Have you ever wondered why most motorcycles don’t use mechanical brakes instead of hydraulic ones?
And what are the differences between hydraulic and mechanical brakes. anyway?
In this blog post, you’ll discover:
- The differences between hydraulic vs. mechanical brakes
- Pros and cons of each type
Hydraulic Brakes – How Do They Work?
The brake fluid is kept in a cylinder known as the “master cylinder,” which is connected to the brake caliper (which holds the brake pads or brake shoes) through a special rubber hose called the “brake hose.”
When applying the brake lever, the piston inside the master cylinder pushes the brake fluid to the caliper brake.
Contrary to common belief, however, brake fluid is NOT compressed. It’s just used to transfer the brake force.
For more information about how your brake system works, check out the blog post about it here on The Dual Wheel Journey:
Mechanical Brakes – How Do They Work?
Instead, power is delivered through a metal cable that tensions as you squeeze the brake lever - similar to how many motorcycle clutches work.
Although not so much on modern motorcycles, these brakes are highly common on bicycles and e-bikes.
Hydraulic brakes vs. mechanical brakes – pros and cons
Hydraulic brakes pros
Considering that many motorcycles are capable of going 100 km/h or more, this is a strong advantage.
Hydraulic brakes cons
Furthermore, it requires extra maintenance. Since DOT 4 brake fluid (the most common brake fluid for motorcycles) absorbs water over time, it must be flushed and replaced every two years.
Mechanical brakes pros
Remember – a mechanical brake system has NO liquid.
Since a mechanical brake system relies on tensioning a metal cable rather than pushing fluid into a brake caliper, you don’t need to purchase anything else for it to work.
As long as the cable is intact, your brakes will work like they’re supposed to.
Mechanical brakes cons
That’s because a mechanical brake system requires more pressure to activate the brakes.
This isn’t so much of a problem on a bicycle – after all, you can only get up to about 10 km/h or 5 miles/hour at most.
But on a motorcycle capable of getting up to highway speeds, you’d have to squeeze the front brake hard – like INSANELY hard.