Shimano Vs Tektro Brakes | Which Is Better?

Brakes are, of course, one of the most important parts of a bike. If you can’t stop then you could easily find yourself in a tricky situation, so in this article, we put Shimano Vs Tektro Brakes head to head.

There are a lot of brake companies out there, all with their own, different, models at many different price points. It can therefore be difficult to pick which brakes are best for you. 

Two companies that are often brought up when deciding which to get are Shimano and Tektro brakes. Shimano is the more well-known brand out of the two, but Tektro is another brand that is worth considering as well.

So, which one is best to choose when looking to buy new brakes for your bike?

Are Shimano And Tektro Brakes The Same?

Tektro and Shimano brakes are not the same. They are two separate companies, from different countries – Shimano is a Japanese company and Tektro is a Taiwanese company. 

However, there are quite a few similarities between their brakes. In fact, on some models, the brake pads are interchangeable between the two different brands due to their similarities. Also, the rotors on a lot of their brakes (not including the brakes on their E-bikes, which use thicker rotors) are the same thickness from brand to brand – 1.8mm – meaning that they are also interchangeable.

While they are different, therefore, in a lot of ways they have similarities that make the brakes interchangeable.

Shimano Vs Tektro Brakes
Shimano Vs Tektro Brakes

Are Tektro Brakes Good?

Tektro is not one of the largest or most well-known companies in the biking world. 

Some people might be put off buying brakes that aren’t made by one of the larger companies. 

However, it would be a mistake to ignore Tektro simply because they are not as well known. Tektro brakes are of great quality and often even better than the competition. 

Tektro brakes have great feedback from those who use them and are well worth looking into when considering new brakes for your bike. Generally, their build quality is excellent, they work well and they feel good. 

The company’s first hydraulic disc brake was manufactured in 1999 and continues to be the company’s most popular product across the world.

Tektro launched TRP – Tektro Racing Products – in 2006. This is their high-end brand and their engineers work closely with teams and professional athletes to make sure that their products continue to be the best that they possibly can be. This quality is sure to filter down to their regular brakes as well, as the company continues to keep the quality of their products as high as possible.

Which Are The Best Disk Brakes For Mountain Biking?

Shimano is, obviously, one of the better-known bike component manufacturers in the world. For many people, they would be the natural choice when choosing new brakes. Many people are familiar with and have owned, Shimano brakes such as the XT and the Saint brakes at one point or another for their bikes.

But digging a little bit deeper can reveal a different perspective. In fact, Tektro brakes are often just as good as their counterparts from Shimano at the same price point, and in some cases can actually be better.

Tektro brakes are very similar to Shimano brakes but can often exceed them in terms of how they feel, their stopping power, and their overall reliability when comparing brakes on the lower end of the brake market.

When we start talking about high-end brakes, Shimano does make some of the best brakes available. Shimano’s high-end brakes like the Saint’s, XTR’s, XT’s etc, are without doubt some of the most powerful and reliable brakes you can buy – however this does come at a price compared to Tektro brakes.

Are Tektro Rim Brakes as Good as Shimano?

Tektro rim brakes work perfectly fine for budget brakes and are a great choice for commuting & touring type bikes. However, a good pair of Shimano rim brakes usually provide better braking at speed and in wet conditions.

Who Makes the Noisest Brakes?

Noise while braking can be very annoying and embarrassing. Although, Tektro and Shimano brakes are both very quiet compared to other brands. If you were to nitpick, then Shimano brakes are usually quieter.

Where Are Tektro Brakes Made?

Tektro Brakes was founded in Changhua, Taiwan in 1986 by three friends – Gary Chen, Leo Chen and Aver Tsai. 

When they started, the company had twenty employees and one, tiny, factory where they manufactured their brakes.

Today, the company has over 1,600 employees working in their manufacturing facilities in Taiwan and China. They offer sales and services in China, Taiwan, Europe, and the USA.

Are Tektro Disc Brakes Hydraulic?

Tektro makes both hydraulic and mechanical (cable) disk brakes. Their hydraulic disk brakes normally offer improved power and reliability compared to their mechanical brakes. You can see the latest range of Tektro brakes here.

Are Tektro and Shimano Brake Pads Compatible?

Some Tektro and Shimano brake pads are interchangeable, but not all. There are also different compounds of brake pads ( resin, semi-metallic and metallic), however, it’s worth noting that not all brake pad compounds are compatible with all disks. If you are looking for Tektro brake pads you can find a good tool here. If you are looking for Shimano brake pads you can find a good tool here.

Does Shimano Mineral Oil Work in Tektro Brakes?

Officially, you are meant to use Tekro branded mineral oil, to help improve heat durability. However, from my experience, Shimano oil works perfectly fine with Tektro brakes. Although I would not recommend using other random mineral oils.

Tektro Hydraulic Mineral Oil Brake Fluid, 50mL by : Sports et  Loisirs

How Do You Adjust Tektro Hydraulic Brakes?

You only really have two adjustment options.

1) The grub screw in the actual brake lever – if you screw it in it will make the brake feel firmer with the lever stopping further away from the handlebars, and screw it out and it will feel softer and bite closer to the handlebars.

2) The calliper position. This is for when the disk is rubbing or only one side of the brake pads is touching the disk. There are two Allen key screws on the calliper if you lightly loosen when you should be able to move the calliper. Line the calliper up so you can see an equal amount of distance between the pad/disk on both sides, and retighten the bolts.

Final Thought (Shimano vs Tektro Brakes Which Is Better?)

Both Shimano and Tektro make great brakes for different ends of the market. Tektro makes great brakes for the more budget end of the market, and Shimano makes some of the best brakes available which have been proven at the highest level in both on and off-road disciplines. At the end of the day, it depends on the type of riding and your budget.

You can see the latest range of Shimano brakes here.

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Peter Ballin

Pedro is the primary writer on the site. He’s raced downhill and enduro at a high level, spannered at mountain bike world cups, and also written a book called Mountain Bike Maintenance. He’s appeared in both print & online major media publications across the Uk, France, and Japan (and even appeared on French Television). He’s made his living from bikes in various forms, from mountain bike guiding in France and Spain, Trail building in New Zealand and Canada, and working as a bike mechanic in the French Alps for many years. Pedro loves a good adventure and is often settling random challenges like riding down Mount Fuji, swimming across Lake Geneva, and hitchhiking across America.