Magura Thor Review

by Brian Mullin on March 31, 2009


I have been riding the new Magura Thor 140mm All Mountain fork for almost 5 months now, and have had it in all sorts of terrain, and have been able to compare it against several competing forks, and I must say it is an exceptional fork.

And I command thee to kneel
Before the
God of thunder and rock and roll
The spell you’re under
Will slowly rob you of your virgin soul


Thor Mythology
Thor is the red-haired and bearded god of thunder in Germanic mythology and Germanic paganism. Thor was a revered god of the ancient Germanic people from at least the earliest surviving written accounts of the indigenous Germanic tribes to over a thousand years later in the late Viking Age. Thor owns a short-handled hammer, Mjolnir, which, when thrown at a target, returns magically to the owner. His Mjolnir also has the power to throw lightning bolts. To wield Mjolnir, Thor wears the belt Megingjord, which boosts the wearer’s strength and a pair of special iron gloves, Járngreipr, to lift the hammer.

Thursday is named after him, it literally means ‘Day of Thor’.

Thor is also the ‘Legendary Rock Warrior‘. John Mikl Thor, a.k.a. Thor, is a straight-faced Germanic/Norse god impersonator, semi-professional bodybuilder, on-stage wrestler, all-around performance artist (known to bend a steel bar between his teeth!), sometime actor, and rock and roll singer. I still have his first record from 1978 with the classic songs like “Keep the Dogs Away” and “Sleeping Giant”, with lyrics like “You are like straws against the wind…”.

Furthermore, Thor is the Marvel comics superhero.

Magura Thor Fork
The Thor, also known as the MT 140AM, is Magura’s new All Mountain fork, and is an adjustable travel fork, with 32mm stanchions and a 20mm thru-axle using the Maxle 360. The Thor is loaded with features such as the adjustable travel, a platform damper, an integrated brake guide, a double arch and 7 inch PM disc brake mounts.

Magura has been in existence since 1893 and has been building top-notch bike brakes for 20 years and high quality, and German-made suspension forks for the past five years. Magura makes bicycle components, power sports components, industrial controls and injection molded parts.

Features

Magura Thor features from Brian Mullin on Vimeo.

Adjustable Travel
The adjustable travel, named ‘flightcontrol remote’ or FCR, allows travel adjustment from 140mm to 100mm, and it sits on top of the left fork leg. It can be manually set, but was meant to be used with the remote control lever or RCL. The RCL is a small plastic lever that goes on your handlebars, and then has a cable that goes through an integrated cable guide on the fork crown (nice feature), and then warps around the FCR. In the middle of the FCR is the air pressure valve.

flightcontrol remote

I played around with the travel adjustment, and it worked just fine. A simple twist and hold of the FCR knob or a flick and hold of the RCL, and then a good strong push down on the fork, and then reverse those steps and the fork now has the travel lowered. To put the travel back to 140mm do the same steps, and the travel will pop up to normal. I installed the very fragile and wimpy RCL, and broke it the first install. I called Magura and got a new one, but I was not very impressed with the plastic RCL, so after using it on a couple of rides I took it off and did the adjustments manually. When installed the RCL does work fine, but it is fragile, doesn’t fit oversize bars very well and the clamp mars handlebars. Magura needs to go back to the drawing board on the RCL.

Platform Damper
The platform damper, named the ‘Albert Select Plus’ or AS+ allows an On/Off of platform compression damping, and sits on top of the right fork leg. In the Off position the fork is fully open (acts normal), and when On the platform damping is engaged. The AS+ has a micro adjustment knob (the golden knob), which allows finer tuning of the platform from firm to be supple.

Albert Select

Basically, when the AS+ is engaged you have a semi locked fork , and you can adjust the amount of lock, from stiff to a tad more plush. The AS+ can also be used with a RCL, which requires an optional AS remote cartridge, but I saw no real need for it since it is simple to reach down and engage it. The fork did make a weird quiet clunking noise when the platform was lessened.

Double Arch
The forks double brace or arch, named the ‘Double Arch Design’ or DAD is a really unique feature. It adds a lot of stiffness to the fork, which makes the fork steer better, and help alleviate fork leg flex, something that 32mm stanchions are prone to do.

Double Arch

Brake Mounts
This Thor comes with a 7 inch PM disc brake mounts, so it is a direct mount for a 180mm/185mm rotor, 160mm will not work. Most people, myself included, are going to be running at least a 180mm rotor in front, so it is one less adapter to not have to use. I tested the fork with a 180mm and a 203mm, but for my weight of 155 lbs. the 203mm was overkill, so I stuck with the 180mm which seemed the most ideal.

Brake Guide
I really liked this simple brake guide. No need to use any quick ties or screw in brake guide, just simply push the brake cable into the guide, and presto all done.

The Test Bike
Frame: Ibis Mojo
Rear Shocks: DT Swiss XR carbon (main), Fox RP23, Fox RPL
Wheelset: Rear – American Classic All Mountain, Front – Hope Pro II w/ ZTR355
Tires: Conti Mtn Kings 2.4, Conti Rubber Queens 2.4, Schwalbe Fat Alberts 2.4
Brakes: Magura Marta SL

Ibis Mojo

Ride Impressions
The main competition during my long term test with the Thor, was the Manitou Elite and the DT Swiss EXC 150, so I had some nice ways to evaluate how the fork functions and compares as I swapped back and forth between each of them. Before I started testing these forks I had been using a Manitou MRD and a Fox RL as long term forks.

The Thor is slightly stiff and firm, and has a stouter feel than most of its competition. Even with that stoutness, small to medium bump compliance is good, and it stiffens up towards the end of its travel, but does not become overly harsh. It sits high in the saddle and does not wallow down in its sag, which made it very synergistic with the DT Swiss XR Carbon rear shock. It did not exhibit any excessive fork dive when the pressure was set properly, something that its competition had troubles with. The Thor has very a powerful rebound, and takes a bit to get used to it, if you push the shock down it rockets back up. When climbing up a lot of terrain that really helps, and makes the fork stick like glue on the terrain.

What I really like about this fork is the climbing ability, and how the fork can turn on a dime. This fork is a surgeon wielding a scalpel. Precise is the word that comes to mind. An example of its climbing prowess is when I rode non stop up Cardiac Hill, a local long sick steep hill with lots of embedded rocks that really bashes the bike around, causing large loses of energy just trying to keep the bike on line. I always bonk towards the end of the hill, but due to the climbing abilities and tenacity of the Thor I persevered.

HE DIDN’T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

When I took it to my tough rock gardens, the Thor did just fine, but it was a bit harsher and firmer than its plusher competition. It is not as linear deeper into its travel nor as plush as the other forks, but the double arch does stiffen it up and that’s noticeable. I really liked that once you found your base air pressure, you could bump up the pressure and change the attribute of the fork without it becoming too stiff. I usually used 65-70 psi, but when I rode on trials terrain, I could increase it to 80 psi and still have a useful fork. With the other forks, if I bumped up the pressure I would lose the forks typical characteristics, and they would become overly stiff, while the Thor just got a bit stouter, had less fork dive and kept its personality.

On technical sections, it stoutness and precise steering made it trials monster. It was very nice to point it exactly where you wanted it to go, you just pick the exact spot, and it went there. When I took this fork down to the notorious Pueblo South Shore trails and slammed it into anything, it never whimpered. Drop offs, ledges, slow speed trials moves, slam it into square rocks, tweak the fork this way or that, and it just stayed right on line. I could do trials stuff that any of the other forks just could not handle, this thing was a champion, albeit long rock gardens would be a bit more work on the upper body. This is one serious demon in trials settings.

Hooters Canyon, Pueblo South Shore, CO from Brian Mullin on Vimeo.

Hard braking did not cause much fork dive, and the double arch really aided brake slop and chatter. Over time, I was averaging 128mm of travel, but when pressed to its maximum, I could get 135mm, with one foray to 138mm.

The fork performed well in a variety of trails conditions and terrain. Since I ride in the Front Range of Colorado the conditions tend to be dry, with lots of gravel, sand, loose rocks, rock gardens, slick rock and packed dirt.

The fork initially came with the Magura’s proprietary 60 less thru-axle, which weighs approximately 60 grams less than the Maxle. The Maxle 360 now comes standard on the Thor. The 60 less axles worked just fine, and was easy to put on, after screwing in the axle, you use a 4mm hex key to clamp down the pinch bolt. The Maxle fits pretty snugly into the dropouts, so it took a good hand tap to get it in, and a good tug to pull it out.

The Thor is a typical German engineered part, stout, well made and with excellent craftsmanship. It has a cold forged Aluminum 6082 T6 fork crown, 32mm anodized aluminum stanchions, 1 1/8 Aluminum steerer, 1-piece magnesium double-arch lower legs and 20x110mm thru-axle dropouts compatible with Maxle 360.

Here is some of the terrain, I do the bashing and testing on. This is the Stoopid trail on my home turf of the Mt. Herman trail system in Monument Colorado, and its a great flowing and technical singletrack goat trail.

Local Testing Terrain

Tuning
There are two air chambers, main and negative, that are filled up with one valve. By engaging the flightcontrol remote, both chambers connect, and air pressure equalizes between the main and negative chamber. The negative air spring, when in the long travel, is supported by an additional top out elastomer, while in the short travel, only the air negative spring is active, the elastomer is not engaged.

I weigh 155 lbs. and used pressure from 65 psi to 80 psi, depending upon the terrain I was riding. The lower setting was perfect for climbing and normal trail conditions, while the higher setting was perfect when hammering in technical trials terrain. Sag was usually around 25%. I left the AS+ platform more towards the firm side, since I used it on fire roads and butt smooth singletrack. Even with the powerful rebound, I decreased the rebound damping 1-2 clicks from the middle.


Thor Specs

Axle-to-crown measurement: 519mm

Thor – 1773.7 grams or 3.91 lbs.
Thor with Maxle: 1914.1 grams or 4.22 lbs.
Maxle – 140.4 grams or 5 oz.

Thor with 60 less bolt – 1855 grams or 4.08 lbs
Thor 60 less axle with pinch bolt – 81.3 grams or 2.9 oz.

Kudo’s
I want to give big thanks to Justin at Magura for assisting me during my long review period, you are the Man!

Bottom Line
The Magura Thor is an amazing fork, that is well built with highly crafted German engineering. It is stout and stiff for a 32mm stanchion fork, and a lot of that are due to the unique double arch. It has good small to medium bump compliance, climbs like a magician, are a trials champion, and turns on a dime (seriously). The adjustable travel was nice to have on long climbs, but I think the fork did fine without it. I liked the platform damping and used it regularly on many trails and fire roads, although the amount of micro adjustment was a bit excessive. The fork dive was minimal, and braking control was excellent. Although the fork did fine in ugly rock gardens, when it went deeper into its travel it was a tad harsh, but not unpleasantly so. The rebound is powerful, so it takes a minor adjustment to get used to it. The flimsy and fragile RCL (remote control lever) was a major disappoint in an otherwise incredible fork.

Strengths
-Precise steering
-Stout
-Climbing magician
-Technical and trials prowess
-Double arch
-Controlled fork dive

Weaknesses
-Harsh in big long rock gardens
-RCL is fragile
-Powerful rebound
-AS+ fine tuning is excessive
-Slight clunk noise when platform damping is lessened
-Pricey

Value Rating: 3.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Magura Fodder
Biker profile: All Mountain
Weight (in grams): 1785 grams/3.93 lbs.
Technical principle: telescope system with DAD
Damping system: Albert Select intelligent oil damping
Spring: air
Travel: 140-100mm
Adjustments: Albert Select via remote lever
Adjustment knobs made of high quality aluminium: yes
RCL (Remote control) series equipment: yes, for travel adjustment
RCL (Remote control) series option: yes (for Albert Select)
Brake installation options/Disc brake mounts: Postmount 7″
Dropouts: 20mm
Corrosion protectors at dropouts and disc mounts: no
Steerer tube diameter: 1 1/8″
Stanchion diameter: 32mm
Maximum tyre width (inch): 26″ x 2,8″
Color: race-white, glossy black
Axle to crown length (in mm): 520mm
Approved for disc brakes up to: 210mm
Integr. disc brake hose guide on lower leg: yes
Lockout: adjustable, on/off plattform technology
Delivered with an air pump.
MSRP: $899

Magura url: http://www.magura.com/en/products/suspension-forks-2009/prod/thor.html

Purchase Magura Thor

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous March 31, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Love my thor and very happy with my fork, but 2 complaints I would add to your list are significant topout clunk when using less rebound dampening(present in all forks)as well as weepy seals

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet April 2, 2009 at 3:21 am

Thanks for reminding me of the clunk, I updated my review to include that. The seals do weep, but as far as I know that have a small bit of heavy lube that sits up on the top of the seals, some have commented that it is a bit like Vaseline, but for me it was very minor, nothing like me old leaking Fox fork

Reply

James August 17, 2009 at 12:29 pm

I've had my Thor for 6 months now and I'm very happy with it. Smooth and precise right out of the box. I've used it on a Blur LT and Ellsworth Epiphany and it was great on both. I weigh 145-150 with gear and run about 58-65 lbs of pressure. After a crash in Morzine, France, the noodle for the RCL height adjust broke and I replaced it with a regular piece of cable housing. The cap for the air adjust became VERY tight and the height adjust would stick mid way–I changed to a smaller cap which does not contact the rotating portion of the adjuster and it's all good again. Took it to Morzine, Les Gets, Lake district of England, Scotland and all of our local trails in the Heidelberg, Germany area–it is my favorite fork of all time. Previous forks were a Fox Talas, and Marzocchi x-fly/ Marathon.

Reply

mrbb008 August 4, 2010 at 5:49 am

Thanks for this well written review. I did not know anything about the Thor before. Now I'm seriously considering getting one instead of the Fox and Rockshox.

Reply

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