The Formula Cura has long been an insider’s tip, delivering excellent braking performance at an affordable price. In our last brake group test, they secured the coveted “Best Buy Tip” badge. In our 2024 comparison test, Formula take on the competition with the revised Cura 4 four piston model, which retails at € 422. Can it still hold its own against the competition?

Learn more about this comparison test: The best MTB disc brakes – 14 MTB brakes in comparison

Formula Cura 4 | Four pistons | Mineral oil| organic brake pads | 544 g (Set without rotors) | € 422 (Set without rotors) | Manufacturer’s Website

Formula is an Italian manufacturer that specialises in mountain biking components, including brakes, suspension and wheels. The Cura 4 four piston variant is the most powerful brake model in their range. Formula also offer a conventional Cura model, which employs two pistons and was designed for light trails, as well as the lightweight Cura X, which is aimed at XC riders.
Retailing at € 422, the Formula Cura 4 is one of the cheapest brakes in this test field, and it’s also available in silver and gold if the black variant we tested is too boring for you. The Formula Cura 4 features a classic two-piece handlebar clamp with two bolts, similar to the MAGURA or Hayes. The system works well but is a little finicky – it’s very easy to drop the bolts when removing the brake if you’re not careful. Formula also offer special clamps that can be used to install Shimano or SRAM shifters directly to the lever. Another major innovation of latest Formula Cura 4 is the new lever, which has a slightly shorter, more ergonomic blade than its predecessor, and also features tool-free bite point and reach adjustments. Like the Hope Tech 4 V4, however, the lever also moves when adjusting the bite point, meaning that the two must always be adjusted together.

Bleeding is done with the traditional two syringe system, the same used with SRAM brake models. While this might be a little awkward, you don’t have to disassemble the whole brake because the bleed port is positioned on top of the lever. Moreover, the Cura 4 uses mineral oil, which means that smaller spillages won’t be harmful to the paint or your skin – but keep the oil away from your pads! Formula offer two different brake pads: a metallic version, which comes standard with the brakes as well as an organic pad, which should have a longer service life.

The new lever of the Formula Cura 4 is slightly shorter and features tool-free lever reach and bite point adjustments – nice!

Formula Cura 4 on test

In our lab tests, the Formula Cura 4 only placed fifth fifth from last, right behind the MAGURA MT7 and just ahead of the TRP DH-R EVO. However, our tests with the Sinter reference pads show a clear difference, with over 10 % increase in braking torque, meaning that it might be worth upgrading the pads straight away.
When installing the brakes, you’ll notice immediately that the levers sit a long way from the bars, and can only be adjusted so far in – if you like to keep your levers close to the bars, you might be better to look elsewhere. Moreover, there’s very little deadband, even with the bite point adjuster turned all the way in. On the trail, the Formula Cura 4 is on the snappy side, with a well-defined on-off brake feel. As a result, the power modulation range is rather narrow, just like with Shimano and Hayes brakes. Nevertheless, the Cura 4 is still easy to modulate, which is also reflected in the results of our BrakeAce tests, which show a short – and therefore efficient – braking time and plenty of braking power at the front. This data translates into good modulation and means that the front brake modulation in particular inspires tons of confidence. Overall, the Cura 4 might not deliver the same power as the most powerful brake on test, the SRAM MAVEN or Trickstuff Maxima, but still ensures excellent deceleration.

Our conclusions about the Formula Cura 4

With the Cura 4, Formula offer an improved version of their most popular brake. The four pistons and new lever with tool-free lever reach and bite point make it better than ever. With a simple pad upgrade, you can squeeze even more performance out of the Cura 4. Overall, it remains a great brake, especially if you don’t want to blow your budget.


  • Snappy brake feel
  • Easy lever adjustment


  • Lever can’t be positioned close to the handlebars
  • Clamp is a little finicky

For more info, visit

Find the overview of this comparison test here: The best MTB disc brakes – 14 MTB brakes in comparison

All brakes in test:
Formula Cura 4 | Hayes Dominion T4 | Hope Tech 4 V4 | MAGURA MT5 Pro | MAGURA MT7 | Shimano SLX | Shimano XT | Shimano XTR | SRAM CODE Bronze Stealth | SRAM CODE Ultimate Stealth | SRAM MAVEN Ultimate | Trickstuff MAXIMA | TRP DH-R EVO | TRP Trail EVO |

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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Peter Walker