Formula C1 mountain bike disc brake review£99.00

Not super powerful, but good modulation

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Formula's all-new C1 is designed as an all-rounder entry point to the premium Italian brand, and that's exactly what it is.

It's distinctive looking, with the fluid reservoir at the far end of the lever body rather than above it. The lever piston sits in a self-contained (and replaceable) cartridge in the centre, with the hose exiting halfway along the body. It still feels and operates like a conventional brake, and weight is competitive for the price.

Pad retraction is extra wide so it's easy to set up rub-free even in wet and gritty conditions, and it's ambidextrous for easy swaps. The brake is sold separately if you don't need a rotor, and it can also be upgraded with leverage adjusters and a very clever dry break coupling for bleed-free internal routing.

It takes a while to bed in, but once sorted lever feel is smoothly progressive, with a slight squeeze rather than a direct hardness. Power is adequate if not amazing for a twin-pot brake, but modulation is excellent, even on the slipperiest slopes.

While its longterm durability is currently unproven, we've had no issues with fade, overheating or general reliability so far.

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

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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