The R1 has been around for a while but the R1 Racing uses a completely different lever for a more inclusive but still ultralight performance.
Obviously you’d expect a ‘Racing’ brake to be light and the addition of a distinctive stripy Kevlar-reinforced hose, titanium bolts and an alloy-hubbed, two-piece rotor to an already very light brake drops weight lower than any other major brand anchor.
The ‘Racing’ lever body reverses normal setup by pulling the master cylinder rather than pushing it. Unlike the normal R1 brake, which sits a long way from the bar, the hooked lever now has a full range of reach adjustment via a sunken Allen key, which will please riders who like their braking to occur close to the grips.
There’s the option to add an FCS bite point adjuster to the hose/lever junction for extra tuning too. Increased pad clearance also reduces rotor scuff in dirty conditions.
Power is adequate rather than amazing, but a 180mm rotor is enough to cope with aggressive riding. Modulation is excellent, with a very rich connection between the slightly soft lever feel and the contact point of your tyres that works really well in sketchy conditions.
Bleeding requires a bit of patience, but long term experience shows they’re a consistently reliable brake. Original resin pads do need bedding in comprehensively to give them a reasonable life, but switching to sintered doesn’t cause any heat problems in normal use.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.