by Wil Barrett
August 26, 2016
Italian brand Formula has been firing off new products left, right and centre lately. Just a couple of weeks ago, we brought you the story on their new Enduro fork, the Selva. And last week they dropped a new e-bike specific hydraulic disc brake called the Cura-E. Now, they’ve got some brand spanking wheels to show off.
The new Linea wheels aren’t the first wheels that Formula have produced. While there haven’t been any wheel listings on the Formula website for some time, the Italian brand actually dabbled in mountain bike wheelsets back in 2013, when they released the Volo range in both alloy and carbon options. Unfortunately for Formula, their new 26in wheels were being released at a time when mountain bike companies were moving away from the wheelsize, and despite offering additional sizes as time went by, they just didn’t quite catch the attention of most consumers.
After going back to the drawing board having taken a break from producing wheelsets, Formula has come back with an all-new wheelset design called the Linea. The Linea wheels are built with alloy rims, and Formula have developed them as a tough trail-riding wheelset that sits in the middle of the price spectrum. Available in three different widths and in 27.5in and 29in diameters with multiple hub options, the new Linea range appears to cover most bases.
Except for the 36in size. Which we hear is the next big thing.
“After three years of research, we came up with a wheel hub like no other. The aluminium rims are the best that technology can offer today. Weight is very limited. Solidity and quality match our usual standards, with no compromise. Maximum smoothness, extremely reliable, minimum wear on the bearings and no maintenance. These are just a few of the characteristics that make Linea wheels the right wheels to excel in every discipline. With the option to choose between Boost or standard hubs, wheel diameters of 29” / 27,5” / 27,5” Plus, and three rim widths (27,2mm, 30mm and 40mm), no rider will fail to find his ideal wheel in the Linea range. It does not matter if you do cross-country, all-mountain or Enduro, starting today Linea wheels will set rails under your bike and will keep you glued to your trajectory. On Linea wheels, turning will be like turning on a new path right behind a local expert, you’ll feel like you have known your lines all your life.” – Formula
Available in three different widths, riders can simply choose the right rim width to suit their tyre size and riding intentions. There’s the Linea 2, Linea 3 and Linea 4, with the higher number denoting a wider internal rim width. The Linea wheels are all built with the same lacing pattern and the same machined alloy hubs.
The Formula Linea Wheels feature:
- 6082 T6 Anodized Alloy rims
- Hookless tubeless ready profile
- 3 internal rim width options: 27mm, 30mm & 40mm
- Rim sizes: 27.5in & 29in
- CNC machined alloy hubs
- Double butted straight-pull stainless steel spokes
- Front hub options: 100x15mm or 110x15mm (BOOST)
- Rear hub options: 142x12mm or 148x12mm (BOOST)
- RRP: €920 (pair)
The Linea 2 wheels are the lightest in the Linea range. While they’re also the narrowest, they come in at a generous width of 27mm internally, and they’re also the only rims to feature eyelets (the Linea 3 and Linea 4 do not). Formula say they’ll fit tyres between 2.0-2.5in wide. They’re primarily designed for XC racing and trail riding, and Formula claim that they weigh in at just 1356 grams for the complete 27.5in wheelset, which is very, very light.
Bumping up the internal rim width to 30mm, the Linea 3 wheels come into Formula’s wheel line up as a tough Enduro wheelset that’s capable of some harder-hitting riding. The wider rim is better suited to tyres between 2.25in to 2.8in wide, and it features a thicker alloy extrusion that offers increased strength and stiffness. With that in mind, the Linea 3 wheelset looks to be ideal for longer travel trail bikes. Despite their beefier appearance, a 27.5 Linea 3 wheelset is claimed to weigh 1636 grams, while the 29in version should come in at 1803 grams.
And last but not least is the Linea 4 wheelset. As the biggest of the range, the Linea 4 wheelset featuers a 40mm internal rim width that puts it squarely into the ‘plus’ category. That means it’s ideal for the latest generation of 2.8in to 3.7in plus tyres, though we’re sure you could fit narrower tyres on there if you so desired. Like the rest of the Linea range, the rims themselves are alloy, hookless and tubeless compatible. It only comes in a 27.5in diameter, so no 29in version (for now). Claimed weight is 1994 grams.
Also new with the Linea wheels are the Formula designed hubs. Based on a similar aesthetic as Formula’s previous hub design on the old Volo wheels, the new Linea hubs are CNC machined from alloy and feature a straight-pull design. They’re packed with large sealed cartridge bearings, and Formula have been keen to make them as user friendly as possible.
All hubs are available in BOOST specific options, as well as a regular version that’s adaptable for thru-axle and quick release frames & forks. You can also get the rear hub in a Shimano or a SRAM XD freehub body.
Internally, the Formula Linea hubs feature a novel design to spread the bearings as widely as possible. This is tricky to do in a rear hub because of the freehub mechanism. However, Formula have achieved a wider position for the driveside hub bearing by using a threaded sleeve that holds the bearing further away from the hub shell. In addition to the wide placement, Formula are using what they call ‘Full Contact Technology;
“With this special design, the bearings are more enclosed with better protected by the hub. All of the internal parts of the hub are in direct contact with the bearings. This design creates a protective structure with the added advantage of reducing the lateral movements of the bearings and eliminating the infiltration of water and dirt. FCT has been imagined not only to improve the performance of the hubs, but also to make the bearings last longer while reducing maintenance to a minimum.” – Formula
The hubs are also designed to be easy to pull apart and service, with what appears to be a tools-free design. We’re awaiting more information on the structure of the Linea hubs, and will update you as we get said information. Or we might even have a pair turn up in the office soon…
Keep your eyes peeled on Formula’s website for more information about the Linea wheels. Availability is slated for September 2016, so expect to start seeing some of these out on the trail.