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  1. #1
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    Formula RX brakes dragging

    I had these mounted up on my XC bike and they dragged a bit at first (more so in the rear than the front) but then seemed to loosen up after awhile.... although I don't think they were ever totall drag-free.

    I recently switched them over to my new bike and they str both dragging now. It looks like the disc is centered in between the pads but there's just not enought room.

    They don't make noise but when you spin the wheel it stops after about 3 or 4 revolutions from the drag. I swear it's making my new bike seem really sluggish on the climbs.

    Maybe it's just in my head, but I would really like them to spin free. Anything I can do to fix this?
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  2. #2
    bog
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    I had these mounted up on my XC bike and they dragged a bit at first (more so in the rear than the front) but then seemed to loosen up after awhile.... although I don't think they were ever totall drag-free.

    I recently switched them over to my new bike and they str both dragging now. It looks like the disc is centered in between the pads but there's just not enought room.

    They don't make noise but when you spin the wheel it stops after about 3 or 4 revolutions from the drag. I swear it's making my new bike seem really sluggish on the climbs.

    Maybe it's just in my head, but I would really like them to spin free. Anything I can do to fix this?
    Formula brakes are notorious for dragging. They have lots of power but to achieve this they have very little pad to rotor clearance. Frame and fork brake mounts are never perfect so the brake caliper to rotor alignment will be slightly different on each bike you put the brakes on. All of my riding partners (and me) have ditched our Formula R1s because of this.
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  3. #3
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    I put RX's on my 29er last week. On the rear I had to put a couple washers between the frame and mount to move it in towards the wheel to get it to stop rubbing. All good now.
    No moss...

  4. #4
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    Yeah, no reason why you shouldn't get them to stop rubbing. Doubt they could rub enough to cause the bike to be sluggish though…

    On both sets of the Formula's I've had lately (K24's & The Ones's), the rears were a little more difficult to get dialed, but I think it's because the Formula's run pretty tight and the rears are more difficult to site.

    1st, make sure the rotors are true. 2nd, make sure you're really getting the rotors centered. On the rear the parallax can make them appear to be aligned when they really aren't. I use a flashlight shining up through the caliper to check the gaps. You also have to be careful not to let the caliper shift when you tighten the bolts (or account for the shift before tightening).

    Last, you might try re-greasing the pistons which could be sticking. It's possible they may not have gotten enough grease from the factory…

    You can always call the guys at Formula. They're pretty easy to get ahold of and always eager to help.

  5. #5
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    I found R1's a touch tricky to get set up right initially, but once I did, I have never had any real problems. If you're spinning the wheel with any velocity and it's stopping after 3-4 rotations I would want to get it corrected, personally.

    When I put them on my bike initially, I actually had more trouble with the front. The only thing I could think to do, and therefore did, was to keep loosening the caliper bolts and starting over with the alignment process. FWIW, I also found that if it's just the smallest bit of drag it usually works its self out after a few braking situations...for example, there are times with my front wheel that just taking it off to put my bike in a car rack and putting the wheel back on causes the slightest amount of rub. If I do some laps in the lot at my trailhead, getting up to speed and braking, it always goes away.

    I see complaints about clearance and drag with Formulas, but I love my R1's, personally...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bog View Post
    Formula brakes are notorious for dragging. They have lots of power but to achieve this they have very little pad to rotor clearance. Frame and fork brake mounts are never perfect so the brake caliper to rotor alignment will be slightly different on each bike you put the brakes on. All of my riding partners (and me) have ditched our Formula R1s because of this.
    Which brands have better pads clearance?
    Some say Hope, Magura and Shimano’s with ServoWave, can you confirm?
    How about Hayes?
    Avid and Formula has very narrow clearance, my experience less than 0.5mm.

    jx

  7. #7
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    This.... I am having issues with a sticky piston my rear One. Hopefully nothing a little silicone spray can't fix.

    Quote Originally Posted by deadbolt View Post
    I use a flashlight shining up through the caliper to check the gaps. You also have to be careful not to let the caliper shift when you tighten the bolts (or account for the shift before tightening).

  8. #8
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    The new version Shimanos are said to have best in class clearance + great modulation and power. I am going to order a new pair of the XTR's to see what all the buzz is about.

    Quote Originally Posted by lorteti View Post
    Which brands have better pads clearance?
    Some say Hope, Magura and Shimano’s with ServoWave, can you confirm?
    How about Hayes?
    Avid and Formula has very narrow clearance, my experience less than 0.5mm.

    jx

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    I had these mounted up on my XC bike and they dragged a bit at first (more so in the rear than the front) but then seemed to loosen up after awhile.... although I don't think they were ever totall drag-free.

    I recently switched them over to my new bike and they str both dragging now. It looks like the disc is centered in between the pads but there's just not enought room.

    They don't make noise but when you spin the wheel it stops after about 3 or 4 revolutions from the drag. I swear it's making my new bike seem really sluggish on the climbs.

    Maybe it's just in my head, but I would really like them to spin free. Anything I can do to fix this?
    The fluid needs to be degassed (create vacuum inside syringe). You need to do a good job getting all the bubbles out w/ formulas..

  10. #10
    bog
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorteti View Post
    Which brands have better pads clearance?
    Some say Hope, Magura and Shimano’s with ServoWave, can you confirm?
    How about Hayes?
    Avid and Formula has very narrow clearance, my experience less than 0.5mm.

    jx
    You're right that Avids also don't have very good clearance. What's worse is that they're still using that silly CPS washer system that always squirms a bit when you tighten things down.

    Any of the Shimano brakes with Servo-wave have pretty decent pad clearance. I'm not sure about Hope or Magura because I've never used them.
    Tallboy3c : Stigmata2 : Hightower LT

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the replies. I'll try re-aligning. The front seems pretty good now but the back still drags a bit. It even started witht the tiniest (most annoying) little squeak today while climbing after going through a creek then getting a bit of dust on them.

    I've got 4-5 pretty good rides on them now and it hasn't stopped dragging so I'm starting to suspect that it's not going to go away on its own.

    If realigning doesn't work I'll try "de-gassing" them. I assume that's the same as bleeding them? Any special tools/kits or tricks required for bleeding formual brakes?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I'll try re-aligning. The front seems pretty good now but the back still drags a bit. It even started witht the tiniest (most annoying) little squeak today while climbing after going through a creek then getting a bit of dust on them.

    I've got 4-5 pretty good rides on them now and it hasn't stopped dragging so I'm starting to suspect that it's not going to go away on its own.

    If realigning doesn't work I'll try "de-gassing" them. I assume that's the same as bleeding them? Any special tools/kits or tricks required for bleeding formual brakes?

    Air in the line isn't going to hold the pistons out and reduce the clearances.

    I would try removing the calipers and fully retracting the pistons then try and get a good alignment. This will ensure the pistons are all the way out and the increased gap should make alignment easier.

    If the rubbing goes away, great. If it comes back, you might have to give the pistons some lube so they can fully retract on their own.

  13. #13
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    I purchased an Avid bleed kit that has done the job. Here is what you need to do:

    1) Remove rear wheel and brake pad

    2) Bleed brakes. This is pretty easy and straight forward. Plenty of threads on doing this (or just go to formulas website.

    3) After bleeding and brake pads still out, observe the movement/retraction of the pistons when you pull on the brake lever. Pull the lever 2-3 times quickly. Does one piston travel farther than the other? Does the the same one retract farther than the other as well? I assume the answer is yes.

    4) Lube the sticky piston which is not moving in step #3. I find when one piston sticks, the opposite piston continues to work its way further and further out, to the point it cannot retract enough after each lever stroke which is one cause of rubbing. When it gets bad enough, you can see your disk deflect/flex quite a bit when you squeeze the lever.

    4a) With pads still out, push both pistons all the way in. With a plastic tire lever hold the piston which does move more freely in (don't allow it move outward when you pull the lever). Pull the lever a couple times and the sticky piston will move outward a bit. When the sticky piston is out, spray it down with some silicon lube. You can get a giant can of silicone lube from Home Depot for less than $3.

    4b) Once the piston has been sprayed with lube, push it back into the caliper and repeat the process of holding in the non-sticky piston with the plastic tire lever and cycling the sticky one in and out. When cycling the sticky piston, give it a couple more sprays of silicone lube.

    If the sticky piston seems to move more freely with each pull of the lever then good. If both pistons push outward/retract about equally with each pull of the lever then good deal, big problem solved.

    5) Center brake caliper. This is a major PITA. Its not rocket science, it just take lots of patience and checking your work over and over again. As noted above, the front is easier to line up than the rear. I tighten the caliper bolts a snug as possible to a point I can still barely slide the caliper to position it. If you think you have the caliper perfectly straight, check again from a different angle.

    If it actually perfectly centered start tightening the bolts. You will notice when you start putting some torque on the bolts, the caliper will move towards the spokes which throws off perfect caliper centering job. To keep it from moving, push on the caliper in the opposite direction it wants to move when you tighten the bolt. I usually find after torquing the first bolt, the other side of the caliper gets out of center. Use some brute force to recenter it again.

    Centering the calipers is a rear pain in the ass. Anytime you torque a bolt even the slightest amount you need to check the alignment again, and again, and again.

    If you can confirm your pistons are not sticky and you did a dead nuts job of aligning you caliper, your brakes should probably not rub.

    I have sworn off my Ones on many occasion because they can be a ***** to align, but once they are they are the best brakes out there IMHO.

  14. #14
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    bleed video

    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    If realigning doesn't work I'll try "de-gassing" them. I assume that's the same as bleeding them? Any special tools/kits or tricks required for bleeding formual brakes?
    @2:20, seems like a lot of bubbles need to be taken out

    Not sure if this bs or not, my One FR's seem to not drag as much now. Though I still hear that bastard once in a while. Avid kit worked fine.

    One of the pistons doesn't move as much as the other even when it was brand new. Maybe they're designed like this?

    **bigdrunk posted up before me.. guess they're supposed to have even movement and mine were jacked from the factory. If you don't have a flashlight, white paper under the caliper works good for alignment.
    Last edited by Deerhill; 07-16-2011 at 03:11 PM.

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    i have the RX's also. be sure to press and hold the brake lever a few times then when tightening down the caliper make sure your holding the lever, it'll centre the caliper to the disc and allow you to tighten it.

    also make sure your brake disc is not warped.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdrunk View Post
    I purchased an Avid bleed kit that has done the job. Here is what you need to do:

    1) Remove rear wheel and brake pad

    2) Bleed brakes. This is pretty easy and straight forward. Plenty of threads on doing this (or just go to formulas website.

    3) After bleeding and brake pads still out, observe the movement/retraction of the pistons when you pull on the brake lever. Pull the lever 2-3 times quickly. Does one piston travel farther than the other? Does the the same one retract farther than the other as well? I assume the answer is yes.

    4) Lube the sticky piston which is not moving in step #3. I find when one piston sticks, the opposite piston continues to work its way further and further out, to the point it cannot retract enough after each lever stroke which is one cause of rubbing. When it gets bad enough, you can see your disk deflect/flex quite a bit when you squeeze the lever.

    4a) With pads still out, push both pistons all the way in. With a plastic tire lever hold the piston which does move more freely in (don't allow it move outward when you pull the lever). Pull the lever a couple times and the sticky piston will move outward a bit. When the sticky piston is out, spray it down with some silicon lube. You can get a giant can of silicone lube from Home Depot for less than $3.

    4b) Once the piston has been sprayed with lube, push it back into the caliper and repeat the process of holding in the non-sticky piston with the plastic tire lever and cycling the sticky one in and out. When cycling the sticky piston, give it a couple more sprays of silicone lube.

    If the sticky piston seems to move more freely with each pull of the lever then good. If both pistons push outward/retract about equally with each pull of the lever then good deal, big problem solved.

    5) Center brake caliper. This is a major PITA. Its not rocket science, it just take lots of patience and checking your work over and over again. As noted above, the front is easier to line up than the rear. I tighten the caliper bolts a snug as possible to a point I can still barely slide the caliper to position it. If you think you have the caliper perfectly straight, check again from a different angle.

    If it actually perfectly centered start tightening the bolts. You will notice when you start putting some torque on the bolts, the caliper will move towards the spokes which throws off perfect caliper centering job. To keep it from moving, push on the caliper in the opposite direction it wants to move when you tighten the bolt. I usually find after torquing the first bolt, the other side of the caliper gets out of center. Use some brute force to recenter it again.

    Centering the calipers is a rear pain in the ass. Anytime you torque a bolt even the slightest amount you need to check the alignment again, and again, and again.

    If you can confirm your pistons are not sticky and you did a dead nuts job of aligning you caliper, your brakes should probably not rub.

    I have sworn off my Ones on many occasion because they can be a ***** to align, but once they are they are the best brakes out there IMHO.
    Nice post, but there's a further complication.
    Your rear hub will slightly deflect while your weight is on the bike. If you center the pads while off the bike, one of the pads will rub once you are riding.
    This is more evident on some lightweight hubs like the American Classic and A2Z as they have a thin walled alu axle.
    In order to get a drag free rotor you have to take this deflection into account and slightly offset the rotor clearance.
    So yes, centering the rear brake on a lightweight bike, is a PITA squared.
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  17. #17
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    Yeah, your RX's are crap, I'll trade you my Elixir 5's
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    2014 Giant Anthem 27.5 here.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausable View Post
    Nice post, but there's a further complication.
    Your rear hub will slightly deflect while your weight is on the bike. If you center the pads while off the bike, one of the pads will rub once you are riding.
    This is more evident on some lightweight hubs like the American Classic and A2Z as they have a thin walled alu axle.
    In order to get a drag free rotor you have to take this deflection into account and slightly offset the rotor clearance.
    So yes, centering the rear brake on a lightweight bike, is a PITA squared.
    Interesting points. Which way would do the rotors normally deflect? My guess would be towards the outer brake pad (reason being that the deflection of the axle will cause the hub shell, and thus the portion of the rotor above the axle to list slightly towards the non-drive side). The front brake should not have the problem I reckon.

  19. #19
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    I am having this same propblem witha set of Formula Puro brakes I put on my hardtail today. Thee is ZERO clearance on both pads. I could barely get the far enough apart to get the caliper to slide over the rotor. Rotor is a brand new Center lock Shimano rotor and is running dead straight. The drag is so bad, the wheel only makes about a half revolution on the work stand when I stop pedaling.
    I'll try the silicon spray tomorow and see if I can get it freed up.

    Wayne

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Meuir View Post
    I am having this same propblem witha set of Formula Puro brakes I put on my hardtail today. Thee is ZERO clearance on both pads. I could barely get the far enough apart to get the caliper to slide over the rotor. Rotor is a brand new Center lock rotor and is running dead straight. The drag is so bad, the wheel only makes about a half revolution on the work stand when I stop pedaling.
    I'll try the silicon spray tomorow and see if I can get it freed up.

    Wayne
    Shimano rotor thicker than formula rotor?

  21. #21
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    I will mic it in the morning and see. I have a new set of formula rotors but they will require center lock adapters, so I was going to use the new Shimano rotors instead. I may not be able to do that if they are thicker.

    Wayne

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