Brakes, Brake Levers, Pads, Rotors

There are two main types of bicycle brakes; rim brakes which are the traditional pad on bicycle rim system that has been around forever, and disc brakes which use a hydraulic or mechanical system similar to a car or motorcycle.  Disc brakes are superior all around in stopping power and feel but do represent a slight increase in weight in most cases, and are a bit harder for the home mechanic to service.  Brake levers, pads and inserts, disc brake rotors, and calipers should all be purchase with care as they must match your bicycles components exactly.