Formula Cura 4 disc brakes first ride review

We get our fingers around the levers of Formula’s new ultra-powerful stoppers

Formula proudly boasts that its Cura 2 is the only two-piston brake to be used on the World Cup circuit. And indeed it should be proud, because it’s achieved great success, thanks to the skills of Bruni, Iles, Miller and Payet. Not ones to rest on their laurels though, Formula has just released a four-piston version, which it claims is even more powerful. Brake later and harder to go faster is the theory.

During the prototype stages, the Cura 4 was ridden to World Champs' gold by Loic Bruni, but the brakes we see here now are the production models, which are scheduled to hit the shelves in September. They’re aimed at downhillers, aggressive enduro racers and e-bikers.

The master cylinder from the Cura 2 is carried over into the 4 and unlike Formula’s early brakes, the piston is axial (moving in parallel to the grip) rather than radial (moving perpendicular to the grip). The reservoir is filled with mineral oil and two bleed ports guarantee an air-free system. The shape of the lever remains the same too.

The master cylinder and lever blade from the Cura 2 is carried over
The master cylinder and lever blade from the Cura 2 is carried over

The changes come in the two-piece forged aluminium caliper, which houses four 18mm diameter pistons for a larger contact patch and more bite.

The rotors are new, and Formula says its revised one-piece design is more laterally stiff and impact resistant than ever before. Apparently the shape and machining makes for a quieter brake too, with less vibration and resonance.

Formula Cura 4 first ride impressions

Jumping on a bike equipped with Cura 4s, there were no doubts about the amount of power on offer and it took me and the other riders testing the brakes a couple of runs before I was modulating this correctly.

True to Formula’s style, the pads contact very early and with such little lever throw, I had to ride in a more open-handed style, which won’t suit riders who like to hook their finger right round the blade.

Formula has stuck with a one-piece rotor, but say its new design is stiffer, stronger and quieter than before
Formula has stuck with a one-piece rotor, but say its new design is stiffer, stronger and quieter than before

The early bite makes it quite hard to feel just how much power you’re applying at the disc end, but this is something you should become attuned to in time.

One small criticism is the lack of tool-free reach adjustment. The Cura 4s are like a more old-fashioned brake, requiring you to fit a 2.5mm allen key in beside the grip. This isn’t a massive issue, but makes fine-tuning on the trail a bit more of a faff.

I'm looking forward to getting to grips with these brakes a little more, hopefully on some prolonged, big mountain descents, where we feel their power will shine and hopefully their consistency too.

Formula Cura 4 specs and price

  • Pads: 0rganic (sintered optional)
  • Hose length: 175mm
  • Claimed weight: 379g per brakes (including a 85mm hose, 160mm rotor and bolts)
  • Master cylinder, lever blade and caliper made from forged aluminium
  • Mix Master handlebar clamp compatible for use with SRAM or Shimano shifters
  • Speed Lock hose compatible for easy connection and disconnection of hoses

Finishes

  • Glossy black: £TBC / €174 / $208
  • Polished: £TBC / €183 / $218
  • Gold: £TBC / €183 / $218

Rotors

  • 160mm: £TBC / €22 / $27
  • 180mm: £TBC / €24 / $29
  • 203mm: £TBC / €29 / $35
  • Available 15 September, 2018

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