Brake Force One is an interesting set up on its own, being a completely closed hydraulic braking system. For 2013, they’ve updated just about everything inside and out. The short list is this:
- New internals for smoother, easier lever feel
- Colored parts and brake fluid options
- Glow in the dark brake hoses
- Customized laser etching
- Lighter, sleeker mounts
Now, for the details, along with cutaway images on how the system and the dual stage Brake Booster design works…
At the top, notice the clear brake hose with blue brake fluid. It’ll come with normal colorless mineral oil, but the customer can bleed it with a colored oil (they offer seven colors) to make it match their bike.
Or you can get a glow in the dark hose.
Calipers and master cylinders are also available in colors and you can get your name laser etched on the caliper. For €99 more (if you order direct), you can get all that and pick individual colors for the caliper, caps and master cylinder and pick your fluid color and hose length. You can even get your name laser etched on the caliper.
The caliper also gets new CNC’d adapter brackets that are much sleeker than the originals.
That’s the style, here’s the substance: Brakes get a new PTFE infused O-ring inside the master cylinder to move easier, and it gets a softer spring. Lever pivot and piston shaft get minor tweaks to make lever feel a bit smoother and easier.
They’ve also changed the hose fittings to make it easier to change hoses. The new parts are lighter, too, and only require the hose to be pressed on instead of fit between a barb and lock nut. The calipers get a new oil outlet section with the hose glued to the banjo (aka “oil outlet”). Dealers get the tools to change that part out. That means you have to change the banjo to change the hose, unfortunately.
System weight is under 200g (claimed for front, excluding rotor). €780 for the set, doesn’t include rotors. Those are $€45-50.
Here’s the brake system in its open position. Note the ample space between the pads and the rotor, that’s the key to being able to use a closed system with no expansion reservoir. Typical master cylinders have a small bladder that expands to make room for more fluid volume as things heat up. Brake Force One’s brakes simply let the pads move in a bit closer when things get hot, and the extra space between pads and rotor makes this possible.
Here it is closed. The second part of the equation is that the plunger in the master cylinder is a massive 16mm in diameter. This pushes a LOT of fluid into the caliper, which is required in order to move the pads far enough to make contact. The tradeoff, normally, would be pads that moved in quickly but lacked the power we’re used to with traditional brakes.
During the first part of the stroke, the oil flows into a small port in the caliper, around a “top hat” and into the chambers behind the pistons. This moves the pads in quickly but with little force.
Once the pads make contact, pulling the lever deeper into the stroke starts moving the outer part of the stepped piston forward, closing the inside off as it hits the “top hat”. This essentially closes off the fluid facing the brake pads and attempts to compress it, making them squeeze the rotor harder. This is where the power comes from.
The spring you see in the system pushes the piston back as you let off the brakes, which helps forcefully retract the pads far away from the rotors.
The pads are pushed by 22m diameter pistons. It’s an interesting system with a novel approach, made all the more impressive by how young its inventor is…under 20 years old.