Formula’s New Oval-Piston Brake, AM Wheels and Front Suspension – Eurobike 2011

Sep 10, 2011
by Richard Cunningham  
Formula has reached fruition on an ambitious development cycle that began in secret a number of years earlier. The Italian brake maker has diversified with a range of Scandium-rim wheels, and its first suspension fork. In case you are wondering, Formula has not lost any momentum in its core business, as evidenced by the debut of its 361-gram (per side), ‘RO’ brake with an innovative oval-piston brake caliper.

Stunner Italian Barrista
“Why yes. We would love an espresso.” Formula’s family-owned factory is in Tuscany, so it is a tradition to serve guests cafe` or red wine from nearby Montalcino. Alasdaire McLennan photo

RO Downhill/AM Brake

Formula RO Brake
Formula RO Brake Details: (clockwise) Formula’s RO lever assembly is based upon its powerful ‘The One’ gravity brake, with the reach adjustment integrated into the forged lever blade and Formula’s ‘Feel Control System’ hydraulic engagement-adjust dial at the hose fitting • The RO caliper is forged aluminum with top-loading brake pads and a banjo hose fitting • With one brake pad removed, the oval piston is evident. The larger surface area of the piston puts even pressure on the brake pad and produces more squeeze force • A close-up of the integrated lever-reach dial, which is large enough to operate with full-finger gloves. Alasdaire McLennan photo

Speed Lock Brake-Hose Quick Release

quick release hose fitting
Speed Lock is a quick-release brake hose junction that blocks fluid loss when disconnected. The quick release operates with a slide collar in the same manner as a pneumatic hose fitting. Those who disassemble their bikes for shipment, or need to deal with a frame that features internal cable routing, will appreciate how handy Speed Lock could be. Speed Lock can be installed at the brake lever, in-line or at the caliper. We anticipate that Speed Lock will retrofit on other brake maker’s lines as well. Alasdaire McLennan photo


Volo Wheels

Volo wheels
Volo All-Mountain Wheelset Details: Volo wheels are designed for AM/Trail riders who seek a lightweight, sturdy set of hoops. The rims are 21-millimeters wide (ID), Scandium alloy with 24 straight-pull spokes laced two-cross. Volo 29er wheels weigh 1538 grams a pair, while the 26-inch model weighs 1440 grams a pair. Formula’s forged 7000-alloy aluminum hub features ‘external bearing technology’ similar in theory to Shimano’s freehub design. The right-side hub bearing is placed outboard of the cassette where it can directly support the wheel’s lateral forces, not inboard under the spoke flange like most hubs. Alasdaire McLennan photo

Formula 33 Suspension Fork

Thirty Three fork
Thirty Three Fork Details: (clockwise) Formula’s 33 fork is a 100-millimeter XC design, but we anticipate a long-travel AM slider is soon to follow. The 33 has magnesium sliders, 33-millimeter stanchions and is available with slotted or 15-millimeter through axles, and standard or tapered aluminum steerer tubes • Formula uses a coil booster spring to keep the 33 riding smoothly. Small bumps activate the coil spring and the air-spring kicks in to catch larger hits • The 33’s high-speed compression and rebound damping is handled by speed-sensitive washer stacks • In the Formula tradition, the attention to detail and manufacturing quality on the 33 fork is second to none. Alasdaire McLennan photo


Explore Formula’s entire brake and component range and after you are done, give Pinkbike your thoughts about the oval piston concept below.


73 Comments

  • 49 0
 coffee + girl + shiny bike stuff = heaven
  • 6 3
 the hub internals look very pro2-ish
  • 3 1
 well all hub layouts are the same tbh
  • 1 0
 looks very innovative
  • 2 0
 DH-Til-I-Die: not really. Look at a DT, Chris King, or Stealth. Very different. What is shown there is the most popular design
  • 1 0
 DT, Chris King, Stealth those are the basics ok and shimano... but then how can you make a new hub internal without copiing one of these?
  • 1 0
 you do as they did.... how do you think they created the basics...
  • 1 0
 Aliens....
  • 9 2
 Formula can do no wrong. Everything they make seems to be amazing, and these should be no different. Loooove how that fork looks.
  • 5 1
 I use and own allot of heavy duty construction equiptment that use pneumatic hose's and its not uncommon for the the hose to disconnect after a bit of wear and minimal vibration, disconnecting the brake lines is a great idea but not sure if i would want them on my dh rig, would be a good investment to make an over sleave so they dont come appart on a rough dh course...
  • 3 1
 Yeah, I agree with you on that one. And even if the vibration doesn't disconnect the hose, the people who'll actually use this function will use it that much that the mechanism will eventually wear out. Maybe they should look into the aircraft quick-disconnect couplings for hydraulic systems that actually thread on with a locking ratchet.Thats my 2 cents.
  • 2 2
 if they bring their prices well below than fox and rock shox, i'd like to get one myself.
  • 5 0
 I work as an agricultural/diesel mechanic and all the hydraulics I deal with have quick fit connections somewhere in the line as all tractors/diggers can utilise so many different tools and may frequently switch over... The quick fit connectors are servicable to an extent and in the event that they wear to the point of completely dying, which I've not often seen, they can easily be replaced using a vice and spanners - I think its about time the mtb industry caught up in this area and am certain this concept will soon catch on with all manufacturers and eventually standardise once the oem suppliers like goodridge get in on it! I'm happy to see this, it'll make a mechanics job sooooo much easier!
  • 2 0
 Moto GP bikes have used quick release hydraulic lines for their brakes for years now. great idea, can't wait for them to be readily available!
  • 1 0
 Dbox: I'm with you on that... I've had a LOT of pneumatic hose couplers (same thing) go bad (if not oiled constantly they can get REAL sticky and not want to either come off or go back on ...SUPER annoying) over the years including more then a few on my SCBA (A firefighters air suply/mask) so I'm a bit warry of suddenly having NO BRAKES. However I do think it's a great idea and hopefully if it's not quite perfect at first they'll get it there quickly. Don't think it'll catch on with the PB Weight Wienie crowd" but I can sure see it being beneficial for some.
  • 5 0
 Interested to see how the oval piston works out, it makes some sense because of the shape of the calipers on bikes. The wheels look nice, but I am most interested as to what the price point will be. The quick connects are a shrunken version of whats used on portable hydraulic tools like the jaws of life. I would think it impossible to keep every bit of air out though which is imperative on such a small system where one small bubble makes a huge difference.

And the fork, nice to see some suspension forks being made in Italy again ;-)
  • 3 0
 That fork looks very much like a Fox fork, but the 33 stanchions should make it fairly stiff for good tracking on a trail bike, no doubt fairly flimsy for their inevitable use as dj fork with stanchions that thin though
  • 22 1
 I think it looks like a Rockshox fork, and a bit like a Manitou one too, probably some Marzocchi and Pace influences in there aswell. I think you're right about it being flimsy for dirt jump use. Why, it's almost as if they've not even been designed for dirt jumping!
  • 1 0
 and the drop outs are identical to some RST forks
  • 1 0
 The fork looks nice and I love the original name, I mean, its not like Marzocchi already have a fork called the 33... oh wait.
  • 2 0
 @willsoffe you're a legend lol
  • 2 1
 So what you guys are telling me is they got the best traits from each company and all mars had to offer was the name? Somehow that isn't a surprising. Also Mars's numbers don't refer to anything from what I can fell. The 66 doesn't have 66mm stanchions or 66mm of travel. These 33's actually refer to something.
  • 3 0
 Willsoffe was being sarcastic mate.
  • 2 0
 What's that got to do with anything? I'm not trying to be super critical. I'm actually talking to the same people he is I think. I'm just breaking it down a bit more.
  • 2 0
 @taletotell
Yes you're right, the Marz numbers don't refer to anything but with all of the research and development that goes into making a new fork I would have taken the time to come up with a name that isn't the same as that of another one.
  • 3 0
 @taletotell, the numbering refer's to the axle to steer tube off set.
  • 2 1
 well, it just doesnt matter, the rebound adjuster, it's shiny and has a picture of a snail and a chetah, just for that, i want one Pimp
  • 1 0
 Sorry mtz666. I meant to prop you. Stupid iPod.
  • 1 0
 no problem xD
  • 1 0
 The Marzocchi numbers do refer to things, the 66 for instance was designed to be used on bikes with a 66 degree head angle...

On another note does this mean that we could have hose connectors plug directly into the frame and have a 'pipe' welded in there during construction to run the brake fluid through, rather than running a hose inside a frame as with current internal routing set ups..
?
  • 1 0
 pretty sure thats already been done..?
  • 1 0
 @trycycles
Oh really? I didn't know that, well you learn something new every day Smile
  • 1 0
 @lely-pie, cool I thought the boffins out there would've thought about it but hadn't actually seen it myself...I am never going to make it as a revolutionary bike designer!!
  • 2 0
 i remember seeing it a while ago in mbuk, they had a titanium frame with a metal pipe inside and tiny hoses going from the frame to the caliper/lever
  • 2 1
 Not to knock the oval piston design, but I just don't understand how it will be any better than a regularly shaped round piston... look back a few years to when some thought an oval crank design would help riders... Not saying that the outcome will be the same, but in this case the oval piston just seems a design gimmick, performance shouldn't be effected one way or the other.

The forks, for XC, look sweet, really liking the cutaway look at things.... and the wheelset, well what to say? Don't have a set to ride to base an opinion off... they look ok, not super flashy, but nice, and the hub design is cool. I like the outer bearing idea, where the force of torsion would be greatest... good job boys and girls! lol.
  • 4 0
 The oval piston will put more even pressure on the pad compared to a round piston. Think of the same principal of a 4 pot vs. 2 pot brake with the distribution of force on the pads, but with fewer parts.
  • 5 0
 The added power of 4 pistons but without the extra friction of those extra seals = slightly more efficient brakes.
  • 3 0
 did you just compare Biopace to their oval piston?
if the oval piston is bigger then the round piston, the answer should be fairly obvious.
  • 3 1
 Willie1 & aflo661 - hydraulics don't work that way. More surface area means more power so why not just make a bigger round piston and save a but load on manufacturing? There's an explanation in a reply above but it seams very theoretical. We shall see! I doubt most riders will be able to tell the difference anyway.

Deamongrad- sorry to burst your bubble but the cutaway things won't be included in the final product Frown
  • 1 0
 lol, I didn't think the cutaways would be present on a consumer pair, I just like being able to see the internals as they are inside the stantions in the photo.
  • 1 0
 At Wa-Aw- the rotor only has so much height to work with, whereas length is much more variable. This is not about the hydraulics, but about the distribution of force on the pads against the rotor. I don't think you get it.
  • 2 0
 i think what Wa-aW is saying i completely true but Willie1 is right; if you increase the surface area of the pad by using an oval you can do so without needing a larger surface area on the rotor, so better breaking power without adding as much weight/size to the rotor
  • 1 0
 @ Deadatbirth ; The whole lever is way beefier than the the one, it also comes standard with the pad contact adjuster. The caliper is also a bit beefier.

I don't exactly know how much more powerfull they are. Our team has been running them all season without any problem what so ever. The pistons have to be cleaned and lubed ounce in a while. The new reach adjuster is pretty cool. No pictures from the new disc with aluminum carrier...
  • 2 1
 their is a reason the bike industry has been utilizing circular pistons for brakes for ages now. with all the vibrations aswell a the force when the break is applied making the pads jump forward, a circular piston is able to have minor rotation and ease the wear and tear on the pistons seals. with an oval piston all your creating is stress concentration on areas of the pistons seals resisting it from very minor rotation. its just asking for faster wearing piston seals with unreasonable braking advantages.
  • 1 0
 Is that outboard bearing completely isolated from the carrier?

I just don't see how you can have the hub shell supported by that outter bearing, at least not without creating load/friction on the carrier.
  • 2 0
 ive got formula brakes letme say they arnt too common but they are light! and powerful the build quality is great feels LEGIT unlike the most avids they are plastic feel!
  • 3 0
 Free-form, organic, brake sex.
  • 4 1
 Those brakes are hot! And so is the lady. And also the espresso machine.
  • 1 0
 That fork looks beefy. I expect to see it on a few street/dirt rigs next year (perhaps even one of my own).
  • 2 0
 I just found my new brakes. And fork for the hardtail. And ... Damn.
  • 2 0
 it's all good stuff... but frankly i just want the coffee machine!!
  • 3 0
 Having done an all nighter that coffee machine was all that was keeping Richard & I going that day. Well, that and the girl serving them to us of course...
  • 1 0
 Me too cloverleaf!
  • 1 0
 it looks really promising with oval pistons. I think idea was taken from some sport engines as they run oval pistons as well
  • 1 0
 btw, someone noticed as well that the crown in the fork is almost identical to Fox one? wonderin i they buy a licence...
  • 2 1
 Brake a gorgeous.Beauty, plus coffee is the real life to enjoy.
  • 1 0
 so is the RO more powerful than a THE ONE?
  • 1 0
 from the description they make it seem like it has more power
  • 1 0
 they are about 18% more powerfull than The One according to Formula
  • 1 0
 Nice brakes, I want them!
  • 1 0
 361 is a whole bunch heavier then the The Ones
  • 1 0
 These brakes look good, the girl also.
  • 1 0
 I like what I see... ;}
  • 1 1
 Are the ROs as vaguely modulated as the ones? No thanks.
  • 1 0
 no picture
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