Formula The ONE MTB Brake Follow-up Review


Now that I’ve had plenty of time on these stoppers I’m ready to give you all the late breaking (pun intended) news on these brakes. A little while back I introduced The ONE and talked about the specs and the type of riding they’re designed for so now it’s time to talk performance.

At just 309 grams these DH brakes are really impressive and stop like a son of a you-know-what. The ONEs also feature excellent modulation which allows the rider to come to a controlled stop every time. This makes The ONE perfect for trail and AM riders who run on super technical trails as well. These brakes develop a ton of stopping force that does not fade away which is great for those shuttle runs that go on forever before you gotta shut it down in a hurry and toss the bike sideways.

I got a chance to install these brakes on nearly all my bikes to see how they work on long-travel FR rigs, shorter AM bikes, and even DJ bikes. In every case, the brakes rocked. Make sure you use only the recommended T15 Torx bit to tighten the brake lever in place and follow all the precautions for these high performance brakes. As always, torque all the bolts using the instructions provided and give yourself a good 30 to 50 stops at medium force to burnish and bed the pads in as well. Overall install time should be about 30 minutes.


Using The ONEs on my FR bike with 203mm F&R rotors, I really got some eye popping performance that other manufacturers will have a hard time matching for while. For starters, these brakes run ultra-quiet, even when they’re wet. The ONEs also develop a serious amount of torque to really slow you down, allowing you to execute multiple high speed stops without any fade or pump up (where the fluid expands and causes your lever to engage earlier).

Looking at these brakes you might guess they’re fragile based on the small size of the lever and cylinder. Well, don’t judge a book by its cover – I can personally attest to the strength of these brakes. Even after casing a drop down badly (see the Epic Stealth Cam Review for the crash footage), not a single bolt or lever was bent or tweaked (to my relief).

Perhaps the best thing about these brakes is the outstanding modulation. The rider has total control over speed without the jerky feeling that may be experienced with other systems. The bite is exactly proportional to the amount of force placed on the lever, which is actually pretty rare on hydraulic MTB brake systems.

I put together a quick chart characterizing performance of The ONE below.


Looking at the chart you can see that you really can’t go wrong with these brakes. The “worst” item on this chart (an 8 out of 10) is noise and even then am I being very critical. You can see that a premium brake (at a premium cost) is worth the extra dollars that you worked hard to earn.

If anyone asked me on the trail if I would go out and get another set of these, I wouldn’t hesitate to say yes. For now these are in my top three favorite brakes (that is until something else comes along) and I could say to anyone who wants powerful brakes, that these are some of the most reliable and powerful ones out there.

Specs from Formula


  • Forged radial master cylinder (M/C)
  • Patent-pending high capacity, integrated reservoir
  • Removable handlebar clamp
  • Flip-flop master cylinder assembly
  • Dual M/C bleed ports for easy-on-the-bike-bleeds
  • Forged aluminum lever blade (optional carbon)
  • Laser etched logos
  • MiXmaster available


  • Patent-pending forged one-piece post mount caliper
  • Huge 24 mm caliper pistons for amazing power
  • Top vented caliper allows for wheel on pad changes and eliminates overheating effects
  • Bottom vented caliper pistons provide additional cooling
  • Laser etched logos
  • Top loading pads simplify pad changes

Thanks again to the folks at Formula for providing The ONEs for review.