Magura MT7 Disc Brakes (discontinued)

Vital Rating: (Very Good)
Views:
Discontinued
Magura MT7 Disc Brakes
Create New Tag

Compare to other Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Need more info? View our MTB Hydraulic Disc Brakes buyer's guides.

Tested: Magura MT7 Disc Brakes

Rating: Vital Review

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: 355 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 master cylinder body is made from Magura’s “Carbotecture SL”, a carbon-reinforced injection-molded resin (the lever blade itself is forged aluminum on the MT7). Magura claims the Carbotecture 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/cam 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. Note that following feedback from testers and media, Magura will provide US customers with the choice between the tool-less and the tool-required lever blades at the time of ordering.

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 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. How much of a premium you are willing to pay is your decision alone. At this point, the design of the lever blade and the adjustability features need to be improved for these to earn their true star-rating.

We also want to point out that Magura makes the MT5, which is a slightly heavier version (+25 grams per side) of the MT7, with slightly less power on tap - but a much better range of reach adjust in the lever design. The MT5 is also $120 cheaper per side, which should make it an outstanding value for money option.

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.

Specifications

Product Magura MT7 Disc Brakes
Riding Type Trail, Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill
Lever Material Ergonomic 2-Finger Carbotecture SL Master, Aluminium Forged 4-Piston Caliper with Banjo
Mount Style Direct Post Mount
Rotor Sizes Front 203/8, 180/7, 160/6; Rear 203/8, 180/7, 160/6, 140/5 (Only Storm SL)
Rotor Mounting IS 6-Hole, Centerlock Compatible with Adaptor
Fluid Type Magura Royal Blood Mineral Oil
Colors Black-Fluro-Yellow (Master), Mystic Grey Anodized (Caliper)
Weight 0 lb 12.5 oz (355 g)
Miscellaneous Full Hydraulic Dual Piston Floating Caliper, Toolless Lever Reach and Bite Point Adjustment, magnetiXchange Brake Pistons for Easy Brake Pad Replacement, Compatible with all MAGURA Storm and Storm SL Discs, Price per Brake
Price $320
More Info

Magura Website

More Products