At A Glance
Magura has always offered a wide range of braking solutions for your bike, ranging from lever shapes to piston combinations, brake pads to colour options. Modular adjustability is the key for Magura and their #Customiseyourbrake system allows riders all the choices to make their brake ideal for them.Buy Brakes on
For me, I was after power, and if you want 4 pot front and rear then it's the MT7s that fit the bill. Good enough for Bruni, so probably enough power for me! If you fancy 4 pot at the front and 2 at the back, that's an option, as is 2 pot front and rear, although these are different models from the MT7.
Rotor choices are also available, whether that's centre lock or 6 bolt, and also the size, ranging from 160 to 203mm. Magura offers the Strom SL.2 rotor in smaller sizes and saves some weight over the Storm HC which is designed for 4 pot brakes and higher forces. The Storm HC was the obvious rotor choice for the MT7 brake set up.
Next up is brake pad choice, with options from either Race, Performance or Comfort. Comfort claim to be quieter and more durable while not providing the bite from the other models. Race offers maximum performance but with a shorter life span and the Performance pads sit in the middle of them both. For this test, it was Race pads to ramp up the MT7s to the most powerful possible setup.
The final part of the brake choice is the lever, which again, there are many options. The HC 1 finger lever is the standard lever and is available in aluminium and carbon options. Further to this, there is the Loic Bruni designed lever, a Danny Mac (HC3) lever with adjustable power and modulation and a two-finger lever if you want that 90s Mtb vibe.
If these aren’t enough options then you can customise both levers and callipers with removable covers which add colour to your braking set up.
Both brakes required their hoses cut and bleeding to install them. Cutting hoses is similar to any other brake and needs to be done carefully, then a barb and olive are installed and reattached to the lever body. Following this, a bleed was needed to clear the brakes of any air, which had now found a way in.
Bleeding is an unsophisticated affair with two syringes, one of which has a metal attachment to screw onto the calliper, the upper syringe then simply presses into the bleed port on the lever. From here it is simply a matter of flushing fluid up through the system and back again several times. Although simple, it took a couple of goes to get the rear brake feeling good and the basic syringe system led to a messy bleed. It works, and it does use mineral oil, which is nice, but I've certainly used better bleeding systems.
On The Trail
Bedding pads in is as important as ever, and Magura suggests decelerating from 30kmh 30 times with each brake. Once bedded in, the power from the Magura's was unmistakable. This is what Magura do so well, and create some of the most powerful brakes available.
Positioning on the bars is good, but matching the clamps with SRAM shifters is tricky. To solve this Magura does offer a Shift Mix clamp to clean things up and share the clamp. The HC lever is a one-finger option has a tool-free reach adjustment to get the brake exactly where it feels best. It has a good hook on the end, which feels positive and firm under pressure.
Despite the MT7s feeling a little light whilst installing and looking a little “plasticky’, the lever feel is solid and there is no flex through the body of the lever under power. There is reassuring feedback at the point at which the pads meet the rotor but they are certainly not 'grabby'. At the point of contact, it's clear that braking as begun, but then comes the modulation which allows for some very sensitive braking without the risk of locking up a wheel.
At times, as I was getting used to them I wondered where the power had gone, only to find it was all still there, I just had to ask for more. This modulation doesn't require incredibly subtle fingers, and actually requires quite a firm pull, but there is always more power up to the point the wheel locks up. It's this exceptional modulation with top-end power on tap that sets Magura apart from the competition. Other powerful brakes tend to go hard to soon and require the rider to pull more gently. The MT7s allow you to hold on tight, which is useful when riding through rough terrain while feathering the brakes.
The interchangeable levers are a nice touch, although do require the stickers/covers being removed from the lever and a pin hammered out. This is relatively easy and I did manage to do it without taking the lever off the bike, but it's really a workshop job. With some experimenting I found the Bruni lever to be a great choice, it's lightweight and has a reasonable hook on the end for single-finger braking. It also loses the tool-free reach adjust and needs a hex key instead, which is no bad thing and one less thing to break.
Talking of breaking, the levers feature a very small metal stop/catch, which prevents the lever from being pulled away too far from the bar. So far I've broken two of these either crashing or simply moving the bike around. There is no real issue without it, the lever just can move a lot further and it does spring back happily. Interestingly the Danny Mac lever doesn't have this and is far more robust, but also a lot heavier.
The sheer number of options available through the Magura range means it's hard not to find a brake set up to suit you. The biggest variation in feel is certainly the lever shapes, which vary vastly and dramatically alter the feel of the brake.
The bleeding system and slightly fragile parts may not be the best in the workshop, or robust on the trail, but there is no doubting the power and modulation that is on offer. With lever options to suit any style, the MT7 offer one of the most powerful and refined braking experiences on the market, plus you can even colour match your bike!
This review was in Issue 60 of IMB.For more information visit Magura
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.