We’ve put in significant time this season on our Magura TS8 29er fork and have enough experience to give insight on it. We put it in a Specialized Epic and a Santa Cruz Highball.
The fork line is described in detail by our ace reviewer Brian Mullin in the following pages. We got the 100mm 29er version that retails for $849. Claimed weight is 1630 grams and our tester with an uncut steerer measured in at 1622 grams or 3.57 lbs. This is incredibly light as most 29er forks are in the 4 lb. actual weight range.
This fork has a lockout and it is one of the lightest and most reliable systems we’ve tried. It has a small lever that has good locking and unlocking action to it and there is a cable rest on the fork crown. In a nutshell, the lever does what your hand would normally do to lockout which is twist the lockout knob. That’s why it works so well when many other manufacturers have had difficulty with fork lockout levers.
In terms of lateral stiffness, this fork performs and feels like the stiffest of the 3.5 lb 29er forks out there. The dual-arch design forms a much more solid structure as it prevents independent movement of the legs. The dual-arch design has been refined over the years and it looks better and sleeker now as it’s more rounded with less material. There seems to be visible fore and aft movement on the fork legs and it can be felt during heavy braking. But it’s hard to quantify if it does it more or less than the competitors. Certainly, a heavier 34 mm stanchion tube fork has less fore and aft movement.
In the end, it’s all about the fork action and we’re happy to report the Magura fork is supple and controlled. Magura has evolved its dampers and seals over the last couple of years and this fork is quite supple. It reacts to small bumps well and it never complained during big hits or jumps. There’s no compression knobs available so it’s not as tuneable as others but the stock setting seemed to work really well for us in Santa Cruz, CA and Sedona, AZ.
The 15 mm thru-axle is a bit of a departure from current trends. While most folks have gone to a quick release 15 thru axle, Magura has gone to Torx thru axle that requires a tool for installation and removal. Now they were good enough to supply a Torx tool and is stowed away neatly in the axle. The Torx is a standard size that can be used on brake levers and shifters. But this proved to be a pain to us over the course of the summer. There’s nothing easier to use than the Fox or the Rockshox Maxle as you just spin it and lock it into place. Having to use a tool every time we put the wheel on or off seemed like an unnecessary inconvenience.
The lockout is interesting as it’s not complete lockout but it provides a very solid platform. Pedaling out of saddle is rewarded by good forward motion without the front shock bobbing. The lockout also allows the fork to sink to its sag position. This is fairly unique in the industry as sagged bike geometry is preserved when the fork is locked out. Most forks will lock out at the highest position and it’s actually not a great position for climbing or cornering.
In the end, we were pleased that one of the lightest 29er forks out there proved functional and reliable for us. Having a lockout that worked allowed us to set the fork a little plusher. And we are glad to report that this fork and this bike helped us climb and descend like a king of the mountain.
Video: Riding the Magura TS8 SL 29er frok in Sedona, Arizona. Bike is a Specialized Camber Pro.