Formula RO Racing Brakes - Review

Apr 5, 2016
by Mike Levy  
Formula brakes


Formula's high-end RO Racing brake is a two-piston stopper that's been designed with downhill riding and racing in mind, or for those who are looking for more power than they might find on tap from a more traditional two-piston offering. What sets the RO Racing brake apart from other options is its radial, pull-style master cylinder that, thanks to a repositioning of the lever pivot, works in the opposite direction to the push-style systems you might be used to seeing. There's also a set of oval-shaped pistons, as well as a whole bunch of titanium hardware that all make the RO Racing brake seem exotic - and pricey - compared to more common brakes.

A single RO Racing brake goes for $350 USD, and a front brake with an 880mm long hose weighs 372 grams, including an 180mm rotor, adapter, and all mounting hardware.

RO Racing Details

• Pull-style radial master cylinder
• Two-piston, one-piece caliper
• Oval-shaped pistons (25.4mm equivalent)
• Tooled reach adjustment
• No contact-point adjustment stock
• Aluminum lever
• Titanium hardware
• Sintered (stock) and semi-metallic pads avail.
• Six-hole and CenterLock rotors avail.
• Weight: 372 grams (front, 180mm rotor, all hardware)
• MSRP:$350 USD per brake
www.formula-italy.com


What's Up Top?

The RO Racing brake uses the same two-piston caliper found on some of the Italian brand's other offerings, but it's up top where things are drastically different from the rest of their range. Formula's other brakes, along with everyone else's, employ a standard push-style master cylinder that, as the description suggests, pushes the master cylinder's plunger in as you pull the brake lever. This is what you'll find across the board from Shimano, SRAM, Magura, Hope, Formula's other offerings, and anyone else who sells hydraulic disc brakes.

The RO Racing brake, however, works in the opposite way. Because the brake lever's pivot is on the opposite side of the plunger pivot, the brake's master cylinder's plunger is pulled out and away from the handlebar when you squeeze the brake lever rather than being pushed in towards it. Neato.
Formula brakes
The brake's the master cylinder plunger is pulled out and away from the handlebar when you squeeze the brake lever, which is the opposite of how other systems work.

But why? Formula cited two reasons when we talked to them during the brake's debut at Eurobike last year. First, it allows them to bring the lever pivot in closer to the handlebar for improved ergonomics. And, second, they say that it also makes for lighter lever action due to the pulling motion of the plunger through the master cylinder not binding as much as when you're pushing it. For what it's worth, I think it also looks pretty cool.


Formula brakes
  The RO Racing brake looks exotic, and at $350 USD per end they have a price to match.


Besides the radial, pull-style master cylinder setup, the top end of the RO Racing brake has been pared down to the absolute minimum. There is no in-line dial to adjust the brakes contact point (Formula refers to this as their 'Feeling Control System') although this can be installed as an aftermarket hop-up, and reach adjustment requires a near-microscopic 2mm hex key. And just in case the RO Racing brake isn't trick enough compared to the veritable sea of Shimano and SRAM brakes, it also comes stock with titanium hardware from the factory.



Caliper and Rotor

The bottom end of the RO Racing brake might not be as interesting as what's happening upstairs, but Formula is hiding one trick inside of the brake's forged, one-piece caliper: two oval-shaped pistons. Why go with egg-shaped pistons when pretty much everyone else uses the tried and true round shape? To increase the piston's surface area, of course, which is said to therefore increase braking power. Formula says that the oval shape is the equivalent of a 25.4-millimeter diameter piston.


Formula brakes
Two oval-shaped pistons are hiding inside of the brake's one-piece caliper.
Formula brakes
Sintered brake pads come stock, and they load into the caliper from above.


The stock sintered brake pads load through the top of the post-mount caliper, with a threaded collet pin holding them in place, and the banjo bolt can be loosened to be angled to best work with your frame and fork. One-piece steel rotors or fancy looking two-piece rotors with alloy spiders are available (my test brakes came with the latter), and the alloy spiders are said to be able to act better as a heat sink by pulling temperature away from the brake pads and the DOT fluid. Cooler running temps mean there should be a more consistent feel and less chance of fading.



Setup and Ergonomics

With a split perch and post-mount calipers, the RO Racing brake installs just like any other system on the market, although I did run into some setup issues after using them a handful of times. While it only took a few minutes to align both the front and rear brake calipers to run drag-free, this would usually only last for a single ride before the rotors would start to gently brush one of the brake pads on both ends of the bike. The rotors stayed straight, mind you, and everything was tightened to spec and bled correctly, but the light contact would always return regardless of what I did.


Formula brakes
The brake should place nice with all shifters and dropper post remotes.
Formula brakes
Setting the lever's reach is the sole setup option.


Lever reach is adjusted by using a 2mm hex key to turn a recessed screw at the front of the lever, with firm detents that keep the lever's position from ever migrating in or out during use. Other than the reach adjust, the lever's angle and its position on your handlebar are the only other remaining adjustments.

There is no contact-point adjustment dial as found on Formula's RO and T1 Racing brakes (the Feeling Control System can be installed on the RO Racing brake but doesn't come stock), but the engagement point for the RO Racing brake is exactly where I'd have it if even it were adjustable. I had a Shimano XT shifter and 9point8 dropper post remote up against the RO Racing perches and had no issue with compatibility, and it looks like they'd also play nice with every other shifter or dropper post remote on the market.


Power

I'd exchange a bit of power for some extra control and modulation, but Formula may have taken that trade a bit too far. There's appreciably less initial bite from the RO Racing brake, regardless of either pad compound I tried, which is something that could be a benefit in low-traction conditions if you're a glass-half-full kind of guy. That said, they certainly have less power than what you'll find from Formula's other brakes, especially their powerful The One stopper. I found myself spending less time on my bike's rear wheel because of this - I wasn't confident I could bring the front-end back down as required - and they don't exactly instill confidence when you're riding at ten-tenths.


Formula brakes
  A lack of power means that faster or heavier riders will want to go with larger rotors than they might otherwise use.


Multiple sets of semi-metallic and sintered brake pads were installed, the stopping surfaces were not contaminated, and the brakes were bled correctly during my time on them. Regardless, my tired hands further confirm a lack of power, and it would take about three minutes of solid descending before my mitts started to complain. There wasn't a single hint of them pumping up or fading and losing power, however, so at least things stayed consistent.


Modulation

The RO Racing's lack of outright power does mean that it seems as if they have more modulation than previous Formula offerings. Anyone who's ridden Formula's brakes is probably aware that they definitely have a unique feel to them compared to a SRAM or Shimano brake, and that's still true of the RO Racing. That distinctive lever impression - some have referred to it as "wooden" - is still there, but it's been greatly reduced. This is very good news. I was also happy with the rather firm lever feel once the pads made contact against the rotor, with there being not even a hint of mushiness that can make one wonder if their brake levers are going to pull up against their grips in a panic situation.

I crept down some scary steep rock faces while I had the RO Racing brakes on my bike and can't recall a single ''Oh shit!'' moment when I locked up by accident and then struggled to take control again. Formula has definitely improved on the modulation front, although I do suspect that some of this might down to their lack of stopping power. Either way, the control is there, even if the power isn't.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesA lack of outright power means that the expensive RO Racing brake is hard to recommend compared to less expensive, better performing systems on the market. Yes, Formula has improved lever feel over their other offerings, but they'll also need to improve on the power output before I'd consider the RO Racing brake for my own bike. - Mike Levy




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126 Comments

  • 143 13
 In Saint I trust.
  • 6 11
flag EnduroriderPL (Apr 5, 2016 at 21:45) (Below Threshold)
 With Unex Ultra aftermarket hoses Smile
  • 12 2
 I was looking online, and they seem like amazing brakes. I don't see how Formula is going to basically throw the match, and charge so much for these, but honestly you'd have to try and compare for yourself, it's not like everyone values the same things.
  • 8 1
 Wow that's a sticker shock. Especially for a brake that has a review like this. I'll stick with my hopes.
  • 2 0
 My favorite brakes so far that had no problems were saint and mt7 Maguras
  • 4 1
 Zee all day long for me, not as fancy as saint but with a good bleed on the rear (which is SOP for any brake) I've never had trouble
  • 3 4
 @Kramz: the problem with these brakes is that the leavers are to short and when you match them up with most shift triggers they sit really far away from your grip and it is awkward to reach.
  • 5 5
 Who needs those Saint's from Japan, a Guide in a forest is better than someone who is dedicated to church Wink
  • 8 1
 Hope brakes or nothing!
  • 8 3
 The only people who run Formula brakes are those sponsored by Formula.
  • 84 8
 Bye bye formula. I used 2 of your brakes for 4 years. I was stubborn enough to keep fighting. I researched, I bought bleeding equipment, I tried again and again. I'm now so glad I no longer have to worry about your randomness and inconsistent feel. Shimano has correctly and forever solved the problem of brakes. I no longer have to worry about shit like that.
  • 27 3
 Yup, they should start a kids bubble machine company with the amount of bubble's they produce.
  • 11 1
 Exact same story here, fought with RO's for a year and now decided to just go for Zee's. The decision was great.
  • 14 0
 @TranceLov3:

loads of the Specialized mountain bikes came with Formula brakes a few years back and we had nothing but trouble with them out of the box. No bite, no power, no nothing.

We then get a tech update that Formula had accidentally got "assembly grease" in the brakes during the factory setup / bleed which was causing this issue. I believe the grease had done something nasty to the internals as the brakes all went back to the distributor, some sets taking weeks to resolve due to low stock levels or waiting on parts from Italy. Customers not impressed with new bikes with no brakes.

Following season, no Formula brakes on Specialized!

Will stick with Shimano, thanks!
  • 12 0
 Am I the only one with a working set of Formula brakes??
Formula RX circa 2013....
Now with shimano rotors, originals wear away too nothing between the drilled holes....
I see the design hasn't changed! ;-)
  • 5 0
 I agree, my Formula Oro's were superb when they were working, which was about 3 times a year, I kind of struggled to like them because I had no cash, moved on to SLX brakes this year, best upgrade I've ever made on the bike, I don't have to worry about the brakes anymore.
  • 10 0
 @TranceLov3:
I have these on my mondraker.
They are great brakes.
However the pads that formula make are made of cheese.
They never even bedded in properly, and virtually never stopped me properly either.

Then I got some uberbike race matrix pads.
Now they stop on a dime.
Perfect modulation to do stoppies etc., and stopping fast is no problem at all.
If they sorted out the quality of the pads they made, formula brakes would have a better reputation in my opinion.
  • 7 0
 @W4ld0: I have a set of original R0's, they've been faultess for over two years with no maintenance, I love them
  • 6 0
 @DC1988: I ran RO's with great success. reliable, massive power, no fade, easy to bleed. weird how we see such contrary reviews
  • 4 0
 My wife's 2014 Stumpy came with a pair of Formula's and they work fine for what they are (mid-level). I bought another bike that came with SLX's and I prefer the Formula's for modulation. That said, if I were to shell out cash though my choice would be Shimano, Guide's or Hopes.
  • 3 0
 @W4ld0: nope. i used The Ones for like 4 years, worked perfectly, and so much initial bite. I love those brakes.
  • 3 0
 How can anyone compete when you can get a pair of brand new SLX brakes for under $120? At that price why would you even bother buying used brakes?
  • 1 0
 @W4ld0: No me too. I got them OEM on a used GT test bike and I am still riding them on my current Sensor. They have been trouble free with plenty of power.
  • 1 0
 @W4ld0: i have a pair of t1 and i'm very happy with 'em, a lot of power, great modulation, much less heat compared to other brakes... hadn't any single problem... 2013 serise too Wink
  • 1 0
 I've had numerous T1s from '09 and recently a T1S set.

The T1S levers (off RX I think) were terribly wooden, but loads of modulation and power on the original T1s. And the T1S calliper a were fine.

My biggest complaint is that as the pads wear, the bite point becomes less consistent, until about 2/3rds in, it is lethal. Not great for winter riding when your pads can wear really fast.
  • 27 12
 I have owned Formula RO brakes, they have amazing feel and actuation. I never felt like they had a lack of stopping power. They definitely outperformed my avid trail and shimano XT brakes. I wouldn't say they were excessively stronger, but the feel and lever actuation was the best i have ever used by far and helped my hands stay fresh on long DH shuttle runs. If you want brakes you can transfer build to build then the price tag is worth it, or have your bike mechanic buddy order them at cost
  • 14 4
 I've got a few sets of the 2012 RO's, awesome power and decent modulation, shame these new ones are a backwards step. No sure why the plebs are downvoting you, the older RO's have significantly more power, better modulation, are lighter, and appear to be more reliable than XT's. The older RO also had nice tool free reach and pad contact adjustments, the new RO... meh.
  • 3 12
flag Fifty50Grip (Apr 5, 2016 at 21:43) (Below Threshold)
 Do you own a Formula Banner?
  • 9 4
 @smuggly: I probably deserve it i guess, im too honest for this crowd sometimes. w/e if people dont want objective feedback from pb users that have actually owned the product/brand. I guess i still consider this a review site, a lot of the fanboys on this site dont even own a bike....they just know the "cool" brands. Formula is probably out of their price range anyway. Cheers Smuggly!
  • 2 0
 Owned 3 sets of Formulas over the years; Oros, The Ones and ROs. Same story with every one of them, theyre very reliable and have great modulation, but lack power. Any pad or steel braided hose dont fix that.

And their current disc design sucks. The way that the holes are aligned in two straight rows mean that they wear drastically faster there than at the center and edges of the braking surface. I ruined one set in a week at a trip to the alps..
  • 3 2
 @hirvi: wear on pads for me is no problem....
  • 2 1
 i agree.
  • 2 1
 @fssphotography: Thats not what i meant. The DISCS wear fast and uneven.
  • 3 0
 @hirvi: The only problem I have is the one piece rotors are a little light, the arms bend a little too easy compared to other brands.
  • 2 1
 @smuggly: I also have RO 2012's, the small gap between pads and rotor make it a nightmare. They're still sitting somewhere in my closet, running zee's now and haven't had to pull my hair out since.
  • 2 1
 @norcal77: please don't get on about "liking the cool brands". I would much prefer to like the small boutique Italian brand versus the Toyota Camry that is Shimano. But the fact is my experiences with Formula sucked, and all Shimano brakes for the past 5 years have amazing reputation.
  • 2 0
 il second that, have a set on both the DH and "enduro" bike as they weigh feck all, don't seem to be affected by heat at all and have shedloads of power.

there no perfect but no brake is, they need heat in the pads to get braking properly, and there is the drag issue, but compared to the XT's on the trail bike I'm on smaller discs, still have more stopping power and the previous style lever has proven to be solid.

This new lever may be a step back, less power and a lot of sideways pressure on the seal's.
  • 3 0
 I have RO, T1, T1S and RX and they work great. Tonnes of power, and an instant on feel with minimal modulation - just how i like it. Bleed every season or two, which is easy. Little to no noise from sinteredpads. No parts failure in 5 years.
  • 1 0
 @TranceLov3: i had the issue with a set of T1's prior to 2012, but the ROs have been good in this regard, might have been luck on all three sets i own.
  • 15 1
 "They work"
  • 14 0
 - Sam blenkinsop
  • 15 3
 "Need more power!" (Schwarzenegger voice)
  • 5 0
 You're gonna need a bigger brake.
  • 21 0
 Get to the rotor!!! WE NEED MORE CALIPER!!
  • 1 0
 @radman13: So much win.
  • 2 0
 Need more power (JEremy Clarkson voice) Smile
  • 9 2
 Only owned avid and Shimano. I've heard nothing but bad things about Formula, especially on the lower end. With Shimano cheap and SRAM being reliable and decent, why would someone roll the dice with these? I don't know, I guess Formula has given no reason to buy these.
  • 6 1
 More competition is always better for the consumer as it makes the competititors do the best they can to try to make their products the best ones. Also makes pricing more competitive. I was also really satisfied with my Hope downhill brakes.
  • 6 1
 They weigh half an Avid
  • 9 2
 I had similar issues with a set of The Ones on a DH Sled. Myself, several other eyes and hands checked them over and over and that light rub would come back. Im a quiet bike kind of guy so they had to go.
  • 5 1
 I had T1s also. I now have a full saint setup. Nice and quiet. Not to mention super easy to bleed.
  • 5 2
 Never had ANY good experiences with Formula. They are going to need to do a LOT to convince me to try them again.
  • 2 0
 @diggerandrider: Yeah, I wasn't really impressed with my T1s. I needed more stopping power as I'm not exactly the lightest person. Plus, no matter what I did, they always rubbed. I could get it to where they didn't rub but five minutes later they were rubbing again.
  • 11 0
 Hope tech 3 V4 FTW
  • 8 0
 That was the nicest way to say something sucks I've ever read. When brakes at less than 1/3 the price outperform you have some issues.
  • 6 0
 Why oh why did they offset the bleed cap to 90 degrees? I can get a pair of nice Hope brakes for the price. Great power, even greater modulation and they really come alive in the mud and wet.... *confused*
  • 5 0
 The only Formula i'd consider is 'the One', massive power and good looking.... running teflon pads, DH could murder a set in a day though.... but for general riding, XT's, never failed, good value, easy service, no brainer :-)
  • 2 0
 teflon? do they stop anything?
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: Sorry my friend, i should have said 'kevlar'..... don't think teflon will do much more than be non-stick ;-)
  • 2 0
 @Steve-skidvd: that makes more sense. teflon would make sick racing brakes.
  • 5 1
 I've been running Formula brakes for over 5 years without any issues....go figure. The RX's were a little under powered so they were replaced with a set of The Ones, which are still going strong on the hardtail, and I have a set of 2014 R0's on the big bike which feel awesome and have only had to be bled once in 2 years. No complaints here.
  • 4 0
 This is a cooked review Mike. I've had a set of T1s for nearly 3 years and they have been nothing but on point OP brakes since day 1 - the power they have is AMAZING. They can go for a while without a bleed and like you said, have a consistent feel throughout a run. Was it really Formula's fault that you couldn't bleed the brakes properly - it seems this has most likely impacted the rest of your experience with the brakes. I suggest reading the manual or getting in touch with Formula to correctly understand how to bleed these brakes - the Avid procedure works well. I would also urge you to understand the market that Formula is appealing to with these brakes, they are DH orientated brakes - power and weight are a focus here. To meet this proposition, they have made the appropriate design choices, such as removing on the fly adjustments and a couple others you hinted to above. They are practical brakes that work. Having ridden these for a limited amount of time, they are great - the feel is awesome and the power on initial exposure is somewhere in the range of the T1. I would like to see you come back to these brakes with a month or two of riding on them, to see if you opinion has changed. Getting a proper bleed done is crucial before doing this. Safe travels.
  • 6 0
 I don`t get it. Every other test (of the R0) I have read was extremely positive. Did they change that much from R0 to R0R
  • 3 0
 5800 hundred miles on my T1s and have only bled once, and went through 3 sets of rotors. Way better than any 2015 previous SRAM or Shimano brake. My dh has Saints and they must have been built in bleed city. Have a new set of RSC Guides I'm getting ready to try on a new AM rig, but I'm skeptical after my amazing stint on the T1s. Amazing modulation and power.
  • 8 5
 I blame Formula for the mediocre reviews their brakes get from the american media.
First start investing some money in advertising. Then send your mechanics to set up the brake of the reviewer.
Have technicians going to your dealers to train them on brake set up. These need to be set up correctly in order to work.
And it takes more than "I bleed my shimano". You need advanced skills. Which many guys working in a shop do not have.

Most people overlook something that should be pretty obvious. RACE.

90% of Formula are race brakes. Not for the average rider.
Do you weigh less then 180 pounds? Do you understand how to work on brakes beyond the instructions? Do you need to save 300 grams on a brake system? Do you maintain your bike every ride? Do you ride fast enough and have the skills for these brakes to work as intended?

This is like sending a formula 1 car to a luxury car magazine and being surprised the reviewer can't even start the car.
  • 3 0
 lol
  • 3 0
 Guys, this article is about RO racing 2016 brakes, so no value to contra-review/ compare old or lower spec Formulas.
I have purchased exactly this combo - RO racing 2016 + two piece semifloating rotors and I have to agree with this article.

At first no stopping power, squeeking noise and terrible feel. I tried to bed them in several times without success.
Then ordered Uberbike race compound pads and bed in. Guess what. The brakes are now doing what I want.

Yes I admit, You can buy a different brand brakes, install and go, but what I like on Formula is the modulation and soft power ramp up - especially useful after a day of muddy racing, when the hands are tired.
  • 4 1
 After owning a pair of SLX brakes, I sold them for 40 Euro for the pair after six months of use and got me T1 for the front and a R1X for the rear. Both new, for 80 Euro together and I love them. Will not go back to Shimano until they fix the crappy levers, I had to bleed them before every ride, so at the end I just gave them away. I also run a Formula RC Tune on my DJ bike, as I wanted a brake that will be by my side when I need it. Could not be happier! Plus, they look the tits!
  • 2 0
 My Slayer came with The Ones a couple years ago. Lightweight and plenty of power, but zero modulation and I spent almost a year trying to get the rotors to not rub after one ride. Never did sort it. No thanks. It gets old hearing it, but I'm glad people always said get XT and don't look back. I did that and it's been one of the best things I ever did for my bike.
  • 2 1
 Had some on my slayer to. They were great at the start but after a couple of months they were never the same. New pads and multiple bleeds they never came back. Oh and the T15? Handlebar bolts were awesome when you ever needed to adjust the lever angle, you know how every multi tool has one, yeah just well thought out
  • 6 0
 For 350 each, I can buy a new liver and start drinking all over again.
  • 5 2
 Hope brakes all the way. Great modulation and incredible power. Saved my bacon many times. I've ridden Shimano and they are good. But nothing I've ever felt has the feel of hopes.
  • 1 1
 power of V4 or E4 is far from incredible. It`s adequate, totally sufficient, but not incredible
  • 2 0
 Interesting article, came here looking for a review of these brakes as I'm thinking of buying, I think what I've learnt is that Formula were unwilling to sponsor PinkBike.com for a fair review lol This goes against every other review I've read of these brakes. They even quote the The One brake as being superior, are pinkbike aware that the RO is the DH brake? and The One is the all mountain/xc?? I call bullshit on this one
  • 2 0
 A year later and I'm here to report on the brakes. if your reading this in search of purchasing these brakes and not just run your trap hole like everyone else, read on. These brakes are expensive and the pads are aswell, bit they are superior to every brake on the market. They stop you period. No sudden jerking, and squeeling. They always work and hardly ever have to be bled. I have had saints, xt, xtr, xo,rsc and formulas are leaps and bounds above.
  • 3 0
 Found these have amazing power with Saint rotors even more than my xtr levers with Saint calipers and most importantly they seem to have fixed the reliability issues
  • 2 0
 I used to have Formula RX's on a GT Distortion. They were rubbish. No matter what I/the bike shop did, I couldn't get em to bite. Replaced with Shimano Deore's... Night and day.
  • 1 0
 I ran oro and then rx. They were great brakes as far as the power and control were concerned and if I had my own personal mechanic I'd run them again but irrespective of how well they were installed they always developed pad rub and getting a great bleed always seemed to be more luck than judgement. I've been on xt m8000 for a year and although they're a bit heavier they're significantly cheaper(even with ice tech rotors and pads) , easier to bleed and don't use dot fluid. Don't miss degassing fluid for 45 mins before bleeding either.
  • 2 0
 No love for the new SRAM brakes? In this entire article there are maybe three comments that supported SRAM. I am running DB5s with a quad piston front caliper and they're great. And cheap.
  • 2 1
 From the article:
"Multiple sets of semi-metallic and sintered brake pads were installed, the stopping surfaces were not contaminated, and the brakes were bled correctly during my time on them."

Didn't someone say something to the effect of: 'doing the same action over and over expecting a different result, is the definition of stupid'?

This article came to mind when I read this.
www.bikeradar.com/us/mtb/gear/article/how-we-test-hydraulic-disc-brakes-24345
  • 1 0
 I'm using Formula brakes since 2009. I used all their brakes from the K24 to the new RORacing. I didn't have any kind of problem on my brakes and if they have one feature, this is the power! I've also tried other brakes and I haven't found the feeling that I have with my RORacing. 18
  • 1 0
 There's probably someone out there that has more insight on those sort of things so I'm genuinely asking here.

Isn't having a plunger in the middle of the cylinder where the hydraulic pressure is built-up a bad idea? It's kind of like a car engine but the conrods are in the cylinder. Wouldn't that require a much bigger cylinder for the same volume of oil so to compensate for the piston shaft volume? Also said piston shaft will require it's own set of sealing o-rings, you know, pretty much the #1 catastrophic failure culprit in hydraulic systems, yeah got some more of those right here.

Plus in those pictures the lever is awfully far from the end of the grip so to clear the shifter lever, which is ironically the opposite of what the article says was a incentive to build this type of lever.
  • 5 3
 For $350 per brake you would expect better! I used Formulas The One a few years back and they were phenomenal but it looks like their qualities has gone downhill since then!
  • 4 0
 That's rough. Full set of zee for under $350
  • 3 1
 Formula C1's that came on my stumpjumper were a nightmare. Complete garbage. So much so that Specialized offered to buy them back and put the money towards Deore brake set.
  • 3 1
 Those brakes quite literally made me die once... Never again formula, never again..
  • 2 0
 Yes Deore £35-£39 each, they can stop you as well, the guys at Shimano must understand the meaning of brakes
  • 1 0
 Had and currently have the 'one'.....no modulation and lots of power bolts made of cheese....current set went on after 2 sets of xts failed, shimano seem to be as hit and miss in my experience since the original four pots
  • 2 0
 The 2015 RO have poor reach adjustment otherwise powerfull and nicely modulating brakes with sinter pads. Initial pads (black/organic) were gone in 2 days of Leogang.
  • 1 1
 I bought CR1 (OEM version of CR3) taken from Mondraker and so far I'm pretty happy. I've used 2 different sets of Avid Elixir 5 before (older and never version) and while the Elixir 5 had sweet "easy" modulation and good power, their inconsistency was frustrating and reliability was horrible at the best (and that trademark loud Avid howling and squeaking). Bleeding was nightmare too.

These Formulas CR1 have good modulation, but the feel on lever is totally different, the lever movement is small and I have to use more force with fingers. Perfectly fine for double finger braking, for single finger it took some time to adjust. Overall very happy so far. Yes, people with small fingers who want lever near bars should look elsewhere, also people who want easy effortles light touch braking.
  • 1 0
 my bike came with these, could have changed them on bike spec ( Rose ) I thought what could possibly go wrong .
stuck with them for a year finally gave up and got shimano xt's, perfect

dump the cr's get shimano's and start single digit breaking
  • 2 1
 Another high quality review from Mr. Levy. I always feel he leaves no stone unturned and really tries to look at a product from all angles before starting writing Big Grin Keep it up!
  • 4 1
 I prefer single finger brakes as i ride DH
  • 4 0
 Wait, isn't formula lever supposed to be used with a single finger? that's the way I always used mine... albeit I have to admit I always suffered a bit too much arm pump, but always blamed the lack of power.
  • 2 0
 Those rotors have very little braking surface which is part of the problem. The price being main problem though.
  • 4 1
 looks like old design and it's only 2 pistons?...for that price?
  • 5 4
 Great modulation, instant engagement, more power than XT and they don't need to be bled as frequently as mineral fluid brakes.
  • 3 0
 So, the exact opposite of Levy's experience then?
  • 3 1
 Seems to me to be a bit overvalued if you ask me. I'll stick to Hope and Shimano thanks.
  • 3 2
 Sam Blenkinsop is using this and he's doing very well in enduro right now. These are racing brakes. They are not meant to slow you down.
  • 1 0
 I'm thinking the rotors need smaller holes,there's no surface areawith those large holes, might be where the loss of power is coming from, try shimano rotors.
  • 1 0
 Is 'stoppers' an american term for brakes? It comes up all the time on PB but I have never heard anyone in real life (in UK) use that term
  • 4 1
 aint no saint
  • 1 0
 Looks like my bike shop is going to hate me for making them bleed these brakes.
  • 3 1
 Wait, $350 each, for 2 pistons, wheres the 24k Gold, Platinum and Myrrh?
  • 1 0
 they covered it all with aluminium to protect it, trust them !
  • 3 3
 I don't agree with the power thing. They have a lot of power, their consistency is 100 percent compared to other offerings ive tried so far especially hope.
  • 2 1
 I've used two different types of Formulas.......will not go back.....a little gun shy to say the least
  • 1 2
 Never tried Formulas - if you read the comments though there must be something wrong with them. I don't know. What I know is that they look really ugly. I always wanted to say that!
  • 2 3
 Who ever designed those overpriced $700 (for the pair) lol, under performing, lets rip off some stupid mountain bikers, piece of sh*t brakes, go clear your desk m8 (before your boss tells you to)
  • 2 1
 Wait... Hold on... Slow down..... Stop... How much!!!? gimme a brake!
  • 1 0
 Using Formula T1 and SRAM guide. T1 are powerful but guide give way more control. But not even close to Hope...
  • 2 1
 Chunky........................
  • 3 2
 More brake options is good for consumers.
  • 5 0
 That is not realy an option...
  • 3 2
 They're really ugly, too.
  • 1 0
 Faint praise indeed. $700.00 for the name.
  • 1 0
 First upside down brake ever !
  • 2 0
 Two words, Hope period.
  • 1 0
 Xtr levers with saint callipers!
  • 1 1
 CR3 is the only brake worth considering in their line-up, IMO.
  • 2 2
 THESE BRAKES ARE THE SHITTIEST OUT THERE!!! it just does NOT break at all
  • 4 4
 Guide brakes hands down
  • 1 0
 The guides get so much hate.. But I guess id be a hypocrite saying so as the formulas ive tried feel really wooden (bit like the old HFX-9) Ive got smaller hands, so I run the blade and bite close to the bar.. and although spongy, I love that feel to it.. would a reviewer call it 'modulation'?

The Shimano's are fantastic and my GF has the Tech Evo 2's which are just insane on power and feel.. I guess its just what brake feel you prefer.

Plus ive not given the brakes much TLC and run them down to the metal twice.. and the pistons just cruise back into place.. that's a win-win on feel and reliability IMO.
  • 1 2
 Shimano is better.

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