Brakes play an essential role in any vehicle, especially electric bikes. Disc brakes are a valuable part of the electric bike that can save you from accidents and slow down the speed when needed.
Hence, it is essential to maintain an excellent braking system in your electric bike. Read here to learn how disk brakes work, how to adjust dick brakes on an electric bike, how to install disc brakes, the best disc brakes to buy, and more.
How to Adjust Disc Brakes on an Electric Bike
Whether you have a mechanical or a hydraulic disc brake, follow the steps below to adjust the disc brakes on an electric bike.
How to Adjust Mechanical Disc Brake on an Electric Bike
There are seven screws on a mechanical disc brake. Two screws for mounting the caliper, two for adjusting the rotor distance, one for the brake cable, and two for adjusting the rotor gap width.
Before adjusting mechanical disc brakes, ensure that the disc rotor is flat, and if any part is curved, straighten it using a wrench.
Below are the steps you need to follow to adjust the disc brake on an electric bike if you have a mechanical brake system:
- Adjusting Cable Tension: The cable needs to be tightened, so there is no delay when pulling the lever. Loosen the cable screw and tighten the cable with your hands. Tighten the screw once the cable has reached the optimum tension. Do not tighten the cable too much, or it will snap.
- Adjusting The Caliper: The caliper must be in the center of the rotor. Loosen the caliper screws and press it until it connects the rotor and the brake pads, then tighten the bolts. Then, to lock the rotor in position, pull the lever and tighten the caliper screws while pressing on the caliper.
- Adjusting Brake Pads: There should be very little distance between the brake pads and the rotor, around three millimeters. Tighten the screw to the most and then loosen it slightly. Turn the wheel and loosen the screw until you stop hearing a friction sound.
- Adjusting Levers: You can adjust the livers to your liking for when you want the brake to be applied, depending on how much you pull on the lever. You can adjust the brake lever near the handlebar or from the middle of the handlebar.
How to Adjust Hydraulic Disc Brakes on an Electric Bike
The hydraulic brake system on an electric bike does not require much adjustment as the system works in a tightly closed environment.
However, there might be cases where you hear a noise coming from the braking system. In such cases, follow these steps to fix the problem.
- Loosen and take off the Bolts
- Pull the lever and attach the bolts while pulling the lever.
- Twist the tire to see if the sound is still coming or not.
- If the sound continues, unscrew each bolt and tie it until the sound stops.
Disc Brake on an Electric Bike
Before learning how to adjust disc brakes on an electric bike, you must first be aware of how they work and the components of the electric bike braking system.
An electric bike braking system includes a rotor, lever, caliper, and cable. You pull the brake lever to slow down or bring the electric bike to a halt, and pressure is applied to the caliper.
The caliper’s pistons apply force to the brake pad, which in turn, applies force on the brake rotors. The friction created on the rotors brings the bike to a stop.
The harder you pull on the bike, the more force is applied. However, it also creates a lot of heat in the brakes, and you would often need to replace or adjust the disc brakes on an electric bike.
Before moving on to disc brake adjustment, let’s look at the components of the braking system of an electric bike.
The levers are part of the braking system that the rider interacts with and can be called the switch of the entire braking system.
The lever is attached to the handlebar of the electric bike. Commonly, the left lever controls the brake on the front wheel, while the right wheel controls the brake on the rear wheel.
The cable is a thick wire that connects the lever to the caliper. The disc brake system consists of a cable filled with air, lowering the maintenance cost.
The caliper consists of the brake pad and the pistons. The pistons are moved when the lever is pulled, pushing the braking pad on the rotor.
The braking pad creates friction on the rotor, absorbing the heat and slowing down the rotor. Due to their heat-absorbing effects, the braking pads are usually short-lived, especially if you tend to brake fully at high speeds.
The rotor is another visible component of the electric bike braking system, other than the lever. The rotor is a metal disc that sits on the wheel hub.
The larger the brake rotor of the electric bike is, the quicker your bike is slowed down, and the more friction is created. Most electric bike rotor sizes range between 160 to 180 millimeters.
Types of Disk Brake on an Electric Bike
How to adjust disc brakes on an electric bike differs depending on the type of disc bike system; mechanical or hydraulic.
Mechanical Disc Brake vs. Hydraulic Disc Brake
Mechanical Disc Brakes consist of a steel cable, while hydraulic brakes comprise a sealed fluid system.
Hydraulic disc brakes reduce the amount of friction and allow you to apply less pressure to get the same result. However, hydraulic disc brakes are also more expensive than mechanical disc brakes.
Mechanical disc brakes are also more challenging to set up as they are prone to wear and tear since they experience a higher modulation and stopping force.
How to Maintain Mechanical Disc Brakes on an Electric Bike
Maintaining mechanical disc brakes on an electric bike can prevent the need to adjust or replace the disc brakes.
There are many signs that your electric bike needs to be checked, including:
- Squeaking sound when you brake
- It takes longer to reach a complete stop
- You have to apply more pressure than usual.
Below are detailed instructions on maintaining the components of a mechanical disc brake on an electric bike.
Check the rotor for any dirt, pebbles, or sticks that might increase the friction on the rotor. Clean the rotor with rubbing alcohol and water and scrub it using a damp washcloth.
If the rotor has fractures or missing components, the best thing to do is to replace it altogether. Additionally, try replacing the aluminum or plastic rotor with a steel rotor for better performance.
Brake levers loosen over time as you ride. This is because they accumulate dirt that can cause the lever to stick when you pull on it. Wash the lever and apply a lubricant such as grease to the joints of the lever.
Pull and let go of the lever multiple times to see if it has loosened up.
The brake cable may stretch out and lose tension over time, causing a delay in pulling the lever and braking. Check the brake cable to ensure it has not accumulated dirt or rust. If the cable’s tension can not be fixed, you will need to buy a new one.
The brake pad can become dusty or oily due to the environmental factors it goes through. With each friction it faces, the braking becomes more slippery, resulting in less friction.
Clean the brake pad with specific chemicals made for brake pads or with isopropyl alcohol since other chemicals can cause the pad to break apart.
If the brake pad is breaking apart, replacing the brake pad would be a better choice than maintaining or fixing it.
How to Install New Hydraulic Disc Brakes on an Electric Bike
While it is true that hydraulic disc brakes on an electric bike do not require much, if any, adjusting, it often means that if something goes wrong, you will have to replace the system with a new one.
While it sounds complicated, installing a new hydraulic disc brake on an electric bike is pretty straightforward and will take only thirty to forty minutes.
Below are the steps you need to follow to install a new hydraulic disc brake system on an electric bike.
1. Remove the Old Caliper
First and foremost, remove the brake caliper that is mounted on the bike. Unscrew the bolts holding the 3. caliper down, two screws mount the caliper, and a third attach the caliber to the cable.
2. Remove the Lever
Once the caliper has been demounted, remove the old levers. First, take off the grip on the handlebar and unplug the lever from the harness. Loosen the screws on the lever and slide it off the handlebar.
3. Install the New Lever
Slide the new lever on the handlebar and tighten them, plugging the cable into the wire harness.
4. Mount the New Caliper
Run the cable down from the new lever to the brake disc, where the new caliper will be mounted. If the cable is too long, shorten it by cutting the cable with a wire cutter.
Screw the cable to the caliper and loosely screw the two bolts that mount the caliper. Squeeze the lever to align the caliper and the fisc.
Once the alignment is done, tighten the bolts.
The Best Electric Bike Disc Brake You Can Buy
While electric bikes come with pre-installed disc brake systems, you can always choose to replace them with the ones you like better.
Below is a list of the five best disc brakes on an electric bike.
1. Formula Cura
The Formula Cura is one of the affordable choices, weighing only 466 grams. It has an average braking torque of 74.3 Nm and can slow down the bike from 45 km/h to zero km/h in just eight seconds.
2. Magura MT7
The Magura MT7 is the perfect choice for you if you are looking for a robust braking system that brings the bike to a quick halt. With an average braking torque of 99.3 Nm and a weight of 488 grams, the MT7 slows down the electric bike from 45 Km/h to zero km/h in only five seconds.
3. Shimano Deore
If you’re looking for an affordable and high-performing disc brake on an electric bike, the Shimano Deore is an ideal choice. It weighs a bit more than others, almost 550 grams, but with an average braking torque of 69.9 Nm, it slows down an electric bike from 45 km/h to zero km/h in ten seconds.
4. Magura MT5
The Magura MT5 is the previous version of the MT7 and costs a lot less. Weighing around 470 grams and with an average braking torque of 90.1 Nm, the MT5 slows down the electric bike from 45 km/h to zero km/h in only ten seconds.
5. Trickstuff Direttissima
The Trick Stuff Direttissima is one of the most expensive and best-performing disc brakes on an electric bike. With a light weight of only 388 grams and an impressive average braking torque of 114.7 Nm, the Direttissima can slow down the electric bike from 45 km/h to zero km/h in only six seconds.
Electric bikes have become increasingly popular, with over 790,000 electric bikes imported in 2021. In such cases, it is essential to keep the safety protocols in mind to prevent any fatal or minor accidents.
Braking systems are an integral part of the safety features of an electric bike. They can slow down the bike or bring it to a complete halt to prevent life-threatening situations.
Hence, maintaining and adjusting disc brakes on an electric bike is of utmost importance and should be done by every rider, no matter the purpose of his riding.
Knowing how to adjust the disc brake on an electric brake and when to replace it is a must-have knowledge for everyone who owns an electric bike for their safety and the safety of others.
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My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.