Ebike Hydraulic Disc Brake Choices


1 mW
Dec 9, 2021
I was playing around with a bike last weekend and have to agree, hydraulic brakes are not necessary. I Do like them for one finger use in dh mtb. Now that I ride more and more xc as I age, I will probably replace hydraulic with mechanical.

You have to really goof up to contaminate a brake pad or rotor with wires, and I sure as shit don’t carry syringes and fluid with me while riding. I don’t get the adjustment argument as it’s offset by other harder to fix factors.

I use third party sensors on my levers to swap throttle function to variable regen as I use grin components and really like it. Luckily I also have the software installed to let off the throttle and stop pedaling before trying to slow down or stop, which is step 1 to make those sensors work and subsequent variable regen work.
Aug 28, 2021
Grin sells sensors to interrupt motor power, switched brake levers, switched hydraulic brakes, and add-on switches to work with existing brake levers:
Ebrakes - Ebike Parts - Shop

An advantage to brake switches is that with the proper controllers, I can use the motor as my brake and not wear my brake pads at all - they don't need adjustment.

My brake levers trigger the switch before engaging the mechanicals, and my throttle varies the braking force. The motor is quite adequate to bring me to a stop. My mechanical brakes engage fully before the levers bottom, so I have that for emergencies.


Staff member
Aug 17, 2009
Phoenix, AZ, USA, Earth, Sol, Local Bubble, Orion
I mounted a micro switch on my calipers, but I didn't do it in order to switch off my motor or enable regen. I did it in order to turn on my brake lights.
I did the same for my front caliper (presently the only mechanical brake there is on SBC), though mine is not as neatly done as yours, since it was supposed to be a quick-fix experiment I'd go back to permanentize later...but it's worked fine just like that ever since, so....
Feb 8, 2019
South FL USA
I run Avid BB7 and agree with Chalo about hydraulic brakes.
My setup is Avid BB7 with good metallic pads. EBC or SRAM. This cuts down on adjustment by about 5x.
The leverage is inherited from vee brakes. Run big rotors to get leverage at the other end.
There are 2 upgrade options for Rotors. Shimano ICE, and Freeza. The ICE are part of the Saint DH groupset. They run 100*C. cooler than solid steel rotors, The Freeza have exposed cooling surfaces and run 140*C cooler. The ICE are affordable, the Freeza are premium stuff. How long they would last on a cargo bike IDK. I had to cut the tab off of the inner pad to run these.
The other option would be TRP 220mm x 2.3mm rotors. Their own mech. brakes won't accept them but BB7 has room. This will give you leverage, but not as much cooling for downhill runs. I haven't tried those yet. But maybe the best choice for a cargo bike.
With a bit of detail work on the cable setup you can have very good feel with these brakes. Jagwire pre stretched and polished cables in their teflon liners. I replace as much flex cable as possible with 3/16" metal brake pipe (they used to sell this as Full Metal Jacket).The liner fits inside. This eliminates any cables flapping around when you move the lever. The metal ends off of the cables fit over the pipes, drill as needed for pass through of the liner. It also looks like you have hydraulics! Take all slack out at the levers. When the lever moves the brake arm moves. Then don't touch the barrel adjusters again. Do all adjustment at he caliper knobs. With metal pads this won't be too often. Brake noise under light braking means the inner pads is too far away from the rotor. This allows one pad to hit. I call it the Gong Show. 1 click of the inner pad adjuster usually stops it.
Last edited:


1 MW
Aug 2, 2015
Chicago area suburbs.
I've had several run-away throttles. If the ground wire comes off a Hall effect throttle, you get full throttle, Lucky for me. the fails happened on the puny Q100H motor, so a runaway throttle is not even noticed. On my 750W bikes, could be scary w/o brake cutoffs. As I progressed in my DIY builds, I took better care of the connectors so they didn't come apart, It's like torque arms. SOme bikes won't ned them, but I still put one in,

BB7's cost more than cheap hydraulics, but they are easy to adjust. The BB5's were terrible, I'm OK with Shimano MT200 hydraulics. I mount switches on them, No one can see the JB weld. I usually screw in the magnet,

I like the cable actuated hydraulic zooms. but I dislike how the Zoom HB100's will quit on you. You almost want to pack a spare caliper for long trips,