We test the latest CURA brakes from the Italian company FORMULA and find out that Grappa isn’t the only powerful thing the Italians produce.
Some background info about Formula is that they actually started out in motocross and were one of the first companies to produce hydraulic brakes back in 1993 so they know a thing or two about brakes and have become extremely popular the world over.
But it’s not 1993 and we need to see how brakes work with burlier bikes and fast single track.
We let the mechanic do the work and everything seemed straight forward.
Formula have recently opted for the more enviro friendly mineral oil as opposed to the traditional brake fluid across all their brakes so we like that.
One thing we did learn is that the brakes come with a Speed Lock™ system which allows you to block off the fluid when removing the calipers/levers so no need to re-bleed and all that messy stuff. Pretty nifty.
The levers themselves are adjustable with a small Allen key so we could get the levers just right for a single finger. We find out later that a single finger is more than enough.
We paired them up with SRAM rotors as that's what we had, and they seemed to play along just fine. Manufacturers always say you should use their components together, we can never tell if that's to make a sale or their is some truth behind it all. Not sure how they could work even better with Formula rotors but would be great to find out.
We also got a Mix Master which is a simple upgrade clamp that allows you to integrate your SRAM/Shimano shifters with the CURA levers. A nice clean cockpit is always welcomed. The clamp will also integrate your Rockshox Reverb dropper trigger if you like Japanese style minimalism.
THE IMPORTANT STUFF - THE RIDE
We headed out to the trails with a few lever squeezes en route. These things are power! We immediately felt how the modulation works, a firm bit of feedback as you squeeze resulted in a really nice solid feel. The next step was to see how the power and modulation worked on the trails.
Into the first turn and your brain defaults to it’s original setting and we gave a mighty tug as needed on the previous brakes which were considered to be pretty much some of the best. At this point we realized that the CURA are actually big daddy brakes.
The calipers consist of 2 large 24mm oval size pistons and they pack a serious punch.
So a quick mental adjustment later we apply a bit less grab and more finesse and started taking advantage of the very smooth modulation.
Having the correct speed into corners is key to keeping flow and the power together with the precise modulation enabled us to keep our momentum without locking out the back tyre too much when things got out of hand, which happens when your skill levels are pretty normal, sad but true.
If you do need to come to an abrupt stop due to a trail loving puffy, these anchors will happily oblige. The only thing that will prevent a serpent serenade after that would be the amount of tread on your tyres. If that doesn't work, then we suggest you be proficient at bunny hopping.
Having that sort of power at your fingertips kinda gives you an insight into the mindset of Prez Trump. Except your finger is not on anything nuclear.
Overall we were very impressed with these brakes and see why these would handle any sort of trail light or aggressive as well as white knuckle downhills without any strain.
Initially we thought that by replacing a 2 piston system versus the previous 4 piston system we would be compromising power. It was the exact opposite and the use of less moving parts probably also means less things can go wrong in the long term.
End of the day they performed beyond our expectations and we will be holding onto them, thanks.