Drum or disc? Understanding the brakes on electric kick scooters
If you've ever ridden an electric kick scooter, then you know just how fun and convenient they can be. Kick scooters, like the KQi series from NIU, are built for commuters and leisure riders alike, and provide an easy and portable way to get around your city.
But of course, these kick scooters are built for safety as well, and at the core of any kick scooter's safety features are the brakes. The brake system is just as important, if not more so, than the motor power that gets you up to cruising speed in the first place.
However, did you know that different types of scooters feature different brake systems? Many electric kick scooters feature an electric or electronic brake system, which provide features such as regenerative braking. These brake systems are typically supplemented by either drum brakes or disc brakes.
Let’s take a deeper look at the differences between drum brakes and disc brakes on electric kick scooters.
What is a drum brake on an electric kick scooter?
So, what exactly makes up a drum brake on an electric kick scooter? Well, drum brakes on scooters are nothing more than a mechanism that converts the scooter’s spinning wheels into a force that stops the scooter. And, since these brakes aren’t powered by anything electrical, they are usually located on the wheel which does not have the motor.
So, when you squeeze the brake lever, this causes a metal rod to push against the front wheel’s brake caliper. This pushes against the brake pads inside of the brake caliper, which causes them to stop the scooter’s wheels from spinning.
Drum brakes are an internal system that offer a lot of braking force. They are best when used for infrequent stops and they do not lock up easily since they are internal. You can find drum brakes on kick scooters like the KQi2 Pro.
What is a disc brake on an electric kick scooter?
A disc brake, on the other hand, is a very powerful type of brake that can be located on the front or rear wheel of a scooter.
Unlike drum brakes, which are usually just based on pushing a metal brake rod against the caliper, a disc brake has multiple pads stacked on top of one another. The rotational force from the wheel is compressed, which then slows down the wheel’s rotation.
Disc brakes are an external system that offer good control when braking. Because they are external, this provides extra ventilation and heat dissipation, meaning they can be used for frequent stops. You can find disc brakes on kick scooters like the KQi3 Sport or KQi3 Pro from NIU.
How do you use your kick scooter’s brakes?
For a scooter brake to work, you obviously need a lever or pedal to initiate the braking mechanism.
Whether you have drum or disc brakes on your kick scooter, the goal is the same: to slow down and stop the scooter in motion. However, these drum or disc brake systems are not the whole story, as they also work in tandem with other parts of your electric kick scooter.
As previously mentioned, many electric kick scooters feature an electronic brake. On the NIU KQi series, this brake is automatically engaged when you begin to release pressure on the accelerator. The strength of this automatic braking can be configured to your liking within the NIU app.
In some cases, it may not be necessary to engage the brake lever, as the kick scooter can already slow itself down using the electronic brake. But if braking very quickly is needed, then the drum or disc brake system is the best option.
Drum brakes vs disc brakes
Now that we’ve taken a look at the differences between a drum brake and a disc brake, we hope that you’ve gained a better understanding of both types of kick scooter brakes.
The question remains though.[MC1] [JW2] Which is the better system? Let’s compare their advantages and disadvantages.
- Consistent performance in wet conditions
- Moderate braking performance
- Completely enclosed in wheel hub
- Heavier braking system
- Complicated to disassemble or repair
- Lower performance than disc brakes
- Poor performance when overheated
- Excellent braking power
- Perform well in both wet and dry conditions
- Lightweight braking system
- Excellent braking control, especially with hydraulic disc brakes
- May need occasional adjustments and maintenance
- Increased costs of electric scooter
- Diminished performance over poor and rough riding conditions
As you can see, both types offer their own advantages and disadvantages. However, you can be sure that either one can be counted on to stop you quickly and safely when braking.