Formula 2011 The One DH Brake: Long-Term Test

Aug 25, 2011
by Alasdair MacLennan  
Formula The One Disc Brake

Formula's 'The One' 2011 disc brakes are an attempt to produce a brake with downhill power at cross-country weight. At 782 grams for the complete front and rear set we tested, they certainly hit the mark in the weight department, but does that translate into useable power when descending? Pinkbike spent six months running Formula The One brakes on our Intense M9 in all manner of conditions across Europe and North America in an attempt to uncover what makes them tick, and to discover if they are truly up to the job of stopping heavy bikes and riders from high speeds.

<span style='font-size:20px'>Formula The One Disc Brake at a glance</span><br><br>- New for 2011 Feel Control System (FCS)<br>- New for 2011 Instant Reach Adjustment (IRA)<br>- Forged one-piece caliper featuring 24mm pistons.<br>- Forged lever-body and blade<br>- 388g Front - 203mm rotor, no adapter<br>- 420g Rear - 203mm rotor, with rear IS adapter<br>- $326.9 (USD) per brake exc rotor and adapter<br>- Rotor packages from $40.95-$66.95, FCS: $54.95, IRA: $36.95
Formula The One Disc Brake at a glance

- New for 2011 Feel Control System (FCS)
- New for 2011 Instant Reach Adjustment (IRA)
- Forged one-piece caliper featuring 24mm pistons.
- Forged lever-body and blade
- 388g Front - 203mm rotor, no adapter
- 420g Rear - 203mm rotor, with rear IS adapter
- $326.9 (USD) per brake exc rotor and adapter
- Rotor packages from $40.95-$66.95, FCS: $54.95, IRA: $36.95


The One Details

Featuring forged lever bodies and calipers, Formula have pared away all extraneous material to create a brake that is both lightweight and strong, and pulling the brake out of the box reveals just how light they truly are. There are a number of rotor options, from the midget 160mm, good for 4x and trail, right up to the full blooded 203mm rotors that we used for the majority of our testing. At first you may think that the low weight means the brakes will never stand up to any real levels of abuse, but that's a fallacy. It's merely after becoming so used to a lot of other brakes it's logical to think that either light equals weak or strong equals heavy. Featuring lightweight aluminium Torx hardware throughout, our brakes also came equipped with a full complement of optional adjusters that enable tool-free reach adjustment. The IRA (Instant Reach Adjustment) replaces the lever's threaded push-rod which is normally accessed with a 2mm Allen key. The FCS (Feel Control System) is basically an in-line bite point adjuster and something that the standard brake doesn't have, but probably should.

The IRA dial on the lever adjusts the lever's reach, while the in-line barrel-adjustment where the hose exits the brake reservoir is the FCS bite-adjustment function. Both are optional.
The IRA dial on the lever adjusts the lever's reach, while the in-line barrel-adjustment where the hose exits the brake reservoir is the FCS bite-adjustment function. Both are optional.
Formula uses aluminium Torx screws to save some grams. The One levers can be flipped right to left, and there is an optional 'Mixmaster' clamp for those who want direct-mount shift levers.
Formula uses aluminium Torx screws to save some grams. The One levers can be flipped right to left, and there is an optional 'Mixmaster' clamp for those who want direct-mount shift levers.


Lever assembly: The One lever assemblies are reversible and feature a two-bolt clamp. The master cylinder and reservoir is radial which makes for a compact configuration. Most of its hardware is lightweight aluminium, and Formula's gram-saving design forgoes most external adjustment features. The standard The One brake has only a simple reach adjustment that requires a 2mm Allen key to set the lever distance from the grip.
Choose your lever options: For those who want a full-featured lever, Formula offers two add-ons: IRA (Instant Reach Adjustment), a machined-aluminium dial-adjust feature that allows tool-free lever-reach changes; and FCS (Feel Control System) a hydraulic barrel adjustment that sets the system's 'bite point'—the point in the lever travel where the pads contact the rotor.

The two oversized 24mm caliper pistons clamp the disc hard and a forged, one-piece forged aluminium body keeps the caliper lightweight and rigid.
The two oversized 24mm caliper pistons clamp the disc hard and a forged, one-piece forged aluminium body keeps the caliper lightweight and rigid.


The One Caliper: Formula's forged, one-piece aluminium caliper has a slightly larger-diameter piston than its cross-country brakes use. This is to boost the mechanical advantage between the master cylinder and the caliper. Sintered metallic or semi-metallic brake pads are available (metallic are standard) and the top-loading pads can be changed without removing the wheel if necessary. All Formula calipers are post-mount, with a compliment of adapters available to fit both post-mount or IS frames and forks.
Rotor options: Formula offers the gamut of rotor options (all in six-bolt configuration), from the XC-standard 160 millimeter, right up to the full-blooded 203-millimeter DH rotors that we used for the majority of our testing. Service kit: Formula's easy to use bleed kit is almost exactly the same as the SRAM/Avid system and the two kits are interchangeable, so Formula brakes can be serviced virtually anywhere in the mountain bike world.

Formula Rotors are among the lightest made, and a special stress-relieving process at the factory keeps them running true when superheated.
Formula Rotors are among the lightest made, and a special stress-relieving process at the factory keeps them running true when superheated.


Race-testing The One brakes

Initially we weren't that enamoured with the performance of the One's. After coming from brakes which were massively powerful but not particularly grabby it was a learning curve to deal with the bite offered by the Formula's, especially with the stock Sintered pads slotted into the calipers. It did take us a few weeks to get the best out of the brakes, but once there they provided impressive fuss and fade free stopping. The lever action is light, but positive and allows for good modulation of the power right on the point of locking the wheel which is essential for controlling speed. That said, the sharp nature of their power can initially lead to a loss of confidence as it's easy to lock the brake when the wheels are unweighted, for instance as the front wheel drops into a corner when you're leaned rearwards. You get used to the feel though and as with anything in racing, learn to use it to your advantage.
IRA in action: Formula sent our brakes with the optional IRA 'Instant Reach Adjustment' feature. The IRA replaces the stock threaded plunger and is an easy aftermarket fit should you feel that it's necessary. We were sceptical of how tough they would be, but as with the rest of the brake they stood up well to abuse. It took a big crash in one of the Windham rock gardens to take the first casualty, bending the adjuster totally out of shape and preventing any further use of it. Although damaged, the brake lever worked fine. In retrospect, this is an adjustment that's pretty much left alone once set so it isn't a hardship to do without.

The One calipers use easy-to-replace, top-loading brake pads. The sintered metallic pads, shown here, stop the hardest and wear the longest. Pinkbike tried the organic pads and went through them regularly in wet and sloppy race conditions.
The One calipers use easy-to-replace, top-loading brake pads. The sintered metallic pads, shown here, stop the hardest and wear the longest. Pinkbike tried the organic pads and went through them regularly in wet and sloppy race conditions.


FCS in action: Formula's Feel Control System is a feature that those who have, love, and those who don't have, desperately want. Depending upon where you choose to set your lever reach, the bite point of the standard The One brake can be quite far out. Providing a good range of adjustment, FCS enables you to key the bite point right where you want it. The FCS device compresses a small spring-loaded piston (actually, an O-ring) that diverts fluid from the brake hose. When the piston bottoms out the spring, the remaining lever stroke drives the brake caliper. Turning the FCS barrel compresses the spring, limits the stroke of the piston and thus affects the bite point of the brake system. FCS is simple and effective and tucked where it is unlikely to suffer untimely damage.
(Note: If you have small hands or like the brake to bite upon contact with the bar, you may still struggle as the brake lever design contacts the reservoir body just before the blade contacts the grip surface.)
Brake pad options: We tried The One brakes with both sintered metallic and organic pads (replaceable through the top of the caliper) and found that the organic was our preferred 'go to' pad as it exhibited less bite and more control, although this was at the expense of durability, especially in the wet. Wet conditions at Mont Sainte Anne took the life of several sets of pads thanks to the horrendous amount of mud on track leading up to qualifying and then just two runs of the Garbanzo track in Whistler was enough to take the life of another. We need to point out that, in both of these events, a kayak would have been more appropriate than a bike. Sintered pads are a must in wet, sloppy conditions if you are to expect decent pad-life and stopping power.
Set-up notes: Bleeding the One Brake is easy to accomplish, thanks to using the same fittings as SRAM. This means that a bleed kit is easy to come by, whether from Formula or the aforementioned SRAM. As with all brakes, it takes a little time to get perfect bleeding, but Formula's two-port system is definitely one of the more intuitive to work with – and we only needed to bleed the brakes once.

Comfortable lever blades combined with powerful one-finger stopping make The One brakes easy to control your speed with.
Comfortable lever blades combined with powerful one-finger stopping make The One brakes easy to control your speed with.


Pinkbike's take on Formula's The One DH brake
The One is a lightweight, elegant looking and very powerful disc brake that is capable of spanning all manner of uses, from trail riding to World Cup downhill. Formula's DH brake is very powerful, yet once you're used to the feel, it is immensely controllable. What we assumed to be fragile instead proved to be tough and reliable. Those features, allied with superb support at the vast majority of large national and international races we've attended, are huge selling points. If you like your brakes without bite then you may struggle initially with The Ones, but as is true with all top downhill brakes, this is merely a case of recalibrating your senses. In fact, the only real criticism which we leveled towards was Formula's The One's inability to bring the bite point in close enough to the bar for riders with small hands, or for those who like the bite point right on the grip. This is especially true if you purchase the brakes without the FCS. We would recommend that, to get the best out of The One brakes, FCS is essential. If you are in the market for a pro-level brake and can afford about $400 per wheel, The One should surely be high on your list.



Check out all of Formula's options for The One brakes, as well as their entire lineup of brakes, suspension and wheels. Pinkbike has a put lot of time on Formula products, and we would enjoy hearing if you have had similar experiences.


183 Comments

  • 76 2
 Abbreviating your Instant Reach Adjustment to IRA... very wise move Formula.
  • 15 2
 At first they wanted to use "Extreme Terrain Adjustability" but it was patented.
  • 49 2
 it'll sell well in certain areas of Northern Ireland...
  • 12 16
flag Sackio (Aug 25, 2011 at 3:04) (Below Threshold)
 my friend has these...heaps of problems with them and they have nothing on saints...
  • 7 18
flag HOJJJ (Aug 25, 2011 at 4:08) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah they look the mutts nuts.. but thats not the point, if your going to spend that much on brakes get Hope, the quality and power is out of this world and they last for ever.
  • 4 17
flag Caliber38heavy (Aug 25, 2011 at 4:15) (Below Threshold)
 I get the impression powpowpow doesn't get IRA!!
  • 11 2
 He's Swiss.. who blames him?
  • 17 14
 rich kids toys, im completely content with my hayes nines.
  • 2 2
 @Hojj That was EXACTLY what i was thinking when i was reading the ad :L
  • 7 1
 These look killer. Im not going to lie, but these things are running roughly $250 USD without all the adjustment options. I picked up my new Codes for around $235 per wheel, they have bite point adjust, lever reach adjust, sharp fit and finish.........and could stop a Mack truck. I just cant see why these brakes are close to $100 more per wheel than Avid's offering. Sexy though...........ahhhh to be a rich kid.
  • 2 3
 Yeah I know what you mean, I think Formula need to re-think their game.. these brakes are still produced in a tiny little factory in Northern Italy.. which ultimately means they cant compete with the titans that are Avid, Hayes, Shimano, and Hope.. sort ya life out Formula!!
  • 4 1
 True, and dont get me wrong, I dont really fault them for having to price so high. If you can afford it then great. Its like buying a Ducati motorcyle. They are stunning, but if performance is the objective there are japanese bikes that will stomp 'em out for half the money.
  • 8 0
 Exactly couldn't of said it better myself, or in car terms like buying a Porsche 911 when you could get a Nissan GTR for half the price.
  • 2 3
 CarlosMC I didnt understand your first comment and just passed it by me.. but that one really doesnt make sense.
  • 2 0
 lol, nobody is damned. We are just discussing here.
  • 1 2
 @ HOJJJ & DARKSTAR63. Don't take me wrong, since we are just discussing, but it seems that you are confusing bicycle brakes & motorbikes. Indeed, Formula brakes are expensive, so as a Ferrari. Would you buy a Ferrari from Asia? So to my mind its a good thing that they are, still, manufactured in Italy.
From the information that I have got via internet, Pinkbike included I have never tested them due to price, I 'hear' that they are the best that money can buy. I see no reason why someone should complain about cost when he/she performs DH (way more expensive than XC).
Since we are talking about 'motors'. The best brakeset is a Brembo (also Italian).
  • 1 0
 Yeah im not dissing Italy or Italians.. they are fantastic engineers right? I mean without them I would be on a typrwriter breaking my wrists right now.. but its the way the company is run like a family and still operates out of a small facility, if they were manufactured out of a huge factory the prices might be more reasonable, and quality of a higher/more consistent standard.
  • 1 0
 Yes the price is an issue, I agree. But, just because it is a ' family' company they have the higher quality. At least this is what I think.
  • 2 1
 Of course I get your point here. What Im saying is, I dont know that they ARE the "best money can buy". They may look sexy, and that of course is important to most, and they are very light........ but in terms of sheer power and modulation everything I have heard and read indicates there are better brakes out there. And, they come in ALOT cheaper. Thats all Im saying. I would love a set of these, they are gorgeous, and solid performers. Its just more of a luxury that's all. Trust me, I can appreciate Italian design. I was born and raised in a home with no fewer than three Italian motorcycles at any one time. But you know what? My dad always kept a Honda lying around...........
  • 1 0
 CBR I am assuming Smile
  • 5 1
 I have these on my DH bike and they are the best brake I have ever used. They are vastly superior to the codes they replaced. I have not had any problems with them at all. I replaced the hoses with goodridge hoses after a kid took out my brakeline at the local hill. The feel is even better with the goodridge hoses, but the price puts the system in the $1000.00 range with the upgraded hoses and fittings. Anyone saying they are for rich people doesn't understand the basics. STRONG, LIGHT, CHEAP, pick any two!!!

The power is the best in class. The modulation is extremely consistent, but the modulation is shorter than other brake systems, which requires a readjustment in technique. I have used codes (lousy modulation, changed the lever/resevoir to elixr cr which was better modulation, but system weight was excessive, and still not as good as the formulas) , Elixr CR (not even close in power- moved to a trail bike), Hayes ACE (good for its era, but now eclipsed). I have also used the juicy line, 3, 5, 7, and ultimate- trail brakes, not appropriate for DH, HFX nines- no comment, and several hygia brakes- with careful bleeding equivalent to the juicy line but in fancy colors and at better prices.
  • 1 0
 Willie1, while I dont doubt the excellant performance of your ONES, Im sure you are talking about the older Codes, not the new version. Huge difference.
  • 3 0
 Formula are selling their Mega brake set directly for 170 Euros. They're pretty much the same as the previous version of The One, without the one piece caliper and tool free reach adjust.
If anyone likes the look of Formulas, but you're not so flush, check the Formula website out. Mine are pretty mint and frankly, in my couple of decades + riding experience, convincingly dick Avid, Hope, Shimano and Hayes brakes for light weight, powerful and consistent brakes. But my opinion is only worth as much as yours Smile
  • 1 0
 juicy 7s arnt suitablle for DH?? willie1 is there a tone of internet sarcasim im not picking up on??

bwaaaahahaha.... No seriouslly, i would wager that more than 60 % of dh riders are sporting juicys. perhaps you suck at bleeding brakes?

these ONE's are sweet looking brakes, but more than I want to pay for.... think Ill stick with the juicy 7s with the goodridge.. stops my demo 9 at 50 lbs pretty good.
  • 1 0
 Maybe I don't suck at bleeding brakes, but the power of the brakes is actually different???? 60% of DH riders use Juicy brakes??? The caliper is too small and the fluid will boil. They are simply too small.

The codes I had were the last generation. I haven't ridden the new ones. Seems like a pointless change to go from formulas to something else. If you are happy with codes, it would be pointless to change them also.
  • 2 0
 where is it thatn you are riding that juicys will boil? cause i ride em at kicking horse with 4000 foot decents and also mt. 7 regularily and have never had a brake boil.Codes are for sure more powerfull than juicys but to say that juicys are not suitable for dh is a rediculous statement.
  • 1 0
 Do you race DH or ride lift assist? The stress on components in a race situation is significantly different from a casual riding situation. I'm glad you like your old brakes, and maybe can't afford something newer/better, but to say juicies are DH brakes is ridiculous.

"However, the shortage of heat tolerance and rapid fadeout mean that the Juicy Seven Carbon is not a recommended full mountain brake."

You can find many reviews that say the same thing. This is consistent with my experience with the juicies as well.
  • 1 0
 I never said they were the best dh brake's and in fact i will be running saints next year, but juicys have been fine breaks for me for several years and, as you can see i live in the mountains and dh ride most days. afford... pfft, easilly but why replace what works. juicy sevens took me down RTC and the race course at seven today.... no worrys.

fadeout?? i think you use your breaks too much .
  • 1 0
 i have used Juicy 5s and 7s for over 4 years on a couple of bikes including two days straight at Whistler w/ my 5s and after running Hope Tech X2s at Whistler [ yeh! XC/All Mt. rated ] i would NEVER go back to Juicys, and i agree w/ Willie1 Juicys are definitely NOT a DH brake, even less than my Hope X2s - interesting though : for all the dissing i hear about Hayes Nines, i have Hayes Nines on a 2005 BIgfoot, [ my 2nd Bigfoot with Hayes Nines ] and they will send you over the bars for stopping power as i once found out on a very steep rip down a chute filled with baby heads - anyway, i now have a tricked out Bottle Rocket and screw the cost; for all the ranting out there about cost blah blah rip off blah blah ; at the end it's about safety and performance for me, so, selling my Hopes and getting the Formulas [ Danny Simms just came 1st in a national race running them; he loves them and that's all i need to hear. [ btw dmadness, i also agree what works for you...works! hell, i'm so old that i remember coaster brakes leaving 3 feet of rubber ripping down a Mountain rd. highway near my home as a kid and throwing me off my Schwinn like a rag doll ! ]
  • 1 0
 Juicy's, in my experience are not suitable for proper DH in the slightest. The lack the power and modulation, heat up like a bitch and fade quicker than Shimano crank graphics. They are for XC and similar. I'm sure Avid would agree with that, I'm sure as hell they wouldn't entertain warranty claims on Juicy's used for DH racing, etc.
Proper DH requires proper brakes, no amount of Know-it-all Normans (you know the type, 'I ride DH on a single speed, rigid with roadie tyres...blah blah, etc etc') will ever change that! Saints, Formula The One/Mega, Hayes Prime, etc....there's a reason these companies invest in separate R&D for DH brakes, they don't do it for shitz and giggles!
  • 1 0
 I get the impression Caliber38heavy doesn't know about the world outside the Empire
  • 1 0
 fair enough, I've only ridden juicysm, hayes and a codes... the codes were awesome, the juicys work.
  • 14 3
 rich kids toy the rest of us will save up and get saints instead
  • 15 0
 or rock shitty hayes 9's haha
  • 1 0
 Agree with that.. Razz
  • 10 1
 Mech disc brakes all the way.
  • 3 6
 juicy 3 is the best!
  • 3 0
 No, just no.
  • 2 0
 you get what you paid for
  • 2 1
 Elixir CR's and Codes. All you ever need.
  • 2 0
 Hey man, Dont diss hayes! hahaha Razz
  • 5 0
 Sick of avid. total bed shitter quality these days, what happened... up in whistler its nothing but code levers pissing oil, elixr bodies falling apart on their own (sweet feature btw) and calipers with stuck pistons. BC riding needs real brakes I guess!
  • 1 0
 You may get what you pay for, but that doesn't mean they're not reach kids' toy Razz
Saints 're fine by me
  • 2 0
 hayes stroker ryde.... REPRESENT!
  • 1 0
 Hell Yea Bro!!!
  • 6 0
 I have them on my prototype and are SuperB, supreme, superior in Power and performance than everything I tried before. Including Saint, and Codes. Only Magura Gustav M had more stopping power but at twice weight than The Ones. New FCS adjustments works perfectly! much easier to use than old FCS. And the IRA, U can skipp it and save some grams, if U have the allen tool to adjust them, but once U adjust them U won't need to move that part anymore. I absolutelly reccomend this Brakes!
  • 2 0
 i totaly agree with annimaxdh coz i have had the 2009 formula mega and i am running the 2011 mega now,and without doubt these brakes beat anything else i have ever used before hands down,they have better modulation and power than any of the other brands i have used in the past including hayes stroker ryde and trails and hope mono m4 ,i deffo wont be changing any time soon,
  • 4 0
 Easily the best brakeset I've ever tried. The front is immensely powerful when you need it, and the back has so much modulation you never, ever lock the wheel up and skid. I've yet to bleed them this season and have had no issues, and replaced the pads once only out of necessity, the performance never really dropped off.
  • 4 0
 Ok, I thought I would put my 2 cents in here about these brakes. I have used many brakes over the years: Shimano XT 4 pots, hayes 1st gen and purple hayes, shimano saints, avid 3, avid juicy carbons, avid codes, hope moto, and now finally the Formula "the ones". My first impression of these brakes was not great. I found them have a mushy lever feel but had lots of raw power. In the first few rides I was locking up the rear wheel real fast which would cause me to lose traction and slide about in the wet. Over time you just learn how they are going to react. They are by far the most powerful brake I have ever used. You need to really push these brakes to get them to perform. The longer you ride them and hotter they get the better they feel. They remind me of any high end car or moto brake they just need to get warm before they work well. As for the Mushy lever feel it's just a matter of finding a good wrench to give them a good bleed. I would reccomend that you bleed them out of the box to make sure they are air bubble free. Since having the bleed done by summit in whistler(they bleed about 20 to 40 formula equiped rental bikes a day) I would agree that they are the best brakes on the planet currently. I have had a rainy garbo to base run summer in whistler with lots of vert on these brakes and they have been flawless and the pad life has been pretty impressive. Yes they are expensive but you get what you pay for. Please do yourself a favour buy a pair, give them a good bleed and enjoy. The only thing that would make them a touch better would be if they came with the same braided lines that the R1's came with.
  • 2 0
 YEP! for all the rants about F The Ones being rich kids brakes i can only say you need to shop at another bike store; the store [ Dunbar Cycles ] where i have been shopping [ direct, although they have online shopping ] for 5 years, for all my bikes and swag, gives awesome prices that match just about everything out there and my Formulas w/ the options came in at a cost to match some of the aforementioned so called 'cheaper and better or as good' brakes. and just for the record : whatever works - works ! so many of the same brakes that crap out for someone will work awesome for another - the reasons are varied : different riding styles and use [ my son is a brute on bikes and instead of grace and style he gets it done with muscle and force ] as well as rider weight, skill and handling; all these affect the amount and way brakes are used and therefore the life and durability...read the comments again and you will see that virtually every brake mentioned is "shitty' by someone and 'awesome' by another - hmmmmm not rocket science - and as far as The Ones are concerned, i purchased mine based on my bike mechanic @ Dunbar Cycles, 1st place DH race winner and Engineer Dan Sims running them, and he loves them as i do too [ i have run Juicy 3s, 7s, 2 sets of Hayes nines, and Hope techs - and interestingly, for all the dissing Hayes nines get, my Hayes had enough bite and power they could send you over the bars...possibly the reason for dissing them :-)
  • 2 0
 I have them on 2 bikes and they are way better than those junk 11' codes I was running before. I had Saints on my last bike and can say they are a top notch brake also. I do like the feel of the formulas just a little better but would run either one.
  • 2 0
 Been running the ones for 3 years now and have my original 08s ans my 2010s. EASY to bleed, work flawless the pads wear a bit and the lever adjuster comes in handy.
Only issue I have had is when the pads are down to 1/3 life left the lever reach is too cse for my liking even with lever adjust and pad contact adjust. I just replace em anyways.

Brakes I've rode in comparison and I'm 235 lbs so they got worked
Hayes mags, Hayes stroke rydes, Hayes nines and solos
Formula oro biancos, k-24s (still on my sxt) k-18s
Hope mono 4s and 6 tis
Avid codes, elixir crs, elixir 5, juicy 3 and 5

Ridden the ones in snow ice runs and 100 degree days on long descents haven't been left wanting

But like all things people have different tastes and braking styles so its good to have such a variety of stuff to choose from, these work for me and I know guys who love there saints and codes.
  • 5 1
 They best brakes on the market. Nothing comes close to the build quality, weight and power of Formula's.
  • 2 0
 I learn to control the plus weight of saints with the higher power instead - saint is cheaper, super reliable only down is the lack of modulation, but you don't really notice it in the track...
  • 2 0
 I have used Formula's The One since June this year. They were expensive but worth the investment. They are very powerful, and require a light touch on decents. I'm happy with them.
  • 1 0
 I'm glad you like them! We will work hard to provide the best service and small parts availability for all the Canadian formula brakes riders. Thanks for your support!
  • 3 2
 Great article for the technical info, but if you ruined a set of pads (any make/type pads) on just two Garbo runs you seriously need to lay off the brakes and ride the bike. That comment spoils the article for credibility, IMO, and provides spurious info to your readers. I agree the sintered work better and last longer, but I still get DAYS of bike park DH riding on a set of Formula organics (approx 40-to-50'000 feet of vert against at least 50-to-80'000 for the longer lasting sintered). My preference is for non-Formula sintered as they seem quieter in all weathers and last even longer than Formula's own product (experienced over three seasons of MY 2009 The One's).
  • 5 0
 i had the same problem with Avid's organics. they barely lasted a day in a huge downpour at Highland
  • 4 0
 Lack of credibility and spurious info? I'd disagree. That was two runs down the upper section of the Garbo race track into some of the more manky trails further down (Mackenzie's river run etc). This was on one of the days where I was drenched and frozen before I'd even got half way up the Garbo lift the rain was so heavy. The issue, as highlighted, was the fact that new organic's usually need a heat cycle to get them up to the right operating hardness and with the conditions they just didn't have the opportunity to do that on this day. If anything the issue was the brakes not being used enough, thus not generating enough heat, and not drying the water/mud paste off the disc before it became an abrasive paste that just ate the pads. I've had the same issue with other organics in similar situations. Although the MSA world cup was eating the pads it wasn't as prevalent because the heat was burning a lot of the water off pretty quickly. There were literally axle deep water filled trenches up there on the garbo at times the first few days.

It's always good to hear the feedback of others but I don't think I have any issues with 'not riding the bike' or not 'laying off the brakes' enough, it's merely a case of conditions. And as it's something I found, it's something I shared - I won't be the only one to have experienced the same situation.
  • 2 0
 Get off the brakes Ali, the upper section of the Garbo does not have much braking :o)
Having ridden RDS in the snow after a day of smashing out 8 or more Garbo's after 10 days of the same, on pads that were half worn when heading to Whistler, I am guessing you had a pad issue, either that or the poor shape of the rotors kill the pads.
Looks like the rotors are out of date and have to large a contact area, so don't clear the grime very well, causing excess wear.
Either that or you need to man up young pup and get off the brakes..... haha.... luv ya buddy.
  • 1 2
 I was riding Garbo in the pissing rain when I was a noob and never wore through a set of pads in two descents, not even in 12 garbo laps, and yes, mud swamps and pouring rain all day for three days straight. Looks like you crossed the pond and found some real riding, a bit of a wake up call with full on lift assisted gnar riding compared to 1 minute downhill races with the winner by 1/1000th of a second. Nice article, lots of info, cool pics, but I think you showed your hand with regard to you shredding a set of pads, sintered or not. What you think is hard riding, compared to what regulars bang off in a day of +35 or -5 degrees in blinding hot sun, cold temps and snow/ice, or rain...waah....whatever. It speaks for itself, really. You got schooled.
  • 1 0
 Betsie, you're right...I suck! Even with your dodgy shoulder you'll probably kick my ass..

There is no showing of my hand and there was no schooling although that's not to say I didn't benefit from the sheer amount of riding available in a condensed period of time. You clearly feel I'm wrong in my assumptions or unable to ride a bike. That's your perogative. However, I stand by the comments that Formula organic pads feel great, and in the dry or hot (disc temp, not ambient) they work superbly. But when it gets wet and the brakes haven't got much temperature in them they just run through too quickly. In the UK I've had similar life out of them in similar conditions - but given the average reader’s based on your side of the Atlantic it made sense to reference a situation they themselves could experience.

If you speak to other guys who were out in MSA you'll find they went through a fair few pads too. The pads I switched to were Sintered and they're still on the bike despite spending the rest of my time in Whistler on them and doing several days at Ft Bill since. On the brakes I was running prior to the Formula's (Hope V2’s) I was getting 4 months+ on average out of a set of Sintered pads and 3 months on the Organics but there was less of a transition in feel between the compounds compared to the Formula. Given that the Sintered last pretty well this points to the Organics being that bit softer. The Organics in the worst conditions just don’t seem able to get up to operating temperature properly, which as a result means the discs don’t dry off as well as they should and thus the grinding paste starts eating at things. On the faster stuff where you’re using the brakes harder you generate more heat in the system and it becomes almost self cleaning as the water quickly evaporates. Of course the added abrasives on the disc reduce the life of pads slightly but it’s water that usually proves to be the biggest evil, as was the case here.
  • 1 0
 I'm using formula oro from 2008, and untill now, I am verry satisfied of them. Thay work everywhere, and in every conditions. The fact that pads are eating faster than other brakes is true, as I can compare of my old hayes stroker brakes, but certainly are better in fact of modulation and the constance they brake. In fact from Formula I've tested the new brakes the ones 2012, and they are really really constant from the start of the track to the end, not mentioning that the ones are more more powerfull than the Oro version. As organic pads, I don;t remember which type of pads I used but the organic pads under the rain aren't the best choice, because the organic matterial tend to stack off from the steel support of the pads, that what happened to me. In fact on high humidity ambients I reccomend metal (makes some metallic rumors when but works better) pads or ceramic ones. My next downhill brakes would be the ones 2012 or the new oval allthrought for the next season.
  • 1 0
 I ran a set of Oro K24's for a season. When bled properly, they worked fine, but, for a proper, thorough bled, it was necessary to remove the brake from the bike (as recommended by Formula) so this was a pain. I had an issue, which I believe was cause by an air trapped in the caliper, that was caused the pads to not retract fully, resulting in pads that would burn out less than one downhill run.

I also found that, even when bled properly, that the pads ran very close to the rotors. Even the smallest imperfection in your rotor would produce rubbing.

Also, for Canadian residents, keep in mind that, at least two years ago, the Formula distributor in Canada was not a good distributor, so getting parts through your local bike shop was difficult. If you go with Formula's, in Canada, I would strongly recommend keeping your tool kit equipped with a multiple sets of pads, and full brake re-build parts (hoses & olives, master cylinders, etc) for emergency repairs, because there will be very, very few shops that will actually stock these items.

For these reasons, I got rid of my Formulas. I currently run Hayes Stroker Aces. They're pretty nice. They have their flaws too, but overall are a pretty good brake.
  • 1 0
 You have to keep in mind that the One brakes are very different from the K24 you used to ride. I personally think that it would not be fare and representative to judge the The One brakes and the company with the experience you had with your K24 brakes.

Also, with the new distribution channel in Canada (Lama Cycles out East, Trident out West and Formula Canada), the service/warranty and availability on small parts will be way better.

Thanks!
  • 1 0
 a) The problem distributor I was referring to was Trident. At the time, I believe they were the only distributor. Good to know there are now other games in town. When I realized the difficulty in getting parts locally, I ordered a schwack of spares over the internet from a U.S. online retailer.

b) When I had the problem, because I couldn't receive local help, I had actually spoken directly with Formula USA. They explained at the time that they were aware that all of their brakes ran with the pads very close to the rotors. My comparison between the K24 and The One wasn't about power/modulation, etc, but simply a characteristic which was similar to all the Formula brakes at the time, according to Formula USA (not through personal experience).

c) Regardless of better distribution channels, shops still need to stock the items for repair. If I crash in practice, and need an emergency repair to my brakes, it doesn't help me if the distributor has stock, when the local shop doesn't. This is not a criticism pointed at either Formula or LBS's, but simply something people need to be aware of when purchasing higher end, less common brakes (would apply to Hope, Magura, Formula, etc.)
  • 1 0
 thanks for your detailed reply.

as for point c, I agree with you at 100%. I think it is only a matter of time until the small parts will be more availble in canada. As an example, lapierre, rocky and specialized spec oem formula brakes on their complete bikes for 2012. This means that it will be advantageous for many bike shops to carry a minimum of small parts. This means more chance to find what you are looking for in random bike shops. As for the racers, our race team carry lot of small parts and we also have 2 techs that know how to solve a brake problem.

cheers!
  • 1 0
 to be fair...Trident has had issues with stock in my experience but they do their best to help [ even trying to get me a 2012 set of F the Ones from France, but who the hell wants to wait for that logistic with time, distance and probability :-( ] and, when i phoned Lama [ again, to be fair, it is late in the season ] understandably you folks did not have a set with the gold colour lever adjust [ love the bling :-) ] my point is: Formula The Ones seem to be evolving very quickly and word is out now especially on the racing circuit, so although i think stock is / was there / here, it is disappearing quickly with sales...and by the way, i finally got - very quickly - my F The Ones through the bike shop i deal with primarily, direct from Formula Canada near Vancouver, and, I LOVE THEM.
  • 2 1
 AVID and SAINT have something on formula they don't charge 329 for just the caliper and lever body and the rotors and mounts are extra that was dumb on there part. Even HOPE witch is mighty fine hardware include rotors and mounts.
  • 2 1
 Formula know what they're doing. Performance costs money and high quality performance cost more, such is life.
  • 1 0
 As a brake which is suitable for all different kinds of riding, it doesn't make sense to package specific rotor and mount sizes with them which for many people would go unused. You get what you pay for with this kind of product, and having used the 2010 model all of this season I can say they're absolutely worth it.
  • 1 0
 actually saint are super expensive too. they retail in lambert (one of canada bike piece distributer) around 350$ (cad) for lever#caliper no disk.
  • 1 0
 They are very good brakes indeed. Good modulation, very nice power, quality is top notch and yet my saints with 11 XTR levers will sack them in all those disciplines for a lot less money.... Yes since they are 2 piston instead of 4 and everything else is constructed differently they are quite.... well different.
  • 1 0
 They are very good brakes indeed. Good modulation, very nice power, quality is top notch and yet my saints with 11 XTR levers will sack them in all those disciplines for a lot less money.... Yes since they are 2 piston instead of 4 and everything else is constructed differently they are quite.... well different.
  • 1 0
 personally i loooooooove my One's. Super powerful and a s**t ton of modulation. I love these brakes. I've had Saints too and they are just as good. If money is not a concern you have a hard choice to make between these and the Saints, but these win with sexyness and overall light weight.
  • 1 0
 I agree with all points in review. I own the breaks and love them. I have thought of buying an extra set to sleep with!! There is only one flaw I have found though - THE MOUNTING BOLTS.

I do not care about torx vs socket head cap screws (SHCS). The torx size is the same as your brake rotors. The problem is the nitride coating!! When you snap one of these bolts -which you will -look at the fracture surface or the broken part. Notice that the depth of the coating compared the the thickness of the bolt. Coatings are hard, brittle and fracture easy under tensile loads. So, you have a thin but significant portion of the cross-section of your break mount bolt that is made of a brittle material. Hmmm...

The gold bolts ARE pimpin!! However, after I busted one of mine and looked at fracture surface under my microscope I swapped them all out for uncoated SHCS. I would highly recommend folks do the same or at the very least keep an eye on them bolts! By the way, stainless is the best option but you may have to order them online. Very cheep fix.
  • 1 0
 my bad. I now understand the bolts are gold anno aluminum. why?
  • 1 0
 The Formula "The One" brakes are the best brakes we've ever used and the pads last longer than you would ever think possible. On super hot days they don't fade, and are very strong when it comes to dumping your bike in a wreck. To say we are stoked on our Formula's on all our demo bikes is an understatement.
Ken
  • 1 0
 i had these brakes in mind [ Formulas ] but made the choice to buy Hope Tech X2s for DHing - [ i did get encouragement they would be Waaaay better than anything i had used from a rider/ sales guy ] figured as i am only 135 lbs they would stop me easily and the fact that the X2s are rated a bit o free ride and XC they would still be ok - HUGE MISTAKE ! after a month of shredding including a day at Whistler the X2s had less braking power for DHing than my Hayes Nines and even my old Juicy 5s ! Fast forward : took the organic pads off and replaced with metal pads, LO ! they now have at least 20 - 30% more stopping power and they are not even worn in...have since tried someones ride with 2010 Formulas - not as much modulation as my Hopes but will send you over the bars if you don't know better...anyone wanna buy some Hope Techs.
  • 1 0
 Massive mistake. X2's are in no way designed for free ride and downhill just don't have enough power you should have got the v2's.
  • 1 0
 yep. i want to b**** slap the guy who recommended them !
  • 1 0
 ps. @ thenotoriousmic : i think the only reason the X2s are working for me DHing is that i only weigh 135 lbs and my ride is 35.7 lbs. having said that, they do not have the grab i want and i will definitely sell them asap and try the V2s or...???
  • 1 0
 I ve got the old moto v2s they have a longer leaver blade then the new ones so they are noticeably more powerful but overall the new leavers are much nicer. Still have loads of power never fade and with sintered pads they work amazingly in the wet. When they get hot they start clicking and pinning where standard rotors will be warping. There customer service is amazing also every time I ve sent them to hope to be rebled they've sent them back the next day for free with new pads and pistons. But I only live 25 miles away from the hope factory.
  • 1 0
 cool...nice situation for you...well, just got the Formula The Ones - did a few runs with them and love them...plus, the black and gold bling matches my satin black pdr, coat paint, and everything else on my ride is gold [ hope hubs / race face crank / bars / gold nitride chain / Exo shifter/ derailleur and even my cassette is gold etc etc. ] so, all i have to do now is try and sell my Hope X2s, although, after i got rid of the contaminated organic stock pads the Hopes came with, i replaced them with sintered pads and the stopping power wasn't too shabby - easily 40% better, so i may give them to my son to see if they are ok for him [ although he comes in at 170 lbs and shreds some really sick stuff with crap juicy 5s, somehow i feel the Hope X2s may be work for him ??? ]
  • 1 0
 i personally have a huge distaste for shimano - it may be ok for the occasional ride, but in the lone term they let you down big time.

even though im scottish im big on the whole 'made in america' deal and the deal with superb craftmanship of the italians.

these brakes are bang tidy - theyr really light, and very powerful and my dad has some previos year wans on his rig and i quite like them
but i prefer a hope myself, especially the moto v2s fitted to my M3 (MY AMERICAN MUSCLE!) and they are even more beasted and i dont care about how heavy they are they get from 50-0 in about 1 meter (feels like that lol). i dont understand avids theyr balls, just get better stuff on ebay cheap instead of bollucks.
it was weird i found this strange kind of propaganda in a bike mag, it did a test on loads of brakes and avids and shimanos were the most powerful and they had V2s and The Ones on the test and they said they werent as powerful - they tested power using a computer and stuff but theres no way those brakes were more powerful than the big boys (its basic physics) but i know that was all fixed - they didnt even share results
  • 1 0
 i think part of the problem when people express an opinion about brakes, is that they compare their new brakes, of whatever brand, against their last brakes of 4 years ago. virtually everyone's brakes now are a hell of a lot better than what was produced 5 years ago. i have the 2010 'the ones' and they are unreal - no issues, great power, perfect modulation. had hopes before that and loved them too.
  • 1 0
 Hi, had this spec'd on my new bike, when set up properly this brakes are solid, they have buckets of modulation and make hope tech 2's seem wooden, I have fitted and rode more brakesets than I care to re-call, having a shop will do that for you! The only thing that I can fault it that I went through two sets of pads on one wet ride, I blame the soil! I would also say be careful what you wish for as these brakes have made some of my rides feel timid compared to my old XT's.
  • 3 3
 These brakes suck you need to readjust them everytime you ride, they constantly need rebleeding and as the rotor is so light and thin the warping is completely out of this world even to the point where the back wheel was locking up on it own mid run. I'd hate to think what would happen if it did it to the front saints and v2's are miles better.
  • 1 0
 I can confirm what he said about the rotors. It's like they are made from used CD's or something like that. They are awful.
  • 1 0
 The rotors are lite, thus a bit flexible. This is why they came with the new aluminum carrier rotors (the center of the rotor has an aluminum mounting) for 2012...
  • 1 0
 Yeah like my v2's I ve had for three years warp free. Because I did the right thing and bought hope instead of formular who have always been crap despite what the reviews at the time were saying about them.
  • 1 0
 I'm using formula oro rotors, and even if are the lightest they never fall me down for this. Yes, thery are fragile but to mention a friend of mine mounted a coupple of (the best he can of strengt and like double the weight) rotors, because he feared to bend them, and after a week he fall down and bend the front one in half. So it's not true that other rotors won't bend. After this experience he returned to the formula rotors and so at least he has less weight on rolling, and are easyer to pedalling, not to mention that costs less then the other ones.
  • 1 0
 come on,a friend of mine has ridden his v2s for two years now perfectly,never a fault,even after a week in portes du soleil..i have formula mega,and they got problems because of lack of FCS,but i'm selling them for v2,too...
  • 1 0
 wow they have gold one them! BUT i would rather prefer the best new brake in mtb which is the lightweight and inexpensive Hayes Prime Pro which also have the new 2 piece floating rotors to top it all off!
  • 1 1
 Crapiest brake ever! I blew a seal and asked speccificaly to get only the seal changed no bleed and the shop sent it into trident. They did a full rebiuld and changed the hose and everything toataling a bullshit 180$ and it came with the bolt connecting the lever to the body of the lever missing. At least dunbar was nice enough of lower the price to 80$ when i let them know what went wrong. And very unreliable always feeling diffrent then the day before and breakin randomly.
  • 1 0
 So is it the brake or your bike shop that sucks?
  • 2 0
 It is really sad to hear that you are not satisfied with the servicing of your brake. If ever you have any other issue with you brakes, ask your LBS to contact us and we will take care of it. We are working hard to help the customers that support our brands. Thanks!
  • 2 0
 Dunbar is THE place to shop for your Bike and Swag...awesome deals, and service - they are not perfect but try to be and are damn close to it !
  • 1 0
 Only brakes in my mind, I would happily pay the price anytime Much as so much power,control and just work day in day out, never worry about them. Just let's me get on and ride my bike. Can't wait till 2012 models.
  • 3 1
 NICEST. BRAKES. EVER! they feel like the taste of a perfectly roasted marshmallow. but at $420 an end........ so worth it!!
  • 1 0
 I would not jump to conclusions, let's see run-in)
  • 2 0
 I rode them in whistler for days and they were beautiful! I like my brakes to be very powerful, and have very little movement between feathering and on the anchors really hard.
  • 1 0
 Wow, This Breaks are nice! and Definitely do NOT look like, SAINTS! The the break lever kinda does.! I hope it performs great!
  • 2 1
 Always had Hope Disc Brakes, Currently have V2's. However, these beauties may be a future purchase as they tick all my boxes. Plus they look the absolute Dogs Danglies...
  • 1 2
 I love formula brakes, for about a week. then they need a re-bleed. then i love them again, for maybe, i dunno, a week, then they are shit again. As brakes go they are awesome performing, but they are so unreliable its not funny. I've not resigned my RX's to my jump bike where brakes arent really needed so heavily, and got Elixir CR's to replace them
  • 4 0
 you went from Formulas to Elixr CR's because of reliability? lol
  • 1 0
 elixirs after 3 months = no bleeds, good braking, nice feel
Formula's after 3 months = 4 bleeds.

I know elixirs aren't the most reliable, but my RX's were something else!
  • 1 0
 have you asked if you had any manufacturing problem? it may be that you had an assembly problem. I know someone that bleeded 4-5 times his hayes stroker trail brakes untill he changed his cable tube for the rear and a piston to the front that had a scratch.
  • 1 0
 one thing to note too is that the stock Avid bleed kit will NOT fit into the lever assembly without filling down the knurled part to clear the bulge in the lever body
  • 2 2
 man, i earn a living working on bikes all day and formula sucks (well, of course there are bigger suckers out there, how about some shit tektros for a hybrid hahah) but yeah formula - my least favourite brakes EVER.
  • 1 0
 yep
  • 1 0
 I have got saints and the one. Formula brakes are better although FCS is a must.
  • 1 0
 i have the 2010 version - man i gota say they are the best brakes I have ever used
  • 1 0
 pretty sick, but f*ck they're expensive. you can get a pair of code Rs for $300
  • 1 0
 next year sill try xtr 2012 levers whit saint galipers ,gwin seems to say its a great combo
  • 1 0
 look great Big Grin ... i want 2 pcs please Smile
  • 6 5
 one word...... hope!! no need to bother with any other brakes.
  • 1 0
 think i will be keepin my saint's... ;0)
  • 1 0
 and I will keep my 05' Louise
  • 1 0
 correct...
  • 1 0
 These look sick!
  • 2 1
 Hope rules!!!!
  • 1 2
 not liking the torx bolts but the brake its self looks sweet and i bet it performs insanlely
  • 5 0
 Why? Torx is better than allen bolts any day, especially for aluminum bolts.
  • 1 3
 im just not keen on torx bolts because i never carry a torx key with me if i ever need one
  • 2 0
 that is the one annoying thing about it, but you can use a allen for the clamps in a pinch
  • 2 0
 There is allen/torx combo wrenches. Personally I like to replace all bolts with torx. They don't strip. Especially aluminum ones.
  • 1 0
 WTF?
  • 1 0
 Awsome.
  • 1 0
 double post oops
  • 1 0
 ...and?
  • 2 2
 UP THE I.R.A!
  • 1 0
 I see what you did there. :p
  • 1 3
 there shitty brakes. they're either off or on, there is no gradualness to them. and the brake monte suck they snap to easy.
  • 2 0
 Wow, get a dictionary! Oh, and don't talk crap either, you sound like a troll mate!
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