Long Pull Vs Short Pull Brakes -Which is best Choice?

Long Pull Vs Short Pull Brakes

Are you wondering what type of brake you should choose for your bike? Well, it depends on the riding that you are going to be doing. It is also important to consider that some brake levers can be used for long and short pull brakes, but not all of them.

When choosing a brake for your bike, it’s important to consider the type of brake and the length of the pull. A long pull brake is better for downhill and freeride bikes, while a short pull brake is better for road bikes. Today, I’ll be discussing long pull vs short pull brakes and which type of brake is best for each type of riding. So, Let’s Get Started!

What are long pull brakes and how do they work?

A Bike Long Pull Brake is a brake system that pulls the rear wheel of your bicycle past the fork on one side and down to the ground on the other. This design is commonly found on mountain bikes, where the rider needs a long lever to pull the wheel over. A common false belief is that a bike’s long pull brake is only good for going downhill, but this isn’t true. Braking is the most important part of riding a bike, especially on the trails or downhills. There are many ways to handle difficult terrain, and braking is one of them. 

Long Pull Brakes

The long pull brake is a very convenient system for many situations. The long lever makes it easy to come to an immediate stop, even on the steepest of hills. However, this design may be too steep of an angle to prevent rolling. Some long pull brake designs have been designed only to be used as a brake when the bike is rolling very slowly. The long lever also makes it possible to use the brake while leaning forward and without leaving the handlebars. Another advantage to the long pull brake is that there is no need for cables or other parts inside a mountain bike.

When the brake lever is squeezed and the pad contacts the rim, it releases a spring mechanism on the brake arm. It causes the arm to retract, pulling a new cable section with it. As this new cable pulls and is re-attached to the brake arm, this in turn also pulls on another set of pads wrapped around a separate section of cable. The cables are typically wrapped many times around pulleys inside the frame on each side. When one side of the frame is squeezed, both sides pull on separate sections of cable that wrap around pulleys in opposite directions, causing both sides to squeeze together at once.

Read More: Are Brake Cables and Shifter Cables the Same?

Types of long pull brakes

A long pull brake is a type of hand brake that is used on bicycles. In addition to being typically found on mountain bikes, they are also used occasionally on racing or touring bicycles. The brake lever is pulled back towards the rider to lock the rear wheel, usually by a wire loop wrapped around the seat post. They provide stopping power and a handhold so that the rider can mount or dismount easily without losing their balance. Here are some of the different types of long pull brakes.

Derailleur brake

Cyclists invented a type of brake because they needed to stop frequently and quickly for refueling, changing tires, or other reasons. This type of brake does not have any link to the rear wheel; hence, the rider has to hold it all along with the pedals. These brakes are mostly used on bicycles that have been converted from their original design.

Disc brake

Disc brakes were invented in the 30’s and later. They are a good option for all bikes with disc brakes as it gives better stopping power than traditional cantilever brakes. This type of brake gives the rider better stopping power and gives a better feel due to its design. Disc brakes are best for off-road or aggressive riding.

Cantilever brake

It is the most popular long pull brake used in almost all kinds of bicycles. It has two arms and a wire loop attached to the rear wheel, which is pulled towards the rider to stop the bicycle. It does not require additional braking hardware and is found on most mountain bikes. 

What are the benefits of using long pull brakes?

If you’re looking to upgrade the brakes on your bicycle, long pull brakes are an option worth considering. Long pull brakes attach at the front of your bike’s handlebars. The brake cable extends from the lever at the handlebars to your rear caliper. These brakes work in a very different way than traditional brakes, and this must be considered. There are many benefits to choosing to use long pull brakes. Here are two of them.

  1. Better Control

Because the brake arm sits a long way from the handlebars, you have better control over the direction of your braking. You can stop faster and more precisely. It also means that if you do not come to a full stop, you can back off a little and slow down.

  1. More Room for Your Feet

Many people struggle with getting their feet on the ground when descending steep hills or rolling down a hilly road. Long pull brakes give more foot room for these situations, helping you get your feet on the ground and hold them there to stay on your bicycle as long as possible without going off-road or over the handlebars.

  1. Better Price

The cost of these brakes is typically less than the cost of traditional braces. Most of the parts for these brakes are made from inexpensive materials. For example, long pull brake cables are made from regular bike cables, and the calipers can be from off-the-shelf models.

Read More: Are Mountain Bike Forks Universal?

What are the disadvantages of using long pull brakes?

The disadvantages of using long pull brakes include a greater risk of injury and equipment failure. Additionally, if the brake cable breaks during use, it can lead to a dangerous situation for the user and other people nearby. Lastly, when using long pull brakes, there is no limit on how much braking pressure can be applied by either the rider or the machine.

If you’re wondering if your bicycle should have long pull brakes or not, you should talk to an expert such as a mechanic or a professional rider. If you’re worried about these potential problems with long pull brakes, a front disc brake will be more suitable for your needs and provide better safety while reducing the risk of injury to yourself and others around you.

What are short pull brakes and how do they work?

Bike brakes are one of your bicycle’s most important and effective safety features. Short bike pull brakes work with a cable system to release the brake pads, which then drag on the wheel to stop the bike. The standard brake system uses a cable and lever setup, starting with the front brake cable pulling on the lever, tugging on the brake pads, and holding the bike.

In a short pull brake, one or two cables are used to pull on the lever and against the brake pads. With one cable system, there is no need for an extra lever. However, a single cable will not be able to provide the same amount of braking power as a dual cable system.

Short Pull Brakes

With a dual short pull brake system, an extra lever in the middle of the bike controls the second cable. The main advantage of short bike pull brakes is that they are easy to use because you do not have to shift to put on the brakes. The major disadvantage of this system is that it is not as efficient as standard brakes because more weight pulls on the wheels, making it harder for your bike to ride uphill and causing your tires to wear faster.

The short bike pull brake system is controlled by a lever attached to the handlebars’ middle. One or two cables are attached to the lever, depending on which short bike pull brake system you have. The cable system starts with the front brake cable pulling on the lever, tugging the brake pads, and holding the bike. With a dual short pull brake system, an extra lever in the middle of the bike controls the second cable. The rider can then pull the lever towards them and either side to engage or disengage the brakes. Short bike pull brakes are easy to use because you do not have to shift to put on the brakes. However, they are limited in the amount of power they can bring to a stop due to the extra weight pulling on the wheels.

Types of short pull brakes

The two most common short pull brakes you’ll find on bicycles worldwide are the disc and drum brakes. Each of these types of short pull brakes has its advantages but also some disadvantages. The disc brake is the more advanced type, combining a few different technologies into one package. However, it also has lower power than the drum brake. The drum brake takes up more space but works well in wet conditions and has higher power output.

Disc Brakes 

Disc brakes are found on almost all modern bicycles made today (except for those made for competition). Most countries require that bicycles be equipped with this short pull brake or have a secondary braking system to work as an emergency backup in case of failure. Disc brakes are the most powerful type of short pull brake and use a friction coefficient of about 0.4 or lower. Disc brakes can also be adjusted with the brake lever to decrease their power output, making them more user-friendly for less experienced users and those who need to brake gently on steep hills or when going downhill very quickly.

Drum Brakes 

Drum brakes are often used on bicycles made decades ago. These brakes are typically made of wood and are not commonly found on bicycles sold in stores today. Drum brakes have advantages when it comes to stopping power. They’re also very stout and can be used in wet or dry conditions. Drum brakes are also known for making noise when applied and released. Drum brakes are not adjustable, but they usually come with a much lower coefficient of friction than disc brakes.

What are the benefits of using short pull brakes?

The material for a brake’s braking surface either has to be softer or it needs to be thicker to provide a lower stopping power rating. Short braking surfaces require less material which increases the stiffness and strength of the system while keeping some weight to a minimum. 

A short braking surface does not need to be as thick either because it is easier to make the brake surface thinner without becoming weaker. Reducing material saves weight, increases stiffness, and makes the brakes easier to install. It is easier to install shorter braking systems with lower stopping power ratings. 

Short brake systems are also easier to adjust because they do not require as much material or added thickness. Short braking surfaces are more resistant to wear with less material, making them last longer than standard brake systems with long pull double cables and larger pad materials. The ability to last longer and keep from wearing down as fast is why most mountain bikes use short braking surfaces.

What are the disadvantages of using short pull brakes?

It is a misconception that bikes can use short pull brakes on their front wheels. Bikes that use this style of the braking system, which is used on mountain bikes, are not allowed to be raced in any sanctioned bicycle racing event. These brakes should only be used for casual purposes, like casual bike riding or occasional commuting. Using these brakes during a sanctioned event, you risk disqualifying from the competition and losing prize money.

Long pull Vs short pull brakes: Which brake is better for your bike?

The major difference between these two types of brakes is their application. Short-pull brakes are for stopping your bicycle quickly, whereas long-pull brakes work best for braking on a gradual incline. Generally, short-pull brakes work better when you need to stop quickly, like an unexpected car suddenly appearing out of nowhere or when a traffic light turns red unexpectedly.

On the other hand, long-pull brakes are better for braking on inclines and for the stopping power that you need when the road is slippery or when there is extra debris lying on the road. Generally, long pull brakes are applied with your thumb or index finger and short pull brakes are operated by the little finger or middle finger.

However, this doesn’t mean that long-pull brakes cannot be used for braking quickly, as they can be if you squeeze the brake lever as hard as you can. The problem is that it will make it difficult to steer the bike once you’ve applied the brakes.

Short-pull Brakes work best in situations where you need to stop suddenly. When it comes to the power of stopping, short-pull brakes are more powerful than long-pull ones, especially when they operate in tandem with front and rear disc brakes.

In some cases, a long-pull brake lever is preferred because it will help distribute the force of stopping evenly over the entire handlebar. For example, you can pull the brake lever as far down as possible and apply as much force as possible on it and still be able to stop your bike safely. That’s why experienced riders believe that long-pull brakes are more efficient than short-pull brakes and are generally easier to use.


It is important to know the difference between a long pull brake and a short pull brake, as each has its advantages and disadvantages. A long pull brake is best for bikes ridden at slower speeds or those needing more stopping power. While a short pull brake is better for bikes ridden at higher speeds or for those who need to stop quickly. If you mostly ride on flat surfaces, the short pull brake may be a better option.

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