Formula Cura Brakes 2017 Mountain Bike Review

Formula Cura Brakes 2017

Reviews / Brakes

Formula 10,060

At A Glance

The Formula lineup has seen revisions across the range for 2017, wheels, forks and brakes have all either seen new models or improvements made. The latest brake from the Italian brand is the Cura disc brake, building on a solid foundation of engineering prowess and two wheeled heritage. Since their original disc brake from 1993, Formula has consistently been at the forefront of mountain bike braking.

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The Cura sees some changes from previous models, most strikingly is the change in piston orientation, which immediately gives the brake a different look. Further to this, the Cura is Formulas first brake system to use mineral oil, claiming they have finally found a mineral oil good enough for their brakes!

The forged construction is shaped into a compact, smooth and aesthetically pleasing package and the lever shape has been developed to be the most ergonomic lever yet. Adding to the lever shape, the feel is claimed to remain the same throughout the life of the pads, without the lever pulling closer to the bar.

Aimed at all riders, from downhill to enduro, trail to all mountain, it's a versatile brake providing plenty of power. Also, there is a Mix Master mounting to combine shifters, and the Speed Lock system allows hoses to be quickly removed from the caliper.

On The Trail

The name of the game here is modulation. The Cura gives a tremendous feeling of control, only biting hard right at the end, allowing the full range of control from locked up to a gentle feathering of the lever. The initial contact is positive, which gives that early delicate control, and it takes a fair bit more pull to get the real power and throw the anchor out.

The lever shape is excellent, with a positive hook on the end and broad enough to be comfortable under the finger. The blade is perhaps a little long for my taste, but the narrow clamp means it's easy to move around and find space inboard on the bar. Reach adjustment is via an Allen key under the lever, which is effective, but tricky to access on the trail.

Installation is simple, and with the Speed Lock system, the calipers can be removed to thread the hoses internally. Cutting and shortening hoses is also straightforward with an easy to use bleed system if needed. The rotors are classic Formula one piece units (2 piece are available), with the stylish drilled out braking surface and curved inner pattern, No issues were had with these, and I think they are some of the best looking rotors around.

The Organic pads have worn well but gave some noise in the wet initially, but soon settled down once warmed up. Installation and removal are easy with a bolt through the pads to keep them in place. In terms of all out performance, I expected the Cura to have more instant stopping power, but instead, they delivered a beautifully gradual increase which was easy to moderate and provided a highly sensitive system. Although I thought I would prefer a more grabby brake, I never felt out of control at any point, the power always there if needed.


The Cura is not an on/off brake, and deliver an incredible amount of 'feel', allowing the rider to teeter on the edge of traction no matter how fast or loose the terrain. If you like your brakes snatchy, then look elsewhere, but if you treat your brakes like a finely tuned instrument, then the Cura will seriously impress. With a competitive price and neat touches such as SpeedLock, the Cura is a worthy addition to Formulas long braking tradition.

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This review was in Issue 49 of IMB.

For more information visit Formula


By Ewen Turner
Ewen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.

Tried this? What did you think?