Magura MT6 Brake Review


I have always liked the shape of Magura’s levers, and the MT levers crank up everything by a big notch, with an outstanding and highly tactile feel, and superb ergonomics. They are wide, comfortable, with a nice notch for one or two-finger usage, and the pleasing and functional shape, helped decrease hand fatigue, especially during prolonged use, like on long downhills. The stiff lever allows a concise and firm pull, and is greatly helped by a lack of any slop in the pivot and reservoir body interface. The lever only has reach adjustment, which is altered with a Torx wrench inserted into its front by the pivot, allowing a closer or farther feel, and with a different angle. For my personal taste, I left them fully out, making for a maximum reach.

Their tactile sense is superb, allowing the system to feel like an extension of your hand, and you can figuratively feel a pebble on the ground when braking. The more technical and gnarly the terrain and conditions are, the more comfortable and functional the brakes felt, and they offered fine adjustment of speed with concise lever pulls. They thrived when doing high-precision moves and maneuvers, whether on mild or heinous terrain, with excellent feedback and response, giving rise to an innate sense of security and control. These light brakes are pretty amazing, and I have taken them down some ugly steep gnar, where many brakes fade and scream with misery, and they just kept quietly plugging away. I loved how you could grab the brakes wherever you wanted, and they would haul your speed quickly down, though they could be a touch grabby if got too heavy handed, which can be a common trait of many strong and powerful brakes. Grab a huge handful of the brake and it was easy to do a stoppie, even in the middle of a rock garden. Pulling the lever with a measured feathering worked just fine, and it allowed the modulation to excel, and if a wheel lock up happened, a minute pressure release at the lever had the spinning along again. Even when cranking down steep terrain that is littered with loose chunky material, the brakes retain excellent composure, with good feedback, modulation and control, without unwanted lockups.

They were extremely quiet and their muted usage was a major highlight, as I really enjoyed not having a set of brakes squealing while I was riding down a trail. I didn’t hear the usual wispy chatter that the Storm SL rotor cutouts can make on some of the other Magura brakes, which was a welcome change; it was there, but was very subdued, and you really had to listen for it. Sometimes if they were wet and cold, had dirty pads or rotors, they might make some noise, but after a few good stabs with the lever, they were silent again. Even when getting them extremely hot on long steep downhills, they were fade free and resisted heat buildup, and made no scraping or overheating noises, and their performance and lack of noise were outstanding. “Silent but deadly!” A lot of the quietness is due to a couple of features and design aspects of the caliper system, that all work in synergy to keep them silent. The Duroplastic pistons, which absorb less heat than metal, have a special coating, which prevents them from sticking in the cylinder, and reduces friction and stichion. The caliper itself, runs significantly cooler by the combination of using organic pads, the composite pistons and the double arch, which acted as cooling fins. I did have one day on an a wicked steep, technical and long downhill, when the outdoor temperature was extremely hot, and the brakes had just a touch of squishiness at the very bottom of the ride, but they still felt pretty good considering the treatment they had just gone through. Using the Storm rotor instead of the Storm SL gave a decent increase in power and drop in fade, with a slight increase in weight (20 grams).

I never felt any pad rubbing nor drag from the caliper and rotors, and they always flowed freely, regardless of how heavily they were being used. Due to the offset pistons giving toe-in as the lever is applied, the pads realign themselves with the rotor, so their spacing seems to remain proper, regardless of pad and rotor wear, rotor warping and heating, etc. When it comes time to replace or clean the pads, the EPR (easy pad replacement) system, which uses top-loading pads are simple to remove, and don’t require a wheel removal. Simply remove the retaining screw, grab the tabs on the pads and pull them out, insert a new pair, letting the magnets on the caliper’s piston hold them in place, and then replace the screw. After pad replacement, they aligned in just fine, and if they were installed a bit cockeyed, a good jab from the lever set them in properly.

It’s nice that all the bolts (except for the bleed port) use a T25 Torx head, so only one tool was required for the brakes and rotors. I didn’t have any issue with stripping the alloy Torx heads, especially the large caliper ones, but you do need to be cautious, especially on the clamp, and a light hand tightening and finishing off with the torque wrench is the best approach. The alloy barrel nut is fragile, and you need to use caution when tightening it down to its paltry 3 Nm of torque, else the head can get stripped or sheared off, although I never experienced that problem.

Measured Specs:

  • Uncut – 221.3 and 221.7 grams
  • Front (cut 32″) – 200.2 grams
  • Rear (cut 57″) – 212.7 grams
  • Bolts (alloy) – 2 @ 3.9 grams
  • Storm SL 203mm – 147.6 grams
  • Storm SL 180mm – 114.2 grams
  • Storm SL 160mm – 92 grams
  • QM7 (6″ PM 203 adapter) – 22.9 grams
  • QM6 (6″ PM 180 adapter) – 23.4 grams

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on the trail.

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  • Justin D says:

    Had the same spongy experience with the mt4′s. All those innovative construction techniques become aggravating when trying to bleed away the SPONGE . Maguras are nice on motorcycles i’d say , but stay away from this whole range , they suck! Shimano xtr’s are on my bike now , wish I had tried them first. Maguras’ carbotechture is a fancy term for plastic, imagine how well that holds up in crashes. Storm sl rotors are nice though. BOOOO MAGURA , BOOOO, back to the drawing board. Use metal next time. Still pissed off with my experience. Run them at your own risk.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Justin – I never experienced any sponginess, and only had one squishiness session when I got the brake boiling hot? Otherwise, they didn’t give me any issues, and I found the lever feel firm, though it does take them a long throw through the stroke to connect up. It does take a certain technique to bleed them properly, and I only had to do it when the stroke got a bit close to the bars. I have crashed extremely hard with the brakes and they have been tough as nails? Sorry to hear you had issues with them, but I think they are fantastic brakes.

    • Bill Hilow says:

      My Top of the line 2014 Cannondale Trigger Carbon Team 1 came with these Mt6 brakes. I thought it was a joke. They were spongy on delivery. Long lever pull.The levers coming right down and crushing your fingers against the bar. This seemed to improve as the brakes heated but not up to par. I installed new pads and bled bled bled bled bled
      and still not as firm as my SRAM DB5 which are $400 installed! The reservoir bleed screw is soft plastic that strips easily. I think they look trick and have a high wow factor. Other than being really light I don’t think they are worth the price or maintenance headaches. Avoid

    • Bill says:

      I think USA riders have a preference for powerful and more direct feeling brakes. The fact that not only do these lack power they are a not maintenance friendly. It’s one thing to be Joe Euro that has a full truck load of factory sponsored parts and a mechanic and another to be American and self reliant.

      • Bill says:

        I did get them sorted out. They need a special technique of using a thinner than supplied bleed block. You have to bleed them through a few times. there can’t be even a few bubbles. Before buttoning it install the reservoir cap before removing the plunger. Then using a thinner bleed block give the syringe one final blast of juice to set the pads. You should barely be able to slip them onto the discs.

  • dagoat says:

    I have the MT6′s on my 29er RacerX and absolutely love them. Swapped out a sett of early Marta’s for them and I’ll never look back. Strong, light and controllable!

  • Taylor says:

    Can you upgrade to carbon levers on the MT-6? Also the clamp?

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Yes you can. You’ll need a tool to remove the lever blade.

      Per my main man, Jude at Magura responded:
      “Yes you can. I in fact swapped carbon levers to the MT4. No problem.”
      Special tools needed?
      “Not really but the ‘axle’ will need to be pressed out and we have a tool for that. In reality, if you have a drift or deep well socket (about 5 mm) works well.”

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