Electric Scooter Brakes, Different Types Explained

Electric scooters are a great way to commute through busy streets. As you drive the vehicle, you can breeze through the roads. However, one of the key concerns of the e-scooter is its safety. It is further linked with the brakes.

Electric scooter’s brakes are one of its most crucial components. Since it is directly linked with the vehicle’s safe driving, you must know how they work. Also, there’re multiple types of brakes, each with different functions along with their pros and cons.

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electric scooter brakes

Popular e-scooter brake types include hydraulic, semi-hydraulic, cable, drum, and foot brakes. Then there are regenerative and electronic brakes in the high-end models. You need to know the benefits and setbacks to understand which type suits you the best.

Also, where the brake is located will vary from one model to another. For instance, some will have the brakes in the front, and others will have at the rear end. It is, therefore, important to know the brake types, their positions, and how to control them during emergencies.

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E-Scooter Brakes: Front and Rear Brakes

Many electric scooters only have a single braking system . It is not ideal because having only one brake severely reduces control. When only one brake is applied to the wheel, the vehicle takes longer to stop.

It is crucial because even a millisecond delay in activating the brakes can be fatal. As a result, select electric scooters with independent brakes on each wheel are a lot more safe.

When an electric scooter has brakes on both of its wheels, the vehicle’s ability to stop instantly is significantly enhanced.

e-scooter front and rear brake

Also, the e-scooter becomes prone to slipping and collisions with a single braking system. On the other side, an e-scooter with dual braking system will always stop immediately on emergencies.

Also, e-scooters with two types of brakes integrated with their wheels will mostly have the following types.

  1. Electronic brake on the front wheel
  2. Mechanical brake on the rear wheel

So, it brings another important question in front of us. Mechanical vs. electronic brakes, which is ideal for electric scooters?

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Mechanical VS. Electronic Brakes

Although there’re different brakes for electric scooters, they can be divided into two types on a broader scale. These are electronic and mechanical brakes.

Mechanical brakes:

Mechanical brakes function with the force it gets through linear motion. The force comes mainly from the shaft, wheels, and axle. 

There are mainly three types of mechanical brakes. They are:

  • Foot brakes: It is the most common type found on most inexpensive models. The system works as you put pressure to the rear fender to stop the vehicle.
  • Drum brakes: This type of brakes will be integrated within the wheel hubs. It works with friction as you press the lever. It has plates that pushes outward. The friction slows down the vehicle. Usually, drum brakes are one of the most reliable type for electric scooters and other automobiles.
  • Disc brakes: The disc brakes can be fully or semi hydraulic. It will have a disc or rotor within the wheel. There will usually be a hand lever to control it.

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e-scooter mechanical disc brake

After being activated, mechanical brakes require 20ft to 30ft to stop the vehicle. However, the most preferred braking distance for the electric scooter is around 10ft or less for the best safety.

Electronic brakes:

Electronic brakes work with magnetic power or electric energy, that is what generates the force necessary to be able to bring the e-scooter to a stop. The key benefit of an electronic brake is its faster response to stop the vehicle during emergencies.

A sensor is attached to the electronic braking system. The sensor is being controlled by the vehicle’s brake light. As you activate the brake lights, the controller for the electronic brakes also starts working. After that, it will immediately slow down or stop the vehicle.

Electronic brakes can be regenerative also. Brakes equipped with regenerative capacity will regain some of those lost energy whenever it is applied. But, regenerative brakes aren’t so reliable.

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Types of Electric Scooter Brakes: Their Advantages and Disadvantages Explained

We have discussed the two main categories of electric scooter brakes. The previous section discusses the benefits and drawbacks of mechanical and electronic brakes. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the various kinds of brakes that are available for the electric scooter.

Drum brakes:

Drum brakes, as the name suggests, include a drum. It also has a backplate. The entire mechanism is built inside the hub of the wheel. The backplate or pad pushes outward as you activate the braking system.

An outward friction is created between the backplate and the drum, causing the vehicle to slow down. You will notice that the entire system is completely enclosed. Thus, it will remain protected from weather elements such as rain, salt, or UV rays.

On top of it, the drum is made with high-quality cast iron. Cast iron is one of the most durable materials, and it doesn’t catch rust or corrosion easily. So, the drum brakes are also exceptionally durable.

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e scooter drum brake

Although the enclosure protects the brake from the elements, it has a significant disadvantage. Because of the enclosure the heat cannot go out. Consequently, the increased heat will lower the efficiency. The problem becomes acute when you ride the electric scooter for longer.

The hand lever is combined to the drum brakes. A cable connects the lever to the braking system. Drum brakes engage as soon as the hand lever is pulled.

  1. The front brake is controlled with the lever on the left-hand side.
  2. The rear brake is controlled with the lever on the right-hand side.

The main advantage of drum brakes is their quick activation. Also, they need less maintenance which is handy. Nonetheless, when the drum brake gets damaged, it can be challenging to disassemble and repair. So, be aware of it.

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Pros of drum brakes

Cons of drum brakes

Disc brakes

Disc brakes are among the most dependable and popular e-scooter brakes. The disc is usually attached to rear wheel. It is typically made of metal and rotates in response to wheel movement.

Usually, manufacturers use alloy metal for the disc brakes. A hand lever is connected to the braking system. To activate the brake, pull the hand lever. The mechanism operates in a manner comparable to the brakes that are seen on e-bicycles.

There’s also a caliper inside it. The caliper surrounds the rotor partially. When the lever is pressed, the caliper opens, squeezing the brake pads. Thus, strong friction is generated in order to stop the electric scooter.

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electric scooter's disc brake

There are mainly three types of disc brake. Those are:

  1. Hydraulic disc brakes
  2. Semi-hydraulic disc brakes
  3. Cable-controlled or mechanical disc brakes

Now we will discuss the details of these three types. However, let us inform you that some experts will categorize the hydraulic brake system as another type. So, if you find hydraulic brakes as a separate brake type in another article, don’t get confused.

Hydraulic disc braking system:

Hydraulic disc brakes use fluid inside the brake lines. The caliper is being squeezed when you press the lever since the brake line is attached to it.

Consequently, the increased pressure ensures the piston’s movement. The piston expands and comes into contact with the rotor attached to the disc, increasing friction and slowing the vehicle.

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hyrdaulic disc brake Everything You Need To Know About Electric Scooter Brakes

The hydraulic disc brake is the most dependable and powerful. The fluid activation for the hydraulic system is consistent and exceptionally strong.

Thus, the brake is constant and almost instant. Therefore, it is helpful during emergency situations where you need to stop the electric scooter right away.

Moreover, hydraulic brake will dissipate the heat thoroughly and faster. So, the braking efficiency doesn’t decrease even after riding the e-scooter for hours.

The brake fluid helps dissipate the heat better and faster. Plus, the fluid will lubricate the braking lines to extend its lifespan.

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Pros of hydraulic brakes

Cons of hydraulic brakes:

Semi-hydraulic brakes:

Semi-hydraulic brakes make use of the cable that extends from the lever to the caliper in their system. They don’t have fluid-filled cable lines, so they are not as much consistent as the fully hydraulic ones. However, semi-hydraulic brake’s consistency and capability is superior to electronic and foot brakes.

Some mid-range electric scooters will include semi-hydraulic brakes. They are preferable for easy servicing and lower price.

Pros of semi hydraulic brakes

Cons of semi hydraulic brakes

Cable-controlled or mechanical disc brakes

The most common type for electric scooters is the cable-operated mechanical disc brake. As some of you may already know, a lever and cable are used to activate the brake. If you pull the brake lever, it will cause the braking cable to shorten and pull itself upward.

As a result, the force of the brake caliper is sent to the braking pads. In turn, the brake pads cause the rotor attached to the wheel to pinch and slow down the vehicle. The brake lever exerts more pressure to stop the e-scooter as you pull it harder.

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mechanical disc brakes

The process works with the basics of friction. The only bad thing about cable controlled disc brakes is that you have to use more force on your hand to pull the brake lever.

The disc sits inside a closed housing. So, you won’t have to worry about weather elements such as UV rays, water, or even sand. However, with enclosed housing, overheating may reduce the efficiency of the disc brakes.

Pros of cable-controlled disc brakes

Cons of cable-controlled disc brakes

Electronic brakes:

These days many budgets and even high-end electric scooters have electronic brakes. Electronic brakes are directly connected to the motor instead of the wheels. When you apply the electronic brake, the motor’s supply of electricity is immediately cut off.

The vehicle slows down as the motor no longer receives power to propel it forward. Basically two events occur in this scenario.

  1. First, it stops delivering the necessary power to the motor, which results in a loss of momentum
  2. Secondly, pressing the motor creates massive friction to reduce the wheel speed

These two forces work hand in hand to stop the e-scooter. If you own a scooter quipped with a single motor, the brake is more likely to be connected to the motor. On electric scooters with a dual-drive system, each wheel’s brake will be connected directly to the wheel itself.

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electronic brake Everything You Need To Know About Electric Scooter Brakes

The practicality of using an electronic brake is its best feature. It is not commonly used as the primary braking system in electric scooters. The following are the two options to using electronic brakes.

  1. You may control and adjust its braking strength.
  2. You can completely turn it off.

Henceforth, you will have complete liberty to use the e-brake system just as you wish. Electronic brakes also have regenerative functions (We will discuss about it right after this section).

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Pros of electronic brakes

Cons of electronic brakes

Regenerative brakes:

Regenerative brakes work with similar basics as electronic brakes. However, the key benefit of regenerative brake is its energy restoring ability. Yes, as the name suggests, the regenerative brakes will put some of the energy that was lost back into the battery.

As a result, it slightly increase the overall range. The brake has a switch. This mechanism establishes a connection between the motor and the battery’s charging system. So, when you press the switch, it creates friction to slow down the vehicle.

electric scooter regenerative brake Everything You Need To Know About Electric Scooter Brakes

But keep in mind that not all e-scooters turn on the regenerative brake in the same way. It usually has two methods:

  1. Some scooters activate the system when you leave the throttle
  2. On other scooters, you have to activate it with the switch

The idea is to generate energy via drag force and then return it to the battery. It works with the basics of Newtonian Law and Law of Mechanics in physics.

Additionally, you should be aware that not all electric scooters come with regenerative brakes. It is an additional option. Disc brakes or electronic brakes will serve as the primary braking system.

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Pros of regenerative brakes

Cons of regenerative brakes

Foot brakes:

If you have a budget e-scooter, your vehicle will likely have foot brakes. It is often integrated with the rear fender. When you press the fender with your feet, friction is created, which slows down the vehicle. 

Electric Scooter Foot Brake Everything You Need To Know About Electric Scooter Brakes

Pros of foot brakes

Cons of foot brakes

Rear Brake Vs. Front Brake: Which Is More Efficient?

Choosing between front and rear brakes is a key decision before you purchase an e-scooter. According to experts, the front brake is more powerful and consistent than the rear brake because each brake shifts the vehicle’s center of gravity to the front.

When you apply the front brake, center of gravity works in tandem with it. As a result, you will have better braking consistency. Also, when you have brakes on both wheels, the combination is also beneficial.

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A Comparative Chart Of Electric Scooter Brake Type

Brake Types

Performance

Reliability

Maintenance

Cable-disc (Mechanical)

Excellent

Excellent

Regular

Semi-hydraulic

Good

Very good

Frequent

Hydraulic

Excellent

Excellent

Frequent

Electric and regenerative

Average

Very good

Occasional

Drum

Very good

Very good

Occasional

Frequently Asked Questions

If you want to bring the scooter to a complete halt, always use both. The front brake will provide 70% of the total braking capacity. As a result, applying the rear brake delivers 100% braking efficiency.

The brakes on your electric scooter should last anywhere from 200 miles to 500 miles. It will depend on how often you use brake, how well you maintain them, and how good they are. Usually, a disc brake will last the longest.

The electric scooter’s brake pads last between 300 and 600 miles. With regular upkeep, you may increase the lifespan of the brake pads slightly.

Yes, all scooters will have brakes. Even if the scooter doesn’t include any mechanical, electrical, or drum brakes in the front wheels, it will certainly have a rear brake. The rear wheel will have foot brakes in most cases, but drum or disc brakes are better and more reliable.

Electronic brakes work well when they are perfectly integrated with the e-scooter. They need frequent maintenance and adjustment. A lot of e-scooter owners find them less effective than the drum and disc brakes.

Final Verdict

Electric scooter brakes are important for safe and smooth riding. Without the right braking system, you can collide with the traffic on the roads. And it won’t be a pretty good scene. There are different electric scooter brake types, and their mechanism is also different.

Nonetheless, for the most effective and consistent braking performance on your e-scooter, we recommend drum brakes or disc brakes. You will find a combination of different brakes. You should also take a look at how the brakes are controlled.

Usually, you will get a thumb button, lever, and regular button for controlling the brakes. So, don’t worry about the placement of the brake lever. Instead, focus on getting a good-quality braking system.

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