Once again, Magura USA (aka) 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!
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.
Brake Test 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.