We’ve always been fans of FSA’s brakes; the previous generation’s rock-solid build quality meant a positive experience at the lever.
The new design follows Shimano’s cues for a new style of lower profile dual-pivot design, but with one significant difference. Shimano’s brakes as standard accept up to a 24mm-wide rim, and with the slightly lower profile optional brake shoe up to a 28mm.
The K-Force though can handle 28mm straight out of the box. It’s a small difference but one that might be telling should you try to fit a wide alloy brake surface/carbon hybrid like HED’s popular Jet 6.
The low profile shape of the K-Force sits it within the fork crown of our Cannondale Synapse test mule, which means with less width sitting outside the frame’s parameters you could make a case for improved aerodynamics too. FSA has even moved the cable quick-release within the confines of the brake, making them look even more compact than both Shimano and SRAM’s rival options.
Weight-wise our test pair tips the scales at a scant 296g (including pads and carriers, and hardware), so that’s right up there with the best (Shimano Dura-Ace is 300g a pair, SRAM Red 254g).
The wide jaws make short work of setting them up with a wide carbon rim (26.4mm) and a 25mm tyre, with bags of clearance to spare. We would recommend using quality Allen keys (you need a 2.5, 4, and 5mm) as the lightweight hardware – a mix of alloy and titanium –won’t take kindly to ham-fisted attention with rough tools.
Out on the road the K-Force has power in spades. It's easily a match for Dura-Ace, and like Dura-Ace that power is tempered by great levels of feel.
In situations where you need to scrub speed quickly the K-Force simply does the job with resolute stiffness and no play or judder, which isn’t surprising when you see the box-section construction of the individual brake arms, not to mention the massively oversized pivots.
The K-Force is a high-performing, light and great-looking option. If you’re looking to step away from groupset monopoly on your bike you could do a lot worse.