Magura MT8 Brake Review

Brakes Pro Reviews

Impressions
For the entire testing period, I used the MT8′s in a 203/180 combination, on my loyal steed, the impeccable Ibis Mojo HD. The local Colorado terrain is predominantly rocky conditions, with many sections of long steep downhills, rock gardens and slabs, and ugly loose gravel and rocks. I weigh in at 155 lbs, ride with a light touch, and love to use the brakes. I habitually prefer All Mountain riding, and frequent extremely technical terrain, that requires precise maneuvering, split-second timing, and nerves of steel and a big dash of lunacy.

The MT8’s are impressively powerful and strong, with a solid authoritative feel at the lever, and the rotors spin drag free through the calipers, and everything is deadly quiet. In direct comparison to the Louise, and some other monster brakes, they offer slightly less power, but have better modulation, with excellent communication between the lever and ground. One of the hallmarks of this brake is their control factor, as they offer excellent ride and lever feel, and small lever movements give rise to fine toothed speed adjustments. Increasing the rotor size to a 203/180 combination, produces some outstanding strength, and moves them up in the power battlefield. I think they are gorgeous looking, albeit they have a slick Germanic engineering theme about themselves, and don’t look like their boxy predecessors.

Magura worked extensively on the ergonomics of the MT lever shape, and they spent enormous amounts of time and research perfecting their engineering, using public interaction, and input from a Professor of Ergonomics at Stuttgart University (Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz). 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.

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.

Here is some local terrain in which they thrive:

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme 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 and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Vince says:

    First off, the brake lever feel on my MT8′s were horrible. They were about 2cm from the handle bars when fully pressed. Search online and you’ll find numerous people with the same problem.
    Secondly, they had a recall on them so I sent them back for fixing. When they came back, the brake lever distance went straight to the handlebars. Bled them using the Magura service kit and noticed nothing but oil leaking out of the master cylinders on both front and rear (a lot of people reported leaking master cylinders too).
    Contacted Magura and long story short, they’re not covering it because “it seems like DOT fluid has been used which would cause the leaking” and only offered a replacement master cylinder at a discounted price. Sorry Magura, not going to spend more money on top of the $700+ I already spent on the brakes.
    Love the look and weight of these brakes but the quality lacks. Magura does have good customer service but not good enough when it comes to a faulty item.
    Got myself some Shimano XTR’s and never looked back.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      I have tested multiple sets of MT8′s and MT6′s and only had one pull close to the bar, and it was easily fixed by a bleed and making sure the pistons were set out. I never had any leaking issues? Was the leak at the hose connector or the diaphragm on the handlebar clamp (where the open system has a breather)? Magura accused you of using DOT in the brakes, that seems a bit odd?

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