5 Best Mountain Bike Brakes – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide For 2017

We have searched far and wide to locate some of the most affordable and high-quality mountain bike brakes currently available.

To ensure we have made quality choices, we have checked out both professional and user reviews, manufacturer’s details, and more to create an informed article for our readers.

If you mountain bike frequently, you will know the importance of having a quality brake system, that can operate smoothly at a moment’s notice. Those who fail to have this, set themselves up for dangerous complications on trails, and a generally uncomfortable ride.

A good pair of mountain bike brakes will lengthen the lifespan of your mountain bike, keep you safe, make your bike more stylish, and improve your riding capabilities. Check out our buyer’s guide and reviews below to find the mountain bike brake that works best for your individual needs.

Best Mountain Bike Brakes in 2017 - Reviews

1. Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc Brakes

Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc Brakes

Featuring incredible stopping power, and a sleek design, this incredibly affordable mountain bike brake is great for riders of any skill level.

For less than a $100 investment, you get access to one of the top rated products on the market.

Due to its versatile design, the Avid BB7 features patented ball bearing mechanical disc technology that is great for both mountain and XC riding.

Since it works as either a front or rear brake, you also get a lot of adjustability with this fantastic product. Additionally, the brakes are colored to make it easy to install on either bicycle tire.

One of the best qualities of the Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc Brakes are the various features that keeps your performance at high rates. This is in part thanks to other important brake parts, such as the metal sintered pads, and the fully sealed design, that helps to prevent contamination.

Finally, the tri-align caliper positioning system makes for an extremely smooth ride. Thanks to its inboard/outboard pad adjusted knobs, you can simplify both rotor and caliper alignment, keeping your brake game strong.

Important Features

  • Tri-Align Caliper Positioning System
  • Smooth Ride
  • Inboard/Outboard Pad Adjusted Knobs
  • Perfect for both Mountain and XC Riding
  • Colored Brakes for Easy Use
  • Front of Rear Usage
  • Affordable
  • Sleek Design

2. SHIMANO Hydraulic Brake Set Front & Rear

SHIMANO Hydraulic Brake Set Front & Rear

Although it may be more expensive than other products on the list, the SHIMANO SLX BR-M675 BL-M675 Hydraulic Brake Set provides both front and rear brake systems, not only a choice between the two.

When considering this, you actually end up saving money overall when investing in this great set.

The SHIMANO SLX BR-M675 BL-M675 Hydraulic Brake Set may be the most stylish mountain bike brake system on this list. With a front oil cable length of 750mm and a rear oil cable of 1250mm, it is also a perfect length. 

It should attach to any mountain bike on the market with relative ease. Additionally, the installation process is simple, making it a breeze for even inexperienced users.

Every aspect of the SHIMANO SLX BR-M675 BL-M675 Hydraulic Brake Set is meant for customer convenience, in fact. The brakes come pre-filled with oil, and 4 caliper bolts.

The model also features both right and left controls for the calipers, making the ride comfortable and simple to handle, no matter what terrain you’re dealing with.

Important Features

  • Pre-Filled with oil
  • 4 Caliper Bolts
  • Brakes for Both Rear and Front Wheels
  • Comfortable Ride
  • Left and Right Hand Controls
  • Stylish
  • Affordable
  • Simple to Install
  • Trusted Brand Name

3. Tektro Auriga Comp Hydraulic Disc Brake

Tektro Auriga Comp Hydraulic Disc Brake

A lot of models have the same features, but the Tektro Auriga Comp Front 160mm Hydraulic Disc Brake sets itself apart with some very unique offerings that the competition fails to provide.

However, it also comes with many of the necessities that make the other products on our list so valuable.

Firstly, the dual piston design keeps your brakes working while providing a durable operation. This is partly due to the open system design, which uses non-corrosive mineral oil.

For those who are conscious about the environmental impact of the products they purchase, they will be glad to hear the Tektro Auriga Comp Front 160mm Hydraulic Disc Brake’s open system is completely environmentally-friendly.

The calipers on this model are unlike many others, as they are melt-forged, and feature automatic positioning. Simply setup the front or rear adapter, and attach the brake system to your front or back wheel, and you're ready to go, thanks to the extremely simple installation process of the Tektro Auriga Comp Front 160mm Hydraulic Disc Brake product.

Important Features

  • 160mm
  • Simple Installation
  • Dual Piston Design
  • Open System
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Non-Corrosive Material
  • Mineral Oil Lubrication
  • Reversible Lever Design
  • Attaches to Front or Back Wheel

4. Shimano XT m785 Hydraulic Disc Brake Set

4. Shimano XT m785 Hydraulic Disc Brake Set

Another option for consumers who want to buy a set of mountain bike brakes.

 The Shimano XT m785 Post Mount Bicycle Hydraulic Disc Brake Set is an excellent option.

However, it has the unique features to set it apart from the similarly priced competition it faces from the SHIMANO SLX BR-M675 BL-M675 Hydraulic Brake Set.

Firstly, the set is heat resistant, and features patented Ice Technology to help prevent fading and erosion after years of use. Additionally, this makes for a more durable project, and a nearly noiseless operation.

Unlike other adjustment knobs, the Shimano XT m785 Post Mount Bicycle Hydraulic Disc Brake Set features a two-finger lever. Due to this, even riders who have relatively little experience riding mountain bikes and operating their brake systems, will handle this product’s many great features with ease.

Maintenance is simple with the Shimano XT m785 Post Mount Bicycle Hydraulic Disc Brake Set. Partially due to the hinged clamp, which is primarily meant for use with Ispec shifters. Overall, the only main drawback of this product is the lack of rotors included in the set.

Important Features

  • 1.36 lbs.
  • Two-Finger Lever
  • Heat Resistant
  • Ice Technology Feature
  • Excellently Priced
  • Brakes for Both Front and Rear Wheels

5. Avid Elixir 5 Disc Brake Set

Avid Elixir 5 Disc Brake Set

Do you want the highest end mountain brake system on the market? The Avid Elixir 5 Disc Brake Set will provide most of what the other front and rear end sets offer, but with a potentially lower price tag.

If you need a set that is perfect for beginners, this may be the best option available to you. The ambidextrous lever body features many great things that help you stay in control of your mountain bike.

Firstly, the Airtrap technology allows for better bleeds. This keeps your ride smooth, and your stops easy, allowing you to avoid any damage to your bike during long sessions.

With the Avid Elixir 5 Disc Brake Set’s tooled reach system, you can adjust the finesse at which your brakes operate easily. This combined with the MatchMaker X compatible design, makes the product one of the more customizable mountain brake sets on the market.

Finally, the two-piece caliper banjo provides routing angles that other mountain brakes simply do not have. For a highly unique set, the Avid Elixir 5 Disc Brake Set has got you covered.

Important Features

  • Affordable
  • Trusted Brand name
  • MatchMaker X Compatible Design
  • Highly Customizable
  • Airtrap Technology
  • Tooled reach System
  • Two Piece Caliper Banjo
  • Unique Routing Angles

How to Choose Best Mountain Bike Brakes

Before making a final decision on a mountain bike brake model, you should carefully consider these three important product qualities. Each one of these elements will help you make an informed and smart decision.

Front or Rear Usability

While some sets come with two brakes that allow you to install brakes on both the front and back wheels of your mountain bike, many will force you to choose between which wheel you will enforce.

However, some models are better suited for one or the other.Before beginning your search for a quality product, take some time to determine if you need a front brake, rear brake, or a set that covers both wheels.

Ultimately, your needs will probably be most informed by the terrain you ride on, and how frequently you use your mountain bike.

Unique Features

Certain features are practically universal in every mountain bike brake system. Once you begin looking at a wide variety of choices, this will become very clear to you. With this in mind, the specific technologies or features of a brake set is what will truly help you define its usability, and value.

Features such as pre-filled oiled wires, and adjustment knobs can be particularly useful to both the quality of your ride, and the maintenance needs associated with a product.

If you want to avoid an investment that doesn’t stand out from the crowd of the very saturated mountain bike brake market, be very critical of the unique features offered with any model you are seriously considering.

Installation Process

Not every mountain biking enthusiast is a gearhead. Because of this, it may be difficult to enjoy your product and keep it maintained properly if you do not have proper knowledge of brake systems.

That is only relative, however, if you purchase a set that fails to make the installation process simple and user-intuitive. Many models exist, especially the ones on our list, that provide features that make installation and upkeep fairly straightforward.

Due to this, they become accessible to mountain bike enthusiasts of all skill levels. Never tell yourself you cannot make an investment in quality mountain bike brakes due to a lack of installation knowledge!

Additional Considerations

  • Brand Name
  • Price Tag
  • Cable Length
  • Style
  • Durability
  • Caliper Features
  • Adjustability
  • Control Options

Final Verdict

Ultimately, our final verdict centers around two particular products. For those who only need a front or rear brake system, the Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc Brakes is the way to go.

Thanks to its dual piston design, open system, and well-lubricated construction, it is one of the most efficient and durable brake models out there. Those who need a dual set, however, will be best served by the Shimano XT m785 Post Mount Bicycle Hydraulic Disc Brake Set.

It barely beats out the other Shimano model on our list for this position, but wins out due to its heat resistant technology, two-finger user-friendly levers, and affordability.

Relevant Resources

About the Author Matthew R. Duncan

I am proud to be the go-to guy among my circle for bike advice. I take it personally when someone I know buys a new bike without consulting me first!

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