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Added a product review for Magura MT7 Disc Brakes 9/22/2014 3:33 AM
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Tested: Magura MT7 Disc Brakes

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Tal Rozow and Johan Hjord

Magura has been making brakes for a very long time – the company’s roots go back 120 years, and much of their experience has to do with brakes for two-wheeled applications. They also have almost 10 years’ experience of making disc brakes for mountain bikes, their original Gustav brake long a reference among gravity riders in regards to braking power. For 2014, Magura has completely renewed its entire line up of mountain bike brakes, and we laid our hands on the 4-piston MT7 to see what they have managed to come up with.

Magura MT7 Highlights

  • Carbotecture® SL brake lever housing and aluminum handlebar clamp
  • Ergonomic, 1- or 2-finger brake lever
  • Direct Postmount
  • Toolless adjustment of lever reach and bite point
  • Forged 4-piston brake caliper with banjo
  • magnetiXchange brake pistons for easy brake pad replacement
  • Weight: 375 g
  • Compatible with all MAGURA Storm and Storm SL discs
  • 5-year leakproof warranty for brake levers and cylinders after providing the original proof of purchase.
  • MSRP: $319.99 USD (per side, excluding rotors and mounts)

Initial Impressions

The MT7s do not make a subtle entrance. Between the unique, 4-pad design and the yellow piston covers on the calipers, they announce their arrival with convincing confidence. Pulling them out of the box reveals them to be much lighter than their hefty appearance would suggest, although at 375 grams per side, they are of course intended to serve the gravity crowd primarily. Magura makes lighter brakes if you don’t need all-out DH stopping power. Closer inspection of the MT7 pointed towards excellent workmanship and attention to detail throughout.

Taking a cue from Magura’s line of motorcycle brakes, the MT7s feature 4 pads per caliper. Magura says this allows one pair of pads to stay cooler than the other, which is meant to improve efficiency on longer runs. This design also allows them add a third bridge to the caliper design, which should help improve caliper stiffness.

The lever is made from Magura’s “Carbotecture”, a carbon-reinforced injection-molded resin. Magura claims this material not only allows them to save weight, but also to improve the finish on the internal surfaces of the master cylinder. Featherlight to the touch, we were curious to see how it would perform on the trail.

Fitting the brakes to the bike was entirely uneventful. Good hardware and fine tolerances, and we had drag-free brakes right out of the workstand. We were able to use a matchmaker clamp from an Avid brake to mount up our SRAM shifter too, which saved us from ordering one up from Magura (who does supply them as well of course). Squeezing the lever for the first time revealed a somewhat mushy sensation, and the feeling of lightness in materials persisted in the shop floor test. What would the story be on the trails?

On The Trail

Let’s get this one out of the way immediately: that feeling of lightness and softness at the lever is not mushiness. It is modulation. After the lever hits the bite point, power builds up incredibly quickly, but not in a jerky kind of way. What we initially thought was maybe flex in the lever assembly or soft hoses is in fact part of the brake force delivery already, with the MT7s providing oodles of power in a very controllable fashion. In fact, they are so powerful that you COULD probably mount these to your BMW motorbike in a pinch and ride home…

Magura’s website says the brake lever shape is a two-finger design, but unless you have the finger strength of a two-year-old, you’d be well-advised to never let but one finger anywhere near the MT7s. In terms of outright power, the MT7 is right up there with the most powerful brakes we have ever tried. They slow you down in a very decisive manner even with very little finger pressure. We’ll just stress again that the power delivery is smooth, and it is very easy to feel what the wheels and brakes are doing at all time – real world modulation that you get used to (=spoiled by) very quickly.

The MT7s are not particularly noisy. In the dry and dusty conditions we tested them in, they have a bit of a “grinding” noise to them, but they are squeal-free. The pads are held away from the rotors by magnetic force (instead of the classic spring clip between the pads), an elegant solution that also makes pad replacement very simple.

Whether or not the 4-pad design is to credit for it, the MT7s seem to manage heat very well. We hardly ever noticed any kind of lever pump or pressure buildup in the system, even through prolonged periods of braking. The consistent delivery of power was always there.

Things That Could Be Improved

The design of the lever leaves a couple of points to be improved upon: the range of adjustability in the lever is not appropriately positioned relative to the handlebars/grips, and the bite point adjust solution is finicky and did not stand the test of time for us.

The tool-less MT7 lever offers reach adjustment via a screw that contacts the main cam, and an eccentric axle modifies the starting point of the lever’s travel. We found that while there is a relatively wide range of adjustability in regards to the reach, we were unable to get the levers close to the bars. If you have small hands or just prefer to run your brake levers close to your grips, this will be an issue with the MT7s. We spoke to Magura about this problem, and we were sent the tool-required lever blade parts as a replacement. The tool-required lever blade’s reach adjust screw retracts further into the blade body than the tool-less version does, which should in theory have helped address our concern. Unfortunately, there is another part of the lever blade that actually comes into contact with the main lever cam once you retract the reach-adjust screw fully, which left us with just a slight improvement in reach adjustability over the tool-less version when all was said and done. What we think Magura needs to do is simply take the lever blade back to the drawing board, just by reshaping the bend or making more room inside the blade for the reach adjust screw and the main cam, the problem would go away.

The bite point adjust system is not particularly well-executed either. As previously mentioned, the system is built around an eccentric cam that modifies the starting point of the lever’s travel. The effective range of adjustability on offer is very small, and one of the cams wore out very quickly during our test, leaving us with a lever that would snap forward and away from the bars quite easily. We replaced the bite point adjust version of the cam with the standard, non-adjustable one, and the levers have been solid since. The system chosen here seems a bit finicky, perhaps unnecessarily so, but it could be made to work perhaps with the use of a different material for the bite point adjust cam itself.

Long Term Durability

Apart from the issue with the bite point adjuster mentioned in the previous section, the MT7s have been dead solid for the couple of months we have been riding them. No abnormal pad wear, no creaks, no leaks, no change in feeling at the levers. The finish is holding up really well too, both on the levers and the calipers. Magura has done work to improve the smoothness of internal surfaces, notably with regards to the edges of the bleed port for example, which should improve the lifespan of the piston seals.

What’s The Bottom Line?

With the MT7 Magura has produced what is one of the most powerful brakes on the market at present. And not content with providing enough power to stop a car, they have managed to build a brake that modulates really well too. Magura needed to step its braking game up, and it has done exactly that with the MT7. This first iteration is let down by a poorly executed reach and bite point adjust system, which leaves the lever too far from the grips if you have small hands, but other than that, if it’s power, modulation, and solid performance you are after, the MT7s are worthy of your short list for sure. They are priced at the higher end of the market, on par with some of the most expensive options out there, but we feel there is enough performance and design improvements on offer here to warrant a premium, as a basic premise. The design of the lever blade and the adjustability features need to be improved for these to earn their true star-rating however.

More information at www.magura.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

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Added a new video The Red Bull Rampage Freshman Class 9/22/2014 2:06 AM
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Every year Red Bull Rampage breaks in a few new riders, inviting them to scratch their own mark in the Utah mountains. For 2014, the list includes Kyle Jameson, Nick Pescetto, Carson Storch, Nicholi Rogatkin, KC Deane, Szymon Godziek, Bernard Kerr, Louis Reboul, Jeff Herbertson and Mitch Ropelato. Most have visited before, either as members of a previous competitor's dig crew or while shooting edits which ultimately showed event organizers that they were capable of riding the steep, demanding terrain. On the other hand, some have never built in Utah. “I actually got the invite right after [Red Bull] District Ride,” recalls Rogatkin, who arrived on site with only his father in tow to help build. Thanks to social media, he was able to add two Utah locals to his crew. Relatively new to mountain biking, Rogatkin has spent most of his time on a hardtail bike, rather than the big downhill machine that Rampage requires. He says that the late invite gave him "less than a week on my downhill bike to prepare.” The harsh landscape and difficult building conditions of the desert shocked a few rookies, including World Cup downhill contender Mitch Ropelato, who only received his invite last Wednesday. “Walking up here, I was like, 'They got the wrong site, man. This ain’t rideable!'" he jokes in the video. “At World Cup you can just show up and the trail’s built.” Others, like KC Deane, were well prepared to deal with the task. Deane, who has been actively training to get into Rampage since 2012, has teamed up with Rampage veteran Paul Basagoitia and a few talented trail builders to build a line with huge exposure. “This is what I want to do,” he says. “I’m looking forward to qualifiers.” To see who made it through to the finals, watch the live broadcast on Sunday, September 28, starting at 12:30 p.m. MT on the official Red Bull Rampage site and on Red Bull TV. Join the #rampage conversation: follow @redbullbike on Twitter.

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Added a new video World First: 10X MTB Downhill Finals Helmet Cam 9/21/2014 10:54 PM
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Added a new video Kamikaze Legends DH Race 9/21/2014 2:33 AM
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Skinsuits, visorless, and booking it down the fireroads - it's the Kamikaze DH Legends race at Mammoth Mountain, what else? And on the topic of legends, 'Flyin" Brian Lopes squeezed into first ahead of Myles Rockwell for a properly legendary podium.

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Added a new video Rampage Riders Share First Impressions of New Site 9/21/2014 12:41 AM
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When the rope drops on day one at Red Bull Rampage, the athletes get serious. The world's bravest big-mountain riders started carving, chopping, and shoveling their uniquely creative visions into the mountainside near Virgin, Utah, on Friday, the opening of the course build period. From big ol' drops to delicately-sculpted, off-camber weirdness, this year's fresh Rampage venue offers a lot for riders to sink their tools into. "This morning was a mix between a hare scramble, a Baja race... and Vietnam," says 2010 Red Bull Rampage champ Cam Zink, referring to the race to stake claim on fresh lines. "We're just running up the hill." The uphill race raised some minor tensions between certain riders while they jockeyed for the best lines and features, but in the end most came to agreement, albeit sometimes an uneasy one. Geoff Gulevich sums up the relationship well: "People are getting territorial already... It's tricky because you have to make little alliances. 'We're going to join up here, that's cool, right?' 'All right, all right, back to being frenemies." From nervous rookie to Rampage veteran, the overall mood was one of anticipation for what will come next Sunday. Watch the live webcast of Red Bull Rampage finals on September 28 at 12:30 p.m. MT, on the Red Bull Rampage site and Red Bull TV through its iOS and Android applications, as well as on Apple TV, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and Samsung Smart TVs.

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Added a new video Logan Binggeli's Road To Rampage Isn't Very Smooth 9/20/2014 12:05 PM
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Red Bull Rampage veteran competitor Logan Binggeli, who finished on the podium in third at the event in 2012, didn't enjoy the same kind of luck in 2013. After turning in a clean first run, Logan wanted to take it up a notch in run two, going for a huge backflip off the Oakley Icon Sender step-down feature. He landed it but quickly went off-line on the narrow landing and went over the bars, breaking his femur in the resulting crash. As you can see in the video above, Binggeli bounced back for a successful 2014 season. "Racing's been really good this year," he says in the video. "I put that crash behind me as a crazy accident, and I'm looking forward to shredding it and giving it my all for this year's Rampage, just having fun and going for the win." Unfortunately, in a heartbreaking twist, Logan broke his fibula in the same leg one week before athletes were due to arrive on site for Red Bull Rampage 2014. Showing his true colors as a die-hard Rampage competitor, however, he hasn't ruled out taking a run at the brand-new venue during the qualifying round. He'll make his decision two days prior, so send some positive vibes his way and help get him back on the bike. Watch the live webcast of the finals on Sunday, September 28, starting at 12:30 p.m. MT on Red Bull TV and the official Red Bull Rampage site.

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Added a comment to Suechtiger's bike check 9/20/2014 11:30 AM
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Bike of the Day September 20, 2014!

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Added a new video Pastranaland: Travis Has Lost His Mind 9/20/2014 10:40 AM
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Trav gets his friends (and a sheriff with a radar gun) out to test the biggest ramps ever conceived and constructed at Pastranaland. Featuring Tyler Roberts, James Foster, Steve Mccann and Jolene Van Vugt.

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Added a comment about photo Tree Pan 9/19/2014 1:09 PM
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Daily Shot September 19, 2014!

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Added a new video RAMCAM: Angry Ram vs Rider - He's Back & Angrier Than Ever! 9/19/2014 12:27 PM
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I had many requests to mount a gopro camera on the angry ram with a penchant for smashing motorcycles, so here it is. Watch to see the RAMifications... The horned beast ended up breaking part of the camera, motorbike & maybe my shin bone.

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Added a new video Gone Tomorrow - To Mustang and Back 9/19/2014 11:38 AM
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I can’t even describe how incredible Mustang is. It’s very raw and remote, it feels like you kind of stepped back in time, your mobile phone stopped working somewhere on the way there, the Internet is only to be found in very view places... There's only the mountains and you. Complete deceleration. "The air is thin up here. I hike up the last steep slope to around 4500 metres and try to extract everything that my legs and lungs have to give. I’m right on the limit and about to start the last descent of my time here in Nepal, on the Lubra Trail deep in the Upper Mustang and surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the world. Annapurna (8091 m), Dhaulagiri (8167 m) and the Nilgiri (7061 m) are just a few of the summits I can see. Surrounding these giants are several “smaller” six-thousanders that haven’t even been named yet, our guide Mandil tells us as that there are simply too many of them. How many undiscovered trails and lines are still out there? How much can still be ridden? The possibilities appear end-less... Before dropping in and riding the trail down to the riverbed of the mighty Kali Gandaki for the last time, I spy an enormous ammergeyer floating on the thermals, majestically soaring across this ancient kingdom without a single beat of its wings. This is what it’s all about. At these moments, right in the here and now, time stands still. For the next thirty minutes I have the whole trail to myself. You ride yourself into a trance, the senses become hyper-alert, reading what lies ahead so that each movement flows seamlessly into the next. The trail’s a high-speed mix of loose corners interspersed with steep, exposed sections all the way down to the bottom. Make a mistake riding this fast and you’re in serious trouble, but thoughts of “what if?” have no place in the mind right now. I’m utterly consumed by the experience. The perfect ride? Well it definitely comes pretty close. This journey was so much more than just another trip into the backcountry, to go and ride. There were points when it felt like we’d gone on a journey back through time, to an era when old values still counted for something, an existence we all too often seem to have lost touch with in the western world. Up in Mustang, people still live their lives as they have been doing for centuries, perfectly in time with nature’s rhythm. This entire area has only recently become accessible to outsiders, meaning modern influences have yet to take a hold, people do things as they always have done. Everything is made by hand. Whatever they undertake, they do it with full dedication and take their time until every last detail is perfect. It’s like they go beyond Buddhism. Nothing gets rushed. All actions are carried out with a constant, unwavering attachment to their religion. This will not be the last time I travel to Nepal. The terrain has so much more to offer, it’s just waiting to be discovered. I also want to learn more about the people here and their rich culture. And when I do come back, I’m going to take my time. It’ll be worth it. Especially when the stifling effect of modern life’s stress, pressure and imbalance makes our air too thin to breathe." - Rob J Heran About Rob-J: Born in Prague in 1981, Rob-J has lived in Munich for much of his life. Rob is a true all-rounder with several dirt and freeride successes to his name. His talent was first discovered at a freeride youth camp and life has come full circle as Rob now organizes and promotes his own events to seek out promising young riders.

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Added a new video Follow JC - Jerome Rides Again 9/19/2014 7:33 AM
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Jey is coming back to racing and has to learn again all the basics. Follow him for his first event back in the saddle, filmed during the Ischgl Overmountain Challenge by Jeremie Reuiller.

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Added reply in a thread 2015 Racing Rumours - MTB Musical Chairs 9/19/2014 6:02 AM

Seen in Leogang this weekend:

Added a comment about video Road to Rampage 2014: Weathering the Storm - Episode 4 9/18/2014 12:03 PM
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Sorge and Aggy SLAYING IT in Nelson. Damn.

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Added a comment about photo Just hip 9/18/2014 11:22 AM
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Daily Shot September 18, 2014!

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Added a new video Ride.io Shimano BDS 2014 Round 5 Bike Park Wales 9/18/2014 10:50 AM
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The British Downhill Series wraps up with the 5th and final round at Bike Park Wales. A rough and rowdy track made for exciting racing, much to the delight of the sizeable crowd that came out to cheer the racers on!



Results:

Elite Men

  1. Joseph Smith
  2. Marc Beaumont
  3. Matthew Simmonds
  4. Harry Heath
  5. Emyr Davies

Elite Women

  1. Tahnee Seagrave
  2. Manon Carpenter
  3. Katy Curd


(FULL ROUND 5 RESULTS HERE)

2014 Series Champions: Marc Beaumont and Manon Carpenter (full series results here)



Ride IO Shimano BDS 2014 Round 5 Bike Park Wales presented by: X-Fusion / Pivot Cycles

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Added a comment to Wrightbike's bike check 9/18/2014 6:56 AM
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Bike of the Day September 18, 2014!

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