kits available for this on the market if you want to do this yourself instead of bringing your bike to a mechanic.



Q: Are Disk Brakes Better Than Rim Brakes?


Disk brakes are generally stronger than rim brakes, but a good pair of rim brakes won't make you regret any sort of disk brakes. The benefits of disk brakes are that they are more protected from the environment since the pistons are enclosed in calipers and that they also bite on the rotor quicker than rim brakes, giving a stronger hold. They are also, however, bigger and heavier than rim brakes, so you need to keep this in mind when making your choice.

Q: Are Disc Brakes Better On Mountain Bikes?


Generally, yes, although as we have said there are excellent options in the rim brake category as well. The stronger braking power that disc brakes provide, however, is a strong argument in favor of using them on the trails, since a quick stop can make a significant difference when you're speeding through sharp rocks and thick branches.

Q: Why Do My Brakes Squeal On My Mountain Bike?


Brakes squeal because some contaminant has gotten under the pads, and so introduces unwanted vibration in the whole brake system which can generate the unpleasant noise. Dirt, oil or even simple finger grease can all be contaminants that contribute to this phenomenon. Be sure to keep your brakes as clean as you can as to not hinder their performance and reduce their stopping power.

Q: When Should I Change My MTB Brake Pads?


The general rule is to change your brake pads when you have worn out more than a quarter of them, but if you want to be safe you should replace them as soon as you start to doubt the strength of your brakes. In any case, it is a good habit to conduct regular checks of their condition, so you can act as soon as it is needed. Much will also depend on the frequency with which you take your bike out and the intensity of your riding.

Globo Surf Overview

Choosing a pair of brakes is as important as choosing a bike itself. You need to be sure that they will perform when they are called upon and not leave you spinning out of control. In our mtb brakes reviews we have shown you the best options you can find on the market today, which will provide the best assistance to your bike and your riding. Take your time to consider all the pros and cons and choose carefully, since the brakes you take with you can have a vital impact on your enjoyment and safety while riding. 

More Bike Reviews:

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!