Formula R1 Disc Brake System

4.13/5 (31 Reviews)
Weight : 270g MSRP : $281.99

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Product Description

Tipping the scales at approximately 289.7g for an entire post mount assembly with a 160mm rotor, the powerful Formula R1 Disc Brake is just as at home on a purebred crosscountry race rig as it is on an all-day enduro ripper. It shares the same flex-resisting and heat dissipating technology as the superlight weight R1 Racing, but the R1 divvies up the classic price/weight/strength ratios to favor cost and reliability over grams.A forged master cylinder ensures strength at a low weight, while a radial design resists flex so all lever forces are transferred directly to the hard anodized piston. A new, higher capacity master cylinder houses time-proven DOT 4 fluid to keep things operating cool and smooth for long maintenance intervals. You can easily run the levers moto-style without swapping lines thanks to Formula's Flip-Flip design. It?s also compatible with the MixMaster clamp to reduce cockpit clutter by merging shifter and lever clamps into one unit.The R1 is equipped with Formula's Tool Free Reach Adjustment knob for quick and simple fine-tuning of lever position to get you set with perfect ergonomics and maximum leverage. The R1 can also be upgraded with the separately available FCS (Feeling Control System) that allows lever stroke adjustment and compensation for pad wear.The R1 uses a polyester braided hose with aluminum crimps and banjo fittings to prevent hose expansion when under extreme compression. The one-piece, forged caliper houses a large 22mm diameter piston that pushes an aluminum backed organic brake pad. This combination provides excellent power, modulation, and quiet operation.The Formula R1 Disc Brake represents the pinnacle of disc brake performance. The price reflects all the parts, save the rotor, for a single wheel. Rotors are sold separately with the appropriate adaptor?choose between one piece 160mm or 180mm, or the slightly lighter and much sexier two-piece design in 160mm or 180mm.Please note: almost all hydraulic brake lines need to be cut to size before a bike is properly shod with hydraulic disc brakes. You'll need a quality cable-cutter like the Park CN-10 and a spoke to first cut and then de-crimp the housing.

Formula Brakes R1 Disc Brake System Pro Review

How does it look? Hawt! The lever has a very clean, minimalistic lines with red anodized clamps and hardware. The master cylinder itself sports a flat black finish and is complemented with a silver forged lever. The cable is an elegant gray kevlar braid which leads to a flat, textured caliper with red ano accents as well. However, the rotor itself is not of the same aesthetic caliber. The swoopy center lines are abruptly finished by a very round outer rim peppered by dozens of holes. It’s not in the same vein as the classic Oro Puro rotor. Continue reading →

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Reviews 1 - 15 (31 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Loving Life on a Bike!

Date Reviewed: January 15, 2015

Strengths:    I guess that it will stop you.

Weaknesses:    Everything about this brake sucks. I've used plain jane brakes Shimano 395, XT 775, Hayes, and Tektro Gemini. I've even had Hayes MX 2,3, and 5 plus Tektro Aquila mechanical brakes. All of them worked better and are more user friendly than these brakes are. From what I see is that in the past they were a good system, but in the last few years they have gone to crap. All these are for those people who want to do the "show" and not the ride. I ride and I expect the equipment that I buy to do the job it is intended to do. These fall very short. Yes they stop you but at a price. The spring for the pads will start to interfere with the disc once they are down to 25% of life left. I've had this happen now on 3 different sets of pads. The piston is never tight no matter how you bleed them. If you don't bleed them right you will get D.O.T. 4 everywhere or a lever that you have to pump to get the engagement that should just be there.

Bottom Line:   
In summary stay away from these brakes. the problems that plague them is not worth the "Bragging rights" to say "I have Formula brakes". At those words I laugh at them. Me, I cringe every time when I hear me say those words.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Any single track

Duration Product Used:   Over 8 months

Bike Setup:   2013 Marin Rift Zone XC8 29er

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Nat a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: April 9, 2014

Strengths:    Lightweight, good modulation, good stopping power

Weaknesses:    Leaks toxic DOT 4 fluid onto handlebars, terrible customer service

Bottom Line:   
These brakes came stock on my Rocky Mountain Vertex 970 RSL, and initially they worked well and felt great. However, when I was moving the brakes around on my carbon handlebars one day, I noticed the finish had delaminated a little bit under the right hand mount. I thought that was strange, but the bars seemed fine otherwise so I kept riding.

Fast forward two months, and halfway through a cross country race my rear brake was losing power. By the end of the race the brake had almost no power at all. I took the bike to the shop the next day to get the brake bled, but the shop called me a few hours later to say some membrane was leaking on the back of the master cylinder after they bled the system and my carbon bars were once again covered in toxic, corrosive DOT 4 fluid.

Not only did I have to replace the carbon handlebars at my own cost, but the Formula warranty people initially mailed us the wrong part. My BS meter started going off, so I bought other brakes to ride in the meantime (Shimano XT) and let them try to figure out how to solve the problem. Finally, we just shipped the brakes to Formula for repair, and lo and behold, they claimed that it wasn't their fault. Even though I never bled or serviced the front brake, they claimed that BOTH brakes had been contaminated somehow, and were therefore not reparable under warranty. I consider it lesson learned, and hopefully others won't have to suffer the same fate.

Avoid Formula products!

P.S. I feel like this is a lawsuit waiting to happen--their brake leaks corrosive fluid onto handlebars in a spot that's not visible from the outside. This has been well documented (google Formula brakes on carbon bars). Somebody is going to have a bar break off in their hands right at the compromised location and hopefully they don't get badly injured, but the fact that they don't have a recall or at least a public notice not to use these on carbon bars seems criminally negligent.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Similar Products Used:   Shimano XT, SLX, Saint

Bike Setup:   Rocky Mountain Vertex 970 RSL

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Shkoder a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: June 27, 2013

Strengths:    modulation;
good power with third-party semi-metallic pads;

Weaknesses:    unreasonably high replacement parts and components price;
terrible customer and warranty service;
absence of regional tech support;
low power with stock pads;
squeaking with stock rotors and pads;
gap between pads and rotors is very tight and hard to adjust.

Bottom Line:   
my short story. Formula R1 brakes were purchased at aftermarket as complete kit with rotors and light kevlar hoses in mint condition, almost new. even stock pads wear was minimal. these brakes appeared very light but tricky to setup because of extremely tight gap between rotors and pads so even invisible rotor deformation leaded to noises and squeaks. I was riding for about 100 miles trying to get good breaking and modulation but it wasn't possible with stock organic pads. I had to replace them with high semi-metallic pads from Trucker, then I finally got the power of Formula.

until levers started to leak. first it was some slurping noise from the left lever, then braking power loss for the front and finally some liquid running from the bottom of brake lever. btw, that liquid completely ruined my carbon handlebar coating.. at MTBR forum I've read about that issue isn't rare and most of pre-2010 R1 models had leaking levers from the start. Formula makes replacement or repair of whole brakes free of charge because it's warranty issue.

ok, I had to remove brakes from the bike and tried to contact Formula office same day. their european office was hard to reach by phone, I've used about two days of constant calling to get retorted with "contact your regional dealer for support". then I've written some emails to italian office and local ukrainian office but got no reply. then called local representative several times but they told me Formula did not supplied them replacement parts and I have to purchase them directly. I've received a single reply by email from Italy where they promised to contact local representative for information. then no replies, no answers, nothing for about 3 weeks. last call to local representative finished with pointing fingers to Formula main office again.

conclusion. R1 brakes tries to hit premium segment by it's price but Formula provides no support to customers. when something happens with your pricey brakes then your requests will be simply disregarded. take money and keep silence - is an exact "formula".

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Panski les near Lutsk, Ukraine

Duration Product Used:   1 year

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   2011

Similar Products Used:   Formula RX
Avid Juicy 5
Magura Julie
Hayes Stroker Trail

Bike Setup:   Cannondale Rush SL converted to 650b. Lefty Speed SL, Fox Float RPL, SRAM X9 drivetrain, Formula brakes

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Jason a Racer

Date Reviewed: December 2, 2012

Strengths:    Light weight and looks good

Weaknesses:    Extremely noisy, brake shudder, fades when used on steep long downhills

Bottom Line:   
Typical Italian product-Looks good, but functions poorly and is overpriced with no customer support.2012 Formula R1 brake set with sintered brake pads came on my new Specialized Stumpjumper. Owned the bike since new and since day 1 both front and rear brakes extremely noisy when applied at anything less than full power. I cleaned the rotors with isopropyl alcohol before my first ride and did a proper break-in of the brakes before riding the trails. I have several other bikes with different manufactured brakes using sintered pads and yes there is some slight noise with sintered pads, but the Formulas are EXTREME and combined with brake shudder. Found rear rotor had badly warped so that it would scrape the caliper with the pads removed. Also the brakes will fade on steep longer downhills-I am riding cross country downhills and not on an all mountain or downhill bike. I weigh 165 pounds and the bike is 20 pounds and the brakes will fade- my avid BB7 brakes on a heavier bike on the same trails do not fade. Straitened both rotors, deglazed the pads and rotors, cleaned caliper pistons, aligned calipers and torqued all hardware to Formula's specs and brakes are the same. Tried contacting Formula's tech support online two different times and both times no response even though e-mail confirmation was received. Overall result- buy another manufacturers brakes-they work better and are less expensive. If Formula wants to charge a premium price, the product better live up to the price tag. The video on the MTBR site above From Formula states they are the most powerful brakes in the industry- Wrong,Formula better do some more research.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Butcher Ranch Trail

Duration Product Used:   9 Months

Price Paid:    $3700.00

Purchased At:   Mikes Bikes

Similar Products Used:   Hope Mono M4, Hope Mono M6, Avid BB7 mechanical, Avid Juicy 5, Shimano XT

Bike Setup:   Stock 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon Evo R 29

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Richard

Date Reviewed: November 23, 2012

Strengths:    Good initial power and feel

Weaknesses:    Extremely noisy, can't hold a conversation with a fellow rider on the climb. Have been into the shop at least 4 times with new rotors, pads etc. I'm now finding they fade on stepper downhills of more than 3Km and get more noisy as this happens. They are not good performers in the wet. They came with my Lapierre Zesty and I have now just bought some Shimano XT brakes and will get rid of them after less than a year. Very frustrated!

Bottom Line:   
Very poor brake option. I'm told I'm in the minority but my wife's brakes also make excessive noise until the brake pads are half worn. I wouldn't recommend them.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by andre a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: September 29, 2012

Strengths:    Good looking, better than ave braking power

Weaknesses:    very very noisy, very little room for adjustment. Feels as if the brakefluid overheats as the brakes feel spongy on long twisty downhill with lots of braking.

Bottom Line:   
Came std on my Cube 120 AMS. Wont be my brake of choice and after only 5 mnths of usage I am replacing it with my old Stokers and selling the R1's.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Craig Morris a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: June 26, 2012

Strengths:    Light, good stopping power

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
I really love these brakes. I was given these as a replacement for my really horrible Avid XX brakes. Lever never fades.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by torque29er a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: May 13, 2012

Strengths:    Look Awesome. Work Awesome. Great modulation. Great stopping power. Great adjustability.

Weaknesses:    None yet

Bottom Line:   
Came stock on my Epic EVO. Haven't ant issues at all. Over 500 miles on them so far. A little noisier than my XTR's but not a big deal for me. Did I say Great looks. Mine are "ALL BLACK" with the red adjustment wheel.

Expand full review >>

Similar Products Used:   XTR... read review
Avid XO... read review

Bike Setup:   Epic EVO...

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by BikeSwan a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: May 8, 2012

Strengths:    - Extremely light (dropped considerable weight by replacing my Hope M4's).
- Great modulation, with really good feel at the lever.
- 160mm Rotor easily powerful enough on a 26er (not so much on a 29er).
- Easy lever adjustment.
- Simple, intuitive bleeding.
- Look great!

Weaknesses:    - 160mm on the front isn't powerful enough for a 29er.
- Delicate master cylinder.
- Pretty expensive (but you get what you pay for).
- Cant adjust lever firmness (position yes, firmness no).

Bottom Line:   
Great brakes! Very light with great feel. As soon as I get hold of a 180mm rotor they should be more than adequate in the power department. I highly recommend these brakes. Their a few years old now, so you can find some great deals on them.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Windsor Trail - Santa Fe, NM

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   Chain Reaction

Similar Products Used:   Hope M4, Hope X2

Bike Setup:   Santa Cruz Tallboy, DT Swiss forks and shocks, XTR Drive train w/ Race Face crank, DT Swiss hubs w/ Arch EX rims, Race Face and Thomson finishing kit.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by jacksonoreillyjunior a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: April 15, 2012

Strengths:    lightweight; good stopping power

Weaknesses:    the lack pad clearance is absurd - a real pain in the ass unless you like rubbing & squealing. From the beginning the inboard pistons refused to retract fully. After a year of dealing with these, constantly getting even the tiniest deflection out of my rotors, constantly readjusting calipers, I sent them back to Formula - they replaced the piston seals, which supposedly helps bring the piston back in, as the seals supposedly stay seated on the piston edge and the cylinder wall, and the seals supposedly stretch as piston is forced out (lever squeezed) and when that potential energy put into the stretch of the seal is released (as the master cylinder piston pressure is released when letting go of lever), supposedly the seal takes its original shape back, drawing the piston back with it (I don't know what % this retractive force of the seal contributes to pulling the pistons going back in - I'm quite certain the main force pressing the pistons back in is still atmospheric pressure from air molecules slamming at 14.7 psi against pistons; this "seal" seating is btw why Formula will tell you not to lubricate the pistons with anything but brake fluid, not that I ever did that, but brake fluid is pretty slippery itself, so I have some doubts about the whole seal deformation theory, but I'm not an expert.) Anyway, guess what: after getting R1's back from Formula, there was very little difference - the front was somewhat better, maybe 0.1 mm gap between rotor and pads, but that with pads maybe 1/3 worn down, and the rear brake has only maybe 0.01 mm, ie, no clearance on inboard side - forcing the caliper to be set so that the caliper body is about one micron from rotor - so of course guess what I hear on cornering - the sickening sound of rotor squealing on caliper body.

Bottom Line:   
These brakes are exactly one year old as I write. I bought them because I absolutely love my Formula Oro's on an older bike - they are still fantastic after 5+ years of heavy usage - the gap in the caliper body is plenty wide enough enough to handle brand new pads and no rub - but the Oro's are somewhat heavier and don't stop quite as well as the R1's. I think these R1's are "beta" and not ready for primetime. Apparently for 2012 there are changes - larger reservoir for one - I don't know why the two sides of the caliper couldn't be angled differently allowing for more adjustment to compensate for the inboard pistons inability to retract properly (many many people have this same problem.) I'm wondering if The One has this problem? I'm not that much of a weight weenie - another 40 grams would be fine with me if the pad clearance was better. Then again, I shouldn't be in the market for new brakes at all after one year of hassling with these R1's.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   so many! Mr. Toad's (Tahoe); BCT; South Mountain..

Similar Products Used:   Formula Oro's; Avid Juicy Carbon; Avid BB7

Bike Setup:   Bow-Ti; SC Blur; classic carbon Mojo; Pugsly; Mojo HD

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by pktrain a Cross Country Rider from Boulder, CO

Date Reviewed: April 4, 2012

Strengths:    Light, powerful, good-looking, high-quality, low-maintenance

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
These brakes are simply magnificent. Once you get over the price (you do get what you pay for here), these brakes leave me impressed and smiling on every ride. I have ridden various trails of various degrees of difficulty and I've never had to apply more than one-half pressure of one index finger to stop as I've needed. They're easy to adjust, pretty much maintenance-free, they look sharp, and they took a full half-pound off my bike switching from Avid Elixirs.

These brakes are simply magnificent...there's nothing else to say...

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   Various Hayes, Shimano, and Avid brakes over the years

Bike Setup:   GF Superfly 100

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mbrennwa a Cross Country Rider from Zurich, Switzerland

Date Reviewed: April 1, 2012

Strengths:    Great stopping power, fantastic feel. I crave brakes with good modulation, and this is by far the best I've used so far.

Weaknesses:    Pricey (but in this case you get what you pay for). Adjustment is tricky because of the low clearing between calipers and disc. With my second set of brake pads (Swissstop brand instead of original Formula) the brake improved (even better modulation, adjustment got easier).

Bottom Line:   
I needed the best brake I could find because I use my bike every day. So I tried the R1, and was happy ever after (even after years of use and hardly any maintanance).

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   anything goes

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Similar Products Used:   Formula RX, Avid hydros and mechanicals

Bike Setup:   Commuter bike

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by ddprocter a Cross Country Rider from San Carlos

Date Reviewed: February 7, 2012

Strengths:    Very strong, well modulated, light brakes. They don't fade. They are strong wet or dry. Pads very easy to change. Reach adjust works perfectly. Bleed it straightfoward.

Weaknesses:    Would like some control over stiffness, no adjustment for modulation (although there is plenty of reach adjustment)
Little noisy even with organic pads
Had to replace rear pistons due to sticking piston on one side, but, bought used, have no way to confirm the prior history of these brakes

Bottom Line:   
Lightest, strongest brakes out there. Had some maintenance issues, but they were used, so hard to judge real longevity

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   I'll Never Tell

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $370.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   First disc brakes

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Cap'n Chris a Racer from Dana Point, CA

Date Reviewed: January 3, 2012

Strengths:    Light weight, great looking, durable. The stopping power is amazing, and the modulation is CRAZY good when the added pad adjustment dial is added.

Weaknesses:    None yet!

Bottom Line:   
If you want the best XC/trail stoppers out there, the R-1's are the real deal. The price is so worth it, once they are mounted you will never even think or it again. With the additional pad reach dial and carbon lever upgrade, the brakes are light and extremely worthy of high end race bike set ups. IDEAL for XC racers or endurance trail riders looking for sizzling power in a stupid-light package.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Noble Canyon/Thunder Mtn

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   Everything from Avid BB7's to Magura to Hayes

Bike Setup:   Which one?

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by bsdc a Cross Country Rider from Austin, TX

Date Reviewed: October 15, 2011

Bottom Line:   
For what it's worth, I ride Juicy 7's. They've worked great for me for many years. I haven't ever thought of replacing them.

I just got back from Outerbike where I got to ride a lot of bikes. I really wasn't there to evaluate brakes, but I did ride a couple of bikes with Formula R1 brakes and they really stood out to me. I'm not one to nitpick components a lot. All the other brakes on the other bikes were fine. It's just somehow the R1's really impressed me. I'm sure some of it is personal preference, but they just fit right (I have relatively small hands) and had real nice modulation.

I've got no plans of replacing something that's not broke, but my next bike will have Formula R1's or something very similar.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The Echilada

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Similar Products Used:   Juicy 7 and tested a lot of others.

Reviews 1 - 15 (31 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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