Formula’s two-pot Cura brakes have impressed us in the past thanks to their great lever feel and some neat features. The four-pot version retains those smart finishing touches but boosts power.
Fitting the Cura 4 is an easy job. The lever has a ‘flip-flop’ design, so it’ll work on either side of the bar. There’s a Mix Master bar-clamp option, for cleaner integration with Shimano and SRAM shifters.
Formula’s Speed Lock system is smart too. It allows the hose to be easily disconnected and reconnected at the caliper end, without the need to re-bleed the brake, for quicker internal routing.
I found this worked well on most frames with rubber grommets at the entry and exit ports, although on bikes where the internal routing had a snugger fit around the hose, the metal end cap wouldn’t always fit through.
The two-part caliper holds four 18mm pistons, with the pads secured with a threaded retaining bolt. Because the hose exit angle is fixed (instead of using a ‘banjo’ attachment) it can be difficult to find a good way of routing the hose through your rear triangle.
Our brakes weighed in at a touch over 400g per end, including 200mm rotors, which is fairly competitive. The lever is long, and has a nicely rounded, natural shape.
You can adjust its reach with a 2.5 Allen key, although the screw is hidden behind the lever, which makes on-trail adjustment trickier. That said, the short throw of the lever, and its shape, meant that once I’d set the reach, I never felt the need to fiddle.
The Cura 4 has a wonderful feel through the lever. While there’s little pad space, to allow for a misaligned caliper or warped rotor, the payback is an early bite point, which then progresses to heaps of modulation.
Power is impressive, especially when there’s a bit of warmth in the brake. It feels less ‘digital’ than Shimano’s four-pot XT M8020 anchor, with the power coming in more gradually, but when you really need to slow down, you can haul on the lever knowing there’s plenty of stopping force at your fingertip.
What makes the brake so impressive is the control over this power, which allows you to scrub speed subtly as well as perform full-on emergency stops.
My only real complaint with the Cura 4 is that the tight spacing in the caliper means a spot-on bleed is necessary to avoid overheating, and the bleed process is a touch fiddly in practice.