Formula's Cura is the latest brake from the brand that invented the fully hydraulic mountain bike disc brake way back in '93. After a few years with little fanfare, the Italian's went back to the drawing board to create an all new brake that uses an axial master cylinder, charged with mineral oil, that pushes two 24mm pistons inside a forged caliper. The Cura is available in gloss black or polished finish, with three popular rotor diameters supported. Rotor options are a one-piece, or a lighter-weight, two-piece design with an aluminum spider. Pricing is competitive at $150 USD / € 105 EUR per brake, plus the cost of the rotors.
Installation Formula Cura Details
• Dual 24mm piston caliper
• Speed Lock hose disconnect
• One or 2-piece rotors in 160/180/200mm
• Flip-flop levers
• Gloss black or polished
• Integrated clamp options
• Mineral oil
• Weight: 410 grams (90cm hose, 180mm rotor, and hardware)
• Price: $150 USD / € 105 EUR each
• Contact: Formula Brakes
When I preordered the brakes, I opted for 180mm one-piece rotors to keep things simple, as I would be able to bolt the calipers straight on with no mounts. Not so easy, though. As on its Selva forks, Formula's calipers are configured for post-mounts and 160mm rotors. C'mon guys, who is ever going to use a smaller rotor than a 180mm on a burly enduro fork? Formula argues they have many riders using a 130mm Selva and 160mm rotor, but I haven't seen them. Then, my Starling frame turned up with IS160 flange mounts, so gone was my idea of simplicity and I had to stack a +20mm post-mount adapter onto an IS160 flange-mount adapter (chum for the commenters).
Anyway, things were simple after that, as the brakes came bled and ready to install from the factory. The Speed Lock hose disconnector is genius and makes installing the brakes or re-routing them through frames simple. First, pull back the rubber cover, flick off the radial spring, and then slide the cam to disconnect. It's similar to the connections found on air compressors and tools. Reverse the process to re-connect the brake line and there is no air incursion, so no need to bleed the brakes – awesome.
What looks like an on-the-fly adjuster located behind the lever to tune the bite point, isn't, but it is possible to adjust with a 2.5mm allen key. The lever blade is shaped to be parallel with the handlebar at an average bite point and, although I run my levers farther out than most people, I found the shape, throw, and bite point to be ideal. Finally, there is an option for 'MixMaster' clamps, which allow owners to directly mount their shift and dropper controls to the brake perches to clean up the handlebar.Performance
The Cura brake has a great feeling. The long lever gives plenty of power and has a more rounded blade than many levers, which gives a precise and easier to modulate feeling. Modulation is hugely impressive, and there is very little resistance when pulling the lever. Even with the medium-sized 180mm rotors, however long the descent was, I couldn't get them to show any signs of overheating and always had enough power, that I never thought twice about looking for bigger rotors. Mixed with organic pads, there was more than enough power at all times - except in wet conditions, where some heat was needed to get them biting. I would look to change to sintered pads if I were riding regularly in wet conditions.
Compared to stalwart stoppers, the Cura has more modulation than SRAM's Guide and Code, and power seems similar to the four piston Code. Shimano's XT Trail brakes have more power, but I find them to be too aggressive at the start of the lever stroke, where the Cura builds power more gently and makes it easier to control wheel traction.
I had no problems during the duration of the test, as the Cura's worked perfectly. The pads lasted for weeks and the rotors stayed true. Formula have crafted a fantastic brake that I wouldn't hesitate to use on any bike, in any conditions. In fact, it was the only two-piston brake on the World Cup DH circuit - on the race winning bike of Finn Iles in 2017.
The only negative point I could find with the Cura is the hose connection at the caliper. I would like to see an adjustable banjo-style connection there to angle the hose to suit different frame and fork configurations.Pinkbike's Take: