We spotted prototypes of the new Formula Cura 4 earlier this year, and even in that pre-production stage, they had won an elite men’s World Cup Downhill race. Now, the finished product is here and they say it’s even more powerful. More than that, they say it has excellent modulation and is easy to use for any level of rider.
The calipers are all new and, while they look petite thanks to the sculpted forged body, they’re hiding four oversized 18mm pistons and larger than normal brake pads.
One of the big performance changes occurred inside the pistons. Initial introduced on the 2-piston Cura brakes, pad rollback is 0.4mm, which is on par with SRAM and Shimano brakes. (Rollback is how far back the pads retract when you release the brake lever. More rollback means more clearance for less likelihood of brake drag/rub if the rotor’s not perfectly straight) Formula’s prior R1R and other brakes had ~0.3mm rollback, so it’s an extremely minimal change, but they say you can feel it and it makes a big difference.
The pistons are forged, so they’re strong, then anodized to reduce internal friction.
All that combines with changes at the rotor and pad, too. The rotors are thicker, which means they’re a bit heavier, but the thicker rotor means less vibration, which means less chance of that annoying resonance that turns into that noise that makes nobody want to ride with you.
The rotor is also designed to work equally well with 2-piston and 4-piston brakes, which they say is not always the case. They say it really depends on how the pad is designed and how it’s positioned in the caliper, plus the braking surface height of the rotor. Basically, it all needs to be designed with the end goal in mind, and in this case they wanted a stiff, durable and versatile brake rotor. The takeaway? Look for this rotor to be quiet, stop quickly, and likely come with the standard 2-piston Cura soon, too.
The pads themselves were given the maximum amount of friction surface, and the braking material is thick so they’ll last longer.
The Cura 4 master cylinder is the same as on the Cura 2, offering tool-free reach adjust and a nice linear feel.
Bleed ports top and bottom make it universal left or right (UK versus US, moto versus MTB, etc.) The inline design means the lever’s pivot point is ideally located for a natural feel. These are the levers I raced for the True Grit Epic project bike build and they’re fantastic. They also offer optional mounts to work with Shimano or SRAM shifters, keeping the cockpit tidy.
The brakes use their SpeedLock system, which makes internal routing easier by eliminating the need to bleed the system after disconnecting (assuming you don’t have to shorten the hose length…and that their SpeedLock ferrule fits through the holes in your frame). Inside is Mineral Oil, but their own version that they say has a higher boiling point than other mineral oils, but also a lower freezing point. So, it should work well in any condition you’re likely to ride in.
And they come in Bold Gold, which should match SRAM Eagle nicely, and a polished chrome (not shown).
Claimed weight is 379g (including 160mm rotor, bolts, 85cm hose). They ship with 175cm hose lengths front and rear, so you’ll need to do some trimming. Prices range from $208-$218 (€174-€183) depending on color, and the rotors are sold separately in 160mm, 180mm and 203mm sizes for $27-$35 (€22-€29). Available starting September 2018.