Formula Oro K24 £105

Powerful disc brake with Alp-proof performance

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

Formula’s superb-feeling, powerful and lightweight Oro was the best brake of 2007, and it’s still top of the class in 2008.

The broad, well shaped lever instantly feels great in your hand, whichever finger(s) you use. Power and modulation increase rapidly during the first few hours of use, building to a very smooth, but totally connected start that can feather traction in the worst conditions or stop you like you’ve hit a wall with just a single finger. 

It handles all the heat you’ll ever generate without complaint, yet still weighs less than some supposedly bling cross-country brakes. In dyno tests last year it gave consistent behaviour, until we eventually vaporised the hose and fluid on the final run. You won't ever hit the test conditions of 500-plus degrees in real use, though - or, at least you shouldn't!

Setup is easy, reliability is proving excellent and standard-issue sintered pad life is good, too. Upgrades include single finger levers, a high-polish ‘Bianco’ version, a carbon-bladed ‘Puro’ option and a monster 220mm rotor.

One tiny gripe concerns the little bite point knob behind the lever – it’s a bit awkward to use, and it fits better with SRAM if you use the integrated clamp.

Otherwise, once you’ve got used to the smooth initial delivery and deceptively gentle feel of Formula’s current stoppers, you’ll find that no other brake feels anywhere near as refined.

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