In this article my focus is on providing you with a list of what I feel are some of the best hydraulic disc brakes for ebikes.
Ebikes have taken the world by storm, surpassing sales of traditional bikes, and opening up the market for a new number of avid cyclists.
Though they might look the same, ebikes definitely have a very different ride quality than conventional, human-powered bicycles. For one they are heavier, sometimes twice as much as their non-electric counterparts.
However, it’s not just the added weight, but also the added speed that necessitates suitable stopping power to ensure safety to its rider and other participants on the road.
When deciding for a good set of hydraulic disc brakes, we have to take the additional weight and speed into consideration. But simply tacking on a set of high-powered enduro or downhill brakes doesn’t make any sense.
Granted, they will prove to be powerful enough, but ebikes do not have a weight requirement for brakes. So it doesn’t make any sense to pay more for magnesium brake calipers, carbon brake masters, carbon brake levers, and titanium hardware to keep it all together.
That why in this article you’ll find very affordable hydraulic disc brakes for ebikes, which will give you all the stopping power and modulation or brake-feel of their more expensive versions. Better for your wallet and just as safe.
Shimano Saint M820
By having a different lever blade (shorter) than in combination with a classic servo-wave curve, the Shimano Saint M820 doesn’t have more stopping power than other Shimano brakes, but certainly feels that way.
The lever action bumps this brake into pure downhill territory for those who are familiar with Shimano’s snappy feel, and want instant stopping power at their disposal.
With the perceptual decrease in modulation, especially when compared with the SRAM Code brake, you’ll either love or hate this brake. Yet its ability to lock up your wheels and no-fuss maintenance from the Japanese giant are undeniable.
I haven’t been able to detect any difference with XT, the brake I feel is this brake’s closest competitor. And there probably isn’t, because both brakes use 15 and 17mm pistons, so I don’t see how stopping power could be any different looking just at the caliper.
The Saints have been accused of having the most on-off feel of probably any premium brake, but there’s more to braking than just the lever. And you can do a whole lot by swapping out rotors and pads to get to the exact feel you want.
But in the end, it’s a simple and clear fact that the Shimano Saint brake is made for giving you ample amounts of stopping power on high speed descents over and over again.
Shimano SLX BR-M7120
The Shimano SLX BR-M7120 is the go-to choice for people who want a 4-piston brake from Shimano for a decent enough price.
If you don’t care about adding some weight to your bike, which would equal a sip from your water bottle, the SLX is a far more financially healthy choice than the XTR.
A similar overall design, both in brake caliper, brake lever and features, made from less expensive materials give you the exact same ease of installation, use, and maintenance as its flagship counterpart. With all the features to boot.
That means no chrome finish for the calipers, no titanium fixing bolt for the pads, no magnesium brake master, but with a price that’s nearing half that of XTR.
Don’t be fooled by the weight difference anyway, because besides a single titanium bolt the weight difference stems from the paired rotor, with the SLX one (SM-RT70) accounting for most of the added weight. So if you want as close to XTR as you can get, simply get the XTR rotors (RT-MT900) instead.
The best value-for-money Shimano 4-piston brakes, and arguably the best value-for-money hydraulic disc brakes.
Magura MT Sport
The Magura MT Sport is the cheapest hydraulic disc brake in their lineup, and probably one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest big brand hydraulic disc brakes on the market.
The best thing I could possibly say about these brakes is that I actually bought them as a temporary replacement for my SRAM Level Ultimate brakes, because one of them was broken. It’s been a year and I’m still riding with these brakes.
So I have this extremely high-end XC bike rocking the cheapest disc brakes you can find, and I’m totally ok with that, because these brakes work fantastic for the type of riding I do with that bike.
I believe I paid 100 euros for a set, which included the levers, calipers and hoses. The main reason why Magura has been able to create such a high-quality product for such a low price is because of the material.
The brakes and levers are almost made entirely from carbotecture, which is a name Magura coined themselves for a fiberglass-reinforced polymer. They borrowed the technology from their own work in the automotive industry and applied it to their brakes.
It shares some similarities to carbon fiber with respect to its low weight and that fiber alignment allows for additional strength in places where that will be under a lot of stress. The most important aspects for us is that it’s very strong, very light, very durable, and best of all, very cheap.
And if that isn’t enough, the Magura 7.S brake pads are outstanding as well, offering long-lasting life, little squeal, and an allround great performance in varied conditions, from dry to wet.
The overall shape of the 2-finger lever is solid, with a modulation sitting somewhere between SRAM and Shimano. The brake lever is made from the same carbotecture material and offer markedly more flex than the aluminium levers (or carbon) used in the rest of Magura’s lineup.
It doesn’t mean the MT Sport offer less braking power because of it, and you probably won’t notice it because it sits at the end of the lever pull, when you’ll be braking hard on a trail section that demands your attention, not a bit of flex in a brake lever.
The SRAM Level Ultimates are all carbon fiber levers, red anodized pistons, and titanium bolts. In other words, they look as premium as can be. The same cannot be said for the carbotecture finish, which looks decidedly plastic and have a dull sheen.
But anyone who knows anything about brakes, will not be able to deny the single most important thing these brakes do very well. Which is stopping your bike when you want to. And you can spice up the piston with a custom-colored ring kit if you want to.
The Magura MT5 brakes are the German’s most affordable 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes for trail riding purposes.
They’ve ditched the use of carbotecture in favor of traditional forged aluminum for the brake calipers. It’s small touches that make the products from the German brand stand head and shoulders above some similar offerings from the competition. One is the well-crafted unibody design offering rigidity and an immediate brake feel.
The glass fiber reinforced polymer called carbotecture is used for the brake master, accompanied by an aluminum brake lever. This ensures a very high-quality, lightweight brake, with excellent braking characteristics in one of the most affordable 4-piston packages you can get.
The in-house produced material is claimed to offer similar strength properties as aluminum at half the weight. That might be true, but it’s a fact they don’t use it for brake calipers across their entire range, and that’s because the material is more flexible than traditional forged aluminum. Something that doesn’t matter in a brake master, but does in the caliper.
Magura has already claimed the top spot in the budget section for dual piston brakes and with the MT5 they might have done the same for 4 pistons as well.
SRAM Code R
If you’re willing to overlook the fact these brakes don’t have bite point adjustment, which is something you really can do without, you’ll have all the braking power of a brake, which costs twice as much as this one.
I think that about sums up how I feel about this brake. It’s the best way to obtain legendary SRAM stopping power in a high quality package for enduro and downhill.
Specifications hydraulic disc brakes for ebikes
buy at Amazon
Shimano Saint M820
Shimano SLX BR-M7120
Magura MT Sport
forged aluminum unibody
SRAM Code R
Johan van Seijen
Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His passion for cycling in general, and restoring older bikes turned into a website to share his knowledge with a broader audience. Starting out on his father’s road bike and riding classics as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege he has shifted his attention to trail, XC, and gravel riding since. No matter how much he loves writing about everything related to cycling, nothing beats actually using his ever-expanding bicycle collection.
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