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Magura MT8 Disc Brake

Average User Rating: (Mediocre)
Vital Rating: (Good)
Vital MTB Retail Partners:
Chain Reaction Bicycles Jenson U.S.A. Competitive Cyclist Backcountry

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    Vital Review

    “Tested: Magura MT8 Disc Brakes”

    Review by Fred Robinson // Photos by Ian Collins

    With the MT8, it's clear Magura set out to make one of the lightest, high performance brakes available. Introducing what Magura calls Carbotecture, a new carbon material produced in-house to construct the lever-body along with other weight shedding materials and design used throughout the MT8's construction, the MT8 is one of the lightest XC/Enduro brakes we've laid our hands on. Utilizing the first-ever full carbon master-cylinder, a full carbon lever-blade and aluminum hardware, the MT8 weighs in at a claimed weight of 278g (including 160mm Storm SL rotor). We decided to put these super light brakes under one of our heaviest testers to see if they can hang.

    MT8 Disc Brake Highlights

    • First full carbon master cylinder
    • CARBOTECTURE SL body
    • CARBOLAY lever blade
    • CARBOLAY clamp
    • ANTI-Features (ANTI-Drag, ANIT-Heat, ANTI-Heat)
    • FEEL SAFETY-Ergonomics
    • EBT (Easy Bleed Technology)
    • RHR (Rotatable Hose Routing)
    • EPR (Easy Pad Replacer)
    • Optional Shiftmix E (Matchmaker-style perch for mounting shifters on brake clamp)
    • 5-year no-leak warranty
    • Weight: 278 g (including 160 mm Storm SL rotor)
    • MSRP: $369 per side, excluding rotor and adapter

    Initial Impressions

    Magura took every chance they had to shave weight off these brakes: from the aluminum hardware to the full carbon master-cylinder, Carbotecture lever body and minimalist design, these brakes are shockingly light when you pull them out of the box. Setup is on par with pretty much any modern disc-brake out there. A welcome new feature absent from their previous flagship brake, the Magura Martas, is the MT8's adjustable banjo (RHR Rotatable Hose Routing) located on the caliper which helps clean up the hose routing a bit. Once the calipers were aligned and the levers set, it was time to see how these welter-weight brakes would fare in the heavy-weight division.

    On The Trail

    As with any brake, the MT8's took a little bit of time to bed in and fully bite, but after the initial break-in period they offered more power than expected from such a lightweight brake. Because of our tester's size Magura recommended a 203mm rotor upfront and a 180mm rear, which provided power close to on-par with our normal setup of 180f/160r rotors. On shorter mellow descents the power was consistent but we did notice the brakes tend to heat up a bit and lose some power on longer, steeper descents. At times this would also be accompanied by a bit of noise if the brakes got hot enough. Lighter riders reported an "on/off" feeling to the MT8's, but during our testing we experienced a controlled and predictable feel. Perhaps this is because our tester is a big guy or it could also be down to the stock, organic brake pads; either way, the modulation of the MT8's felt good and provided high levels of control on the trail.

    It should also be noted that the bite point stayed consistent throughout the testing period. Magura left out a contact point adjustment on the MT8 for some reason which means you may not be able to completely dial these brakes in to your exact preferences. For example, we were stuck with a bit shorter lever throw than we'd like in order to get the brakes to grab really close to the bars. Thankfully, the bite point stayed consistent at all times and the lever never pulled to the bar all of a sudden.

    Long Term Durability

    We only had one crash with the MT8's mounted to our bike, but it was a good one. We dug the left lever completely into the ground with no ill effects. We are always a bit worried when running light parts, but we have no evidence at this point to suggest that the MT8 is overly fragile. Pad life has been pretty good for organic pads and the original pads provided with the brakes have lasted 3 months of regular use with about ½ their life left still in them.

    Things That Could Be Improved

    Perhaps due to the all-carbon construction of the lever assembly there is a bit of flex in the levers. As a result, even with a good bleed the brakes do tend to feel a little bit mushy. Once you hit the defined bite point where the lever throw should end you can still flex the lever in towards the bars a bit. Also, again probably due to the all-carbon construction the levers tend to creak a bit when you pull the lever hard. This never bothered us on the trail nor did the noise seem to affect performance. Lastly, the lack of a contact point adjustment on Magura's top of the line offering is a bit underwhelming and kept us from getting the exact lever pull we wanted - at this price point we would fully expect this feature to be included.

    What's The Bottom Line?

    Even though the MT8's offer good power and consistency in an impressively lightweight package, we could never get past the lever feel of these brakes. The noise and flex in the lever-blade give the brakes an almost cheap feeling despite their high price tag. Performance on the other hand has been good, so beyond lever feel the MT8's deserve their flagship standing as Magura's ultra-lightweight, high performance brake.

    For more details, check out www.magura.com.


    About The Reviewer

    Fred Robinson, a.k.a. "Derf," has been on two wheels since he was two years old. He picked up a mountain bike in 2004 and started racing downhill in 2006. He has seen moderate success racing CAT 1 but focuses his efforts on building, maintaining and riding his local trails. He's deceptively quick for a bigger guy and likes steep, fast trails where he can hang it off the back of the bike. As a SoCal native he mostly rides trails covered with loose, traction-less turns and sharp, immovable rocks. Besides downhill, he rides trail bikes, road, and also enjoys the occasional dirt jump session. He is currently a student at UCSD and a wrench at a local bike shop.

    “No good For DH”

    The Good: Very light, great modulation and feel at first.

    The Bad: Not durable or reliable in the slightest.

    Overall Review:

    So I originally started with the older Martas on my Glory, sold it, and replaced the Saints on my Fury with MT8s because the Martas were sick and I figured the MT8s would be also. HOWEVER, first weekend on them I warped both 8 inch rotors really badly, so I replaced them with older Magura two-piece rotors that are badass and I still use with my current Saints. Flash forward 2 years later and I have just burnt through my 3rd brake. I had one master cyclinder go, one cracked piston, and the latest one is the most infuriating, I crashed or bumped my bike or something because the rear caliper has a scuff mark on it at the bleed port which shattered the carbon around the port, making it impossible to keep fluid in the brake. For brakes that aren't supposed to need much bleeding I probably got these bled once every two months at the least, during race season it was every two weeks.

    For the record, I was using these for DH riding and lots of racing which is not their intended use. These brakes are super light but still deliver tremendous power and modulation when fresh. Something I like on the Maguras over the Saints is that MT8s modulate much better, but I just couldn't rely on these brakes to get me through a race weekend or a roadtrip without needing attention. Also they're really expensive, I got em on a deal through a friend for 60$ so of course I used them, but if you're gonna blow this much money get zee brakes and a titanium coil for your shock instead.

    I suggest these brakes for XC or All-Mountain if you're careful.

    Vital MTB Retail Partners:
    Chain Reaction Bicycles Jenson U.S.A. Competitive Cyclist Backcountry

    Specifications

    Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
    Lever Material Carbon 2-Finger Blade with Integrated Reach Adjust
    Mount Style Carbolay Clamp
    Rotor Sizes 203mm, 180mm, 160mm, or 140mm
    Rotor Mounting 6-Bolt, Centerlock Compatible with Adaptor
    Fluid Type MAGURA Royal Blood Mineral Oil
    Colors Cool Black Body with Red Specials
    Weight

    0 lb 9.8 oz (278 g)

    Miscellaneous 5-Year Leakproof Warranty // Dual Docking for SRAM Trigger Shifters // Full Carbon Master Cylinder
    Price $369.00
    More Info Magura Website
    Vital MTB Retail Partners:
    Chain Reaction Bicycles Jenson U.S.A. Competitive Cyclist Backcountry