Magura MT5 Disc Brake review£78.00

Powerful German anchor of a disc brake

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Magura’s cheapest four cylinder brake has a distinctive plasticky feel and its blunt rather than soft starting action won’t suit everyone. If you’re willing to adjust to that, though, these German anchors are massively powerful and well priced.

Magura mainly produces injection moulded plastic car parts, so its use of a moulded ‘Carbotecture’ lever body isn’t surprising. The use of what essentially look like wooden screws to attach the bar clamp continues the unorthodox approach. The reservoir sits between the lever and the bar, too, with the pivot the far side of the master cylinder so that the lever compresses it like a nutcracker. It makes for a neat unit overall, though, and its 463g weight is average for a brake at this affordable price.

The pivot positioning produces a signature lever sweep, which is somewhere between Formula and Shimano brakes with a reach adjuster set into the face of the lever blade. Visually and physically obvious flex in the lever body once you’ve got to the bite point gives a spongey feel to the two finger alloy blade, though.

If you’re after maximum power for your pound, they’re worth taming

Power comes on very strong and early in the stroke too and the blunt, limited modulation feel is compounded by the fact that Magura’s four pot brakes are the most powerful brakes we’ve ever used or tested on a dyno by a fair margin, too.

If you’re after maximum power for your pound they’re still worth taming, though, as you won't get more stopping for less money. Already good brake value is boosted by the fact that the four small pads last an impressively long time. 

We’ve had no issues with contamination of the ‘Royal Blood’ (no not the band) mineral oil internals either, although we have had some issues with sudden loss of function on other MT units during testing. They’re relatively simple to bleed, though, and the ambidextrous lever makes swapping front and rear brakes easy. 

They’re also supplied with super long hoses that are overkill for almost any bike (but not quite long enough for a tandem). That does mean you almost certainly won’t be able to avoid cutting them to fit your bike, but the good news is that we didn’t need to rebleed when we did it.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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