As brake sponsor for the Specialized XC and gravity teams, Magura gets an up close look at just what the best riders in the world need. After this year’s first test camp with team riders, it was clear that reigning world DH champion Loic Bruni had very precise ideas about braking performance, especially ergonomics and the operation of the brake.
To relay this message, he drew the shape of his desired lever on paper. Magura then developed a prototype for testing. The “Loic-O-Mat” as it was called was an aluminum base lever that could mount any of 13 variations of 3D-printed lever shapes.
Bruni then tested all the different shapes and lever ratios under real-life conditions and ultimately found his own perfect lever form. Magura then produced a perfectly tuned lever for him, which was used for the first time at the World Cup race in Fort William. The final prototype of Bruni’s lever is made of 3D printed titanium. Through the use of rapid prototyping, the Magura development team was able to realize very short production times without compromising the strength or weight of the lever.
“Loic’s requirements for the levers were quite extreme,” explained Reiner Künstle, Magura’s development engineer. “He wanted the bite point far away from the handlebars but with an extreme leverage-ratio for full on/off braking power. The short shape of the lever is more flat and straight. At the bite point, the lever is almost parallel to the handlebars, so his finger won’t slip in this position. Loic can move his finger on the wide grip area and take the pressure off it.”
Magura ran through a similar collaboration process with Danny MacAskill, but ended up producing a completely different lever the one for Bruni.
“As well as having the lever close, Danny wanted a clear position for his finger,” added Künstle. “To achieve this, the HC3 lever has almost a recessed grip with a high tip. It’s nothing like Loic’s flat lever.”
Indeed, MacAskill’s shorter brake lever with a minimum reach keeps a firm grip on the handlebars when he jumps from rooftops and during hard landings. The edges of his lever are rounded and flat to prevent his fingers from being cut. Thanks to the adjustable transmission ratio of this lever he can change the brake power and modulation which enables him to stay in control, even in wet conditions.
The good news for the rest of us is that Magura understands that no one person’s hands are the same, and believes brake levers shouldn’t all be the same either. That’s why they have launched their #customizeyourbrake program which offers end customers the possibility to customize lever ergonomics to their own preferences.
Indeed, their work with sponsored pros resulted in the production-ready HC3 1-finger brake lever for the Magura MT7, and overall they offer four different levers made of aluminum and carbon and with varied ergonomics that are all now available as retrofit parts for end customers. The new range includes MacAskill’s HC3 lever and a new 1-finger lever produced using the carbon-textile embroidery process. The Loic Bruni prototype lever is still in its trial phase and is not yet available. But that’s expected to change soon.
To learn more about Magura’s #customizeyourbrake program head to www.magura.com.