K18 vs K24
I am new to hydro disc brakes (currently running bb7 mech), but I am building up a new 29er and decided to go with hydros. I am looking at the Formula Oro K18 and K24s and I am not really sure that the FCS on the K24 is worth the additional $$. In fact I am not really sure what the FCS does to the brake feel. Is it used to dial in modulation?
I am a low maintenance type and don't do alot of midride adjustments. Is the FCS really something I would miss especially given that I am coming from a BB7 mechanical?
Any advice appreciated.
The FCS adjusts the engagement point of the lever. It does not affect the modulation per se, though how close to the bar the lever blade is when you are hard on the brakes does effect your hand strength and how fast you fatigue. It is basically like the Juicy speed dial or the BAT system on the Magura Louise. It is a very handy adjustment if: 1) your front and rear brakes seem to have noticeably different bite points (i.e., one brake uses a lot more lever travel before the pads hit the rotor than the other) or 2) if you have a strong preference towards very little, or a lot, lever travel before the brakes engage. Most brakes do fine without this adjustment, but it is a nice feature.
I domoed the FCS Formulas at Interbike and found the FCS to offer a pretty limited ajustment range. Once you have the brakes set up, you will probably hardly ever touch the adjustment again. Whether or not it is worth it depends on the price difference (dunno what they cost).
I have the K24's on my 29er and really like them (came from XT 4 pot's). Like Tzcheezy said, once you set the FCS you probably won't touch it again until you're pads wear down a fair bit...then you might need to adjust it. Actual lever reach is a separate adjustment you can use on either brake. I personally like it....I'm pretty picky how my brakes are set up.