EUROBIKE 2011: Brake Force One was designed by Jakob Wauhoff, when he was 14.

Schoolboy designs “most powerful brake ever”

According to Brake Force One, German testing house Velotech has said the Brake Force One disc brake outperforms all other hydraulic brake systems. 

The system was developed by 14-year old German schoolboy Jakob Wauhof. He had a working prototype by the time he was 15. 

Now 18, Wauhoff has a year of school to complete and then plans to attend university to study mechanical engineering.
"After I graduate, I plan to work for Brake Force One," said Wauhoff at Eurobike.

The Tübingen-based company is co-owned by the Wauhoff family and Frank Stollenmaier.

Stollenmaier had the classic ‘I liked it so much, I bought the company’ entrance into the bike trade. He was a customer in the bike shop owned by Jakob Wauhoff’s father and saw Wauhoff Jnr fitting prototype brakes on a mountain bike.

Wauhoff was able to put his ideas into solid form because his father’s workshop had a CNC machine. The bike shop is now closed, Wauhoff Snr is working full-time for the company commercializing his son’s invention.

"I have always been a bike rider," said Jakob Wauhoff. 

"I couldn’t find a brake that was good enough so I designed my own. I found it was better.

"The first brakes were very basic. I machined the first prototypes myself. Frank bought a bike at our bike shop and saw me working with the brake boosters. We came together to create the business."

The system doesn’t suffer from brake squeal, can be adjusted at the lever to stop pads and disc rubbing together, and the stubby one-finger lever offers powerful, progressive braking for beginners and experts alike.

"The problem with standard disc brakes is that you have either a fast reaction time, or power, but you can’t have both," said Wauhoff. 

"This is because of the diameters of the pistons. I thought it should be possible to push the pads to the disc fast with a big piston and then get a small piston to exert a lot of pressure. I built a brake booster to test this theory. It worked."

Brake Force One lever assemblies do not require an oil reservoir, making them lighter and less complicated than standard lever assemblies.

Pointing to a knob on one of the levers, Wauhoff said: "Space between the pads and the disc can be regulated with this wheel, so if you hear ‘bling, bling, bling’ you make a few turns and the rubbing noise disappears."

Wauhoff said the set-up viewable at Eurobike uses Brake Force One discs and pads but he added "the system works with other company’s discs too, and there’s no problem with warranty, either."

The company is at Eurobike for the first time in order to appoint distributors worldwide. Brake Force One already has distribution in Australia.

Aftermarket product will be available in October. The brakes will be specified on OEM MTBs from Nicolai, Bionicon and FXX.

PIC: Jacob Wauhoff, teen inventor of the Brake Force One system


This story first appeared in the Eurobike Show Daily

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