Formula Unveils Disc Brake Road Bike Wheels, Updated Brake Tech & 29er/650B Suspension Forks!
Formula has new products across its entire range for 2013, from wheels to suspension to brakes.
The Volo Disc are new disc specific road wheels to complement the hydraulic road brakes they’re doing with Colnago. The rim is a carbon tubular and is disc specific. Hubs are their mountain bike hubs, which means 135 rear spacing. They are 3D forged with a 6-bolt rotor mount. It has a 12° engagement for the freehub body with four pawls grabbing it at once. The outer bearings are part of the end cap, which pushed them out as wide as possible.
Retail will be a bit over $3,000 but isn’t final…it’s meant to be a very high end piece. Actual weights are 648g front and 803g rear (1451g per set). Granted these are running existing MTB hubs, but anyone hoping that disc brakes will yield lighter wheelsets might be a bit disappointed.
Not shown, the Volo XC Hyperlight is a new 26″-only carbon tubular race wheelset. They come in at a claimed 1191g. Front hub are 9mm QR and 15mm thru axle compatible and ship with both endcaps and titanium skewers. About $3,300.
The Volo AM Light wheels get new hubs that’ll also accept 20mm thru axles and the rear will take QR or 12×142 and also includes all the end cap options in the box. Hubs are oversized and run straight pull spokes. They offset the pawls o decrease engagement angle to 6°, but only two connect at a time. Spokes use brass nipples for better durability. Rim increases to 21mm insode width. Weight is 1657g.
All brakes get ECT (Enhanced Caliper Technology) for 2013. Their Q-ring piston seals change durometer and the piston surface is a little rougher to increase friction between the o-ring and the poson. This improves the piston’s grip on the seal, which increases seal deformation (a good thing). This, along with a new angled seat for the o-ring, means the piston won’t just slide over it, instead grabbing and bending it so that it’ll retract harder and farther when you let off the brakes. They used to have about 0.33″ retraction, now it’s 0.55″, which makes set up much easier. The design supposedly also makes the system quieter. They say there’s still plenty of fluid movement from the existing levers to push the pads the extra distance.
They’re now using a new brake fluid that maintains a more consistent viscosity over a wide temperature range. This not only helps with heat performance issues, but also makes the brakes work better in colder temps. The oil is Shell Donax Ultra and is also used in F1. It’s significantly more expensive and harder to source, but thankfully you don’t need much. Lastly, there’s a bit extra machining done to save a few grams.
Not shown, they also have a new brake feature that acts as an electronic motor kill switch for E-bikes. It hooks up to any of their brakes and makes shuts off power to the motor when the brakes are applied.
The T1 (formerly The One) gets a new brake caliper that repositions the hose to come in on the inside (facing the wheel) for a little cleaner appearance and a couple grams weight savings.
A limited edition T1 brake celebrates Formula’s 25th anniversary with an environmentally friendly Physical Valor Delosition, a hard glossy coating that looks like dark chrome and resists brake fluid (above and below). Only 600 pairs will be offered worldwide, and retail is $369 per wheel excluding rotors.
The R1, R1Racing and Rx get a new semi-metallic compound that’s somewhere between an organic and sintered. The backing is also a bit bigger with a rounded shape to fully cover the piston, which helps with heat dissipation. They can be used on their gravity brakes, too, but they’d wear much faster. They’ll fit older brakes, too, except the Oro’s.
As reported with some earlier Colnago news, Formula’s hydraulic/electronic brake levers are on hold for the Shimano stuff until the 11-speed version is available and they can adapt the system for the E-tube wiring protocol.
Forks add a 35mm stanchion platform specifically for 650b and 29er wheels. The larger diameter stanchions handle the longer forks as well as longer travel. Options now go up to 140mm travel. You can put as many spacers as you want and bring travel down to 0mm if you want. Spacers come in 10mm sizes but can be cut down if your crafty, letting you set the travel at whatever you want. It’ll likely include a couple in the box.
The air spring is basically the same as the 33 (which we’re reviewing here), but the damping cartridge keeps the rebound on the bottom and gets three knobs on top – a lockout lever, compression adjustment and lockout blowoff threshold. It’ll run a 15mm axle only, but they’re working on Maxle-like quick release to complement their hex wrench axle. Price is $1,000 plus $100 for a remote lockout, which can be added aftermarket and will include an inline threshold adjustment. They’re targeting 1550g, but that number isn’t pegged to either wheelsize yet. It’ll likely only come with a tapered steerer and should be available in March.