Ready for duty on World Cup DH rigs or keeping speed in check at the next Downieville Super D, the Formula The One Disc Brake offers maximum versatility and power in an ultralight package package that's hard to believe. The secret ingredient of The One Disc Brake is a one-piece (The One, get it) caliper with two 24mm opposing pistons. That's almost an inch per piston. The big pistons mean huge stopping power. In fact, they represent a 19% increase in surface area over the Formula R1 brakes. Big power doesn't mean heavy. The One still only weighs 336 gramsAAArivaling most XC brakes.The added braking power is great for bigger or more aggressive riders, and legendary Formula modulation means constant traction and control. The pistons themselves are made of a heat-dissipating composite material and are cupped to provide even more fluid to regulate heat. The one-piece design is stiffer because there are no bolted-together parts to flex along the seam line when you grab a finger-full of lever. The caliper provides good ventilation on both the bottom and top for the pistons and pads to vent heat. The top vent also helps make pad changes easy, even with the wheel still in the bike.Moving upward, The One uses a standard woven polyester hose that is super light, but still prevents hose expansion from heat. This keeps the brakes feeling stiff, even as the caliper heats up on big descents. Formula uses DOT 4 brake fluid because of its resistance to thermal expansion, gas absorption, and the quality control inherent with DOT-approved products, no matter what brand or where you get it.The hose attaches directly to the new Feeling Control System for quick and easy adjustments of lever stroke and to compensate for pad wear. A forged aluminum, radial master cylinder offers excellent power transfer due to incredible stiffness, and strength.
Strengths: Stopping power, looks, adjustability, factory bleed was perfect.
Weaknesses: Can take awhile to get to run quiet.
My new Slayer 70 came with these brakes, and I was curious to see how they would compare with the 2012 Elixir X.9's I was running on my last bike. Right away I was super happy that they were bled so well from the factory. I like my brakes extremely touchy, and these were light years ahead of the Elixirs on that front (read my review of the Elixirs on MTBR for more details).
Following the guidelines on the Formula website, I broke them in as recommended, and by the end of my first ride they were broken in and stopping extremely well. Much more braking power than the Elixirs, and after multiple rides with long descents they don't seem to be fading as much from heat build up either.
Only downside for me was that they did start to squeal a little when dusty, but I've had this issue with all brakes I've used with sintered pads. I was able to adjust them enough that it would usually go away, but sooner or later a small creak would be heard at lower speeds.
Swapped out the sintered pads for the organics with alloy backing (something do on all my brakes anyway), and it's now gone completely. I'd say only a 5% decrease in stopping power with the organics over the sintered, which is fine with me. Pricey brakes, so I'm glad my bike came with them stock!
Strengths: -Lots of stopping power.
-One finger braking (no stress on the finger like other brakes such as formula r1 or rx).
-Looks damn good!
-Very good modulation.
Weaknesses: -Adjustment. Just like the RX and R1's... PITA to adjust the rubbing rotors. I want to give up on this brakes already. Shimano's SLX are a lot easier to adjust.
-brake pad adjustment on the lever doesn't really work.
-Intermittent noise in the front with formula rotors when brake is engaged.
This brakes has great modulation and real one finger braking. You don't have to put that much effort trying to pull that lever like other brakes. If you messed up and came in to deep into the corner and have to modulate your brakes while in the turns, this brake will save you. 336 grams per side with rotor and adaptor. That's LIGHT!! Looks good and slim.
For the price and comfort, I'd buy the SLX or XT for the 2012 model. They're that good! I have one on my other bike.
Strengths: Strong, Light,,,,did I say strong. People have mentioned lack of 'feel' but I don't see that, they modulate fine for me. Pretty bullet-proof, more of a fading than a fail when you need to work on them.
Weaknesses: Difficult to maintain, as in the most difficult disc brake system out there that I ever worked on (by far). Finicky. Pads not in most shops, so you better count on toting a few around with you
They are light and expensive but you already knew that. They are the best, but if you aren't really comfortable fiddling around during bleeding or have a strong shop near by, you should factor in the difficult maintainance, They need less, however than any system I've used, and, in my expireance, they get "mushy" instead of how some systems just go lever flat to the bar when they need a bleed. The are the best and I've found them to be really reliable. Strong, like next-level strong vs. other systems. Very predictable and always there with the same feel and grab. Little or no fade with heavy use.
from Saratoga Springs
Date Reviewed: June 30, 2011
Strengths: Unbelievably power from such a small lightweight package. Modulation is amazing. Love the minimalistic design and asthetics. Customer Service
Weaknesses: The clamp between the left and right levers are the same so they aren't symmetrical (nothing performance wise wrong with this) A bit of turkey garble on the rear, but nothing to write home about. Pricey.
Amazing brakes. These are a bit pricey, but you truly get what you pay for.
When I originally received the product the front caliper had a bad seal on the pistons and leaked a bit of oil. I contacted Formula USA and they had it fixed and backed to me within a week. They overnited the package back to me. Replaced all seals in the front, as well as piston, and pads. I was told this is something that happens with one in about 3,000 units, LUCKY ME.
Anyways ever since I got it back the brakes have been superb. They are very very durable. I'm rocking a 180/160 combo and have plenty stopping power for Plattekill.
Similar Products Used: Magura Louise, Shimano XT, Hayes Stroker Ace
Bike Setup: Specialized epic, rockshox fork, fox rear, Formula the one brakes, thomson post
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 13, 2011
Strengths: This is for a 2009 set of The Ones. Large diameter pistons, adjustable levers, powerful, great modulation
Weaknesses: Price, price of spare pads.
These brakes are strong yet sensitive, great modulation, couldn't ask for much more. Love how well they allow you to control your bike when decelerating. They stop you right now.
Good looking with the gold anodize. Great brakes if you are a Clyde, ride steep stuff, and need absolute control taking it to the limit slowing down.
I'd buy another set if I didn't already have a set of MeGa's for my other 29'er
Similar Products Used: Juicy Seven, Elixir, Nine, Stroke.
Bike Setup: GT Fury Carbon, FOx 40 Kashima, Crank Brothers Opium, Saint, Race Face Atlas.
a Weekend Warrior
from Olympia WA
Date Reviewed: December 28, 2010
Strengths: True on finger action, uber light.
Weaknesses: BLEEDING!!!!!! These brakes are going back to Formula for the 2nd time in the last year to be bled. LBS cant do it, I've tried too. We both followed the instructions perfectly. Lever gets mushy after a few months of use.
This is a recurring theme with others as well.
Great if you are a factory rider with Formula support around to maintain your brakes after every race.
Unacceptable reliability. Too bad. These things are f'n light and strong. Would not recommend buying these. I'm going to Saint's.
Sorry for the one flame rating, never done that before.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 9, 2010
Strengths: stopping power. Looks.
Weaknesses: Extremely maintenance sensitive to such an extend that it really spoils the enjoyment of my bike.
I would happily change 'the ONE' for a brake set that keeps performing well over a longer time and doesn't need the amount of maintenance and frequent service intervals. It really interfers with biking. The manufacturer says it is due to the agressive DOT 4 brake fluid used in the system. This provides the agressive instant braking but also affects the brakes (i.e. use a system that operates with mineral oil). My rear brakes need an overhaul at the factory after only 2 years of use because the brake pistons won't retract into the calipers anymore. My bike buddy's brakes are exactly the same. Both bikes are consequently out of action for 2 to 4 weeks.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 29, 2010
Strengths: These things stop and straight away. They are light for a brakes rated for downhill. there is no fading or very little and i am 100 kg. I like the solid black color with gold.
Weaknesses: The levers are longish but that's a personal thing. Expensive.
Look I have ridden many types of disk brakes and NONE work like these. They may be a tad heaver then the lightest cross country brakes 450g but with this kind of braking power, I think they maybe make you faster on the course.
Bike Setup: Titus x, full xtr, Ritchie carbon, magura durin race, cross max slrs and lots of other expensive s*&t.
from Chandler Az
Date Reviewed: June 16, 2010
Strengths: Easy to set up and will stop you period.
Weaknesses: None, too easy to use
If you want to one finger stop and you don't want to worry about braking ever, get these. My favorite is watching my friend hammer the brakes not knowing the power and watch him launch over the bars as well as a strong Turkey neck slap with the saddle. If you want stop without thinking don't be fool, buy these. Only thing I will use from now on.
Strengths: 2010 light, amazing power, great modulation, no fade on bigger descents, prefictable an trustworthy.
Weaknesses: Id like the pad contact back!!
Best brake period! My only complaint is they got rid of the oad contact adjustment which was great for different courses depending on terrain and drop you couls adjust them.. Brake pad wear no big deal adjust them. NOW theres no pad adjustment which sucks but if thats my only gripe then Im OK with it...
Still the most powerfull brake you can get, its a moster in al ight package...
I give it 4 chilis because of the lack of the pad contact adjuster like last year...
from Christchurch, New Zealand
Date Reviewed: October 21, 2009
Strengths: Well finished, easy to setup, wide range of discs and mounts available. Awesome modulation and power.
Weaknesses: None so far
I'm loving these brakes, I can't believe how much power they have, with a 200mm rotor on the front, and 180 on the back I don't worry at all about slowing down, and there's just no effort required to get huge power. They bedded in in no time, I thiought I'd tak it easy on their first run but they seemed to be working at full strength after about 50 metres. No hestation in recommending these, they worked perfectly out of the box. Can't comment on how they compare to similar produsts as I've only used hope minis on my XC bike, and they have trouble slowing me down with a 180mm rotor on he front.
from Oakland, CA
Date Reviewed: September 8, 2009
Strengths: Crazy stopping power, without effort
Believe the hype. These brakes are the schiznit! Took a couple of tries to get the bleed right, but once I had the right amount of fluid and got the brakes "bedded in", the experience was amazing. Never knew slowing down could be so precise and intentional.
And bleeding was not really that hard... in fact it was my first time ever cutting hydraulic brake lines. Just left them in a stand vertically overnight to allow bubbles to rise up to the top.
Also many have made comments about the actuation being too close to the bars. I disagree with this, as I am able to adjust the levers to engage in different spots. It took a call to Formula USA - and they instructed me to pump the brakes a few times with the rotors removed, just to help get the pistons set in better (but not so much that you can't get the rotors back in).
Strengths: Huge stopping power, great feel and modulation, light enough for XC race application--all in one brake. Best brake ever!
Weaknesses: This brake is very fuzzy with the amount of brake fluid in it. Poor factory bleeding work.
This brake is amazing in terms of stopping power and modulation. It is also very light. But what impresses me most is that I can "feel" the action and I can get the feedback from the lever. Only the Italians know how to do this sort of science and arts blend.
On the other side of the coin, this brake is as fuzzy as a Ferrari when it comes to setting up and adjustments. Mine came with excessive brake fluid in it it grabs a rotor all the time so I need to bleed a few drops out.
Mind you, too much bleeding and a lever travel will be too much before a contact. So you need to add some brake fluid back in. You may need to do it a few times until you find your optimal point. This can be painful to some.
Be sure to READ THE BLEEDING MANUAL! Else this brake can become a pain in the neck.
DOT4 brake fluid is not paint friendly. Factory bleeding job (also remind me of another side of the Italians :)) left some DOT4 residue outside, causing a paint to peel off but I am too lazy to return the unit since I am very happy with its performance now.