6 Best Mountain Bike Brakes 2021

Whether your existing brakes are squeaking beyond control or the pads have worn down, a new set of brakes can make mountain biking both more enjoyable and safer.

There are many available options out there, so we have brought together some of the best available options and some of the most useful advice on deciding between them.

Things to Consider

Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you are looking at the list of the best mountain bike brakes:

  • Smooth Application. There should be a progressive application of the brakes once the lever is pulled. The easiest way to see if the pads will provide this is by looking at reliable reviews and seeing exactly how they respond to the rider.
  • What the Product Includes. When buyers are searching for mountain bike brakes this can mean a multiple of things. On our list we have included products which provide the brake pads, the levers, the cables and a combination of the three. The manufacturers will also make corresponding items if they are needed.

Top 6 Mountain Bike Brakes Table

PictureNameIncludesPriceRating (1-5)
Rating (1-5)
1. Shimano Acera Mountain Bicycle V-Brake Front + Rear Pair Set2 x Pairs of Brake Pads. $$$4.6
2. Kool-Stop Dual Compound Mountain PadsBrake pads. $4.5
3. XLC Alloy 4 Finger V- Brake LeverLevers. $$$$4.5
4. Avid 20R Brake Pad Set2 x Pairs of Brake Pads. $$4.4
5. Ventura Complete Bike Brake Pad Set2 x Pairs of Brake Pads $4.3
6. Origin8 Sport Comp V-Brake Set Pairs of levers, cables and calipers. $$$3.7

The Biggest Mistake Made When Choosing

The most common error that riders make when they are buying new brakes is focusing solely on the pads themselves. While there are certainly important, you should never forget about the levers.

The lever controls the application of the pad and the best mountain bike brakes offer advanced adjustment as the pad wears out. Here are some of the key areas to consider when looking at the levers of your mountain bike:

  • Adjustability. While this is important in terms of reach from the handle grips, there is a further development in mountain bike design that allows the user to adjust the bite point. You can also opt for levers that allow an adjustment of power. This feature should only be used if you are experienced as there is a lot of room for error.
  • Ergonomics. Most manufacturers spend time getting their brake levers to have the best possible shape and curve. This does not mean they get it right for every hand size. You should certainly check this before buying brakes. If your existing levers are not perfect then you should immediately replace them with ones that are.

Top 3 Best Mountain Bike Brakes Reviews

1. Shimano Acera V-Brake Set

Upgrading to better brakes for a mountain bike is a must if you are getting seriously into the sport and the Shimano Acera V-Brake set comes highly recommended for the extra stopping traction and power that you want when coming down a mountain.

This is a set of front and rear brakes so you get great overall control. The allow arms ensure that the metal doesn’t bend or become overwhelmed when you need to rely on the brakes the most.

These brakes are easy to install and the product provides great overall quality so they will not need to be replaced and they will not wear down. For the price, you really can’t go wrong either.

2. Kool-Stop Dual Compound Mountain Pads

The Kool-Stop Dual Compound Mountain Pads help you stop reliably in both wet and dry conditions. This is something that is needed if you are going to get into more extreme terrain as the ability to know you are going to stop or slow down can make a huge difference in terms of safety.

These should definitely be used instead of the normal set that a mountain bike comes with. Generally the rest of the bike is solid enough but the brakes and the pads are not something you want to chance.

Considering the cost and the high quality, this is more than worth the investment. They are easy to adjust too so you can make them tighter and allow for more control.

3. XLC Alloy Finger V-Brake Lever

The XLC Alloy Finger V-Brake Lever set is longer than the set that a normal bike will come with. This automatically makes them some of the best mountain bike brakes on the market as they give you more control and more range of motion when you ride.

These levers are incredibly sturdy and are made of metal with rubber grips. With a silver and black finish, they also go really well with any color or kind of bike you are looking to upgrade.

In terms of comfort, this set is far superior to any that the original levers the bike might have come with. They are easy to change out when upgrading the bike and will make the ride more comfortable and even more controllable.