While Magura’s new eLECT electronic suspension-control system draws most of the attention, the company has other refinements to its forks and brakes as well.
The 119-year-old company was founded in 1893, has almost 90 years under its belt making cockpit parts for BMW motorcycles including brake, clutch, and throttle controls, heated grips, and handlebars. Magura embarked on its Mission Performance project in 2009, and the TS (Team Suspension) forks and MT (Mission Team) and RT (Road Team) brakes are the results. The company still manufactures in Germany.
Magura TS forks now come in the full range of 26-inch, 650B, and 29-inch sizes. In 2014, the range will include a TS8 29er fork that comes set up with 140mm of travel, and it’s internally adjustable to 150mm. All 29er forks come with 7-inch (180mm) post mounts; it is a lighter mount for 180mm rotors by virtue of eliminating the adapter. It also eliminates the option of running a 160mm front rotor.
The Magura M15, a 15mm through-axle featured on all TS8 and TS6 29er forks, tightens with a Torx T25 key. The Torx key is built into a cap that snaps into the end of the axle with an O-ring, so it’s always there when you need it.
Magura replaced the lubricating oil bath in its forks with a lighter system: 4 grams of silicone-based, food-grade grease. New Teflon-impregnated bushings are slicker than the previous bushings with the oil bath. The new DLO3 (Albert Select) damper has a 3-position thumb knob and no remote-lever option. A new “SL” damping cartridge has no compression damping adjustment. Weighing only 70 grams, it saves weight over all other Magura cartridge options, and it still offers adjustable rebound damping. These 2014 “Performance Package” upgrades can all be retrofitted into older Magura forks.
A nice new touch is the plastic protective pads on the bottoms of Magura fork legs, so if the bike is stood up or dropped on the ground without a front wheel in, the bottom of the fork won’t be damaged.
Magura will offer a dedicated 650B lower-leg assembly that retrofits on Magura 26er stanchions. It will have the M15 through-axle.
Magura has made small tweaks to its MT series of disc brakes, which feature a lightweight carbon composite master cylinder and a one-piece caliper.
There is a new “Shift Mix” adapter similar to SRAM’s Matchmaker, which allows the mounting of SRAM shifters directly onto the brake levers. There are also some new color options.
A running change to the Carbotecture SL master-cylinder body of the MT6 and MT8 has improved performance at extreme cold temperatures (we’re talking for the extremely hardcore winter rider — temperatures on the order of -10 degrees Fahrenheit!) by maintaining bore-diameter precision. Otherwise, the flagship 278-gram (including a 2mm-thick rotor, rather than a flimsier 1.8mm) MT8 brake remains unchanged, as do the MT6, MTS, MT4, and MT2, which achieve weight and performance benchmarks at lower price points.
My single gripe with Magura MT brakes is that the fit of the Torx T25 key in the plastic bleed screw is very loose. The torque is low on this screw (0.5 N-m; visually flush with the body) and if you stay within that, you can probably avoid damage to the screw. However, if someone over-torques it, it’s easy to strip the head when trying to remove it, if it didn’t already get stripped during the over-tightening in the first place.
Magura tech whiz Jude Monica explained that the fit is better if you put a paper towel over the tip of the T25 key before inserting it into the screw head. Magura dealers do stock lots of these little plastic bleed screws, and there is also a bleed port on either side of the lever body, so if you mangle the head of one screw, you can still get it done with the other screw.
The “CarboTecture SL” full-carbon composite master-cylinder body starts out as pellets of mid-length carbon fibers in a thermoplastic matrix that are forced into the mold under extreme heat and pressure (“CarboFlow”). It receives no post-molding machining, which would cut fibers and weaken it.
The forged aluminum caliper features two large fins on nearly opposing ends of the caliper. These “Double Arch” fins serve the dual purpose of stiffening the caliper against being pried apart by the pressure of the pads pushing against the rotor while also absorbing and radiating heat.
Magura’s Royal Blood mineral oil has a lower maximum operating temperature than some DOT fluids, but it won’t absorb water as DOT fluid does, which lowers the boiling point. The oil also won’t damage paint or skin, as DOT fluid can.
I rode the MT6 in Sedona, Arizona last week, and, given that many trails there serve up technical challenges with high consequences for mistakes, I appreciated the fine control the brake offers. Magura MT brakes come with a five-year, no-leak warranty.
“There is no other brake at those weights that has that kind of stopping power and reliability,” said Chris Cocalis, the founder of Pivot Cycles.
Road hydraulic rim brakes
The RT (Road Team) brakes that Magura developed with Cervelo and which Garmin-Sharp’s Ryder Hesjedal used in his final time trial to win the 2012 Giro d’Italia are primarily used on time trial bikes. This is because Magura doesn’t make shifters, and on bikes with shifters on the aerobar ends, its small carbon RT8 TT or aluminum RT6 TT levers with integrated master cylinders fit the base bar. Aerodynamics and power are reportedly good, and weight is also very low. Part of that stems from the fact that one meter of Magura road hydraulic line with fluid in it weighs a mere 5 grams, whereas a meter of standard road housing and cable weighs around 70 grams per meter.
For those wanting to use Magura hydraulic road rim brakes with dual-control shift/brake levers, the RT8 C and RT6 C come with a cable-to-hydraulic converter box similar to those on TRP and Hope hydraulic road disc brakes.
Commuting/trials hydraulic rim brakes
Magura has revisited its legendary HS (Hydro Stop) rim brakes, upgrading the levers with new styling, colors, and a flip-flop design. Due to their fast lock-up, these brakes are still the choice of many trials riders, and it was their requests for upgrading that originally led to these changes. But most of these new HS33 brakes will be found on commuter bikes and E-bikes.