From the Top: Formula's Giacomo Becocci

Apr 16, 2018
by Matt Wragg  




If you cast your eyes back through the history of the modern bike and start to look towards many of the early pioneers and the brands that shaped the formative mountain bike, you may notice one common feature amongst them all. They aren't still with us today. With a few notable exceptions, those early companies disappeared or were absorbed by bigger, more aggressive players emerging onto the market. Formula is one of the few that survived. In fact, they're more than just surviving. They have constantly evolved and changed to adapt to the changing market. They have managed all that whilst keeping the business in family hands. We sat down with Giacomo Becocci, son of founder Andrea Becocci and their current commercial director, to find out more about how they have navigated the stormy waters of the bike industry over the last 20 years and where they see their future in a rapidly changing world.



The Formula XXX. The very first mountain bike disc brake. With experience of producing brakes for motorbikes since XXXX it was a case of miniaturisation to produce this. It was a closed system but even at this stage there was an adjuster for lever pull. And they were anodised red With a world of silver and black brakes today Hope excepted maybe we need some of this fun in our brakes again today



When did you start with Formula?


I was born in 1977, and started working here in 1999, I think. '98, sorry.

So you were at Formula when your father created your first mountain bike products?


Yes, when I was born he was still working with motorbikes, he was in full production of AIM, which was the brand of the motorbikes he was producing. Then, over the years there was an evolution, then the business closed down. I don't remember the exact year, but in the '80s Formula was born, but we were working with other things, not mountain bikes then.

When you started in 1998, was that the actual beginning of the business?


Yes, when I started we were doing the MD1, just so you know which product we had then. Do you remember our mechanical brake? It was one of the first on the market. We had started the development a couple of years before though.

Did you ride motos growing up, then?


Yeah, when I was a child we had a factory near the Isola factory, in Vaiano, less than 2 km away where my father was building motorbikes. While he did that, I was riding around on my little bike inside the hangar. There were the assembly lines and all the guys working as assemblers were teasing me because I was kind of bothering them. Otto [Editor's note: Otto was Formula's long-time technician at World Cup DH, he still works at their HQ today] was one of those guys, he was working there and was 18 at the time. I was 3. I was riding around my little bike and he was kicking me [laughs].

Did you take any engineering qualifications?


I went to a secondary school for mechanical technicians. Let's say that they give you a thorough knowledge of the mechanical industries, but not specifically related to bikes. After school I went to work.

So you started at 22 years old?


Yes, 21, I think, as my birthday is in October. I don't recall the exact dates but I think it was 1997, I should check. For sure, it was the late '90s.

What job did you start with at Formula?


I worked in production for many years, until we moved headquarters to here in Prato in 2002. I was working on the production line until 2004, I was assembling parts.

So you were working on the production line, not managing it?


No, no, I was assembling. There weren't many of us at that time. When we moved here from the old factory, we were just 10 people, including the people in the offices. So, there was about 3 or 4 of us in assembly. I was part of it, and then after I gradually gained experience, I became head of production. And now, since there are other people taking care of production I take care of the commercial side of the business.

What is your job title today?


I am the sales director. We are a team. There are the guys who go out to visit the dealers and companies, there is Sheila who works next to me for the aftermarket, there is Monica. My team is made up of 5 or 6 people and I am in charge of sales and management.



Nero fork production Formula. Prato Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg



How does a small brand like Formula survive? As I imagine there are some good moments and some downsides?


Regarding the products, as you know, we were the first ones to produce hydraulic disc brakes. Then the big ones arrived, like Shimano, SRAM, and so on. Actually, SRAM bought Avid, so they already had a product. Shimano, like us, had to create it, but they arrived later. We were the very first ones. When you are the first to start, you can't learn from other people's mistakes, you are going to make them all by yourself. And we made all the mistakes we could make since we were the first ones.

The others, despite making some mistakes too, got a headstart because they had the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. This has certainly been the hardest part. Then, we made some detours, we made hydraulic brakes, then some mechanical ones...


Is it true that Formula designed the original Avid Juicy brake?


Yes, we were... Well, the old owner of Avid, Wayne, who then sold to SRAM, contacted us in the early 2000s. At that time it was him and his two sons. He believed that my father was ahead of his time, that we had some good ideas with our disc brakes and he wanted some sort of collaboration with us. As a matter of fact, together with Samuele who is our brake designer, and their engineer who I think still works in SRAM, but I don't remember his name... We started this collaboration and we created the project for this hydraulic brake, called the Juicy 7. The Juicy 7 was designed by us in collaboration with one of the designers working for Avid at that time, and it was produced by us. We produced them in this factory in Italy for two years. Afterwards, SRAM arrived, they bought it and they took the production away to Asia, I don't know where exactly, I think Taiwan. So this is the story... [According to Wayne Lumpkin, this isn't entirely accurate - he contends that the original design for the Juicy came from him, and then he worked with Formula to bring it into production. - Ed.]



The moto side of your business has obviously always been important to you, and still is today. Is this one of the secrets to your ability to survive all of these years?


The two sides certainly compensate each other, because when I started there were some ups and downs for both branches of the business. In 2005- 2006, I remember we were not doing motorcycle forks yet, just motorcycle brakes and there was a big decrease in production while the bikes on the other side were shooting up. So, luckily, with time, they compensated for each other and we always managed to be competitive in the market. Being small and not having assets from the banks and investment funds like many other companies, we have to be very careful with our money. So, let's say that having both branches is very positive.

Can I ask you about 2013 and your OE deal with Specialized that year?


Yes, in 2013, we have worked... Actually, we were already working with Specialized but with smaller volumes. Then, when we created the C1 brake, we closed the deal.

Is it safe to say that it didn't go very well?


It didn't go very well because we believed in the relationship with Specialized, and we believed that this relationship would have lasted for years. So we were organising ourselves to make a specific type of product made in Italy – we had built some machines and so on. But then, because of some issues or maybe because they didn't believe in our product, they eventually left us at the end of the year. It certainly was hard for us because we are talking about 150,000 brakes only for one client. Therefore, in one year, for a small business like ours, having them or not makes a big difference. But this is one of the ups and downs I was telling you before. In the same year, for example, our motorcycle business increased production by 30%.

These things happen, we also had to cut our staff and the hours because if the figures go down and they don't increase on the other side to compensate this, you need to make some changes. But luckily we can say that we are still here.

How hard is it for a small business like you to bounce back from that, not just in financial terms, but reputation also? Certainly, I remember your C3 brake around that time, and it was not a good brake.


Didn't you like it?

It was a quite problematic brake, shall we say.


Certainly.

But you said, "Stop, let it go and let's change our range completely." How difficult is it to do that?


It is true that, compared to bigger companies, we lack the funds to make certain moves but the positive side of being smaller is the flexibility. Therefore, since we don't have enormous figures and enormous stock, we can decide to stop a certain product line and start another one. This is what we did with the CR series, which didn't get positive feedback from our customers. So we realised, "Ok, people don't like this." So we introduced the Cura. And with that, I don't want to brag, but things are going well.

We stopped production of both the CR and C1 brakes, which hadn't received good feedback, even though we sold a lot of them. Besides, it was time for us to make a change regarding the oil because the German market had been pushing us for many years to do that; they are a bit obsessed with DOT fluid. They don't want it, so we switched to mineral oil. Because we are small and we were able to do it and we were interested in going forward to this huge market, the Cura, and also our new forthcoming brakes will be using mineral oil.



Nero fork production Formula. Prato Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg

Nero fork production Formula. Prato Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg
Nero fork production Formula. Prato Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg

Nero fork production Formula. Prato Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg



What were the decision processes behind going into the suspension market? Looking in from the outside they are two hydraulic components, but to make a fork, is that not a big step? I have seen many comments from people saying: "Formula suspension? I've owned their brakes, no thanks."


Well, when we started to make suspension, initially the idea was to only make suspension for motorbikes. We started with motorbikes suspension in 2010. I don't remember the exact date but it was more or less that. We started in 2010 because Daniele Fiorenzi, a dear friend of my father and now our chief engineer, is very experienced, he has worked for some big brands in Italian suspension, but also internationally, for brands like Ceriani and Paioli. He worked for these two big companies, who unfortunately closed their businesses a few years ago. When he left Paioli they got together and said: 'Let's create this company to design and produce suspension'. Initially, their idea was related to motorbikes, but my father had bikes in mind as well, but Daniele has always been a designer for motorbike suspension, so it was natural that they started with those.

So which motorbike brands are you working for today?


For motorbike brakes, our biggest partner is KTM. For motorbike suspension, we have basically the whole market for trials. We have Montesa Honda, Gas Gas, Sherco, TRS, Vertigo. They are all brands from Barcelona. The market for trials is basically all centred around Barcelona. It is a niche market and we have it all, both for the competition spec bikes and the high-quality production ranges. This is where we make most of our money. We have made forks for pit-bikes and motocross too. Although, we have sold less there as the competition is fierce. We are talking about quite important brands. It is difficult to get a foothold...

Is it more difficult than with bikes? In our market, there are dominant players, like Fox and Rockshox.


It's a good question. I wouldn't know... For example, Ohlins and White Power are well-known. Fox and Rockshox as well, but I think it is more difficult to access the motorbike market with those figures. I am not saying it is easy with Fox and Rockshox, but...

Is there the same pace of development for motorbikes?


The motorbike industry is much calmer now. My father told me that there was a time when we were children when the motorbike industry was the same as the bike industry is today. In that, there were a million brands and they were always chasing after something new. Like it is now with bikes. Then, the crisis came. The brands went from thousands of them to about 20 today sharing all the market. Since then, there are updates of course, but the chase after something new doesn't exist any longer.

It is interesting because I don't think most people would be too keen to put a fork from 2010 onto their mountain bike today, while on the moto I don't think this is the same.


Yes, it is very different. I mean the rider who does it for fun and goes out like you do it with the bike, he can put a 2010 fork on his motorbike, unless he is a fanatic, let's say.

How do you see the mountain bike market developing?


This is the ultimate bet. I think, and this is my personal opinion, I think that unfortunately in the future there will be a downturn, a crisis and some changes in the bike industry. To me, it looks a lot like the motorcycle market. I hope there won't be the same loss of the smaller brands because it's good to have many brands. You can have a huge choice when you purchase something. But, unfortunately, I think we will lose some of the smaller brands in the future. We can see which ones have survived in the motorbikes field - the survivors are Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, KTM, they are all huge brands. Among the smaller ones, like the ones I was telling you before about for trials, there are, for example, Sherco, in Italy, we have TM, Bucci, but there are very few left. And they are very brave – competing with KTM, Yamaha and Honda is tough.



Nero fork production Formula. Prato Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg



The next question for you is about Italian production. For example, with your Nero fork, most of the manufacturing is done here in Italy, but the lowers and stanchions are made in Taiwan. Why is that?


Good question. Unfortunately, with the financial crisis a few years ago we have lost all the satellite activities that were here in Italy 20 years ago. Today in Italy it's not possible anymore to produce the lowers or stanchions of a fork. There are no more suppliers. And if you find them, they are so expensive. I remember, and my father always reminds me, that when Marzocchi used to make the forks in Italy, even the legs, and tubes, it was tragic. There were lots of issues about magnesium melting... We just don't have the technology. The lowers which are perhaps the most difficult part of the fork, is fine if it's made in Taiwan, but if it's made elsewhere... Say your prayers if you are religious because the worst will happen for sure. Unless you find a special process in Japan or other countries, but in that case, it's going to cost a lot.

When you started making your suspension, did you look for suppliers in Italy before you went to the Far East?


Yes, but we already knew that. We had started six years before. We already knew that the market was all in Taiwan, I'm referring to the components. You can also find better prices in China, although there are other risks there, but the high-end products are made in Taiwan. We are talking about anything. Frames, fork legs, you have to go there.

That is interesting to hear, because the outside perception is that the problems for Marzocchi really started when they shifted production to the Far East.


Well, they solved one issue and another one arose. They solved the problem of the quality of the forks. I also have to say that the fork may not have been designed correctly, it's impossible that it was not only a problem of production. I cannot say that for sure because I am not a technician, so I won't say anything about it. However, having Suntour they solved many of the mechanical problems they had in Italy, but, from what I heard, created other problems regarding the sales and the logistics. And then, like everything, it ended badly. But they were forced to leave Italy by the crisis and the Italian government because they were no longer able to be competitive in the market.

I have to admit that I have a theory that as the commercial head of Formula you are the man responsible for killing Marzocchi. This is just a theory, but let me know what you think. As everyone knows, Marzocchi had good years and bad years, but even in the bad years, the Italians bought Marzocchi forks because they were Italian. I remember going to enduro races back in 2011/2012, and they were full of riders with 55s on their bikes. So, to some extent, that sustained Marzocchi through the bad years, they always sold well in Italy. But then when you entered the market with the 35 there was another Italian fork, one that didn't have the same reliability or performance issues, and losing that market hurt them a lot.


In that period, Marzocchi was at the final stage, unfortunately. It was just before it was acquired by Fox, but hats off to Marzocchi because in the golden years I still remember we were giving them brakes, they were selling thousands of forks to OEM. I once went to visit Lapierre and I can't tell how many Marzocchi forks they had there in-house. The high-end forks were all produced in Italy and the other parts at Suntour. Then they gave everything to Suntour... But many of their mechanical problems were due to the fact that they were producing a lot in Italy. Let's say... It is almost impossible to produce everything in Italy and remain competitive.

Are your brakes 100% made in Italy, or are some of the components made in Taiwan?


Many components of the brake come from there, yes, for the same reason I told you before.

Apart from those bits the rest of the production process is here in Italy, but I understand that the OE prices are competitive with Shimano and the others. How do you find a way to be competitive keeping the production in Italy? Because if you want to save money, you go to Taiwan.


The dynamics are certainly changing now, because Taiwan, as happens to every country when it has employment and wealth, is increasing its prices. The cost of electricity and rent is increasing, and naturally, this affects the price of things sold to us. However, talking specifically about the forks, they are still quite competitive compared to Italy and the rest of Europe. Considering also that they make very high-quality components there. If you want good quality stuff, you have to go there.

Since we are a small business, being competitive with the prices of of the bigger players is obviously more difficult, as it means that we have to sacrifice the profit margins. Because for us the cost of the brake is certainly higher than what Shimano pays if we talk about the parts made in Malaysia or Thailand; the high-quality parts. The high-quality parts made in Japan are not like this, compared to Japanese manufactured products, we are competitive with our costs.

XT and upwards is made in Japan, right?


I think starting from XT, yes. SRAM doesn't make anything in America. They do everything in China, Taiwan. Let's say that we are quite competitive with what they do in Taiwan, but what they do in other places we are not. They have got higher figures, they have got production factories in countries where it doesn't cost much. So, let's say, for the bottom and medium end, we have to be more expensive if we want to keep a profit margin. So, basically, we have to give up to the profit margin, being small...



Datalogging with Formula

Nero fork production Formula. Prato Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg
The production of Formula brakes.

Nero fork production Formula. Prato Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg



One thing that does impress me with your products is the efficiency of production. For example, at its simplest level, your Cura brake lever is a forged block with three holes drilled in it. Your Selva enduro fork and Nero DH fork share the same lower.


Yes. We did all the tests to see if the same lower that we use in an enduro fork could go on a DH fork because others did it before us. The tests went well and we decided to follow that road because opening a mould for a magnesium lower for a DH fork where the sales figures are low was counterproductive. It was going to be very expensive for us if we sold only a thousand per year, for example. So, considering the technique and the calculation, we decided to take that road.

It is interesting that as you develop new technology for your forks, most notably the Selva right now, you are making everything backwards compatible which seems to make sense for both you and the consumer.


We actually did it on purpose to meet the needs of our clients. We had the feeling that the clients were fed up with the constant changes. New is good because without new things the market stays still, but to force the client to change every year, and to force the client to change the fork is not fair. This way they have the freedom to choose. If you want to buy a new fork you can buy it, otherwise, you can always update yours. So, it makes sense.

But also, surely the forging for the lowers is a huge investment for you?


Well, our costs, I mean, I'm sure bigger companies pay less as they are so much bigger than us. Maybe it makes sense for them because a mould for Rockshox makes millions of forks, so they pay them off immediately. For us, it's more difficult. We make a few of them and we have to find a real justification in figures to make a new fork. We are referring to Rockshox, but we can say the same for Fox, they have lots of moulds, and with their figures, they really don't care as much as we have to.

Will you have a rear shock to accompany your forks any time soon?


We have taken quite a long time but we are working on it and we hope to. I don't even know if I can say much. We are working on it and we are already at a good stage from the design point and we hope to introduce it this year. It's not official but it is our goal.

In the factory, I have seen some boxes for dropper posts, are they coming too?


We made some samples to work on, but that project is not active at the moment because we have seen that the bike makers prefer to build seat posts themselves. The news we heard is that Rockshox has lost a big chunk of their production for this reason because the big bike manufacturers are making them themselves, so we have decided that it was not worth it for us at the moment and it was better to dedicate our resources for the rear shock or new forks.

Surely there is a temptation to run in lots of different directions, how does a small business like yourself choose which direction to go in?


Our idea for the future is to be able to complete all the products of the range, and I mean a full range of bike forks. We want to have a full range of bike forks, starting from cross-country up to downhill. We would like a full range of brakes and wheels, even though for us the wheel is more an aftermarket product. Perhaps complete the range of shocks to pair with the forks. Let's see how the market goes. This is what we want to do. That's it. It's good enough for us.

Is manufacturing in Italy a business choice or ethical choice for you?


At first, it was certainly an ethical choice, it wasn't a business decision because we have basically always lost money making products in Italy because of the taxes and the costs here. Even if we get some stuff from Taiwan every single product is assembled and finished in Italy. Once in a while we consider the option to assemble in Taiwan but is not the right decision for us right now. Maybe in the future or maybe not, as I said before the market is changing very fast and the future is hard to predict. Right now we’re happy the way we’re working.

Do you think that in the future the production for all industries will be in Taiwan or it will change?


No, it will change, because, as I was saying before, the costs are increasing in Taiwan. It's hard to figure out where it will go.

Do you think it will ever come back to Europe?


In my opinion, in the future, the production will come back in Europe. It will take a while and I don't know how long but after Taiwan, it will move to Asia and when the other countries in Asia will have grown, then we will be all balanced and it will come back to Europe.


MENTIONS: @rideformula


Must Read This Week

96 Comments

  • + 28
 Formula could be the italian's Hope... but is difficult to regain customer trust if you are little and make just one mistake...

Sram make sometimes shitty brakes... everytime i buy a new bike with sram (maybe 90% oem bikes are sram mounted) after a month i must change brakes for shimano... cheaper and works well... mineral oil..no need to bleed like sram...

Never try Formula but i need more positive feedback...
  • + 12
 I run Formula Cura brakes on my Propain Spindrift since 10 months (the bike was sold with them)... Since then, I simply never touched them. They are working like day 1, with great power for a 2 pistons brake.

I bought the Spindrift before they had the Selva fork, but I have a friend who run it, and he's clearly happy with that fork !
  • + 2
 Had some Formulas on my Lapierre DH - worked like a charm for over 1 season without bleeding- brake lever was also comfortable to use.

Switched to Shimano on my new bikes because of mineral oil (I dont like DOT)
  • + 5
 @NotNamed: The new Formulas also come with mineral Oil as i know
  • + 1
 @NotNamed:

up until now i was always with shimano and mineral oil, whats wrong with DOT?
  • + 6
 @Asmodai:
1. It actually attracts water, so in a moist environment, you have to change the oil more often (the benefit of this is that water in the system, although it happens more easily than with mineral oil, will be evenly distributed, where it might bundle together with mineral oil).
2. It is an agressive fluid that has the potential to remove paint (although people often exaggerate this property and a simple good rinse with water afterwards will prevent this from happening).
  • + 14
 @Mac1987: dot also mixes with air, so your brakes might get spongy but you won't loose the bite point completely. After 4 years I bled my X0 Trails for the first time because I changed the pistons and the fluid was perfectly clean. I think the dot hate is a little unreasonable.
  • + 9
 @jzPV: Did you touch your bike during those 4 years? How clean did it come?
All my shimano brakes are dark every mid season bleed...
I keep running XTR for XC but switched to Sram for Trail and DH.

Shimano brakes have a very strange contact point which is moving randomly every time I brake repeatedly. They don't use any blader at the top so pressure changes may happen in your circuit due to heat.
Sram and Hope use a blader and never have that problem.
  • + 1
 @qreative-bicycle: Had some quite serious injuries for a year but rode it regularly when possible. I'm a light guy but still, I think they were impressively sealed. I could not distinguish the old fluid from the new (I changed all the fluid before bleeding). My front brake still has never seen a bleed, and I don't find a reason to do one. The bite point can't get any sharper.
  • - 2
 @Mac1987: your confusing dot 3 and 4 with dot 5. Dot 3 and 4 is water soluble meaning that some water ingress won't compromise the brakes unlike with dot 5 and mineral oil. All modern mtb brakes that I am aware of use dot 5 which is pretty nasty stuff as you had described but is still non water soluble as is mineral oil.
  • + 4
 @jzPV:

I am with you here i think the DOT fluid hate is a little unreasonable. DOT fluid is highly regulated by the motor industry and for each type DOT 3, 4, 5.1 has to conform to certain standards. Mineral Fluid is not governed by the same regulations and therefore individual make up of the fluid properties is generally unknown.

DOT fluid absorbs water which also means that the solvent aspects (corrosive stuff) can also be diluted down with the application of water. I think this is what people associate with water neutralizing DOT fluid with water where it is in reality diluting it down to a point where it is no longer corrosive.

I would be really interested to know if anyone has any information on the toxicity of DOT fluid v Mineral Oil especially as mineral oil can not be diluted - to the best of my knowledge.
  • + 3
 @qreative-bicycle: the dark oil in shimano brakes comes from the abrasion of the plastic (yes, plastic) master cylinder. the master cylinder is exposed and not protected from outside (no seal/wiper, etc.) = dirt comes in and the master cylinder starts to wear (not available as spare part, whole master cylinder unit has to be replaced in case of wear)...it is wise to bleed them quite often.
thankfully, there are still some manufacturers who take care of sealing/protecting the master cylinder and not using plastic as the material of choice (hope, formula,...)
  • + 2
 @Mac1987: I always used mineral oil to pull out ticks and fleas from my dog.
  • + 3
 I've ran the Formula RO and T1 on every build I've done in the last 5 years. Amazing brakes, highly dependable, easily serviceable, great looking and performing. I haven't had to deal with the CS at all, but I've heard it isn't horrible...
  • + 6
 @vtracer: DOT 3, 4 and 5.1 are glycol based and more or less interchangeable when it comes to use in mtb brakes. DOT 5 is silicone based and not used in the manufacture of mtb brakes.
  • + 4
 Formula and Hope are very different companies.
Formula core used to be racing. Extreme products not for the average joe. Hope is more focused on consumers/user friendly. Both great, but different.

Forum comments are often different than what I experienced in real life.
Never met anyone with formula brakes complaining about them.
Often met people with sram/avid complaining about them.

Formula mistake was to make the cheap specialized brakes, and then even got screwed over by them.

The new Cura brakes are great. A step down from their higher end models, but up there with xt. Lighter and cheaper than Xtr.
  • + 1
 Had Shimano brakes and they were absolutely horrible, changed to Formula and haven't touched my RC Tune in 3 years, just new pads. Never again Shimano after too many shortcomings and inconsistency.
  • + 1
 @Zany2410:
Nice to know!
  • + 1
 @Asmodai:
As I have animals in my household I make sure to not use any harmful substances (my Dot is stored but still)
  • + 1
 Same here, riding Formula Cura brakes quite intensively on a Spindrift and I'm pleased about them. Have always been switching Sram brakes for Shimano. So far, I don't feel the need to switch my Cura for XT brakes.
I only have one question, could I use Shimano mineral oil to bleed them?
  • + 21
 There's a suspension company called White Power?
  • + 3
 yep they used to supply KTM
  • + 15
 WP suspension is the brand from MX rider Wim Peeters. The story is because they had their coil springs coated by a company that paints hospital beds, they ended up white. This gave them the nickname White Power, but I don't know if it ever was official, especially because of the racist implications. They came with a line of mountainbike suspension products under the name Rond. They already cooperated with Magura back then with a dedicated (FIRMtech) mount for their rim brakes. But according to Magura, WP still viewed Rond as a bit of a project and Magura wanted it to be more serious, so they acquired the brand in 2003 so most of their 2004 line up of forks was an evolution of the Rond forks. I understand indeed that WP is currently owned by KTM.
  • + 5
 The name got shortened to WP years ago for obvious reasons.
  • + 2
 Wp is owned by KTM
  • - 13
flag AllMountainNEXT (Apr 16, 2018 at 1:02) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah they had financial backing from Trump.
  • + 2
 @vinay: That explains why Maguras USD fork has WP branding.
  • + 3
 @bonkywonky: Yeah WP make the Magura upside down eBike fork in Mattighoffen (that's the "M" part of KTM).
I've been to the factory (unrelated reasons).
That particular fork is simply a lightly modified mini-moto fork. I don't really know why they branded it as Magura
  • + 1
 @greglikesspecialized: The WP logo is only on the e-bike fork (Boltron) because that is from a cooperation between Magura and the current WP. The 2004 Big Ego didn't have the WP logo, the 2003 Big Ego didn't have the Magura logo. Obviously it was the same fork (and actually it kept its name too). The 2004 suspension units that were designed by Magura were the units with Alber Plus damping (HLR adjustments). These were the Draco and Odin shocks and the Thor and Ronin forks (of which Draco and Thor eventually didn't make it to the market). For the other 2004 forks, I don't think Magura did much to them except change the WP/Rond glued crowns to bolted crowns. In fact, the even recalled the older WP/Rond forks for them to be changed to bolted crowns too.

But no, the WP logo on the Boltron doesn't have anything to do with anything they did back in 2003.
  • + 2
 @IllestT: Just learned that Rond wasn't actually started by WP. Rond was founded by Gerard Rond (also an MX rider) and the brand was later acquired by WP (well before WP became part of KTM). As I mentioned before, in 2003 Magura took/bought Rond from WP. That said, apparently back in 1996 Rond was already owned by WP. Link below shows a picture I've found of a fork ridden at the Olympics back in 1996.

www.mijnalbum.nl/Grotefoto-D7UNAB4P.jpg
  • + 15
 "Didn't you like it" LOL

Master!
  • + 9
 Now I know why the juicy worked better than the Elixir!
  • - 9
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 16, 2018 at 2:40) (Below Threshold)
 As long as you had braided hose, otherwise the only word that comes to my mind with juicy is spongebob. Also Elixir 5 wasn’t that bad. It was the CR that was a true pain in the arse. Dual piston Shimanos have never been good for more than a year. Calipers leaked and pistons were seizing. Sorry, I must trust Hope fanbois that it’s always been fantastic. The only reliable brakes I have personally owned were first 4 pot Saints.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I wasn't 100% serious. It looks like all manufacturers had some issues, maybe not Hope? Surely did they as well.
What surprises me is the amounts of error that have been done. It looks like everybody was starting from scratch, not trying to get know-how from the motorbike industry.
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 16, 2018 at 2:49) (Below Threshold)
 @EnduroManiac: I am getting Hopes as next brakes. They are my last hope Smile otherwise I just buy Codes and replace them every year Big Grin
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: if I'm not mistaken, you previously called Hope brakes "wooden/metallic" feeling in your own parking lot test of several pair. You dumped on them. Why the change of heart?
  • - 2
 @FLATLlNE: Pinkbike comment board changed my heart. Just like every single god damn old disc brake in my house that is fkd in one way or another. Over the weekend I've been to training for local Enduro comp and a random dude comes up to me and says: how are you XTs? - pushes on my lever several times - as I thought - he says - I know - I replied - they're all shit - he hinted. But if Hope fails me... (picture Zeus raising the keyboard and throwing fks changing into lightnings, striking every member of Hope fan club in their balls). I have no money now so well... after the season is over, I'll get some cash for 4-pot Hopes. until then Shimano/ Sram damage control
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: no need to hint, lol. 3-4 presses and they are either at the bar or pumped right out. Zero consistency. I just got rid of my last set of Shimano brakes for Hope evo x2's. Also have some tech e4's. Simply put, they all just work.
  • - 3
 I was thinking E4 or V4 depending on which has better modulation. I have no clue what is the difference between these two but I need something that can be used in gloop. Steeps with super slicky roots and mud. For instance older Formulas can't be used in gloop if you have a slightest idea about braking. The R1 were a death trap.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: e4 has smaller pistons and v4 has one big one small tl;dr v4 has more power and im pretty sure both have same modulation
also hope makes best looking breaks out there, i recently bought e4 and im really satisfied with how they work
  • - 2
 @Asmodai: is the power easily modulated? Would you press the front brake on a let's say 30 degree wet granite slab? Or when you ride a seriously steep muddy shute in the rain and see a big patch of roots just before a corner that is not a catch berm? That's what I deal with across Scandinavia, I need modulation.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: for me they seems to be easy to modulate but i did not ride yet in environment you described. but from the research i made before buying new brakes people were describing hope as middle ground between sram and shimano - less modulation and more power than sram but less power and more modulation that shimano.
  • - 2
 @Asmodai: ok, thanks. I think I'll go for E4 since V4 come only with braided hose which takes away some modulation
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: im pretty sure you can buy v4 with standard hose too, they are just not as wildly available
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: unless you are a giant, or ride only DH, e4's will work fine. I rode them in Newfoundland, which is all wet rock and root, and would not pick another break over them.
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: @WAKIdesigns: you are missing the best value brakes IMO, mt5 front mt4 rear... cheap and fantastic performance. The only downside is that some people have the ability to bang the levers a lot when crashing (or tighten them too much etc) which are fragile.. but... you can buy some zee levers and plug them... dont tell zeeGermans...
  • + 2
 @Lagr1980: or buy hopes and forget about it and crash away lol. E4 front x2 rear is also a thing.

Magura's look to be very nice too. Always have been really. I have not owned a set since the old Gustavs though.
  • + 3
 @FLATLlNE:
You can get 2 sets of mt5 for the price of a set of hopes tho
  • + 1
 @mollow: I am definitely price sensitive about some components. Drive terrain for example, you'll find me on XT before eagle or something like that. For brakes, I don't mind spending the cash. I think the return is worth it. Meanwhile it does seem like many people are happy with Magura, and I can knock you for that Smile
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: get some Trickstuff
  • + 1
 @Serpentras: as if Hope wasn’t expensive enough. I will have to wait until I can find my way to monetize my negprops. I will start yet another crypto currency
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Well you sure can wait for that because atm you need to wait for half a year to lay hands on the most expensive piece.
  • + 4
 There used to be a negative connotation to, "made in Taiwan" products here in Canada, but I can tell you right now, I have the nicest bike I've ever owned, and most of it was made in Taiwan. It doesn't surprise me Taiwanese companies are supplying Italian companies one bit.
  • + 3
 I put Cura brakes on my bike this season and I'm extremely happy with them.
They look good, the feel is good, the power is good and i set them up once and haven't had to adjust them yet at all.
They're also great value here in Europe.
(Had Shimano Saints last season)
  • + 3
 This is well worth the read with a cup of coffee on a Monday morning. Wakes up the brain. Global production and manufacturing is fascinating. So many people just focus on brand names and have no idea how the product even gets to them. Shout out to Wayne Lumpkin BTW. Spot Brand yo.
  • + 6
 Excellent article and insight - Really enjoyed reading that.
  • + 2
 I've been using the Formula EX35 180 for over 2 years, approx 1800 klm. Easy to service (usually every 30hrs) apart from the stanchion coating near the dust wiper seals showing some wear, I can't fault them. I found the air spring tuning ability to be one of its best features, just add oil and subtract air or vice versa.
  • + 1
 Formula R1’s on my old Rocky Mountain are the best brakes I’ve ever had. 0 maintenance with the exception of changing out pads. Set them and forget them. Super light, excellent strength, with a light touch. I love them. A superb product. I may swap out my OEM Shimano’s for formulas on my new bike.
  • + 1
 For the love of god will you bike journos please refer to non motorized 2 wheeled vehicles as "bicycles" and motorized 2 wheeled vehicles, either internal combustion, or electric, as " motorcycles" If you want to be a proper wanker you can call them"push bikes" and "motorbikes" but at no point do call them "Motos" Only bicycle people call them motos. If you twist a throttle it's a motorbike (vomit yes that includes scooters), and you pedal it; it's a push bike, and in between it's a "moped" All e-bikes are mopeds.
  • + 1
 What a great piece! I particularly liked the part/s where he basically said they sacrifice some profits so they can produce/assemble the majority of their products in Italy. Even with the much lower buying power compared to Shimano/SRAM they still market products that perform and are priced competitively.

I'd still love a set of 'The ones' for my mutant bastard child build.
  • + 1
 back in the days, I recall AMP releasing a hydraulic caliper cable actuated, as well as San Andreas with Pro Stop Disk brakes.
Sachs at the time were supporting Cannondale Volvo (before being sold to SRAM)...
But I fo think the 1st disk brake in production was Hope

At the time, braces were used to secure the calipers to tge forks! LOooOL (and today no one rides a bike fast if it hasn't thru axles.....)

Toghether with Suspension, Disk Brakes improved MtB by a looot!
  • + 1
 Last week, i had the opportunity to work on the setup of my Selva, with a guy from Formula (...a f****** fast rider and a realy great person to be with - no matter if it is on a trail or on a party). I even have the Neopos already now.
Now this fork is way better, than i have ever thought a fork could be. I realy enjoy this italian product and i start liking the people behind it. Keep the direction you are on, guys. It's a very good one.
  • + 1
 Would love to see some of that market consolidation in the MTB industry if it meant I could get a top shelf bike for 5k CAD again. Those were the (not that long ago) days... I'm still outriding most of buddies downhill on a 2011 era enduro bike with 26" wheels. I feel like performance hasn't really evolved all that much.
  • + 1
 So when are you going to make the 180 pitbike fork available for bikes the likes of the nomad? Maby with the factory trials bike stanchions and the Nero damper and air spring?
  • + 2
 Manufacturing profile like this are awesome, I would love to see some for US-based manufacturers like Guerrilla Gravity or Foes
  • + 1
 I thought there used to be a SRAM disc brake before they bought Avid, but maybe that was a brake made by Grimeca so then indeed they still didn't start from scratch. Still of course Formula was earlier.
  • + 6
 I thought Grimeca made the first Shimano hydraulic disc brake but maybe wrong...
  • + 3
 @monsieurGamelle: Grimeca did make the first brake for Shimano, the legendary 4 pots XT BR M755. Though the XT was using mineral oil, Grimeca sold a DOT variant under its name.

Even today, if you pair a M755 caliper with a servo-wave Shimano lever, you'll have a fantastic brake.
  • - 3
 I’m not sure why would anyone want to have Juicy in their portfolio Smile
  • - 2
 @Euskafreez: wasn’t Grimeca better than XT in the end? I remember folks lusting after the red power Smile the early Shimano levers were deveping play faster than actors in porn.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: The XT brake lever was real cheap, so it was not too much of a problem to replace it. And since we can mismatch any brake lever from shimano with any caliper, no need to spend the top dollars on a brake lever.

And no, the BR M755 was better than the Grimeca. Only the original 4 pots XT and the Magura Gustav were fit enough for tandem use back then.
  • + 1
 i thought the first hydraulic disc brake for mtb was from SACHS. they were bought from sram way before they bought avid.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: because it was one of the best, until (much) better options got available Wink
A T-Ford is a horrible car by today's standards. However, at the time there was nothing better available for that price.
  • + 1
 @Euskafreez: Oh yes the good old days of IS-IS adaptor alignments Big Grin I mean those brakes were sick but you needed a collection of shims to align them decently. Only worse thing is the avid elixir era v-brake coned shims under the brakes...
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: That XT brake, even though it was Shimano's first disc brake, was probably one of the best disc brakes I ever had. I am not sure it would still stand out today, but back then, I decided to go for those bling Hope brakes, it did not even come close to the Shimanos. And when I sold them many years later I found people still getting excited about them. When I got M780s, for me it was the comeback of the performance I knew from those old XTs. And the Saint brakes look (and feel like from almost the same mold.
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 16, 2018 at 4:23) (Below Threshold)
 @cru-jones: eeerm I have a quite bad experience with XT 775 XT 780 and XT785... sorry... in order of appearance: leaky - woody with poor modulation - inconsistent lever feel, deadly in rock gardens.
  • + 1
 @winko: I still prefer the IS interface. Unfortunately my next frame and forks come with PM tabs so I'll need to use different brakes too. But I like the IS interface much better. Once the tabs are faced properly, use the right amount of spacers and your brakes remain perfectly aligned. You can't whack them out off center like you can with PM calipers (and those Avid brakes with the cone-shaped shims allow you to do even worse). Of course I do understand that as the OEM market got bigger, ease of assembly became a deciding factor which saw more brands spec brakes from Hayes or Avid. Eventually (a decade ago already) it were only the more high end (aftermarket) models which were offered with IS calipers. Shimano XTR (when XT was already PM), all Hope brakes, Magura Marta (when Louise was already PM)... And nowadays of course as more people bypass their lbs, they don't have the tooling available to face IS tabs so for them it is also more convenient to use PM. So I'd say PM is better for assembly, IS is better for riding. It just depends on where your priorities lie.
  • + 1
 @funkzander: I remember those, but question is, did they work?
  • + 2
 Formula Cura will be probably my next brakes on next bike. Smile Currently rocking CR1
  • - 3
 Do yourself a favour .dont
  • + 1
 @nick1957: you've tried the curas?
  • + 2
 Is it rear spring shock for bike? - ep1.pinkbike.org/p6pb15613411/p6pb15613411.jpg
  • + 1
 I hope so!
  • + 2
 @q232 It’s a moto shock.
  • + 1
 anyone tried formula33 xc fork, the latest one im building a xc bike after summer and looking for other options besides rs and fox
  • + 1
 @toni796 It’s really nice - same damping options as their bigger forks, same reliability - I only ditched mine for a 35.
  • + 0
 Yeah WP make the Magura upside down eBike fork in Mattighoffen (that's the "M" part of KTM).
I've been to the factory (unrelated reasons)
  • + 1
 One of the most hated brand, for obscure reasons. Sram doesn't get this hate for the Elixir brakes.
  • + 3
 Are you new here? Big Grin Shimano fanboi club is strong here, and god forbid call Hope fanatics out of their dens. Joeined together they will kick the last crap out of anything Avid/ SRAM related
  • + 2
 When are the 4 pots available?
Ta
  • + 1
 A really interesting article, I'd never really heard of them, but will be considering them for my next brakes.
  • + 1
 I'm a fool, I've just remembered I've got Formula hubs on my Orange. At least I assume it is the same Formula...
  • + 1
 I feel less silly now that I realise that Forumla (Italy) who make brakes, forks and wheels are different from Forumla (Taiwan) who make hubs...
  • + 1
 I have the selva and love it. Will put the nero on my next dh bike.
  • + 1
 I didn't know u were italian and worked for formula @samshaffer16

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