SOC13: First Look – FSA’s New K-Force and Afterburner Disc Brakes
After a pair of prototype brakes were spotted on a Feenstra Felt p/b Kenda team bike, FSA surprised everyone by announcing that they were going to enter into the world of hydraulic disc brakes for mountain bikes. What was their motivation to enter into a completely new category? Well, according to FSA Engineering Manager Herb Tai, disc brakes are still within the control system and are simply a natural progression to their component line. Herb also mentioned that they have been working with a few suppliers that aren’t necessarily in the bicycle industry, like the auto industry, that have highly developed process controls that will result in the highest quality final product.
According to FSA, the brakes on display were generation 3, version 5 with production versions coming soon but likely version 7 or 8 which will probably be for model year 2015. Check out the all-new K-Force and Afterburner brakes after the break!
Designed for XC and XC racing, the K-Force will slot in with the rest of FSA’s high end carbon parts. Target weight for the carbon lever equipped K-Force is sub 300 grams per wheel including a one piece rotor. While there have been a few comparisons to Avid’s brakes thanks to the lever shape, there are very few similarities especially due to the fact that FSA’s brakes will run on Mineral Oil.
FSA is working on both one piece and two piece rotors – 140 and 160mm for the K-Force, and up to 180mm for the Afterburner. Designed with threaded bleed ports, ease of bleeding is high on the list of priorities for the final product. Even though this is FSA’s first hydraulic disc brake design, they want it to be a contender right out of the box. In addition to wanting the brake to be perfect, FSA plans to have all of the support materials ready at the time of the launch whether it’s a bleed kit, spare part, or instructional video on how to bleed the brakes.
The Afterburner is aimed towards the Trail/Enduro market with an alloy lever blade and slightly bigger rotors. Both the K-Force and Afterburner brakes are to be “feature rich” with tool free lever adjustment and free stroke adjustment.
Dual bolt split clamps will make lever positioning as easy as possible, though no word yet on any Matchmaker or iSpec style shifter integration clamps.
Each brake will feature top loading pads that are held in place with a threaded pin.
If you’re looking for a new pair of gloves to go with your new brakes, Gravity has a new summer glove out that looks quite breathable. Thanks to the precurved palm and fingers, grip on the bar is accomplished without bunching of the material and the index finger is touch screen compatible.
Elsewhere in the FSA product line, SLK carbon seatposts will soon be offered with an internal Di2 battery mount option. The carbon posts will include a bonded in aluminum insert which will hold the battery allowing for plug and play use of Di2′s stealth juice pack.