Formula unveil ultra-powerful disc brake
By James Huang, technical editor | Tuesday, April 20, 2010 12.00pm
Formula's upcoming brake is likely to be a bit heavier than the current The One but also more powerful on account of the larger ovalised pistons. James Huang/BikeRadar
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).
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 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 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
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.
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