For more Power and Modulation

4 piston caliper

The Shimano Deore brake systems are now available in four-piston versions, too. It features the same tech as the two-piston version and looks nearly identical to the rest of Shimano's four-piston brakes, but it’s not the same.

SHIMANO M-4000 Family

There's a lever connected to a hose, connected to a caliper.
When you pull the brake lever, there’s a small piston or plunger inside of the lever that forces fluid through the hose and into the caliper. When fluid is pushed into the caliper, the pistons push outward squeezing the brake rotor and will slow down your bike. However, not all brakes have the same amount of stopping power, and most of the difference in power is determined by if a brake caliper has 2 pistons or 4 pistons.

SHIMANO M-6000 Family

A 2 piston caliper has 1 piston on each side, and a 4 piston caliper has 2 pistons on each side.
Since 2 pistons are wider than 1, the brake pads are also typically wider which means the brake pad’s surface area is larger, creating more friction and more stopping power. But overall, 4 pistons squeezing a rotor results in more power than 2 pistons squeezing a rotor. So yes, 4 piston brakes naturally have more stopping power than 2 piston brakes and are overall better while descending.

4 piston brakes generally have better modulation (is another term used to describe how well you can control the brake’s power output) than 2 piston brakes since the brake fluid is dispersed over more surface area behind multiple pistons.

Rotors are also a key part in decreasing brake fade and increasing modulation. Larger rotors will give you more power and less heat, but your modulation will decrease. This means it’s just easier to lockup a brake with a 200mm rotor over a 180mm rotor.

Also, the lever bodies themselves for 2 piston caliper brakes are sometimes a little different than 4 piston caliper brakes, but for the most part the differences in stopping power are due to 4 piston calipers.


If you’re using a 2 piston brake and you feel like your brake loses power while descending then you’ll greatly benefit from an upgrade to 4 piston brake, which features consistent braking performance and reliable stopping power in all conditions. The 4-piston caliper instills greater downhill confidence and control.

All our Aluminum and steel Unicycles mount Shimano's hydraulic disc brake systems. They are available on our site as spare parts, too.

We have decided to propose the Shimanos' because they are precise, of quality and offer a remarkable modulation in braking.

We do not say that they are the absolute best choice, but experience tells us that they are reliable, consistent and offer stress-free braking performance and are well appreciated by a wide range of riders with different braking styles.