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  1. #1
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    Formula RXO brakes on HD - Pads constantly rubbing

    Any other HD owners unhappy with their 2012 RXO brakes? The pad clearance on them is ridiculously tight and the pads seem to rub all the time. I have spent a ton of time adjusting and readjusting them. Get things working great in the garage but after/during every ride the pads rub again. I'm really considering just upgrading to XTR's, but figured I'd check to see if HD owners (or SL-R) have a trick for making the RXO brakes better.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I haven't noticed mine rubbing at all. The only thing i've noticed is they squeal a lot unless i'm doing heavy braking. I've learned to live with it because they work great.

  3. #3
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    I've got the loud squealing under control with two things:
    1. Clean your rotors (even a little dust makes them squeal)
    2. Check your pads. You may have some glazing that can be removed with light sanding.

    But the rubbing... I swear it's like the calipers aren't fully retracting.

  4. #4
    aka dan51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fassn8 View Post
    But the rubbing... I swear it's like the calipers aren't fully retracting.
    I had a similar problem with some XTs a few years ago.
    The short term fix was to clean and lube the pistons so they don't stick too far out or in, which was my case.
    Long term was to replace them with Avid Elixirs, been problem free ever since...well, at least until I put the XTs on my commuter, now I'm battling the XTs again. Worst brakes ever.

    One thing to check, are the pads rubbing on just one side or both? I've seen some where one pad always rubs and it's due to mfg tolerances in the caliper/frame/adapter. I had to ovalize the caliper mounting holes to allow enough play room in the caliper, otherwise it was always going to rub the rotor.
    Those who know, ride a Mojo AND a Mojo HD.
    Quadzilla
    Quote Originally Posted by benja55
    Ok, whatever, cold water on my bike boner right there.

  5. #5
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    My Formula RXO work excellently, scream a bit but that does not bother me, for me RXO are much better than Avid Elixir and Shimano XT.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fassn8 View Post
    Any other HD owners unhappy with their 2012 RXO brakes? The pad clearance on them is ridiculously tight and the pads seem to rub all the time. I have spent a ton of time adjusting and readjusting them. Get things working great in the garage but after/during every ride the pads rub again. I'm really considering just upgrading to XTR's, but figured I'd check to see if HD owners (or SL-R) have a trick for making the RXO brakes better.

    Thanks!
    I think this is a feature of the Formula R1/RX brakes, they can be REALLY hard to align if absolutely no pad rub is desired... with Shimano, adjusting is really much quicker and more easy.

    Still I would not change my Formula R1 for any Shimano model... ;-)

  7. #7
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    Common problem with the Formulas with their tight clearance. In actual riding its minimal friction added but some people think it makes a difference, like low friction hubs.

    Supposedly Formula is changing this for next season by increasing the clearance/spacing across its line.

  8. #8
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    Common problem even according to Formula: http://youtu.be/_9uuSiPMRag

    "A little bit less than the industry standard" @ .20 seconds in.

  9. #9
    Commit or eat sh!t
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    It's a well known problem. Formula in fact fixed the issue with 2013 brakes. But in the meantime you are stuck. I sold my R1's and got Shimano newer XTR brakes instead.

  10. #10
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    Yes, the brakes are loud. And yes there is a tight clearance too.


    But, those brakes did stop me from ending up in the bushes on Saturday.

    And they do seem to be more powerful than my old elixirs .

    So I am happy with being on team brake noise.

  11. #11
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    Had the RX and had nothing but problems, went with XT M785 and now zero issues.

  12. #12
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    XT M785's and Ice Tech rotors ordered.

  13. #13
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    Clean and lube the pistons.
    With the lever's bleed screw out press the pistons into the caliper so the system contains the minimum fluid (this could increase lever travel/mushiness).
    Carefully align the calipers by hand if the "squeeze the lever and tighten" method results in one side dragging.
    Straighten rotors.
    Yes, all these things must be done to a more precise degree than Shimanos and some other brakes. The weight compared to Shimano and performance/consistency compared to everything else are the payoffs.
    Last edited by Lelandjt; 10-16-2012 at 09:11 PM.
    Keep the Country country.

  14. #14
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    Cleaning the pistons is the key!

    I just went through a similar nightmare with the R1s on my Mojo. They were fine when it was in the stand but after riding 50m down the road, they would start howling like a banshee. First I bled the system and changed the pads. No luck. Next I figured that the hub had to be loose. I tightened the cone nuts a fraction. Still howling. Finally, upon close inspection, I noticed that when I pulled the lever, only one piston was extending out of the caliper. I cleaned the caliper with brake cleaning fluid and applied a dab of DOT fluid to each of the pistons. Problem solved! No more howling and super punchy braking.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt View Post
    Clean and lube the pistons.
    With the lever's bleed screw out press the pistons into the caliper so the system contains the minimum fluid (this could increase lever travel/mushiness).
    Carefully align the calipers by hand if the "squeeze the lever and tighten" method results in one side dragging.
    Straighten rotors.
    Yes, all these things must be done to a more precise degree than Shimanos and some other brakes. The weight compared to Shimano and performance/consistency compared to everything else are the payoffs.
    Yes. I'm still on some old Formula K24's, adding rotor size to increase power as the HD improved my ability and larger 650b wheels added leverage.

    The first time I replaced pads, the pistons would not return completely, bleeding made no difference. Cleaned the pistons as described, and have never had too since. However, new pads take a few good downhill runs and sometimes re-centering to the rotors to clear all minor pad rub. More new pad clearance would be very helpful.

    I recently test rode a friend's Niner with 165mm rotors and the new XT brakes... wow... powerful in comparison to my k24's with 203mm rotors.... Upgradeitis is setting in! Maybe the 2013 improved pad clearance of The One could match the XT power and have better modulation than the more on-off feel I had trying the new XT's.

  16. #16
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    I went from Magura MT6 to XTRs and love them

    Quote Originally Posted by derby View Post
    I recently test rode a friend's Niner with 165mm rotors and the new XT brakes... wow... powerful in comparison to my k24's with 203mm rotors.... Upgradeitis is setting in! Maybe the 2013 improved pad clearance of The One could match the XT power and have better modulation than the more on-off feel I had trying the new XT's.
    I had a similar situation happen. I've been borrowing a friend's HD when visiting (good friend eh!) and his XTs are just head and shoulders better then my Maguras on my HD. No matter how I messed with the Mags, I can't get them feeling as good as the XTs.

    Part of it is the lever ergonomics with the Shimanos. The lever shape and location is Just Right IMO.

    So I waited for the XTRs to drop in price a bit and got the XTR Trails. And they're the best brakes I've ever ridden with. Flawless modulation and great lever feel.



    As for Formulas, I've never ridden with them in anger, so I can't say. Got friends who love them, but they're also friends who love messing with their bikes....
    - -benja- -

  17. #17
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    XT brakes and rotors installed today. Piece of cake to bleed!! They feel really nice.
    Silence is golden.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fassn8 View Post
    XT brakes and rotors installed today. Piece of cake to bleed!! They feel really nice.
    Silence is golden.
    Congrats.

    Seems to be the ultimate fix for RX problems.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fassn8 View Post
    I've got the loud squealing under control with two things:
    1. Clean your rotors (even a little dust makes them squeal)
    2. Check your pads. You may have some glazing that can be removed with light sanding.

    But the rubbing... I swear it's like the calipers aren't fully retracting.
    It's a common problem with Formula, which is one of the many reasons I will never use them on any bike I own. Just too problematic.

  20. #20
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    Mine have been great.

    Quote Originally Posted by mazspeed View Post
    It's a common problem with Formula, which is one of the many reasons I will never use them on any bike I own. Just too problematic.
    I have been really happy, they are a powerful brake and it took a little while to get used to it. Once I got them dialed I haven't had to touch them.
    milesW

  21. #21
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    RXO Squeal fix - worked for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fassn8 View Post
    Any other HD owners unhappy with their 2012 RXO brakes? The pad clearance on them is ridiculously tight and the pads seem to rub all the time. I have spent a ton of time adjusting and readjusting them. Get things working great in the garage but after/during every ride the pads rub again. I'm really considering just upgrading to XTR's, but figured I'd check to see if HD owners (or SL-R) have a trick for making the RXO brakes better.

    Thanks!
    I had this same exact problem. Took the bike to my LBS, they had it perfect in the shop and 10 minutes on the trail, it was screaming again. After painstaking hours of readjustment, I finally watched what was happening. The painted mount offered a smooth surface which when too much torque is applied (either tightening down the bolts or hammering the brakes on a tight turn,) the mount would slip ever so slightly. Causing my irritating squeal. So I removed the mount, took a file and scored the mounting surface. Maybe 5 or 6 decent gouges in the mount (just enough to give the mount a little bite into the fork). Problem solved for my bike, front and back. No adjustment needed in over 3 months of aggressive riding. I know this is a little late in response, but hopefully it helps someone.

  22. #22
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    Nice find! Hope it works for those still riding with the formula brakes. I'm all in on Shimano now. They simply work and feel great.

  23. #23
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    I really like my Formula Brakes on my HD......don't have any issues with them rubbing. I get a minor rub on my rear due to a warped rotor, hardly any fault of the brake.

    I've had XT's rub too. Like previous people have said.

    Take pads out
    Push pistons out, but not too far, with leaver.
    Clean exposed piston with rubbing alcohol.
    Push pistons back in with a wedge.
    Install pads.
    Replace wheel with rotor.
    Squeeze brake lever a few times to reseat pads.
    Tighten Caliper.

    Should be good to go.

  24. #24
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    (Looks like you bought new brakes), but FWIW:

    Formula brakes can easily be adjusted for pad clearance. I had the issue with my old generation R1 brakes. Quick fix when it was time for a bleed...stuck a thicker spacer between the pads to push the pistons further out, bled the brakes, perfect! You just needed to alter the return position.

    The opposite need to be done with my new Generation R1, as the piston has too puch pull back. With them, I just put a thinner combination of plastic between the pads, squeezed the leaver, bingo, less return.

  25. #25
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    Just upgrade so you can ride more and not mess with these p.o.s brakes. Mine are annoyingly loud and people joke. Wow, $5000 mtb and the brakes sound like that! Ibis should really consider removing these brakes from there bikes. I even went as far as talking to the formula guys in person.....man, did they blow some smoke up my a** about fixing the issue. Lol

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