By Marc Basiliere
Braking news from well outside the box
Founded circa 2012 by a (then) teenager, offerings from Germany’s Brake Force One have never hewed to industry trends. The brand’s composite bodies and one-finger levers have made their way into the mainstream- the reservoir-free design and glow-in-the-dark hoses not so much. Only time will tell how the brand’s latest innovation–water as hydraulic fluid–is received.
That’s right: water. Brake Force One reason that water’s higher thermal capacity and lower thermal expansion than mineral oil make it ideal for removing heat from the caliper, spreading the thermal energy over a greater area and allowing it to dissipate harmlessly. Moisture contamination shouldn’t be an issue either and adding one part glycol to every four parts H2O makes them OK for winter riding.
With a two-stage piston doing much the same work as Shimano’s Servo-Wave system, the Brake Force One caliper is said to provide good pad clearance at rest pad and good power when braking. As in models past, the small-volume, low-pressure brake lines keep total expansion volume to a minimum- and as a result no reservior is provided to accommodate the phenomenon. Also as a result, pad wear must be compensated for manually (hence the large knob at the front of the lever).
If nothing else, Brake Force One continues to ask some interesting questions- and we’d love to hear how they perform in the real world. In true German boutique brand fashion, the lever and caliper closure are available in four colours. A front & rear set will run roughly £425, with rotors another £46. It’s hard to deny that there’s a lot of interesting here for the money- though ‘interesting’ isn’t necessarily the first thing that most of us look for in a brake.