Formula brakes, the good and bad?

Home Forum Bike Forum Formula brakes, the good and bad?

Viewing 41 posts - 1 through 41 (of 41 total)
  • Formula brakes, the good and bad?
  • Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    got some k18s……seem good with 200mm rotors mate.

    flyingfox
    Member

    We run Formulas on a lot of our demo stuff and I have The Ones. They're amazing. For me, there is no better brake. However, on a demo fleet you have to do a lot of bleeding (almost every time the pads are changed) so they might not be the ultimate choice.

    I still have them though and I love them!

    psychle
    Member

    running formulas on all my bikes – K24's, Oro's (Puro's & Biancos) & The One's… no problems to report, nice lever feel and powerful (especially The One's with 200mm rotors!), easy to bleed (once you get used to it, and find a spare set of hands!). They don't suit everyone though, I think the lever reach doesn't suit some? Also, the guys at Propel are very helpful, in my experience.

    All in all, very happy with mine… plus they look the best of any brakes on the market, I think anyway (The One's will particularly suit a CCDB, if and when I ever get around to buying one 😉 😆 )

    geetee1972
    Member

    I have The Ones on both my DH and my trail bike. They brilliant in terms of performance; loads of power, very resistant to heat fade (I'm 105kg and didn't overheat them on 15minute runs in Chamonix) but they do eat pads, especially in the wet.
    Pads are fortunately a doddle to swap – don't even have to remove the wheel.
    There are two big downers to them though. One is they are a pain to get spares for. UK Bike Store seems to have good stock, but if they don't have what you need then you're in trouble. The other problem is that they are a pain to bleed. You need to have the lever turned so that the lever blade points directly upwards to do it, which is a lot harder to do than it sounds.

    psychle
    Member

    You need to have the lever turned so that the lever blade points directly upwards

    Just take the lever off the bar, not difficult to do, then use an rubber band to hold it in place (along with one for the lever 🙂 )

    nickegg
    Member

    Gone from previously owning M4's, Mini Mono and X2 to running RX1's on my Zesty. Fantastic brakes with loads of modulation and power from the 180mm front and rear rotors. Pads seem to be lasting well too.

    Bought my wife some RX and she is full of praise for them too. They're also very easy to bleed.

    We havn't run either long enough to give a long term report though.

    geetee1972
    Member

    Psychle – sounds like a neat trick. If you have a photo to illustrate, that would be really appreciated. At the moment I am having the LBS do them but I hate not being my own mechanic.

    nickegg
    Member

    The trick to bleeding is to simply lie the bike down, with which ever lever you are bleeding, facing upwards. That way the lever bleed screw (at least on RX/RX1) is at the highest point.

    Bled my wifes brakes after shortening the hoses and they've been fine since.

    psychle
    Member

    The trick to bleeding is to simply lie the bike down, with which ever lever you are bleeding, facing upwards.

    Aye, that'd work too 🙂

    ianpinder
    Member

    They are very temprmental, they either work or they don't for some, like geetee and a few of the guys I was in the alps with, they though they were amazing. I though mine were pants, really really pants. Also like it has been said before, they eat pads, so if they are going on demo bikes might not be the cheepest. In the alps I got through 3 sets in 5 days of riding, on the other hand, my hope tech motos have gone through one set of pads which was 3 weeks in the alps, 5 uplift days and many hours pissing about in the woods.

    nickegg
    Member

    I only know that as, when fitting the RX, i noticed that the bleeding instructions didn't even mention any of the new brakes!!!

    A quick call to Toby at Propel and he explained all so +1 for excellant technical support from them.

    Reluctant
    Member

    Old Formulas, going back into the nineties were made of cheese, and I wouldn't have touched em with a bargepole. The B4s of the early noughties were much better by design and the build quality was improved. Now, the current generation of RX/The One etc are pretty flippin awesome. Build is better again, back up from Propel is great and the power and modulation is as good as anything I've ever used. I rate 'em.
    Formula RX lever assembly

    JonEdwards
    Member

    I've had Oros and still have some Ones

    The good – light, look good, work beautifully in the dry.

    The bad – SHOCKINGLY BAD pad life in the wet. It got to the point where I simply couldn't ride my Soda (Oros) in the wet because I knew I'd only get 10 or 15 miles out of it before I was down to the metal. That's a whole load of different types of pad, all properly bedded in. Not helped by the pistons being a seemingly sloppy fit in the bores, so as the pad is slightly trapeziodal, it would wear much more rapidly on the narrower (bottom) edge. Both pads would wear in mirror image, so it wasn't a setup issue. Either way, the bottom edge of the pad would be down to the metal, while the top edge would be hardly touched.

    I got caught out, 2 consecutive weeks, in the Peaks last summer when it tipped it down. The second one I did Cutgate from Hope, was down to the backing by the time I got to Langsett. Not happy. Once I'd got back to Hope, the rotors were toast too. Walked into 18bikes and bought some Hopes.

    The Ones have been better, but not by much. They don't seem especially powerful either despite a 10stone rider and an 8" front rotor. OK, but nothing to write home about. The front one has a really inconsistent lever feel, despite repeated rebleeds. Looking to change them too, but not sure what for. Need to be DH friendly, but light too.

    Spares availability is woeful. When I first got the Ones I had a hell of a time simply getting pads for them. Discobrakes were the only stockist, and they were pretty shabby quality. Anything else, if UKbikestore haven't got it, then you'll have a bloody long wait.

    ashfanman
    Member

    I'm running K18s on my HT. Best brakes I've ever had. They've required zero fettling in over a year, and pad wear has been great. Really fancy a set of R1s, but they're not cheap!

    nickegg
    Member

    The Ones are supposed to be stupidly powerful! I can do an improptu endo with my RX1's (with 180mm front rotor) with one finger on the lever!

    EDIT: My wife is 9 stone and can do the same with her RX. I'm 12 stone. Something not right with yours Jon!

    My K24s are a good enough trail brake to stop a 200lb giffer like me. As JonEdwards said, they're light, good looking and pretty powerful (especially considering the weight) but, they can be a pain to look after.

    They're quite temperamental to bleed, and both my sets seem prone to lazy pistons, despite a maintenance regime that kept previous shimanos and hope running perfectly well.

    The most annoying thing for me is that when the pads are towards the end of their life, the pistons don't seem to want to extend through the seal and self-adjust the bite point so that it remains good.

    Queue lever travel to the bar.

    I've had trouble with excessive pad wear using organics, but superstar sintereds are fine as long as they've been bedded in.

    si-wilson
    Member

    Looking at moving from Hope brakes on my demo bikes just for the change and quite like the look of the Formula stuff.

    Any of you have any experiences of their brakes and your thoughts?

    My k18s aren't the best. Initial feel is always a little spongey, but does improve once they warm up, but even then the biting point can be unpredictable to say the least. I swapped them onto my singlespeed in the end and bought elixir CRs for the other.

    spock
    Member

    Don't you want the most reliable brakes on a demo fleet? that have long pad life and are easy to fit new pads and don't require bleeding very often? Surely the little extra power they give and the looks aren't worth it if they aren't as reliable and easily maintainable?

    Hob Nob
    Member

    My experiences with 'The Ones' mirror that of JonEdwards.

    They seem a real hit & miss brake. Although the new lever apparently has resolved a lot of the well documented issues. I gave up with mine though, and have been on Tech V2's on my DH bike ever since. yes they are a bit heavier, but the power, reliability & pad life is multiple times better.

    I do still run some Oro Puro's on my little bike though, they have been on there for 3 years & have been awesome.

    R1s,light,powerful,look great….but I have seen a number with the same fault;leaking master cylinders. The part needed to rectify the problem took weeks,rather than days to arrive.

    si-wilson
    Member

    mmm, interesting. Might have to rethink if the reliability is such an issue.

    Thanks for the feedback, exactly what i wanted!

    bonesetter
    Member

    I think if you started a post asking about alot of brakes you would get an equally mixed reply

    I run Formula's and have had issues – mainly excessive & spongy lever travel as well as difficulty bleeding (tried the upright lever method, ending up taking down the lbs)

    When they're working they have been excellent and better than others I've tried…

    bonesetter
    Member

    Anyone tried Ashima replacement pads for the Formula's?

    Going cheap on CRC

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear
    Subscriber

    +1 RX here fantastic. No issues.

    IvanDobski
    Member

    Jesus christ, don't do anything that involves dealing with those useless **** at propel….

    Brakes are good, spares back up and other customer service is utter shite.

    nickegg
    Member

    Seems to me the majority of problems are concerning the previous models…..guess the jury is still out on the newer RX and R1 brakes.

    Had no problems with ours..so far. Early days though!

    Ivan: Your experience doesn't tally with anything i've ever read about Propel and certainly doesn't mirror my own experiences.

    juan
    Member

    My RX have been good in the 6 month of intensive use they have seen (southern alps + shuttle in italy + snow mud wet etc etc).

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Subscriber

    Pad life with whatever the K18's come with (I guess organic) is a joke (I got 50km on mine) but replaced them with Superstar sintered pads and they've done 7 or 8 months since and am only just about to replace.

    Randall
    Member

    For demo bikes, Hope every time. Super easy to fit, bleed and maintain. The crucial thing is that spares are always available. The spares situation at Formula/propel is beyond a joke sometimes. Toby is a nice guy though… Formula are very light and powerful – if they could sort out the spares and make them less bleed-critical I'd use them. I have had several customer bikes with master cylinder problems but usually on the older Formulas.

    toons
    Member

    I love The Ones, I've found nuke proof pads last the longest in the wet.

    vikingboy
    Member

    2010 ones and 09 r1s here both awesome.
    Don't need constant bleeding and so long as pads bedded in I don't notice short pad life.

    2009 ones were more hit and miss especially regards lever feel and engagement points.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    I don't buy people's claims for brand-specific pad wear (for *any* brand). Every brand both wears out in 2 days, and lasts for ever.

    1000km of singletrack on my Oro K18's, and not even half way worn. Maybe I don't brake enough? 😕

    Premier Icon Wally
    Subscriber

    3 pairs of K18's and 24's all A1.
    Pads last ages, modulation and power is excellent and bleeding is easy.
    Picked up a couple of pairs cheap on classified – one needed a new hose.

    Prefer these to Hope mono mini – HFX9 – Avid3's.

    andyg
    Member

    Finally got mine perfect after two years.

    Slight Spongy feel with the back brake. Then a stuck rear piston. Stripped down caliper to remove swarf. Still a bit spongy though. Replaced master cyclinder piston. Now sharp as the front.

    Use Sintered brake pads as all the others either squeal so bad you become reluctant to put the brakes on and wear out quick. I use Disco sintered and the brakes now perform really well in all conditions.

    Top Tip – Use a thick bit of wire or a coat hanger and wrap it round the syringe and wrap the other end round the handlebar/rear stay to keep the syringes upright when you are bleeding them.

    MrNutt
    Member

    I use the k24's 200mm up front and 160 on the back, they could stop a truck!

    as for bleeding, here's some instructions wot I rote BLEEDIN BRAKES

    Premier Icon drew
    Subscriber

    Sorry for the hijack but bought some Formula the ones off here recently for an alps trip. Any recommendations on the most suitable pads to buy.

    neninja
    Member

    drew – SWissStop pads are supposed to offer the best combination of long life and braking force.

    They're not cheap though

    Premier Icon FOG
    Subscriber

    I had K18s which worked well but were horribly unreliable. They seized several times, once while miles from anywhere in the Cheviots and I had to remove the rear brake completely which is at least easy to do with the split clamp. The rear finally said goodbye on a rain sodden deathmarch across the Roych when instead of seizing it just wouldn't work at all.
    I got the rear completely rebuilt with new seals in M/cylinder [a total faff apparently] and relegated them to the 2nd bike where to be fair they have been no trouble. I wouldn't buy any and I would think hard about buying a bike that came with them.

    pinch_flat
    Member

    I've had two K24's both on the front, they are fantastic brakes with a ridiculous amount of power. I've never experienced brake fade on them even doing 10-15 min downhill runs. As for maintenance and pad life they are brilliant I hardly ever have to bleed them- last time was 3 months ago and they still feel great and the pads last forever as long as you use sintered and bed them in- I only had to change the pads once this winter and that was riding in the peaks grit and the latest pair have been running about 3 months

    I have K18's and K24's.

    Good – cheap, great modulation, plenty of power.

    Bad – Bit of fiddle to bleed. Had to change the master piston on my K24's and that was a RIGHT faff, compared to working on Hopes.

    Pad wear isn't as good as my old original minis, but they're not too bad. Getting a few instances of uneven wear though.

    The main issue for me, is that I can't seem to get them to mate well with Shimano shifters. I can get them close, but there is too much bulk in the Oro bar clamp to get the shifter as close as I'd like. I have XTRs and XT shifters, both of which will allow me to adjust where the pod sits relative to the bar clamp, but they're not perfect. Irritates me. I may ditch them for saints or something.

    I changed becuase I hoped they'd need less maintainence than my hopes. Hasn't really panned out that way.

    Also, propel are utterly useless. CRC and UK bikestore carry plenty of spares.

Viewing 41 posts - 1 through 41 (of 41 total)

The topic ‘Formula brakes, the good and bad?’ is closed to new replies.