EB13: Formula 35 Suspension Fork with New Internals, Massive Adjustability – Plus Road Hydro Brakes
The new Formula 35 fork gets them into bigger wheel sizes.
Their 33, which we reviewed here, is only for 26″ wheels. The 35 will be available for 650B and 29er, with travel set at 100-160mm and 100-140mm respectively. Travel is internally adjustable in 10 and 15 millimeter increments with internal spacers. You’ll have to pull the lowers, which means the oil bath that lubricates the sliders will have to be refilled, but they say it’s an easy adjustment. You’ll be able to order it at whatever length you want, though.
What’s particularly impressive is the wide range of adjustability – everything from the expected compression and rebound down to the position of the adjustment knobs is up to you…
The crown and arch is heavily shaped.
The cartridge unit is new and uses an expanding rubber bladder reservoir rather than just pushing the oil into the top part of the cartridge like the 33. Sales & Tech Support Manager Jeff Stoudt says this improves small bump sensitivity.
It has a massive amount of adjustability, with compression, threshold and lockout controls on the top.
Rebound is on the bottom, and that knob pulls out to provide the tool for the threshold control.
The top cap with the controls will rotate by loosening a set screw. This serves two purposes: it allows OEM customers to position the lockout knob so it doesn’t hit the crown, and it lets the end user rotate it so the lever is exactly where it’s easiest for them to use. Even better, the threads on either side of the fork are the same, so you could switch the damping cartridge to the left side of the fork and the spring stack to the right. If you wanted. Stoudt says you can do it in about five minutes, including replacing the oil.
Speaking of oil, they use Ballistol Oil (commonly found in hardware stores internationally), and by adjusting the amount in the air chamber, you can fine tune the spring rate. More oil makes it more progressive.
The cartridge uses a Directional Floating Seal (aka cup seal, similar to what’s used on their master cylinder pistons). As it compresses and oil pressure builds, it bulges a bit to provide a tighter seal. It’s a tiny lip, though, so it’s not adding noticeable friction.
Not shown, they offer a hydraulic remote lockout that’s better than what’s offered on the 33. Instead of replacing the entire top cap and losing the compression damping controls, it simply hoses into the lockout lever hole and lets you keep the other controls.
Two thru axle options are available. Shown above is the standard, tooled version.
Or, if you don’t mind an extra 26g, there’s a QR lever version that provides a big lever to tighten the axle down by spinning it in until it’s close, then closing the lever. The trick part is that you can slide the lever out, and its shaft has a standard hex shape and a 12-sided hole so you can slide it back in at virtually any angle you like. No more levers sticking randomly forward or down.
Claimed weight is 1650g for the 650B and 1700g for the 29er, both with uncut tapered steerers and no axle. Stoudt says on the samples he’s received, once the steerer is cut and the axle’s in place, they’re coming in lighter than claimed. We’re hoping to test that claim with a review unit this fall.
FORMULA RR1 Di2 ROAD HYDRAULIC DISC BRAKES
We snapped this pic at Crankworx with a promise to get back to you with more info. Unfortunately, the story’s not as good as we’d hoped.
The RR1 will only work with first gen Dura-Ace Di2 10-speed, not the current E-Tube groups. Bringing it up to date isn’t likely a project they’ll tackle now that Shimano has their own full hydraulic system. They will, however, continue to develop their Campy road hydraulic brake setup to some extent, but they’re waiting to see how they can work out warranties on the shifting parts since they don’t fully control those parts. The system developed for Colnago is still exclusive to them and led that project, so Campy was involved with parts of that system. All those factors would have to come together again under Formula’s guidance for a standalone EPS brakset to be developed. We’ll keep you posted.