Formula T1Racing – the shape of things to come?

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Singletrack’s US Special Agent Marc Basiliere  reports…

In presentations for Specialized’s new 2014 range, we noticed that some high-end trail models were coming with a new brake from Formula: the T1Racing.  A bit of poking around got us the lowdown from Formula’s Jeff Stoudt- and it sounds like the Italian company has been doing its homework.

Photo courtesy Manu Molle/Specialized
Photo courtesy Manu Molle/Specialized

If better ergonomics, lighter action, and more power sound good to you, then read on…

Building on Formula’s existing 24mm T1 platform for maximum stopping power, the T1Racing adds a low-profile titanium banjo to the lovely polished caliper.  But the real news is at the far end of things.  The T1Racing lever uses a new arrangement in which the master cylinder is pulled rather than pushed.  The idea is to improve the brake’s ergonomics for most riders while minimising stresses and  wear on the master cylinder.  Moving to a pull-type arrangement has allowed Formula to move the lever pivot closer to the bar, allowing for a much wider range of lever adjustment- especially for riders with smaller hands.  The system’s inherently light action means that more hand force gets translated into braking, rather than consumed fighting the system’s internal resistance.


Of course, no high-end brake would be complete without a smattering of exotic materials.  In this case, that Ti banjo is joined with titanium hardware, which is lighter and more corrosion-resistant than steel without the durability and serviceability issues that aluminum fasteners can present.  An aluminum lever blade is used because, in Formula’s words, the design “has proven itself to be stronger, lighter and less flexible than any carbon lever blade we tested.”  Spec’d on Specialized’s range-topping 2014 S-Works Camber and Stumpjumper trail bikes, this all adds up to a powerful trail/Enduro brake with an XC-worthy 205g claimed weight (with Feel Control System free-throw adjuster but without rotor).  The T1Racing is intended to pair with Formula’s 2-piece rotors for lighter weight, better heat dissipation, and–frankly–better looks than 1pc steel rotors.


So far, feedback has apparently been excellent- with women and smaller riders especially appreciating the ergonomics.

The T1Racing is a Specialized-specific model and should start popping up on complete bikes in late August.  Look for similar features on aftermarket Formula brakes this autumn…

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