The poet William Blake once said, "Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street." Even though Blake wasn't familiar with modern cycling, today's mountain bikers know just what he meant. You'll need to have sturdy brakes to tackle the inherent hazards of mountain biking. Don't jostle around with wimpy rim brakes -- when you meet a mountain, go with a hydraulic disc brake.
The Formula R1 hydraulic disc brake stands out in low-traction technical situations, according to BikeRadar.com. The R1 features a forged radial master cylinder, dual M/C bleed ports and an aluminum forged lever blade in a featherweight brake designed for racers. The Formula R1 disc brakes retailed for around $300 as of early 2011.
Avid Elixir CR
The Avid Elixir CR disc brakes feature Avid’s Taperbore technology. The Taperbore system integrates the fluid reservoir into the piston assembly, which conserves weight and eliminates the need for a separate reservoir. The carbon lever blade shaves off precious grams as well. You can even customize the brake's responsiveness on the fly with the tool-free pad contact adjustment located at the end of the brake lever. Like the Formula R1s, Avid's Elixir CRs aren't cheap -- each brake goes for $418 as of early 2011.
Shimano Deore M595
Shimano's Deore M595 is a lot of brake for the money, according to BikeRadar.com. The Deore M595 coem with a hinged single-bolt clamp on the master cylinder, easy-to-bleed fluid circuits and progressive stopping power. This brake compared to others at twice the price, said reviewers at the website. The Shimano Deore M595 retailed for about $140 as of early 2011.
Magura Louise Carbon Bat
Magura's Louise Carbon Bat is a "do-everything" brake, according to "Bicycling." The German-engineered Carbon Bat offers 45-degree, tool-free angular hose fittings to the calipers for easy cleanup, an integrated reservoir and dual-piston fixed caliper with an automatic pad wear adjustment. The Magura Louise Carbon Bat costs around $150 as of early 2011.