The Best BMX Brakes In The Market 2020

If you want to keep yourself safe while hopping on a BMX bike, it helps a lot to have the proper set of brakes. After all, they’re the ones stopping you from an eventful crash, and they slow you down when you have to.

But, do you know how to pick the right brakes for your BMX bike?

In this article, I’ll present you with the best BMX brakes I’ve found in the market and how you can pick the one that matches your bike.

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 00:27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

BMX Brakes – What To Know

Brakes allow you to control the speed of your bike by pressing on the brake lever(s) with your hands or fingers. Most BMX bikes—those you would use in dirt, park, and street rides—would only come with a rear brake. Only a few ones feature both front and rear handbrakes.

The brake itself is rather simple, though. It’s composed of four parts:

  • Pads. These would come in contact with the rim, making use of friction to slow the bike down.
  • Arms. There’d be two of these, connected through the pivots to the bike’s frame. The brake cable would be pulling the arms.
  • Springs. These would push the brake so that it returns to the original position.
  • Pivots. Pivots serve as the pivot point for the brake’s arms.

The more you know about brakes, the better the choices you could make in choosing a model for an upgrade.

Types Of Brakes 

All types of brakes fall under two major categories, namely the disc brake and the rim brake.

Disc Brake 

Disc brakes are most commonly found on mountain bikes. Instead of touching the rim of the wheel for braking, these brakes make use of a metal disc system.

The disc system involves a caliper with which the disc rotates, and which contains the brake pads. As you press on the brake lever, the pads touch the rotor, and the bike slows down as a result.

In disc brakes, the braking surface (the rotor) is positioned farther away from wet and muddy surfaces, so the braking system can perform more efficiently in rugged terrains. This is why disc brakes are preferred in mountain bikes.

Mechanical 

A mechanical disc brake activates the caliper pistons with a wire cable.

Hydraulic 

A hydraulic disc brake uses a hydraulic brake fluid contained in sealed hoses. The brake system compresses this fluid in order to put the pistons and pads into action.

Rim Brake

Rim brakes make contact with the wheel’s rim to slow the bike down. You would find these types of brakes in many BMX, city, and road bikes.

Mechanically speaking, they have a more simple system. Plus, they’re lightweight.

V-Brakes 

You may see V-brakes on a mountain bike, but they’re also a standard-issue on race bikes. They mount to brake bosses and offer powerful braking, but they expose the brake unit to hits and other abuses. This is why V-brakes are not preferred in freestyle BMX bikes.

U-Brakes

A U-brake is similar to the V-brake in terms of mounting style, but it uses a straddle cable that would hook to a brake arm. They have a contoured design, keeping them from harm, especially when you’re using the bike for stunts.

Material 

Brakes may use different materials for different parts. Aluminum arms are common, and they’re used to save on weight.

Pivots, on the other hand, may come in brass for smoother turns.

Meanwhile, soft pads can provide a stronger grip, but they won’t last as long compared to harder pads.

Some bikes, by the way, use carbon steel for the brakes as it’s stronger and more dent-resistant than aluminum. Personally, I do prefer either carbon or high tensile steel or a Chromoly brake.

Use & Benefits

Some expert riders may prefer not to use brakes—they just want to spin their handlebars round and round (almost endlessly) without having to deal with the brake cable. 

Nonetheless, it’s still useful to have a reliable braking system. Check out the following uses and benefits of having a BMX brake:

  • Allows you to slow down before danger hits
  • Prevents accidents
  • Helps you pull off a smooth and effective stop
  • Keeps you from crashing when riding downhill

How To Install A BMX Brake

To be honest, it’s a lot easier and more understandable to see a video demonstration on how to install a BMX brake. So, for this part, I’d like to present two of the most helpful videos I’ve found on brake installation.

V-Brake Installation Process

U-Brake Installation Process

BMX Brakes – Top 5 Picks

Let’s get into our top 5 picks for BMX brakes.

1. Odyssey Springfield U-Brake Kit

Key Features

  • Brake Type: U-brake
  • Brake Lever Actuation: Short pull
  • Only for rear use
  • Weight: 190g
  • Includes a one-spring design, pads, and a hinged medium Springfield lever

If you’re looking for a U-brake system that would fit any tire size (in the BMX bike range), this universal Odyssey Springfield U-brake kit can do the job well. Just make sure your bike frame has U-brake bosses.

The caliper is quite easy to install, and it could work with a gyro, although you’ll need to add a gyro cable in the system.

This Odyssey Springfield U-brake kit also comes with instructions, so installation should be a breeze. Perhaps the only tweaking part you’ll need to do is with the cable tension.

Moreover, the kit is pretty convenient as it already includes the bolts to mount. 

Pros

  • Universal kit
  • Installation is straightforward
  • The cable is of good quality, with linear housing
  • Great stopping power
  • No trouble skidding
  • Brakes feel good with the no-compression housing
  • A lot firmer than a normal brake
  • Doesn’t squeal excessively

Cons

  • May need a little adjustment in order to work well
  • Doesn’t have a centering adjustment
  • Stock pads may not be strong enough

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 00:27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Origin8 Sport-Comp V-Brake Set

Key Features

  • Universal brake kit
  • Material: forged alloy
  • With front dual-spring tension adjustment
  • Includes levers, calipers, cables, and housing

If you prefer using a V-brake, the Origin8 Sport-Comp V-Brake Set could be an excellent choice. This kit already comes with cables, housing, calipers, and levers. It also includes the metal “noodle” and rubber boot needed for the cable.

It’s also a universal kit for V-brakes, so it only requires you to have the compatible mounting points on your BMX bike. 

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Value for money
  • Universal use
  • Allows you to stop safely and confidently
  • Strong and durable materials
  • The calipers are solid and all-metal
  • Quality springs

Cons

  • The cable/housing may come with kinks since they’re wound in a 3-inch diameter ring in the packaging
  • Doesn’t include hex wrenches

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 00:27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Tektro 930AL BMX V-Brake with Lever

Key Features

  • Lever: with adjustable reach
  • Includes cable, housing, brake line, and noodle
  • Weight: 1.2 lbs

The Tektro 930AL BMX V-Brake is a simple system that works with BMX bikes. Although the product is described as coming with a lever, cable, and housing only, it does come with a brake line and a noodle, too.

While this Tektro V-Brake can work well with 20” to 24” BMX bikes, you need to have the right posts on the bike’s frame to mount the brake on.

Also, note that you’re getting only one set of this brake and lever, and it’s only for the rear.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Value for money
  • Works well with used BMX bikes
  • Comes with other essentials such as the brake line and noodle

Cons

  • The packaging may not be that secure
  • The brake lever may come out with a chipped paint
  • The brake handle doesn’t open for it to go around the handlebar and must be slid on instead

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 00:27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Odyssey 1999 BMX Brake Set & Lever

Key Features

  • Material: steel alloy
  • Side pull brake system
  • Single pivot
  • Maximum reach: 85mm
  • Includes one set of a brake with universal brake caliper, cable, alloy brake lever, and front and rear pivot bolts

The 1999 BMX Brake Set by Odyssey includes a right-hand lever with a cable that is long enough to set the system up as a rear brake. It’s also good for a front brake.

Just note that this brake kit is only good for either the front or the rear, not both. It only includes a right-handed brake lever, and there’s no option to choose a left-sided one when buying.

Well, some folks have managed to use this right-sided lever on the left handle by turning the lever upside-down. That would probably feel awkward to hold, but it can still work and not necessarily impact the overall performance of the brake system.

So, anyway, yes. The kit can work well as long as everything’s installed properly.

Pros

  • Good quality
  • Easy to install
  • Can stop you effectively
  • Can be installed in the front or the rear
  • Comes with a metal collar and crimp cap
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Includes only one right-sided brake lever
  • You’ll need to cut the tube and cable itself as it might turn out to be too long for what you need it to be
  • No installation manual included
  • You’ll need to provide your own ferrule for the cut end since the end caps are crimped onto the cable housing

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 00:27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. Curb Dog Muscle Bound BMX Brake Set

Key Features

  • Caliper Material: alloy
  • Universal Lever and Brake Caliper
  • Front or rear use
  • Fits into BMX and freestyle bikes
  • Includes brake cable and lever

This Muscle Bound BMX Brake Set by Curb Dog features a one-brake set which can either be used on the front or the rear of the bike. Its brake cable is long enough to reach the rear of a 20-inch or even a 24-inch bike.

The system is rather easy to install and can perform decently enough. Whether yours is a true BMX or a freestyle bike, this brake set should work fine. It might be a little pricier than other models, but it can work just right as long as it’s properly installed.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Decent quality
  • The cable length is just right
  • Can provide an efficient braking

Cons

  • Can be a little pricier than other models
  • The mounting bolt might be too short
  • The steel rod might snap if you tighten the bolt too much

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 00:27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Which Is Best? 

Well, we’re finally down to our final choice, and this time, I’m picking two. The Odyssey Springfield U-brake kit for U-brake bosses and the Origin8 Sport-Comp V-brake set for—well, you guessed it—V-brake bosses.

Of course, they have different uses and compatibilities, hence the two choices.

Both are universal brake kits, which means that while they have different configurations, they should work well with any BMX bike size (with the right bosses).

Overall, they’re both durable and easy to install. But if, in any case, you’d still want me to choose one, I would prefer a U-brake for a BMX—especially if I’m going to do stunts in the near future. (Good luck to me!)

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 00:27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Perry
Perry
Hello, my names Perry and I've been a freelance writer for the past 5 years and a cycling enthusiastic since I can remember. I love the road, but my main passion is mountain biking.