Magura Sedona Press Camp 2012 – MT Brakes and TS Fork

by Brian Mullin on June 5, 2012

As I drove to the airport for my Phoenix flight for the Magura Sedona
Press Camp, I was confronted by unusually heavy traffic conditions,
with lots of commotion, police stoppage and army helicopters. Lo and
behold, sitting at the secure Peterson Air Base was Obama’s Air Force
One, perched right next to the Air Force Thunderbird’s, no wonder things
were so crazy, since the President was giving the commitment speech for the Air Force Academy graduation!
Anyway, I digress.

Once again, Magura USA (aka Magura Direct) hosted a superb press camp in spectacular
Sedona Arizona in late-May this year. The invited editors and writers
got to test out the Magura Direct products that they distribute, which
includes Magura (brakes and forks), uvex (helmets and sunglasses) and
Vaude (packs and apparel), and they also were joined by SKS and
Specialized. We got to test the products from each of the companies on
the inspiring, sometimes scary and invigorating, and extremely technical
singletrack trails of the Sedona area. I want to thank Magura and Magura Direct for hosting this shindig at the lovely Red Agave Resort, and their partners SKS and Specialized, and our cooks and guides, John, Janet and Debbie. It was all very entertaining, hanging and riding with a great group of people, with fantastic trails just out the back door, except for the first day when they lost me when I had mechanical issues and then took a wrong turn, so the sweeper never located me!

MT Brakes
The MT or Mission Team line of brakes, were introduced last year at Sea
Otter, and they’re superb and highly engineered marvels, with price
points from the exotic to the affordable. Magura used their extensive
know-how and expertise in brake technology, and then spent a
considerable amount of time, effort and money to create the new MT
series. They came up with something called the Performance Faktor, which
is a mathematical formula devised by Magura’s design team over two
years ago, where the performance is equal to deceleration and modulation
plus thermal stability, divided by mass and multiplied by ergonomics. I
have personally tested the MT8 and MT6 over the past year and at this
press camp, and they are strong, quiet, fade free and powerful, modulate
well, and have a superb tactile feel from the ergonomic brake lever
down into the ground!

The
MT brakes use an open hydraulic system, using their Royal Blood mineral
oil for hydraulic fluid, with a carbon or carbon blend integrated
reservoir, carbon or aluminum lever and clamp, one-piece alloy caliper
(MT2 is a two-piece), and forged aluminum fitting bolts that have a
special anti-corrosion coating. The aluminum caliper uses a double arch
like their forks, and the shape optimizes the caliper’s strength in the
direction that encounters the largest load forces, with less material
being required for weight savings. The caliper uses top-loading pads,
for what they call EPR or easy pad replacement, so the wheel doesn’t
need to be removed for changes. The master body uses a flip/flop design
which facilitates installation on either side of the bars, with has dual
EBT ports for bleeding. Each brake includes the trick Storm SL
(MT8/MT6) or Storm (MT4/MT2) rotors, which are available in 140 (SL
only), 160, 180 and 203mm sizes, with a wide assortment of adapters for
attachment to any bike and fork.

All the brakes have the same
performance throughout the MT lineup, and what changes is the weight,
technology, aesthetics and price. Although I have never done a cross
test between the models, the lower priced versions should have better
heat dissipation due to more material and surface area on the caliper
body.

The
top of the line MT8 has a Carbotecture SL master body and Carbolay
lever, and attaches to the bar with a split handlebar Carbolay clamp and
utilizes a one-piece aluminum caliper, that is whittled down to the
bare minimum for the lightest weight possible.  The MT6 shares the exact
same master body as the MT8, use an aluminum lever and bar clamp, and
the caliper weighs a tad more due to less machining.

The
MT4 has a Carbotecture master body, which is a carbon and glass fiber
blend, and use an aluminum lever and bar clamp, has a Bite Adjust
Technology (BAT), and share the same caliper as the MT6. The MT2 uses
the same master as the MT4, and uses an aluminum lever and bar clamp,
but doesn’t have the BAT, and has a two-piece caliper, that is machined
less than any of the other models for a significant cost saving. The
MT8, MT6, MT4, and MT2 retail for $369, $269, $174, $104 each,
respectively.

Not much has changed with the MT brakes since their
introduction at Sea Otter 2011, except this year; there are some OE
Custom colors. Specialized has partnered with Magura, and will be
spec’ing two MT models on a couple of their specific bikes, including an
all-black MT6, and a slightly tweaked  MT4 which is called the MTS
brake (MT Specialized), that has bronze highlights. Cannondale will also
be using an MT with white highlights, and other bike manufacturers are
in the pike (including Pivot) that will be using the MT brakes, and
Magura can fine-tune the color scheme as needed for any OE customers.

MT Brake Ride Impressions
I tested their MT6 model on a Specialized Stumpjumper Carbon 29er and a
Liteville 301 at the press camp, and I thoroughly enjoyed the excellent
modulation and tactile response from the brake. The gnarly terrain on
the technical singletrack at Sedona highlighted how well the brake works
and how much control they gave me when dealing with multiple types of
conditions, which included sections of slick rock, ledges, sand and lots
of ugly loose rocks. No matter what the terrain was like or what
heinous conditions were encountered, the brakes would always respond
with precision and control, offering supreme confidence and stability.

TS Forks
Magura has a new line of forks for the 2013 season, with a plethora of
sizes, models and travel options. The TS (Team Suspension) series will
include their first ever 29er, with travel options of 80, 100 and 120mm,
a 650B with 120 and 150mm, and 26er with 80, 100, 120 and 150mm. There
are a slew of versions for the forks with multiple features, including
the entry level TS6, and the higher-end TS8 SL and TS8 R. The TS6 uses
heavier internal parts and isn’t as machined as the TS8, and replaces
many of the aluminum portions with steel, and although the changes
decrease the cost and increases the weight, the performance remains the
same as their more expensive brethren.

The TS forks have been
developed based on their SLE concept (Stiffer, Lighter, Easier), which
means optimum stiffness at the lowest possible weight, extremely low
maintenance, and an easy setup. Much of the fork’s stiffness comes from
their unique DAD or Double Arch Design and 32mm stanchions, which
provides torsional rigidity and a low rate of twist, for exceptional
steering and handling, with minimal flex. The forks are easier to
maintain since it uses modular internal parts, such as a separate
compression or rebound circuit, and the design is fairly basic for
simplified service. It uses an elastomer negative spring, which has
excellent durability since it’s in a closed system and doesn’t interact
with any oil and grease. Lastly, the ease of use is accomplished with a
lack of compression options, only giving adjustments for air and
rebound.

Magura utilizes their Fork Master Concept (FMC) on the TS
line, so they can manufacture forks with a sensitive response. They
accomplish this with full surface bushings that have a larger area for
less wear, durable, tight and low stiction seals, and the ultra smooth
stanchions with very little roughness, and they all work in concert with
their new Fork Master Grease (FMG). The switch to grease instead of
oil, and its inherent thickness, mean less leakage past the seals, no
cavitation and less stiction, since a minute amount adheres to the pores
of the stanchions.

They
have three different compression damping options depending on the model
chosen, either the DLO or Dynamic Lock Out, which has a blow-off for
added traction and comfort, the Albert SL, which has a fixed
compression, or the Albert Select, which has a platform compression
damping with a tunable threshold. Outside of minute changes of the
compression damping, you have air and rebound adjustments, and there is a
decal with the appropriate air pressure for your body weight on one
leg.

650B and 26er Forks
Like a lot of suspension companies, Magura has jumped on the 650B
bandwagon, and it comes in a 120 and 150mm TS8 R versions, with their
DAD arch (Double Arch Design), a Maxle Lite QR15 axle, 7″ PM brake
mounts, and 1 1/8″ or tapered steerer. Sometime later in the year,
they’ll release 80mm and 100mm versions for the 650B. The 26 comes in a
slew of options, covering the gamut of the TS6 to the TS8 models, with
80, 100, 120 and 150mm of travel, their DAD arch (Double Arch Design),
6″ or 7″ PM brake mounts, and a QR15 (120 and 150mm only) or 9mm axle, 
and 1 1/8″ or tapered steerer (varies on model). The 26 and 650B use the
same lowers, which is basically the remnants of the 2012 Thor. If a
tire fits within the 650B fork DAD, then it won’t bump against the crown
and can be safely used, and Magura will be releasing a list of
compatible tires for cross referencing. The bottom of each fork leg has a
protective cap (one is the red rebound knob), which allows the fork to
rest on the ground without any damage when the front wheel has been
removed.

29er Forks
The new 29″ forks come in eight model versions, a TS6 and TS8 R with
80, 100 and 120mm of travel and DLO damping, and a TS8 SL with 80 and
100mm of travel with the Albert SL damping. All the 29er forks use their
ultra-stable DAD arch (Double Arch Design), 7″ PM brake mounts, and 1
1/8″ or tapered steerer (model dependent), leg protection caps, and the
new MAGURA M15 thru-axles The taper of steer tube isn’t long, to help
fit the shorter head tubes on most 29″ frames.

The
new MAGURA M15 thru-axles have been especially developed for MAGURA 29″
suspension forks. A special feature is the self-retaining thread that
makes additional locking of the thru-axle unnecessary. Simply tighten
the axle and the wheel is safely secured. The MAGURA Tool for Torx T25
bolts is concealed inside the thru-axle, so you have always got the tool
for tightening the axle with you. At the same time, it protects the
thread against contamination. The tool can also be used on the most
bolts of MAGURA MT hydraulic disc brakes and HS rim brakes. You can use
them for changing brake pads or adjusting the lever settings, for
example. This system of axle and integrated tool weighs only 58 grams.

TS Fork Ride Impressions
At the press camp, I rode a Specialized Stumpjumper Carbon 29er with
their TS8 R 120 and a Liteville 301 that was equipped with the 26″ TS8 R
150. I found the forks to have excellent stiffness and strength, and
you can definitely feel the brutally strong DAD system, which provides a
superb steering response and control, and a flex-free drive through any
heinous terrain it was tossed into. The air pressure could be tweaked
to give a plethora of riding experience, from a stout X-Country setting
to a plush All Mountain feel. I really liked that I could drop the
pressure low enough and that at my 155 lbs body weight, I got excellent
plushness with a good platform, and I could actually extract most all
the travel. I didn’t miss the usual compression tuning capabilities, and
having just the air pressure and rebound for adjustments was more than
adequate during my testing and riding. I liked the functional rubber
bumpers or protection caps on the bottom of the legs, as they protected
the fork during a wheel change.

The unique M15 thru-axle system on
the 29er fork works well and it’s a simple system, just pop out the
axle tool from its recessed location on the right side of the axle, and
then use the integrated Torx T25 head to take the axle off and on. It
sits in there snugly, so I can’t imagine it falling off during a ride,
but if it does, you should have a T25 Torx wrench in your tool kit.

I
liked the subdued and understated white and black color scheme of the
TS series, and was impressed with the usual superb German craftsmanship
of the forks. The overall feel of the fork felt vastly improved from
their predecessors, and the improved seals, silky-smooth stroke without
any noticeable notchiness or stiction, and bushing and internal changes,
offering an incredible ride, with plushness and resiliency, yet with a
rock-solid platform and stability.

Currently, I have been testing
the TS8 R 650B fork on my personal Mojo HD, using the Enve AM carbon
wheels and Schwalbe Nobby Nic 650B, and I couldn’t be happier with the
excellent performance of the fork.

29’er and 650B Forks 

  • TS6 – $649
  • TS8 R – $849
  • TS8 SL – $849

26″ Forks

  • TS6 – $599
  • TS8 SL – $799
  • TS8 R – $799
  • TS8 R QR15 – $849
  • TS8 R 150 – $849

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous June 14, 2012 at 3:29 am

Where's the 20mm thru axle. That's one of the reasons why I like the old Thor fork so much. I have 2 of them and going to a 15mm on a 26" wheel isn't going to match my compatibility with the other 2. Any word on them coming out with a 20mm?

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet June 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm

No 20mm. I wish they had stuck with the 20mm myself, as it's my personal preference, but the market was pushing them to join the 15mm bandwagon. I also wish they still had a 160mm fork!

Reply

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