Magura Brake Retrospect

by Brian Mullin on January 11, 2017

I have been using Magura brakes since 2008 when I first put them on my Moots Moto-XZ 29er. I tricked the old Marta SL’s with braided steel lines, which improved the brake system effectiveness and longevity with near-elimination of hose expansion, plus they looked cool. I was hooked from day one on Magura brakes, and I loved the lever feel and excellent modulation from their system. Besides the early Marta SL, I have used the Marta SL Magnesium, the Louise Carbon BAT, the Marta FR, the original MT8, the MT6 and now their superb four-piston MT5 and MT7.

My Magura brake collection: Left to Right, Louise Carbon BAT, Marta FR, Marta SL, MT6, Marta SL Magnesium, MT8. The MT5 and MT7 are currently installed on my Ibis Ripley LS and Mojo HD3, respectively.

It’s tough to give a current impression of my brake collection since it’s been many years since I have used some of them, but Magura has progressively improved their brakes. The Marta SL was light though a bit underpowered, while the Louise offered an impressive improvement in power. The Marta FR and Marta SL Magnesium slightly increased power over the Marta SL, but it wasn’t anything significant, but it was nice when they added the bleed ports. The original MT8 were extremely lightweight and offered up some amazing carbon build technology, while the MT6 NEXT jumped up the power output. Things were sent out of the ballpark with their four-piston MT5 and MT7, which best most brakes on the market.

The MT NEXT (Mission Team) series of brakes consist of the two piston MT2, MT4, MT6 and MT8, and the four-piston MT5 and MT7. The gravity oriented four-piston brakes utilize technology and design that came from their development of their motorcycle brakes. With this new series, they increased the mechanical leverage ratio progressively for enhanced deceleration power from the base MT2 model to the top of the line four-piston MT7.

Marta SL

I never wrote a review on the Marta SL, but it was just their basic Marta brake with a carbon fiber lever and a lightened caliper. The lever had a nice feel, and the brake offered a good deal of modulation, but it wasn’t the most powerful brake and was ideally suited to x-country use. One thing I didn’t like was bleeding the brake since there wasn’t a bleed port on the reservoir. You had to use their pro bleed adapter kit which had a foam paddle cover with a vise grip squeezer that went over the opened reservoir to seal it up, or you had to fill and remove the fluid manually with a syringe from the reservoir bowl. It was a pain in the butt to get it bleed properly.

As stated, the caliper was a lightened version of the regular two-piston Marta.

Marta SL Magnesium

September 2009 – I have been using Magura Marta SL brakes for many years and had always been satisfied with the brakes, but I always wanted a tad more power and modulation. Magura revamped the Marta line in 2009 and then sweetened the pot with a lighter version using forged magnesium. The upgrades include a redesigned caliper and reservoir body, a better lever pivot, and the use of the larger Louise pads. The new reservoir body contains a new bleeding system that is drastically easier to use.

They also come with titanium hardware, a unique paint job (white/red), a magnesium reservoir body and an aluminum caliper.

Bottom Line

The Mags are a highly engineered German marvel, they have excellent modulation, good power, are lightweight and are gorgeous looking. If bleeding is required the new EBT system is much easier to use. They can be slightly susceptible to some fade on extremely long, and steep downhills, but larger rotors help alleviate much of that issue. I liked the feel of the brake, but some may find it too firm, and the reach adjustment is difficult. I do wish they had released a full magnesium set to make use of the lightweight properties of the material. The newly upgraded Marta is a huge step forward, and the Mag version tweak is another sweet brake from Magura!

For a full review check Magura Marta SL Magnesium Review

Louise Carbon BAT

August 2010 – I have been using the very sweet Louise Carbon BAT brakes for just over three months, and they have turned out to be my current favorite stoppers. They are powerful, with good modulation, are quiet, fade resistant, highly tunable and have the bling carbon levers. The aluminum master cylinder has a carbon lever with reach adjust and Bite Adjust Technology (BAT), and attaches to the handlebars using their Quickfit split clamp system.

It is interesting, that except for the ultra powerful Gustav they all have girl names? So considering Marta’s pedigree, the Louise reminds me of the East German woman swimmers, Anabolic steroid enhanced power machines!

Bottom Line

I am not sure how many superlatives can be piled on top of each other to describe the Louise, but they are pretty close to being a perfect brake, albeit they are slightly heavy. The Louise has proven themselves to be tough, robust and a reliable all around brake. They are powerful, fade resistant, quiet, predictable, with a crisp and snappy feel, and offer excellent control and precision. The On Demand power, allows speed scrubbing or an all out stop, anywhere and at any time, with an easy dab from the lever, giving rise to less effort being required and decreased hand fatigue. The carbon levers look good, are light, comfortable, and have a nice feel without any mushiness. The BAT and the reach adjustment, allow lots of tunability, for rider versatility.

They do have a sharp bite, which may or may not suit everyone’s tastes, but I enjoyed the control and feeling that characteristic brought forth. They are not the lightest brakes, but their power and reliability and inherent features more than make up for this slight deficient. The Louise is the Uber stopping Queen, and are my current favorite brake.

For a full review check Magura Louise Carbon BAT Review

Marta FR

February 2011 – When I first saw the Magura Marta FR at 2010 Interbike, I thought that they were a re-designed version of the Marta series, but in reality, it’s just a cosmetic change of the standard Marta, which is fine, since the line has an incredible pedigree. The new changes are the Grunge Green color scheme, white hydraulic lines, and a gray aluminum lever, otherwise, it’s the same excellent product. Magura revamped the Marta line in 2009, and upgrades included a redesigned caliper and reservoir body, a better lever pivot, the use of the larger Louise pads and the new bleeding system (EBT). This year they added the Storm and Storm SL rotors, which are miles ahead of their predecessor’s, with lighter weight, and better power and modulation. It uses a Forged one piece monoblock aluminum caliper, an aluminum master cylinder and lever with reach adjust.

Bottom Line

The Magura Marta FR is a great set of brakes, offering precise control and excellent modulation, with good power and superb feathering characteristics. I liked the new subdued Grunge Green color scheme, and although the white hydraulic lines can seem somewhat garish, they do add some interesting color along the lines of a bike. The aluminum lever felt solid, and had an excellent tactile feel, although adjusting the reach isn’t the easiest task. On wickedly steep and long downhills, they have a slight amount of fade, though larger rotors can assist in this minor aberration.

The Marta FR is another highly engineered German product from Magura, and along with the newly released Storm rotors, it completes a well-rounded package.

Refer a full review check out Marta FR Review

MT8

October 2011 – Magura stunning new MT8 brake is incredibly lightweight (278g w/ 160mm rotor), with excellent power and modulation, and resistance to heat, drag, and squeal, which all combine to make it stand out regarding performance. The high-tech works of art use some amazingly innovative production techniques and materials to create a light and strong brake for any riding, from cross-country to downhill, and it transcends being categorized within any riding style. It uses a Carbotecture SL carbon master body with the flip-flop design and dual EBT ports for bleeding, an alloy double arch caliper with top loading pads, and Carbolay levers and split handlebar clamp.

Bottom Line

The Magura MT8 brakes are supremely functional, feature laden and highly engineered, and everything single piece of the brake is pure bling. The lightness is a component of an entire slew of innovative technologies, from the carbon lever, reservoir, and clamp, to the sculptured caliper, and the special alloy bolts. The brakes have a superb tactile feel, which gives rise to an incredible touch, control, and communication, and your hands become ‘One’ with the ground/bike interface. The MT8’s offer great modulation, excellent power and heat resistance, and the rotors spin drag free through the calipers. The caliper’s design makes them the quietest brake I have ridden, and even getting them extremely hot on long steep downhills never changed their silent characteristic.
Like anything with an expensive carbon lever that sticks out, I might be worried about breakage, but after multiple crashes (some slow and some fast) I haven’t had any issue, and the alloy clamp barrel does need to be tightened with caution. They aren’t the most powerful brake on the market, but they more than make up for any deficit, with other remarkable and useful traits.

In a nutshell, they are strong, light, quiet, fade free and powerful, modulate well, and have a superb tactile feel from the ergonomic brake lever down into the ground. The brakes are the epitome of German perfection!

For a full review check out Magura MT8 Review

MT6

September 2012 – The Magura MT6 Next brake is lightweight (310 g w/ 160mm rotor) and silent, with excellent power and modulation, and resistance to heat, drag, and squeal, which all combine to make it stand out regarding performance. They use some amazingly innovative production techniques and materials to create a light and strong brake for any riding, from cross-country to downhill, and it transcends being categorized within any riding style. It uses a Carbotecture SL carbon master body with the flip-flop design and dual EBT ports for bleeding, an alloy double arch caliper with top loading pads, and alloy levers and split handlebar clamp.

Bottom Line

The Magura MT6 brakes are supremely functional, feature laden and highly engineered, and everything single piece of the brake works in synergy. The lightness is a component of an entire slew of innovative technologies, from the carbon reservoir to the sculptured caliper, and the special alloy bolts. The brakes have a superb tactile feel, which gives rise to an incredible touch, control, and communication, and your hands become ‘One’ with the ground/bike interface. The MT6’s offer great modulation, excellent power and heat resistance, and the rotor’s spin drag free through the calipers. The caliper’s design makes them one of the quietest brake I have ridden, and even getting them extremely hot on long steep downhills never changed their silent characteristic.

They aren’t the most powerful brake on the market, but they more than make up for any deficit, with other remarkable and useful characteristics. They don’t offer the MT8’s lightweight (22g heavier), bling, and looks, but they make up for it with a better price point, and their alloy lever offers a noticeably firmer feel for a slight increase in control and power.

In a nutshell, they are strong, light, quiet, fade free and powerful, modulate well, and have a superb tactile feel from the ergonomic brake lever down into the ground.

For a full review check Magura MT6 Review

MT5

January 2015 – Magura revamped their MT brakes in 2014, and they increased power throughout the lineup and added two new four-piston systems, the MT5, and MT7. The four-piston MT5 brake is moderately light (380 g w/ 180mm rotor) and silent, with excellent modulation and power and resistance to heat, drag and squeal, and retails for $200 (w/o rotors), making for an outstanding performance oriented package.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Magura MT5 four-piston brake has excellent power, superb modulation and lever feel, and offers precise braking and control, with highlights to its feathering capabilities and lever feel.

The MT5 utilizes a Carbotecture master body and an aluminum lever which has a tool adjustable reach and has an aluminum caliper with four Duroplastic pistons which have an embedded high-powered magnet to hold the pads in place. The brakes have a superb tactile feel, which gives rise to an incredible touch, control, and communication, especially in technical terrain. The MT5’s offer excellent modulation and power and heat resistance, and the rotor’s spin drag free through the calipers. The caliper’s design and four-piston layouts make them the quietest brake I have ridden, and even getting them scorching hot on long steep downhills never changed their silent characteristic. They don’t offer the MT7’s lighter weight and increased leverage ratio, but they make up for it with a $200 price point, which is a beneficial budgetary constraint. I can’t vouch for the MT7’s increased power since I didn’t get to do a long-term comparison between the MT5 and MT7.

The dual-pad backing plate system MT5 can be difficult to remove due to the hanging hooks getting in the way during extraction. I would prefer they switch to the MT7 four individual pads, which is a top loading system and has a better tactile feel, less noise, and subtly better performance. After some time, the pads can build up some polish and glaze, and a quick light sanding of the pads removed it, returning them to top performance and decreased noise. The four-piston system not only offers increased performance and power and fade resistance but also increases the overall life of the pads, in particular with the slightly thicker material on the MT7 pads.

For a full review check Review – Magura MT5 Brakes

magura_mt7_lever

MT7

June 2016 – Magura’s flagship four-piston MT7 brake has incredible power, superb modulation, and offers precise braking and control, with highlights to its feathering capabilities and lever feel. It uses their Carbotecture SL reservoir, an ergonomic aluminum lever with toolless reach adjustment and a forged alloy 4-piston brake caliper with an adjustable banjo. The brake retails for $310 and weighs a moderately light 268 grams.

magura_mt7_caliper_side

Bottom Line

The MT7 utilizes a Carbotecture SL master body, an aluminum lever with a toolless reach adjustable and a forged alloy caliper with four Duroplastic pistons which have an embedded high-powered magnet to hold the pads in place. The brakes have a superb tactile feel, which gives rise to an incredible touch, control, and communication, especially in technical terrain. The MT7’s offer excellent modulation and off the chart power and heat resistance, and the rotor’s spin drag free through the calipers. The caliper’s design and four-piston layouts made them the quietest brake I have ridden, and even getting them scorching hot on long steep downhills never changed their silent characteristic. After some time, the pads can build up some polish and glaze, and a quick light sanding of the pads removed it, returning them to top performance and decreased noise. They’re relatively light for a four-piston design and have so far been brutally tough and haven’t required any bleeding.

The MT7’s increased leverage ratio and four-piston design offered up the most powerful braking system I have used that’s currently on the market, and I mean these suckers are potent killers and can stop on a dime anywhere.

For a full review check Magura MT7 Brake Review

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