Magura USA (aka Magura Direct) hosted the 9th annual press camp in spectacular Sedona Arizona in May, and they invited editors and writers to test out the products that they distribute, which includes Magura (brakes and forks), uvex (helmets and sunglasses) and Vredestein tires, 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 Direct (Jeff, Tony, Jude, Ruthie, Mike, Brent) for hosting this shindig at the lovely Red Agave Resort, and their partners Mark of SKS and Tony of Specialized, and our cooks, John, Janet and Debbie.
The big news at the Magura Press Camp was their new TS (Team Suspension) 29er 140/150mm travel fork. The fork will come to the US in the 140mm mode, but can be changed internally to 150mm. The fork will come with their proprietary M15 thru axle system, dropout bumper protectors, 32mm stanchions, 7″ PM disc brake mounts and will be available in their TS8 and TS6 models. Magura was late to the 29er fork game, but they’re diving full force into the long travel 29-inch bike world, and this new lightweight (1775 grams) and decently priced fork (around $849) should be a real winner.
At the press camp, they had various Specialized 29er bikes equipped with the new fork, so the editors got to go hammer the forks on the local epic trails, so we all got a good feel for how well the forks perform on the flowy and sometimes vicious Sedona terrain. In addition to the new long travel 29er fork, they are coming out with a true dedicated 650B fork in the November time frame. They currently have a 27.5″ compatible fork, but it can only be used with small to medium-size tires, and the new lowers should be applicable for any 27.5″ tire, even monstrous 2.5″ ones. Although they didn’t give any specifics, I would assume that it will have a slightly taller axle-to-crown than the current 26″/27.5″ version.
All the 2014 forks get an upgrade named the Performance Package, which improves suppleness, smoothness and usability. They had been using a food-grade quality silicone based grease in the lowers with their TS model forks, and this year they’re replacing the 5mm of oil in the upper air chamber with 4 grams of the grease. They have also replaced the Delrin plastic bushings with slicker aluminum bushings that have been impregnated with Teflon, and they’ll work in synergy with the grease for to provide good supple action. They upgraded the rebound knob, and made it more ergonomic and easier to use, as the existing knurled one was hard to turn. They have a tuneable air chamber now, and by adding or removing specifically sized Delrin spacers just under the top of the air cap, you can alter the spring rate of the fork.
Jude Monica of Magura gave an excellent short clinic on breaking down their forks, which surprisingly only require a couple of tools, and is a moderately simple operation in the grand scheme of things. During the demonstration, he highlighted all the internals pieces and how they interact with each other. All the parts are very modular, and everything is easy take apart and replace if required, though the damper itself isn’t serviceable and would need to be entirely swapped out.
On top of the existing SL and DLO2 damping cartridges, they have a new one named the DLO3, which is the predecessor to the Albert Select. The new DLO3 has an easy to use adjustable thumb wheel, with three positions, open, firm and locked, with a blowoff in the lock mode.
The air side of the system was pretty interesting. The bottommost elastomer has little triangular indentations cut into it, so that it gives a slight plushness during its initial compression. The notches in the middle of the rod (shown above) are where the travel height can be changed by moving the roller pin to a different location. The plunger head at the top of the rod pivots, and it uses grease instead of oil, so you’ll no longer see any weeping oil on that side of the fork.
The new long travel 140mm/150mm 29er and 27.5″ are great additions to their lineup, and the subtle improvements of the Performance Package add suppleness and usability, and it’s retrofittable to the existing TS models. The new DLO3 damping cartridge is easy to use and works really well, and is very much like FOX’s CTD system. During my test rides of the new TS8 29er 140 DLO3, the fork had excellent suppleness, decent small bump compliance, great plushness on medium to large bumps, and had good stiffness from the DAD arch. I do wish they had 34mm stanchions for this big beast, since there was just a hint of give when pushed extremely hard. During my short rides, I found this long travel 29er to be lightweight, supple, stiff and compliant, and would be a great addition to my long-awaited Ibis Ripley.