Formula – Interbike 2011

by Brian Mullin on September 25, 2011

Formula has been busy pumping out new products like crazy, and they added two new brakes, the R1 Racing and RO, upgraded the R1, and are finally getting the Volo wheels and Thirty Three suspension fork released.

I had seen a prototype of Formula’s new downhill RO brake at Sea Otter 2010, and the very trick brakes have come a long way since then. The uber powerful RO brakes, utilizes an ovalized piston (25.4mm x 24mm), which allowed them to create a piston with a larger surface area, for maximum pad contact and pressure, without having to resort to a four-pot design. The oval design increases power by 18 percent over ‘The One’ model, and the performance upgrade might allow you run one size smaller rotor in some circumstances. In addition, they bumped up the reservoir capacity by 33% over ‘The One’, and gave it an improved diaphragm, which all combine for some impressive power generation.

The RO comes with their FCS (Feeling Control System) which adjusts the lever stroke to compensate for pad wear, and the TFRA (Tool-Free Reach Adjust) for on-the-fly lever reach adjustment. Like all their brakes, it uses top loading pads and DOT 4 brake fluid, has a removable handlebar clamp and a flip-flop master cylinder. It weighs in a 361 grams, using a 850mm hose, 160mm rotor, and complete attachment hardware, which is pretty respectable considering the kind of power this beast tosses out.

RO Specs:

  • MSRP – $382
  • MC Body – Polished/anodized
  • Caliper body – Polished/anodized with black cap
  • Lever Blade – Forged aluminum, anodized glossy black
  • FCS – Black included
  • TFRA – Silver knob included
  • Hose – Black: 100cm and 165cm
  • Rotor – 1 piece: 160mm, 180mm, 203mm
  • Brake pad – Sintered
  • Mounting – Standard PM 6″
  • Weight – 361 grams (PM – including 850mm hose, 160mm rotor, complete hardware)

The R1 line gets a new lightweight version, aptly name the R1 Racing, and the normal R1 gets some new tweaks. The R1 Racing is a weight weenie dream, and gets a carbon-fiber lever, Kevlar wrapped hydraulic hose and titanium hardware. Both the R1 Racing and R1 gets a 25% larger reservoir and a new diaphragm. The brake comes in at a svelte weight 270g using a 850mm hose, 160mm rotor, and complete attachment hardware, and a price tag of $412. For maximum bling, you can save some more weight by getting the optional two-piece rotor. The trick 2-piece rotor uses an aluminum spider, and comes in 140, 160, 180 and 203mm sizes, and has a weight saving of 10%.

R1 Racing Specs:

  • MSRP – $382
  • MC Body – Polished/anodized
  • Caliper body – Polished/anodized with red cap
  • Lever Blade – Carbon fiber
  • TFRA – Silver knob included
  • Hose – Kevlar braided: 100cm and 165cm
  • Rotor – 1 piece: 160mm, 180mm, 203mm
  • Brake pad – Organic, w/ergal back plate
  • Mounting – Standard PM 6″
  • Rotor and mounting bolts – All in titanium
  • Weight – 270 grams (PM – including 850mm hose, 160mm rotor, complete hardware)

The standard R1 and ‘The One’ get the TFRA (Tool-Free Reach Adjust) for on-the-fly lever reach adjustment, while the RX brakes stay the same for 2012. Another interesting option for all the brakes is their SpeedLock, which uses a quick-release for the hydraulic hose, and works much like an air tool quick-connect, so you can disconnect the brake hose without fluid loss. The SpeedLock will be really useful for dismantling and shipping purposes, and it comes with options for placement in-line, at the master cylinder or caliper.

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