Formula unveil ultra-powerful disc brake

Plus move into suspension fork and wheel markets

Formula Brakes previewed a wide range of 2011 products at Sea Otter, including an ultra-powerful disc brake plus entries into the crowded mountain bike suspension fork and wheelset markets.

The promising-sounding – and as yet unnamed – brake's one-piece forged aluminium calliper will house oval-shaped rather than round pistons in order to apply even more pad pressure than Formula's already super-powerful The One downhill brake.

According to Formula Brake USA's Chris Costello, the oval shape eliminates the need for a heavier and more complex four-piston design while also lending a more compact shape and size to the calliper body for extra spoke clearance. 

The matching flip-flop lever borrows its overall design from existing The One and R1 models, and features the same radial master cylinder layout and split clamp architecture. New to the upcoming brake, though, is a tool-free reach adjuster plus a pad contact adjustment dial tucked neatly behind the lever that Costello says has a greater range of tuning for a more customised feel.

Costello refrained from providing too many technical details on the new brake but said that its power would make even a standard 160mm rotor diameter more than sufficient for all but pure downhill applications. Given the performance of Formula's The One model, we expect total weight for this new platform to be well under 350g (front, post mount, 160mm rotor).

Suspension fork

Likewise, Formula's upcoming air-sprung suspension fork bore a nameless, plain white wrapper but its features sound encouraging. Travel is said to be adjustable between 80 and 115mm (presumably via interchangeable spacers), the aluminium upper tubes measure 33mm in diameter, and standard features will include externally adjustable rebound and compression damping plus a manual lockout.

Formula is jumping into the suspension market with this adjustable-travel model for cross-country and all-mountain use.: formula is jumping into the suspension market with this adjustable-travel model for cross-country and all-mountain use.

Formula are jumping into the suspension market with this adjustable-travel model

The lower leg assembly looks to be a cast magnesium piece while the forged aluminium crown is drilled out to save weight. Again, Costello wouldn't quote a total weight but our semi-calibrated hands suggest it to be in the neighbourhood of 1,400g (3.1lb).


Finally, Formula will also delve into the mountain bike wheelset market with not one but two models – one with a lightweight scandium-enhanced aluminium clincher extrusion and the other with a feathery carbon fibre tubular profile. 

Formula is also entering the crowded mountain bike wheelset market with a scandium-alloy rim that is supposedly just over 300g.:

Formula are entering the wheel market with a scandium-alloy rim that's supposedly just over 300g

Hubs are impressive looking bits with large-diameter alloy axles, beefy four-pawl alloy freehub bodies and aggressively relieved aluminium hub shells anchoring straight-pull Sapim CX-Ray stainless steel spokes. Axle bearings are pushed way out to the edges for extra support and wheel stiffness, while the freehub body looks to have a similarly solid bearing foundation for greater long-term durability.  

The hub shell is heavily relieved and machined to trim down weight.:

The hub shell is heavily relieved and machined to trim down weight

Costello says the alloy version will be available in both 26in and 29in versions. The 26in alloy wheelset will likely weigh in below 1,400g for the pair while the carbon tubulars are expected to knock off another 200g or so.

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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