Magura’s four-pot brakes are the most powerful we’ve ever tested, but delivery isn’t subtle and they’re not totally reliable.
Magura is a specialist in plastic mouldings for cars and it’s used its experience to create the distinctive ‘Carbotecture SL’ composite lever with its twin ‘wood screw’ clamp. As a result it’s a good weight for such a powerful brake but flex as you pull hard gives a spongy feel, which makes it harder to subtly control the already wooden brake feel.
That’s particularly obvious as the four-cylinder caliper is the most powerful brake we’ve ever tested by a significant (approximately 15%) margin. There’s a lift and twist ‘BAT’ bite point adjuster to level out lever feel and engagement point, but that adds expense compared with the otherwise essentially identical MT5 brake.
However, Magura does sell the brake separately to the lightweight SL pattern rotor now, which potentially reduces cost if you’re re-using existing hardware. You’ll need to cut the hose down on the front (and probably the rear) but spare parts are included and they’re easy to bleed if you need to.
Pad life is good and the fact they’re secured magnetically means there’s no spreader spring to mangle if they do wear down to the bone. The plastic bladder cap is vulnerable to crash damage though and our front test sample went from working fine to failing completely when we switched it between bikes.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.