How It Works Brakes
What Mountain Bike|May 2017
How It Works Brakes

The importance of a good set of brakes can’t be overstated. But just what constitutes a “good” brake, exactly? First off, there’s the power on offer.

‘Power’ is not necessarily the best word for it, but it’s commonly used to refer to the amount of torque (stopping force) that the brake delivers for a given pulling force at the lever. Then there’s the manner in which that power is delivered, known as modulation. Essentially, this is how suddenly the power is applied as you pull the lever to the bite point. More modulation means a less sudden bite, making it easier to control the braking force and avoid locking-up. Next up is the ergonomics of the lever. Most brakes provide reach adjustment to set the distance between the lever blade and the bar. Pricier brakes also offer free-stroke adjustment to alter the distance through which the lever travels before the brake bites.


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May 2017