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Formula Cura disc brake review

How does this Italian two-pot brake stack up against its premium British, American and Japanese rivals?

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £114.00 RRP | EUR €124.00
per brake
Formula Cura disc brakes for mountain bikes

Our review

A classy looking, classy feeling brake that’s well suited to fast and light trail bikes
Pros: Lovely soft, light lever feel; easily controllable power; lightweight
Cons: Lever setup is fiddlier than other brakes
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Formula’s Cura was released just a few years ago, and immediately gained a great reputation, with good power and excellent lever feel.


Formula later offered a four-piston version of the Cura, which I reviewed in 2019, but i wanted to see whether the original two-piston brake still stacked up against a very capable field.

Formula Cura disc brake specification and detail

Formula’s Cura lever is a minimalist looking affair that’s highly sculpted and removes plenty of material where, we assume, it’s not needed.

The aluminium lever blade has a fine shot-peened finish to give it some texture, with comfortable room for two fingers. There’s a reach adjust screw set in the inside of the pivot. It requires either a 2mm Allen key or very strong fingers to grip the knurled outer edge.

Formula Cura disc brakes for mountain bikes
The lever has a lovely feel, though its reach adjustment is tricky to access.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Out of the box, at least, the screw has quite a lot of resistance, and the Allen key’s location inside the lever is tricky to access, in comparison to those where access is on the outside of the lever.

There’s no adjustable bite point dial, but as part of the bleed process it is possible to hydraulically alter the bite point.

The levers clamp onto the bar via a split clamp, held by a pair of 4mm headed bolts. The clamp is broad and nicely finished – something I feel is reflected throughout the brake. Formula’s ‘MixMaster’ optional clamps mean shifters can be cleanly attached to the levers, though my test brakes came without this option.

Hoses have a classy matt finish to them and measure 2,000mm. The brake levers have a flip-flop design, whereby they can be run on either side of the bar, so there’s no distinction between front and rear brakes. The hose enters the caliper at a fixed point.

Formula Cura disc brakes for mountain bikes
A split clamp makes fitting and removing brakes super easy.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Neatly, there’s what Formula calls a Speed Lock hose available, which gives a quick-release mechanism to the hose/caliper junction – our test brakes came with a standard hose, though.

The Speed Lock hose allows, so long as it can be threaded through frame holes easily, quicker internal routing, as well as the ability to split the brake system apart for travel. Formula says that it can be done numerous times without the need to bleed a brake.

The calipers house a pair of huge 24mm pistons – for reference, other pistons tend to come in at around 15mm to 20mm. They push an organic pad onto the rotors and are secured by a threaded pin with a safety clip.

Due to supply issues at the time of receiving the brakes, I was unable to get hold of a bleed kit to test bleeding the brakes – instead, they came with hoses cut to my specification and pre-bled.

At 490g for the pair, this is a very light set of brakes. Polished silver, black and gold options are available.

Formula Cura disc brake performance

Formula’s Cura brakes, both the two-pot I have here and the four-pot version, are long-time favourites and for good reason – they blend excellent lever feel, light weight and decent power.

The well-shaped levers have a light feel, with little effort needed to squeeze them. This helps keep your hands fresh on long descents.

Formula Cura disc brakes for mountain bikes
Pads drop in from the top.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The lever shape allows you to get plenty of leverage through the lever blades, too, which helps exert the most power possible out of the two-piston caliper. There isn’t as much power as some brakes on test, but what there is, is beautifully controlled.

Initial power comes on smoothly, but while there’s not a sharp bite, they avoid feeling mushy. Instead, the application of power is easy to manage all the way through the lever travel.

Formula Cura disc brakes for mountain bikes
The caliper might only have two pistons, but it offers loads of power.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

My longer-term testing of the brakes, including (pre-Covid) time in the Alps, suggests that the Curas deal well with prolonged descents and higher temperatures, only fading at the end of the longest, fastest downhills. I suspect that the four-piston brake, with extra power on tap, performs even better in these situations.

Overall, power levels aren’t up there with the biggest four-piston brakes available, but for a trail or downcountry bikes there’s ample clamping force. Combined with their light weight, they’re a killer choice.

Formula Cura disc brake bottom line

Formula’s Cura is one of the prettiest looking brakes around, and fortunately has the feel and performance to prove that it’s not form over function.

Power delivery is easily managed and unless you’re on the biggest of rigs, there’s plenty of power too.


It’s not a perfect brake, though, with the lever reach adjustment being the biggest sticking point.

Product Specifications


Price EUR €124.00GBP £114.00
Weight 490g – calliper, hose and lever - for front and rear
Brand Formula


Features Pistons: 2
Fluid: Mineral oil
Weight: 239g (f) 251g (r)
Details: Split lever clamp; Shimano I-Spec B and SRAM MatchMaker shifter compatibility options
Adjustment Reach (TF/TD)
Brake type Hydraulic disc