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By Matt Pacocha
Magura’s Marta three-model brake line-up is new for 2009. This is the first time the brake has been redesigned since its introduction at Interbike in 2001.
While Hayes may have been the first to popularize disc brakes for mountain bikes, Magura’s Marta is responsible for making a high performance hydraulic disc brake light enough for even gram-counting cross-country racers to accept. The fact that it has had a seven-year run, without change, in such a competitive market is a testament to the strength of the original design.
The Marta series has a new flagship for 2009, the Marta SL Magnesium, which continues to showcase Magura’s impressive brake performance to weight ratio; it weighs less than 300 grams. That 300-gram figure includes the master cylinder, caliper, 700mm line, fluid, rotor and all of the hardware ? much of it titanium ? required to install the system using a post-mount.
Marta Brakes: Balancing performance and weight
Light is good, especially when you’re marketing to the cross-country crowd, but of all the components on a bike the last place for compromise is its brakes. Magura clearly recognizes that fact.
For the sake of performance, all Marta models now share brake pads with Magura’s all-mountain brake Louise. The new pads increase surface area by 20-percent. Likewise, Magura shuns the pursuit of lightweight-at-all-costs and bucks the current trend of offering a 140mm rear rotor.
“140 [mm] is just too dangerous,” said Stefan Pahl, Magura’s suspension product manager. “We have a test at Magura that all of our brakes have to pass.”
In the lab, Magura uses an 800-watt system that simulates a rider descending a 15-percent grade. The brakes have to hold up for two tests of 15 minutes, with only a couple minutes of rest between.
Besides better braking performance changing Marta’s pad puts it in line with all of Magura’s other brakes, with the exception of its most powerful, the Gustav M. That marks an improvement for Magura because it cuts down on the number of pads it manufactures, and it’s an advantage to the consumer because of the better brake performance and greater compatibility.
Aside from the larger pad, the caliper is made from forged magnesium (Marta SL Magnesium) or forged aluminum (Marta SL, Marta); only post mount calipers will be available in 2009, to fit International Standard fork and frame mounts Magura offers adaptors to fit most frames, forks and its three rotor sizes: 160mm, 180mm, 203mm.
The master cylinder is also new. It is also forged out of either magnesium or aluminum, depending on model, and features a new pivot mechanism. In the past, the Marta lever used a dual sliding pivot that relied on a single bolt, which secured the lever and provided for reach adjustment. If that one bolt backed out or failed the lever would fall out which is disastrous. This has been rectified with the new brake so that even if the reach-adjust bolt is lost the lever remains operable.
Both Marta SL Magnesium and Marta SL are produced using the company’s new carbon molding technology. In the past Magura used a common “pre-preg” carbon manufacturing method in which layers of pre-preg carbon were hand laid into lever molds. The new method incorporates a machine that stitches the shape of the lever into the carbon before resin is introduced, this allows Magura to lighten and stiffen the carbon brake lever for the 2009 models.
Magura also says that the lever’s quality is better because the manufacturing consistency is better; both the stitching method and the use of a machine eliminate the possibility of missing or miss-laying the carbon in the process. Finally, each Marta incorporates Magura’s Easy Bleed Technology in the form of a port on the lever’s reservoir cap to facilitate screw-in bleed ports on both the master and slave (caliper) cylinders for easy bleeding.
Once all the new parts of the 2009 Marta are put together the package speaks for itself on the scale, where a front brake with a 200mm line and all of its parts including rotor and titanium bolts weight less than 300-grams for the Marta SL Magnesium. The Marta SL weighs just 330-grams and the Marta, with an alloy lever blade, weighs just 10 grams more.
Magura’s 2009 Suspension Line-Up
Every year Magura’s suspension products inch closer to the likes of Fox and RockShox. While the brand offers a super stiff chassis, its damper performance and overall feel still seem to lag behind the industry’s benchmark performance. It gives the brand a goal to aim for, though, and when Magura’s hydraulics pull even with the competition it will be an impressive contender, even now, the products are a viable alternative for those looking to break from the norm.
Raceline: Durin SL
Magura brings back the Raceline label, which originally showed up on the Raceline D rim brake; with its cross-country race specific Durin Race SL. The new no-hold-bar cross-country fork weighs just over 2.9 pounds (1350 grams) in its 80mm travel configuration. The Durin SL is also available with 100mm of travel at 3-pounds (1380 grams).
Both versions are no frills forks and only feature external adjustments for air pressure and rebound. They come factory equipped with a new damper called Albert SL; the unadjustable cartridge has a heavily damped low-speed circuit to maintain a World Cup style platform feel. The damper saves 70 grams from the Durin R’s DLO manually operated lockout damper. The fork’s steerer tube is also new, but shared with Durin R, and saves 30-grams from 2008’s incarnation. Aside from that the crown, upper stanchions and lower legs with Magura’s double arch (DAD) are identical to the Durin R models, thus offering the same stiffness. An aftermarket Albert SL damper cartridge will be available with a slightly softer tune for $109.
Longer Travel Marathon: Durin Marathon 120
The Durin Marathon fork uses the same lower casting as Magura’s other Durin cross-country forks, but builds the travel of this new model to 120mm. The Marathon will be available in two configurations: 120mm fixed travel or with Magura’s FCR travel adjustment, which allows the fork to be adjusted on the fly, via handlebar remote, from 120mm to 80mm. The adjustable travel fork is 30-grams heavier than the fixed model at 1585-grams, the remote lever adds another 30-grams. The fixed model weighs 1555-grams. Both versions come with Magura’s adjustable platform damper, which is called Albert Select. The manual adjustment can be fork mounted or handlebar acessable via remote. Post mount rotor size 160mm.
Stone Crusher: Magura’s MT140AM
Big travel and stiffness paired to low weight was the goal for Magura’s new fork called Thor. The new model is designed to accompany the current rash of 5-plus-inch travel bikes that strive for good pedaling manners and sub-30-pound weights. It comes with the Albert Select damper and its travel is adjustable from 140mm down to 100mm for climbing via FCR. The lower legs are equipped with SRAM’s no-tool Maxle 360 20mm thru-axle system. Magura also offers its own tooled 20mm axle system called 60less, as it weighs 60-grams less than Maxle 360. It does, however, require a 5mm Allen key to install or remove the wheel. Thor weighs 1785-grams or just under 4-pounds without either axle system, Maxle 360 adds 140-grams and 60less adds 80-grams.
For more on Magura’s 2009 product line check VeloNews Issue 13 due out on newsstands July 8th.