Best MTB Brakes [Review] in 2021
written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
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Imagine speeding downhill on your mountain bike, cutting through the wind, and having a grand time when your brakes fail. Not the best sight to imagine right?
This shows how important and crucial a good set of brakes can prove to be on a mountain bike. It can save you from many horrifying accidents.
Investing in brakes is a great move because, ultimately, you are investing in your safety. Enduro and downhill mountain bikes have heavier tires with a more aggressive tread. This provides more traction which translates to more braking power.
Now I know that finding the best mountain bike brakes can be a bit tedious and a challenge at times because there are so many factors to consider when finding the best fit for you.
But not to worry, I have researched 18 different MTB brakes looking at all the factors such as price, quality, and material. You can get going on your next adventure down the most exciting trails knowing that these brakes will keep you out of trouble, no matter the weather.
Enough on this, for now, let’s dive into the best MTB brakes I’ve picked for you.
We’ve spent the time so you don’t have to:
Best MTB Brakes
Shimano Deore BR-M6000 Pre-Bled Disc Brake
Now Shimano Deore is number one on my list for being reliable and a great value for money. It’ll give you total control and power at your fingertips.
With its sleek, integrated appearance the M6000 will complement any cross country and mountain adventure, helping you conquer your next trial challenge. The M6000 offers consistently reliable braking performance even when tackling extreme conditions.
It’ll bite the cold and extreme weather in the ass and stop you with no issues.
But not only is this the first Deore brake with Servo Wave allowing you to alter pad movement and increase the power. It is remarkably better than anything cheaper, with immaculate level pull consistency.
As the brake lever is pulled the cam linkage helps the rapid pad to rotor engagement, at the point of contact the cam moves across to add extra leverage, increasing stopping power.
Overall this is number one for quality for the price point- go get yourself one now.
- High quality
- Servo Wave
- Good braking power and consistency
- None so far
Latest deal: Shimano Deore BR-M6000
Hope tech 3 E4
If you’re looking to push the pace and tackle all terrains the Hope Tech 3 is top-notch for reliable stopping power. Incorporating a CNC machined T6 aluminum caliper making this brake both efficient and durable, perfect for the trails.
This also enables a 5% increase in performance from the previous version of this brake. The disc brake system is on board that allows for quick and easy stops no matter what hits you on the trail.
But that’s not all.
The E4 calipers use phenolic pistons that add another layer of powder on top of the already quick and efficient braking system. The lever has an anodized finish which makes these brakes weather-resistant perfect for even the extreme conditions on the mountains.
You can even wash the brakes without worrying about rust so you can keep your bike spick and span care-free. They are also super easy to bleed, so you can get on the trails in no time.
Overall, a great experience while giving you a range of colors to choose from.
- Color options
- CNC machined T6 aluminium calipers
- Anodized finish
- Phenolic pistons
- No rotor included
Latest deal: Hope tech 3 E4
Shimano saint M820 brakes
Shimano is very well-known when it comes to bike accessories, especially in disc brakes for mountain bikes and the Saint M820 hydraulic disc brakes are no different. They bring you that sleek look that everyone loves
The mechanical robotic vibe is a definite hit among riders of all ages. The branding is cool, and the colorway is also elegant.
As for the lever and caliper, the brakes use the Servo Wave mechanism and 4 ceramic pistons that provide tremendous braking power in the palm of your hands stopping on the dot.
Best of all,
The free stroke is adjustable which allows you to hit the sweet point you need it at, and the reach adjustment does not require tools so you can tune the brakes on the go to your fancy.
Ice-technologies are available as an added bonus to reduce brake fade in extreme braking situations. Overall, this is a great product for the price you pay and one of the best mountain bike brakes on my list.
- Unique color way
- 4 ceramic pistons
- Free stroke adjustment
- No tools required
- No rotors included
Latest deal: Shimano saint M820 brakes
Shimano zee M640
Now if you’re looking for brakes will add a lightweight but durable design, where the angles go amazing with the all-black and dark grey colorway that introduces a more low-profile understated vibe.
The brakes are hydraulic and compatible with I-Spec-B which enables amazing braking power and even distribution of impact meaning that’ll have you braking on the beat.
The 4 ceramic pistons further improve the efficiency of the brakes by providing 2 different diameter options. The brakes are fully adjustable and do not require tools.
This means if you decide you want to adjust the brakes before tackling an exciting descent you can with no issues.
Overall, this is a good buy.
- Low-profile look
- Forged alloy lever
- I-Spec-B compatible
- 4 ceramic pistons
- Adaptor not included
Latest deal: Shimano zee M640
TREK Bontrager Speed Stop Integrated Brake
Now if you’re looking for a brake that is well known for its adjustability while being super lightweight. The Bontrager Speed is both front and rear compatible.
It is also compatible with Shimano SRAM, and Campagnolo systems meaning you can use it on a range of bikes making it an excellent choice for all conditions.
Tunable stopping power to dial in the perfect lever feel so you’ll be stopping super quick especially on the most uneven surfaces.
It is very popular among many mountain bike lovers- go check it out.
- Rear and front compatible
- An excellent choice for all conditions
- Can be used on a range of bikes
- Could use more color options
Latest deal: Bontrager Speed Stop Integrated Brake
Shimano XT M8000
If you’re looking for a brake that looks both sleek and modern, complimenting your bike in the best of ways possible then the M8000 will sure to do the job.
With forged caliper it provides some of the best durability and strength, Shimano is well known for keeping a lightweight design.
The brakes are I-Spec-II compatible and the reach and free stroke are adjustable. The lightweight caliper design reduces rigidity as well, allowing more power to be produced and delivered easily in extreme braking situations.
But there more
The brakes use mineral oil for smooth function and a shim-less mounting system allows for a quick setup meaning there nothing stopping you from getting back on your favorite trail.
This is a definite go-getter for all your mountain bike adventures at such a great price point.
- Forged alloy lever and caliper
- Lightweight and durable
- Mineral oil
- I-Spec-II compatible
- Could use more color options
Latest deal: Shimano XT M8000
Hope stealth race X2 evo
Now if you’re looking for a disc brake that’ll stay super-lightweight so you can achieve your top-performance wherever the mountain calls.
This stunning model features a lever pivot which has been slightly shortened will translate to 15% extra in power, nothing will be able to stop you from chasing new trails with the reassurance of these brakes.
The CNC machined from a solid billet of T6 aircraft spec aluminum alloy, that’ll reward you with a smooth and progressive feel of power. Also, the split clamp will allow you to have those quick adjustments on the go.
If that’s not enough the lever reach is adjustable and the master cylinder reservoir is integrated, allowing easy bleeding.
Hope brings you their stealth disc brakes system which looks modern and elegant. The colorway is all-black which gives it a very understated vibe. The branding is also super sleek and compliments the rest of the system perfectly.
T6 aluminum is used for lever construction with titanium bolts that provide ultimate durability and strength so you can have the maximum performance out of these brakes.
They are one of the best, go have a look!
- Aluminium alloy construction
- Wide angle hose connector mount
- Wide diameter piston
- Durable and lightweight
Latest deal: Hope stealth race X2 evo
Magura MT Trail Sport Disc Brake Set
Bringing you the power and reliability at a more affordable price point, this pair of Magura MT-Trail hydraulic MTB brakes will instantly give you that upgrade you’ve been longing for on your bike.
With these brakes on board, you’ll be able to dive into your favorite trail, smashing down every descent while knowing you can wait to the last second to kill the speed.
These brakes will allow you to obtain the perfect braking performance, power, and control with their well thought out design.
The front brake caliper has four pistons for superior power in a second whereas the back has a two-piston setup that provides responsive control and reliable braking even in the most unpredictable terrains.
This product has glowing reviews, loved by many mountain and trail bikers- this could be your perfect match.
- 4 pistons at the front and 2 at the rear.
- Giving you power and reliability
- Can be noisy
Latest deal: Magura MT Brake Set
Tektro draco disc brakes
Tektro brings you a unique green and black colorway that’ll sure compliment your bike. The funky design will be a hit among the youngster.
The design language and angles give this brake a sleek and modern look while the material used for the build is aluminum which is durable and lightweight.
Strength is not an issue at all with this brake meaning you can stop in any condition, and the brakes are also rust-free. The open system dual-piston produces a lot of power for braking, enabling you for quick and easy stops whenever needed.
If that’s not enough
The fluid used is a mineral oil that keeps everything running and functioning smoothly. This brake is great for your fast-paced off-road antics making every day an adventure.
This is such a great product for the price point, go check it out.
- Aluminium build
- Rust-free and durable
- Open system dual piston
- Mineral oil
- Can use better build
Latest deal: Tektro draco disc brakes
Best MTB Brakes Buyers Guide
We can all agree when I say that brakes are the most important safety component on our bike, they prevent things from getting messy on both the trails and the roads.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to use brakes as often as we do, we’ll rail the corner perfectly and defeat every descent like a pro, but brakes are not only the key safety feature but our comfort blanket while riding in case you find yourself way out of your comfort zone.
Luckily with mountain bike disc brakes, they are built to challenge the roughest and even iciest of surfaces, getting a grip of the ground quickly so you can get back into your comfort zone quicker, especially after our favourite adrenaline rush on the hills.
If and when you decide to pull the brakes, MTB brakes prevent you from skidding or going over the handlebars- it happened to all of us at one point early on in our riding experience.
With more bike control I feel that it gives me more power at my fingertips, finding the right MTB brake has definitely improved my confidence as a rider and it will with you too after reading this guide.
What to look for when buying MTB brakes:
Price: When you shop online for good mountain bike disc brakes, you will come across brakes that ask for a lot of money. Some companies ask for a lot and don’t provide as much for it. You should pay attention to what you are buying and check if the same features are available on a cheaper alternative. You will be surprised at what you find.
Quality: This is a very important aspect of mountain bike brakes. If the brakes don’t have good quality, they will break easily. You need your brakes to pull through in the toughest of times because that is when you need them the most. You cannot afford them breaking in some extreme situations.
Material: The material is also a crucial factor of hydraulic brakes. Since they generate a lot of power for braking, they need to have a strong material to support it. Good materials include 6000 and 7000 series aluminum. Carbon is also good as it adds a lightweight aspect to the bike.
Adjustability: Adjustability is one of my number things to look for when buying my bike brakes, simply because it helps reduce hand fatigue after a long day down the trails. With sharp twists and turns, bumps, climbs and descents our hands go through a lot on the trails. Finding brakes with easy adjustability that I can quickly change on the trail has completely transformed my experience as a rider.
Rotor size: Rotors that are bigger may be slightly heavier but have a larger area to cool down on sustained descents, keeping them working optimally and is something to definitely be considered when buying your MTB brakes.
Pad removal: Brake pads that can be removed make your job much easier when cleaning, it’ll save the hassle of removing your wheel, despite not having to do this often it makes life a lot easier when you do.
Brake fluid: MTB brakes often use either mineral oil or DOT fluid to work their pistons, DOT fluids deal with water absorption better than mineral oil but you will have to be more careful with applying and handling as it can damage the paintwork on your bike.
Bleeding system: I know this is a tedious task to do but finding brakes that can be easily bled is so important. It helps tackle those pesky bubbles after a fun-packed day down the trail. Brake bleeding is the procedure performed on hydraulic brake systems whereby the brake lines are cleansed of any air bubbles so you can excel in your ride for longer.
Today we looked at some of the best offerings in the braking department when it comes to mountain bikes. Manufacturers brought their A-game and kept quality persistent throughout.
Some used great calipers and levers while others had wide pistons for more usable braking power. The oil used also played an important role and hence, mineral and DOT 5.1 oils were seen as fluids in the brakes. Color options were also seen in some of the offerings.`
Overall, the companies featured today did an amazing job at providing good quality brakes. No matter which one you go for, you will not be disappointed. Brakes are a vital part of every mountain bike and should not be compromised on whatsoever.
Choose the best mountain bike brake that’s the best fit for you, stay safe out there, and happy cycling!
Content Manager at Pedallers
Alex is a cycling expert at and focuses on reviewing bikes, accessories, and general cycling. He searches for the most up to date products that match the needs of cyclists across the world. Whether it's recent news or the best bike set-ups, Alex is a trusted source for anything around cycling.