Review – Magura TS8R 150 Fork

by Brian Mullin on February 6, 2013

The
Magura TS8R 150 Fix is a 150mm or 5.9″ travel fork, which works with
27.5″/650B  and 26″ wheel sizes. It weighs in at a light 1675 grams
(3.7 lbs), comes with their Albert Select+ or DLO damping and a 15mm Maxle
lite axle. The fork is meant for All Mountain or Enduro riding, and offers a plush ride, and utilizes a dual-arch for improved stiffness, rigidity, better steering and increased control.

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
includes their first ever 29er, with travel options of 80, 100 and
120mm, a 27.5″ with 100, 120 and 150mm, and 26″ with 80, 100, 120 and
150mm. There is 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 forks retail from
$600 to $850, depending model and options, which are pretty reasonable
in today’s market.

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.

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 Meister
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+ (tested), which has a platform
compression damping with a tunable threshold.

The Albert Select+
has an On/Off switch (blue dial) for platform compression damping, which
sits on top of the right fork leg. In the Off position, the fork is
fully open, and when On, the platform damping is engaged. It has a micro
adjustment knob (the gold knob), which allows finer tuning of the
engaged platform from firm to supple. You’ll have to hold onto the outer
blue dial when setting the threshold knob, else they’ll both turn
together. Outside of minute changes of the compression damping, you
have air and rebound adjustments, and there is a handy decal chart on
the right fork leg with the appropriate air pressure for your body
weight.

The
27.5″ fork comes in a slew of options, covering the gamut of the TS6 to
the TS8 models, with 100, 120 and 150mm of travel, their DAD arch,
Albert Select+ or DLO damping, 7″ PM disc mounts, 15 mm axle (Maxle lite
or TA), and 1 1/8″ or tapered steerer. The 26″ and 27.5″ use the same
lowers, which is basically the remnants of the 2012 Thor. If a tire fits
within the confines of the DAD, then it won’t bump against the crown
and can be safely used. Magura has a tire compatibility chart for the
fork (see end of article), though larger and taller 27.5″ tires will
scrape the bottom of the arch and aren’t very feasible to use.

Testing Rig and Terrain
I tested the TS8R 150 Fix with Albert Select+, a tapered steerer and
15mm Maxle lite axle. Testing was performed on my medium Ibis Mojo HD
with the Cane Creek Double Barrel Air rear shock, and multiple 26″ and
27.5″ wheels and tires. I am 5’9″, weigh in at 155 lbs, and I have
mostly ridden in the West, including vast portions of the Colorado Front
Range, Sedona, Moab, Fruita/GJ and many parts of the Colorado
mountains. The testing terrain is predominantly loose rocky conditions,
with many long steep climbs and descents, rock gardens, slick rock, an
occasional smooth singletrack and lots of ugly, loose gravel. I tend to
enjoy gnarly technical terrain, where precise steering and maneuvering
are required and intricate follow-through, and full commitment is
advised.

Impressions
Out with the old Thor, and in with the new TS8 150! What a pleasant
surprise this fork has been, it’s simple and light, offers excellent
plushness, great compliance and stiffness, and it can play rough or
mellow.

The fork has good stiffness and strength, and you can
definitely feel the brutally strong DAD system, which provides superb
steering response and control, and a flex-free drive through any heinous
terrain it was tossed into. It’s not as stout as 36mm stanchions, but
it’s on par with the 34mm and 35mm models of the competition.
Unfortunately, the DAD can become a dust and dirt magnet, and tends to
hold debris on the top cups of the arch and funnel’s things down towards
the wipers.

The air pressure, which is located on the top of the
left leg, could be tweaked to give a plethora of riding experience, from
a firm X-Country setting to a plush All Mountain feel. I really liked
that I could drop the pressure low enough to cause a change for my
svelte 155 lbs body, and 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. Magura has done an excellent job of engineering usable and
functional compression damping and spring curves into the fork.

The
bottom of each fork leg has highly functional protective caps (red is
rebound knob), which allow the fork to rest on the ground without any
damage when the front wheel is removed. The default PM 7″ disc mount was
a nice feature since most All Mountain riders use a 180mm rotor in the
front, and this saves having to slap on an adapter.

It was a
fairly easy fork to tune, and once the air pressure and rebound were
set; it didn’t require further tweaking (set and forget). I ended up
with about nine clicks of rebound, and three turns of the platform knob.
Depending on the terrain I was riding, I might fluctuate the pressure
up and down, though I usually ended up with around 30% sag.

The fork
pounced its way down ugly rock gardens, ledges and slabs, and even an
occasional huck without any undue stress, and it retained composure,
precise steering and stability at any speed outside of Mach 1. Since it
made the front end light, it was really easy to launch the bike into
space, and it only required a slight tweak of the bars to get it up into
the air. It climbed like a XC demon and kept the front end plastered to
the ground, and when asked to jam in and out of berms and corners, it
didn’t washout, dive or lose control. If the air pressure was kept high
enough, I never felt any fork diving issues, even under heavy braking
and when dropping into heinous and steep terrain. I engaged the Albert
Select+ whenever I was on fire roads or ultra smooth singletrack, as it
kept any energy loss down to a minimum on terrain that didn’t require much travel. I
got pretty proficient at engaging the Albert Select+ on the fly, but it
was still a tricky endeavor.

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.

Measured Specs:
  • Weight – 1694 grams
  • Axle to Crown – 535mm

Bottom Line
The overall feel of the TS8R 150 Fix felt vastly improved from its
predecessor (a.k.a. The Thor), and the improved seals, surface bushings,
and slippery stanchions, give a silky-smooth stroke without any
noticeable notchiness or stiction. Those new improvements along with
other internal changes, offered an incredible ride, with plushness and
resiliency, while still retaining a rock-solid platform and stability.
The DAD gives the front end excellent control, response and steering,
and its synergy with the rest of the internals kept the wheel plastered
to the ground, with great traction and braking, whether you’re climbing,
cornering or dropping into gnarly terrain. It has some nice features,
like the PM 7″ disc mount, the protective caps on the bottom of the fork
legs and an air pressure vs. body weight chart decal on the stanchion.
If you pushed the fork to high speeds, it lost some composure, and
though it was plenty stiff, it still wasn’t a 36mm fork. Large and tall 27.5″
tire will fit, but tend to scrape the bottom of the arch, so they’re not
feasible to use, and I’d like to see some increased spacing so that any
tire will work (Note: Magura is working on new 27.5″ lowers).

The TS8R 150 Fix has simple tuning, excellent
plushness, great stiffness, is light and reasonably priced, which all
combine for a very sweet fork.

Strengths

  • Excellent control and steering attributes
  • Great traction and braking characteristics
  • DAD – effective stiffness
  • Superb plush ride
  • Albert Select+ damping
  • Simple Tuning
  • Light
  • $850 Price

Weaknesses

  • DAD can collect dirt and debris
  • Won’t fit large or tall 27.5″ tires
  • Not the best at extreme speeds
  • Albert Select+ can be tricky to adjust on the fly
  • Mini gripes – wish they had a 160mm travel option and 20mm axle

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers


Magura TS fork and 650B Tire Compatibility




TS8 R 150 Fix 27.5″/650B Specs:

  • MSRP: $849
  • Albert Select+ damping with more progressive spring curve featuring optimized damping through the complete speed range or DLO² with dynamic lockout
  • Spring: Air
  • Travel: 150mm
  • Superstiff 32 mm upper legs.
  • Cold forged Aluminum 6082 T6 fork crown with integrated cablestops for the optional RCL² remote control.
  • 15 mm thrux-axle system with q/r.
  • All adjuster knobs made of high quality aluminum.
  • Bolted hose guide for judder-free brake hose routing.
  • Protection Caps on lower leg.
  • Steerer available in 1 1/8″ or 1 1/8″ – 1.5″ (tapered steerer).
  • Adjustment possibilities |  Adjustable platform compression damping (Albert Select+) or DLO² with dynamic lockout, rebound, preload (air pressure).
  • Travel, weight |  TS8 R 150 Fix 27.5″, 1,675g/3,69 lbs (with 15 mm Maxle lite™)
  • Disc mounts |  PM 7″
  • Axle to crown length in mm | 530/520
  • Other |  Approved for disc brakes up to 210 mm/8.5″.
  • Designed and manufactured in Germany.
  • Color: Lower leg and Fork bridge: White

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