Disk Brakes Bike Operation – Tower eBikes

E-Bike Disk Brakes

The electric cruiser bike from Tower called the Beach Bum comes equipped with top of the line tektro brakes

Disk Brake vs Rim Brakes

Disk brake systems produce an immense amount of stopping power, usually more so than a rim brake. For e-bike riders who ride very fast this advantage is paramount to the riders safety and well-being. 

A disk brake also provides the rider with much more control in the braking process. The lever on a disk brake provides the rider with much more feedback as you are pressing it down, allowing you to precisely determine how much force you need to use to brake. A rim brake on the other hand is inconsistent with the force needed to brake. 

Another advantage of disk brakes is the traction it provides you in all weather types. Rim brakes have a tendency to stall for a moment before you come to a complete stop due to the time it takes to get the water and dirt residue off of the rim. Disk brakes aren’t susceptible to this delay because of the location on the disk rotor.

Mechanical vs Hydraulic Disk Brakes

There are two types of disk brakes: mechanical and hydraulic. Mechanical brakes are made up of cables that transfer the pressure from the lever through a steel cable onto the pistons that squeeze the disk. On the other hand, hydraulic brakes use a sealed fluid filled system. Hydraulic disk brakes systems provide greater consistency in breaking because of the reductions in friction meaning you need to apply less pressure on the lever to come to a full stop. Because of this hydraulic disk brake systems tend to be more expensive. 

Disk Brake resources you might find helpful:

Although brakes are there for your safety, improper use can result in an accident and injury. It is important that you know the potential risks of applying the brakes too sharply. Because ebikes can travel at higher speeds than normal bicycles and weigh significantly more, it is important to use high quality brakes because the bike will require more force to bring it to a stop than a traditional bicycle. A danger with eBikes and a reason why their maximum output is limited is the speed that they can travel at. Applying the brakes too firmly at speed can be dangerous.

Wheel Lock

Applying the rear brake too harshly you can experience wheel lock or skidding. Wheel lock can be dangerous for inexperienced riders as it will cause a temporary loss of control while the wheel is not in motion. If you experience wheel lock, it will actually reduce the effectiveness of your brakes. The braking effectiveness can be thought of in terms of a scale, the easier you apply the brakes the longer it will take you to slow down and the harder you apply them, the faster you will slow down. Your disc brakes are at their most effective right before you experience wheel lock and any extra pressure on the brakes after this point will cause your wheel to lock and at that point your grip will be significantly reduced. This point can change depending on the riding conditions and level of wear on your brakes.

When rear wheels experience wheel lock, applying too much force to and locking the front brakes can result in a “load transfer”. This is where your bike and the load on it wants to keep moving forward despite the front wheel being locked. This can come to a point where the rear wheel lifts off the ground and potentially throw the rider over the handlebars due to the rider’s forward momentum. Similar to braking with the rear wheel, your brakes will be most effective at the point where the rear wheel is just about to lift off the ground.

Kill Switch

Motors on eBikes are directly connected to the brakes and feature a “kill switch”. This is an important safety feature that comes into effect when the rider applies pressure to the brake, the motor automatically switches off even if you are pedaling or holding the throttle. This is to prevent the motor overpowering the brake and making your braking ability less effective.

Take Care

Taking proper care of your disk brakes is crucial so their effectiveness is not sacrificed. A common mistake people make when assembling their electric bike is touching their disk brake. You should avoid touching the disk brake with bare hands as much as possible. Oils from your skin can get onto the disk brake and reduce its effectiveness. It is also important that if you are cleaning or maintaining your bike with oils or lubricants not to get any on the disk brake itself as this will also result in a loss in braking power.

The brakes on electric bikes work by pinching the brake disc. It is crucial that when you are storing or transporting your bike that you do not damage your disk. The mechanism that pinches the disk as the brakes are applied depends on the disc being absolutely true for maximum effectiveness. The pads need to pinch the disc equally and if the disk is slightly off, warped or dented the brakes will not be effective.

Check out: "How do I adjust my disc brakes"