Formula R1 disc brake (basic) $326.95

Top power-to-weight ratio

BikeRadar score 4/5

Formula already had the title of ‘lightest production disc brake’ in the bag, and the same model happened to be one of the most powerful, too – plenty of downhillers used the XC-weight system to stop their 40lb-plus sleds from huge speeds. Pretty impressive. 

But if there was a complaint it was the adjustability of the R1, which was a delicate fiddle with tiny Allen keys. Formula listened to rider feedback and this year brought out a range of upgrades – they can be retrofitted to existing R1 brakes or specified on new models with an upcharge.

The first upgrades is FCS – the Feeling Control System, a pad contact-point tweaker. This anodised barrel adjuster fits inline between the hose and the lever body, allowing you to tune the lever’s dead sweep (£37 per brake).

Next up is TFRA – Tool Free Reach Adjust. As you’d imagine, it removes the need for the 2mm Allen key when adjusting the levers’ distance from the bars. With the old Allen head being tucked away where few multitool bits could reach, this is a feature we like a lot (£27 a pair).

The Mixmaster SRAM upgrade integrates R1 with SRAM trigger shifters on a neat single clamp (£27 a pair). Also well worth remembering if you’re looking to spec a dream set of R1s is the new Speedlock feature, a dry-break, drip-free coupling that allows the hose of a bled R1 brake to be undone without causing any issues. 

Thread the hose through a new, internally routed frame, clip the junction back together and you’re good to go with perfect brakes and no need for a re-bleed – fantastic (price to be confirmed). 

True, each extra function adds a few grams, but when you’ve weight to spare we think these added details are worth it.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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