Eyes On: Formula’s Hydraulic Road Disc Brake with Integrated Di2 Shifter Levers

Formula Hydraulic Road Disc Brakes with Di2 integrated into levers for Colnago bicycles

Spotted at Taichung Bike Show, Formula’s new road hydraulic brake is designed with Di2 compatibility into their own shifter levers. While still relying on Shimano’s electronic shifting rather than creating a drivetrain, by integrating shift levers into the system with a simple Di2 hack, Formula has publicly shown the most complete solution for putting hydraulic disc brakes on your road bike so far.

They did some testing in the Alpes, with average speeds around 52km/h and maxing out over 70km/h. They found that even with 140mm rotors they didn’t have any heat problems because the higher speeds meant more airflow over the caliper and rotors. That test was with the larger mountain bike calipers, though…when it gets to production, it’ll have a smaller, lighter caliper designed specifically for road.

“With mountain bikes you need more stopping power. With road, you need more control and the braking style is different,” said Giancarlo Vezzoli, Formula’s engineering advisor. “With a 160mm rotor in the front the braking was very aggressive.”

Right now, it’s a project for Colnago, but they should have it as an aftermarket set following Eurobike in the fall. Pricing should be similar to their R1 (around $650/set) as shown here with alloy levers.  They’re working on a higher end version with a carbon lever and titanium hardware. Close up pics after the break…

Formula Hydraulic Road Disc Brakes with Di2 integrated into levers for Colnago bicycles

Formula Hydraulic Road Disc Brakes with Di2 integrated into levers for Colnago bicycles

Formula Hydraulic Road Disc Brakes with Di2 integrated into levers for Colnago bicycles

The shift levers are stacked behind one another with nested knobs inside. Push the inner one and both levers move to push one knob onto the Di2 control buttons (below). Push the larger lever and it pushes a different button. Even without gloves, the levers are awfully close together and take a bit of practice to push just one. I’m guessing you could get the hang of it quickly, but winter gloves might make shifting a challenge.

Formula Hydraulic Road Disc Brakes with Di2 integrated into levers for Colnago bicycles

On the left is the Di2 button box. The button insert is slightly different for Ultegra and Dura-Ace Di2, but that could change with the next generation of Dura-Ace since we’re expecting them to match Ultregra’s electronics and wiring harness and plugs. On the right, a small spring returns the shift lever blades to the neutral position.

Formula Hydraulic Road Disc Brakes with Di2 integrated into levers for Colnago bicycles

Inside the lever you can see where the hydraulic hose enters the master cylinder. The clamp is tightened around the bar from the side and uses a wedge to pull the clamp on the back of the bar forward evenly on both sides.

Formula Hydraulic Road Disc Brakes with Di2 integrated into levers for Colnago bicycles

Just in front of the clamp bolt is the master cylinder. It’s pretty small.

Comments

Racefiets verkopen - 04/21/12 - 10:42am

“With a 160mm rotor in the front the braking was very aggressive.”

I do not want to be a testrider for Formula, with that much stopping power, the front wheel will probably block completely?

Chris - 04/22/12 - 7:25am

easy tiger, 160mm rotor on road bike works fine…

what I want to know is, where’s the battery???

feg - 04/22/12 - 10:16am

very nice, minimal, elegant, normal sized brake levers. not like the enormous sram red hydaulic levers.

Mark Ifi - 04/23/12 - 2:11pm

I used to use 180mm xtr brakes with road tires and rims, and it was possible to block both wheels, but it wasn’t dangerous. you get lots of grip from nice tires.

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