Formula B4 Gold Disc Brake System

3.28/5 (39 Reviews)
Weight : 350 grams/pr


Product Description

  • Two opposed, retractable pistons
  • Self-adjusting pad wear
  • Progressive action pump lever with reservoir
  • Re-attachable hydraulic tube fittings
  • Stainless steel rotors
  • Total weight: less than 350 gr. with mounting hardware (hub not included)


  • Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

    Reviews 1 - 15 (39 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:3
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Jason a Cross Country Rider from Winnipeg, MB, Canada

    Date Reviewed: January 18, 2005

    Strengths:    It came on my bike. Light. I like the feel and modulation. Decently durable.

    Weaknesses:    Only decently durable. Little to no support due to it not being a common product.

    Bottom Line:   
    Great brakes if you're handy and don't mind waiting for parts or the squeeling. I like ther modulation and power, everything I need for XC. Have been working for 3 years (2 racing) will little to no maintenance. I don't mind the squeeling as I don't need to shout to slower riders as I come up on them ;)

    Little story about the infamous dogbone. I finally lost mine at the most in opportune time. Race the Rockies adventure race in Canmore. At the top of a mountain. First the piece of plastic the dog bone fits into on the lever broke (age I guess) so teh lever kept falling away. Then it happened to fall away on a rocky section at the top of a mountain and the dogbone fell out and was gone forever. The net result....20 minutes of downhill with the rear brake only, white knuckles, praying to make switchbacks and a right forearm 20% larger by the time I hit the bottom.

    Do I recommend these brakes, only if you get a good deal on them, the service network just isn't there. Replacement parts took 4 weeks which is unacceptable. I plan on buying XT hyrdos, hope minis, something to go dual hydro in the next couple months.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

    Purchased At:   came with bike

    Similar Products Used:   None, just V brakes.

    Bike Setup:   Norco Nitro, currently undergoing a remake :)

    Overall Rating:1
    Value Rating:3
    Submitted by Bryan a Weekend Warrior from North Shore

    Date Reviewed: August 18, 2004

    Strengths:    Good power

    Weaknesses:    Plastic parts break

    Bottom Line:   
    I paid only $40 for these brakes. Was it a good deal? Not too sure. At least the rotors are good. After about a month, I took a tumble (sometimes that happens when DH'ing) and popped the lever out. I looked at the mechanics of the lever and found that there are two ball joints (one in the lever and one in the brake body) which are both plastic. They are connected by a metal "dogbone". In the fall, the housing ball joint shattered. This caused the brake arm to wander out of the housing when not under pressure. I fixed this by adding the tried and true rubber band technique. After another couple of weeks, and more falls, the other ball joint shattered. The brake still works, but the rubber band isn't impressing anyone. I have give this brake 1 flamin' chili for overall since it shouldn't brake so easily. Since it only cost me 40 bucks, it gets thee for value. BTW, I also got one for my girlfriend's bike. It broke while loading it onto the bike rack. Stay away unless you get an unbelievable deal and need a spare rotor.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Boogieman

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Price Paid:    $25.00

    Similar Products Used:   Avid mechs, Hayes hydros

    Bike Setup:   Banshee Scirocco w/B4's on the front and Avid mechs on the back

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by tom a Racer from frisco CO

    Date Reviewed: July 28, 2004

    Strengths:    Good XC design- balance of weight and power, great modulation, durable- yes I said durable, excellent support from thorusa.com- the only support option, value is excellent compared to XTR/Juicy/Marta (price is dropping)

    Weaknesses:    Bike shops suck at support so figure on your own wrenching, old models needed a better bleed than they came with, mechanical aptitude helpful, 200 lbs. weight limit is common sense, breakaway lever design misunderstood

    Bottom Line:   
    These get a lot of crap reviews cuz a)bike shops don't support em b)owners don't know where to get parts/info/advice they need c)they came from the factory with air in the lines d)not used for XC. My B4s came low on power and I was disappointed. They worked OK, not well, even after break-in. A full bleed per directions at thorusa.com gave totally solid levers, and impressive brakes. If they don't have better than v-brake power you haven't got the air out. I won't trust my LBS to this, so yeah buying/using a bleed kit sucks. But lessee here, I bleed these once a year, and I've replaced one pair of pads with EBC green (more power again). Now on my 3rd year of use, they are totally dependable and with 2004 upgrade kit, better than ever. 1-finger brakes that feather or lock up at will. Trails aren't flat in this part of the world either. What gives? The Hayes I've tried were not very powerful, and the Avids I've ridden were on/off lockers. One of my buddies has XT 4-pucks, those things are nothing but trouble for him. All discs have potential to suck. B4s are sweet.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   2 Years

    Price Paid:    $330.00

    Purchased At:   thorusa.com

    Similar Products Used:   Avid mechs, Hayes hydros

    Bike Setup:   DeVinci with 2 wheels stopped by 2002
    Formula B4s

    Overall Rating:1
    Value Rating:1
    Submitted by jason a Racer from beckley, wv, us

    Date Reviewed: July 6, 2004

    Strengths:    light

    Weaknesses:    hard to bleed, easy to break levers, no stopping power with front brake

    Bottom Line:   
    This brake is by far the worst brake I have ever tried to use. My front brake does not have any stopping power on steep down hills, I have broke both levers (not actual lever but parts inside or working with the levers made of plastic). In my opinion these brakes should be taken off the market until formula can produce something worthwhile. Stick with hayes, they weight more but you will have no service or stopping power.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Purchased At:   came on bike

    Similar Products Used:   avid, hayes

    Bike Setup:   k2 razorback sl

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by marTy a Weekend Warrior from Adelaide, Australia

    Date Reviewed: March 18, 2004

    Strengths:    superlight, looks killer. Thorsten service.

    Weaknesses:    difficulty dumb-ass bikeshop mechanics have in bleeding them. difficulty getting spares from a bikeshop (tho this is fixed by simply getting the stuff over the web).

    Bottom Line:   
    All the bikeshops i spoke to had no idea about bleeding these brakes. my bike went back 3 times, they ended up stripping out the little torx screw (plastic version) and inserting a water bottle bolt of all things - like i wasnt going to notice?!. F*ckwits. Bought the upgrade kit from thor in the US to metal screw, new reservoir cap etc, got the bleed nipples etc and did it myself. piece of cake. I'm 85 kg and use my bike for freeride - have absolutely no trouble with power, drag, fade etc - even on long technical downhills, and even with the 4" rear rotor. Anyone who is having trouble should try working on it themselves. The other reviews suggesting these brakes are crap havent put in the effort: besides the formula site; also consider the following sites. http://www.windwave.co.uk/Pages/newsiteformulab4bleedinstructions.htm get the upgrade kit to metal torx screw: http://www.thorusa.com/
    if it gives you any perspective - after the bike shop debacle i bought some xt fourpistons from ebay, but after getting the thor kit and bleeding the B4's up, i havent even taken the xt's out of the box. back to ebay for them!
    PS formula service is crap, never got a reply from them - go to thor

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   kuitpo

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $200.00

    Purchased At:   eBay

    Similar Products Used:   Hope DH4's
    Shimano Deore
    Hayes Mag
    Hayes HFX


    Bike Setup:   01 stumpjumper fsr xc pro, XTR, psylo's + fox float, thomson, syncros etc

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Brian from Calgarty, Alberta, Canada

    Date Reviewed: January 2, 2004

    Strengths:    Light, powerful (when set up right)
    Fairly quiet after bedded in


    Weaknesses:    Tough to bleed properly
    small parts on levers easy to break or lose


    Bottom Line:   
    Couldn't get the levers firm enough, went almost to bar like lots of folks have said here before. I purchased the Formula bleed kit (syringe etc) and used that, but levers were still a bit soft. Saw someone mention using two syringes to bleed these brakes, so I bought a second (connect one on lever, second down at caliper, pump fluid back and forth and get all the air bubbles out), and now lever feel is firm, with lots of power and good modulation.

    (Torsten has been very helpful to me too)

    There are some small parts on the levers that seem to break easily, so I'll only give them 4 flamers...

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   2 Years

    Purchased At:   Bow Cycle

    Similar Products Used:   hayes mech discs (skweeeeeek)

    Bike Setup:   '01 Stumpy FSR XC ~4" travel F&R trailbike setup

    Overall Rating:1
    Value Rating:1
    Submitted by Jan from Århus, Denmark

    Date Reviewed: June 23, 2003

    Strengths:    Weight. Works a littel better when wet, maybe due to better cooling.

    Weaknesses:    Brake power equal to wet canti brakes. Fades a lot. Needs bleeding often.

    Bottom Line:   
    Yes these are very light, but as told they are very weak no braking power at all. I weigh 80 kg, maybe if you are a 60 kg flat trail XC dude these might be the ones for you.

    Function before weight, when you start riding you have 1 kg liquid on the bike so why care of 100 g pr brake.


    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Similar Products Used:   Magura Louise 2001

    Bike Setup:   Commencal Doctor, Psylo SL

    Overall Rating:3
    Value Rating:3
    Submitted by stevo jackwallop a Downhiller from somerset, england

    Date Reviewed: March 22, 2003

    Strengths:    light weight, pimpy gold, cute looks

    Weaknesses:    dont use for downhill, because of the light weight build strength starts to dissapear after a while even with new pads

    Bottom Line:   
    these brakes are ideal for xc but as i have been getting faster at dh and doing higher and faster drops and decents they have been too weak. they have taken a couple of knocks though not bad for an xc brake.

    i work in a bike shop (bicyclechain.co.uk) and one of my collegues has successfully mated a b4 caliper with an old hope sport lever WHAT A DIFFERENCE! this improved the power by 200% they now feel like hayes...

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   kingscliff woods

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Bike Setup:   cute little gold hardtail frame, z1 wedges, xt mech, manacle chain device, fsa alpha drive cranks and ultimax pro bb

    Overall Rating:2
    Value Rating:1
    Submitted by Mark a Cross Country Rider from Durango, CO

    Date Reviewed: February 25, 2003

    Strengths:    Weight? Handlebar clamps

    Weaknesses:    Cheap plastic parts, lack of US service

    Bottom Line:   
    In general: They rubbed from when I got the bike - never could get them tuned. When they heated up after short downhills (1-2min) they would squeal for the next 1/2 hour.

    Now - about the plastic in the parts:
    First - there is some plastic lever retention thing that broke off, so I was running a ghetto-lever with a rubber band keeping it from extending too far.
    Then - Hanging it for the winter, all the fluid leaks from another plastic part - the resevoir lid.
    Finally - the plastic bleeder screw twisted apart from minimal torque with a torx bit.

    I ordered a set of Avid mechanicals today.

    Avoid these if you don't have your own personal Itallian mechanic to tune them. I would rather have an extra 50 grams and some metal parts instead of plastic bits.

    In all fairness, even though they are junk if they worked when I left for a ride, they still worked at the end of the ride. I was never stranded brakeless, and they always stopped me. For that they get 2 chillis instead of snake-eyes.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Purchased At:   Came on bike

    Bike Setup:   Yeti AS-R

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:3
    Submitted by Ricardo Rosado a Weekend Warrior from Lisbon, Portugal

    Date Reviewed: February 23, 2003

    Strengths:    not bad....

    Weaknesses:    overheating, is a factor....

    Bottom Line:   
    well, when i first used the brakes ..there where very nice and seamd not to have any kind of problems, but, when i started to do some hard braking i realised that i had to pull the lever almost til the end to stop.
    i cleaned the brakes ..i put more braking fluid but nothing..she just kept on going when i tried to stop...BUT it was when i went to a bike store and changed the original pads to a fibrax ones...and everything changed NOW i have a massive stoping power i just keep on liking much and much more my brakes.

    If someone would like to have massive stoping power and small weait..well these are the brakes.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $260.00


    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Mark DRUMMOND a Cross Country Rider from London, England

    Date Reviewed: December 23, 2002

    Strengths:    Light, powerful, good value

    Weaknesses:    Like all discs need careful set up and 'running in'

    Bottom Line:   
    Many of the gripes indicate some 'set up' issues, take the time to do it right (same as all discs) and they will reward you with good performance. They are damn light and poweful.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Lookout

    Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

    Price Paid:    $70.00

    Purchased At:   e-bay

    Similar Products Used:   only Vs

    Bike Setup:   Merlin frame, Xt group, zocchis

    Overall Rating:2
    Value Rating:3
    Submitted by laurence creighton a Cross Country Rider from england

    Date Reviewed: December 11, 2002

    Strengths:    The disks wear in pretty quick with some light squeaks but overall quite good

    Weaknesses:    The pins in the brake fall out easily and i actully lost one, I have been looking for spares everywhere and if you can find one email me at creightz105@hotmail.com

    Bottom Line:   
    they are overall good brakes but hard to find spares

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Price Paid:    $354.00

    Purchased At:   saddington cycles


    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Nonoy a Weekend Warrior from Philippines

    Date Reviewed: December 11, 2002

    Strengths:    Lightweight, cool looks!!

    Weaknesses:    price!

    Bottom Line:   
    This discs rocks!! they squeal a lot at the beginning but its normal when breaking in... still good enough for the weight @ 700 grams (f/r set)...quality built, encountered little probs at 1st but the shop had good service and was able to help me and set the discs perfectly!!!

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $240.00

    Purchased At:   YKK

    Similar Products Used:   Avid Mech discs, Shimano XT

    Bike Setup:   C'dale F/S, UST tires, Fox float RL rear shox.......

    Overall Rating:1
    Value Rating:1
    Submitted by John a Cross Country Rider from Adelaide, South Australia

    Date Reviewed: November 20, 2002

    Strengths:    ..ummmm...they look good, oh and you never have to replace a rear tire again, (you may have to when the casing rots)I've not been able to lock the rear in a year!
    Bleeding service intervals have gotten me out of the weekly shopping expeditions with the wife! (5 chilli's).
    The modulation experience is unforgetable....and sharpens your braking distance 'senses' to new levels.


    Weaknesses:    ...this product is used for stopping...seriously? Do not expect to get the same stopping performance from these as your old v-brakes, or get out of trouble quickly on them.
    Never in my life have I had a rear tire last so long, and when you are able to actually lock a wheel...tell all your friends (or make sure they are there)!
    1. The levers and their travel design have been engineered
    by someone who obviously had too much spare time in the factory downloading porn. I'm sick of pulling a u-turn to fetch those pins.
    2. Do not use these in hot weather, they boil way too easy.
    3. If you do use these when it's hot...expect the piston seals to start leaking.
    4. I did all the research and read the reviews before purchasing these so I expected a 'bedding in' period...still waiting for something (anything!) to happen.
    5. The stopping power of these brakes is NON-EXISTENT. If you have way too much confidence in your trail riding abilities purchase these brakes to re-introduce a challenge back into your riding.


    Bottom Line:   
    ....these would make a great 'gag' gift...do not throw out your old v-brakes...you'll be putting them back on.

    Seriously though never before in my life have I been so
    sh!t scared of trying to stop....ever.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Price Paid:    $240.00

    Purchased At:   LifeCycle Bicycles

    Similar Products Used:   ..wedged four mars bars between the frame and rims to compare the stopping power....mars wins hands down...and leaves less damage than dot 4...

    Bike Setup:   KHS FXT Rage

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Rob a Cross Country Rider from London UK

    Date Reviewed: October 22, 2002

    Strengths:    lightweight, looks saucy, lightweight, better than v's, oh, and lightweight too.

    Weaknesses:    flimsy rotors, gay reservoir covers.

    Bottom Line:   
    Nice brakes, good power after break in although not as sharp as Hope's. I haven't had the noise other people have complained about but then I do try to keep them clean (that means keeping your mate's dick beaters off the rotors as well)
    The rear seems better set up than the front, strangely, and also during a rather tough ride the front rotor warped and began squeaking on the pads when pedalling (it was still ok to stop with though)
    I couldn't / didn't want to mess with it :as it looked bent as a boxing day turd (or thanksgiving doody if you're in the US) but the bike shop sorted it for me on the first service.
    Overall I would still choose these over anything else (just)
    Hope's are great looking but seem a bit snatchy on my mates bike.. a cross between these two at the price of Clark's mechanicals would be ideal.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

    Purchased At:   moose cycles

    Similar Products Used:   hope minis

    Bike Setup:   commencal normal (stock except panaracer fire xc's) .Riser bars ,sus.s/post (or anything else gives me the horn )to be added soon.

    Reviews 1 - 15 (39 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


    Formula B4 Gold's

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