Which type of brake system?

As you can imagine, a powerful brake system is not a superfluous luxury on an e-bike. Thanks to the pedal assistance (that will take you up to 25 kilometres per hour) you will sail along with ease, so it is important to be able to come to a standstill smartly at low as well as high speed.

An e-bike features a powerful brake system in the form of a coaster brake and/or hand-operated brakes. Nowadays there is just one e-bike that still features a coaster brake. The majority of the e-bike range boasts one (or a combination) of the three types of hand-operated brakes.

Coaster brake

The coaster brake is featured on a small range of e-bikes. And not without good reason. The coaster brake is a simple powerful brake system that works by back-pedalling. You brake on the rear wheel only, which means that when you brake abruptly, you run the risk of locking the rear wheel and skidding.

Advantages

  • Inexpensive and simple system 
  • Powerful brake system

Disadvantages

  • High risk of skidding when braking abruptly 
  • Stopping distances are very long without a front brake

Disc brake

With this type of brake system pressure is applied (using oil) on the disc located next to the hub. This action is powerful, regardless of weather conditions, but the disc is very sensitive (to corrosion or squealing for example). Disc brakes are fitted to somewhat more expensive e-bikes, usually on the sporty versions.


Advantages

  • Shortest stopping distance 
  • Lightweight and sporty look 
  • Braking power can be applied progressively

Disadvantages

  • Disc brakes are sensitive and hence highly vulnerable 
  • This brake system requires a great deal of maintenance 
  • Susceptible to corrosion and squealing

Rim brake

With this type of hand-operated brake, also known as a V-brake, synthetic blocks are pressed against the rim while braking. This provides a powerful braking effect, but it also means that the blocks wear during braking. The high-end e-bike segment is equipped with hydraulic rim brakes. With this variant the brake blocks are applied to the rim by oil pressure.

Advantages

  • A strong and simple brake system which is very light 
  • Reliable brake system, the brake blocks grip very effectively 
  • Short braking distance 
  • No locking up or reduced braking function when applying brakes abruptly 
  • High braking power with little effort 
  • Hydraulic variant is virtually maintenance-free and boasts even shorter braking distances

Disadvantages

  • Brake blocks need to be replaced regularly due to rapid wear 
  • Reduced braking power in wet weather 
  • Brake blocks are susceptible to dirt

Roller brake (or drum brake)

The majority of e-bikes feature roller brakes, a modern version of the traditional drum brake. This is a maintenance-free brake system that works by means of rollers. The rollers are pushed out while braking, which generates the braking force. You can recognise this brake system on an e-bike from the round disc with ridges (in the front or rear wheel).

Advantages

  • Maintenance-free 
  • A durable brake system with a useful life equal to that of the bike

Disadvantages

  • Longer braking distances due to less powerful braking effect 
  • The braking system is heavy in weight 
  • The brake system can overheat during sustained or frequent braking over a short period and there is a risk of the brake seizing up