Magura’s MT5 brakes are built for enduro, downhill and electric bikes, with four large diameter pistons sitting in each caliper pushing a broad pad that features two sections of brake material per backing plate.
Magura MT5 disc brakes detail
The brake lever has a long two-finger lever with a slight shot-peened finish that pushes on to a radially mounted master cylinder. This positioning, according to Magura, means there’s less friction and plenty of control of the transmission ratios of lever pull to piston movement, to manage modulation and control.
As with all its brakes, Magura offers a range of lever shapes, from highly contorted single finger levers all the way to motorbike-inspired versions for four fingers. Lever reach is adjustable, but there’s no bite point adjustment.
The lever benefits from a split clamp, so getting them on and off the bar is theoretically easy. The clamps are secured by a pair of deep pitch Torx 25 bolts – they don’t feel as refined as narrower pitch bolts, though. This feeling continues with the rest of the lever’s construction.
The edges of the lever clamp are sharp, the bolt that secures the hose to the lever doesn’t have great tolerances and the plastic-feeling body construction doesn’t feel particularly premium.
That being said, these brakes aren’t overly expensive, so I can forgive Magura a little here, much more than I could with its MT Trail SL brakes, which had similar issues at the lever end and cost a lot more.
The caliper is held on the end of a 2,150mm hose, which is excellent and I reckon you’d be hard-pressed to find a (single person) bike that the brakes won’t fit on.
With their flip-flop lever design, meaning they can be mounted on either side of the bar, there’s no need for Magura to provide different length hoses out of the box for the front and rear brake. The hose enters the caliper via an adjustable banjo fitting.
The one-piece caliper’s four pistons push on to a large pad. The pads are held in place via magnets and a bent-over clip rather than springs and pins.
Getting the pads out of the caliper requires a knack as the pistons need to be pushed all the way back and the wheel removed. On the trail, when it’s wet and cold, this isn’t ideal in my experience.
Bleeding the brakes posed no issues, though, with a pair of syringes arranged in a push-pull system.
Magura MT5 disc brakes performance
Magura’s four-pot MT5 brakes are seriously powerful, once the pads are bedded in, making them an excellent choice on a gravity-focused bike. What’s more, their price is seriously competitive.
Magura offers a number of brake levers for its brakes, with a kit required to change the levers. As I’ve found during this test, different levers seem to change the feel of Magura’s brakes somewhat.
This set of MT5s has a two-finger lever, which has a longer, straighter profile than the single finger lever I tested on Magura’s MT Trail SL brakes.
While there will be other factors contributing to the difference in feel, I think this lever makes the biggest difference.
The brakes have a softer, spongier feel, with less of an initial bite, perhaps due to a slightly flexier lever blade. This makes it very easy to feather speed when you’re going fast.
This slightly less direct feel adds a little more modulation, certainly earlier in the lever’s stroke, while the application of power is progressive through the lever’s travel.
The real stopping power comes late in the lever’s stroke. Pull it further towards the bar and you’re rewarded with some proper grunt. This gives you loads of confidence when getting on to some steeper lines, knowing that the brakes will be able to deliver the power you need.
My longer-term testing on other bikes suggests no issues with temperature management or performance when they’re hot.
While power and modulation is good, the action of the lever blade doesn’t feel as smooth as premium options from SRAM or Shimano, and while the action isn’t heavy, it’s not as light as that from Formula.
Magura MT5 disc brakes bottom line
The MT5 is a pocket-friendly brake with buckets of power on tap. It’s easy to access the power on offer and modulation is good too, with a softish lever feel.
Pad swapping is a pain, though, and while the price is accessible, the construction of the lever feels cheap with a floppy lever blade and the use of cheap clamp screws that thread directly into the plasticky lever body.
How we tested
We rounded up 12 powerful hydraulic brakes to find out which are the ultimate speed-scrubbers.
To get to know what it’s like to live with these brakes, we asked the brands to send us their official bleed kit, then trimmed the hoses to our ideal length.
As such, we’ve cut and bled every set we tested to see just how easy they are to maintain. Then we saddled up to see how they performed on the trails.
Overall braking power is important, but so too is the ease with which you’re able to access that power – if you have to squeeze the lever really hard, that’s likely to lead to arm pump. Brake ‘feel’ is another key aspect – it’s subjective, but some people like a really grabby feel, while others prefer the power to progressively build as you squeeze the lever. We also needed to work out just how powerful the brakes are, and how resistant to heat build-up.
So, with the help of both leg power and some electrical assistance, we took them to the top of some of the South West’s steepest slopes and pointed our bikes downhill to see how these 12 stoppers coped.
Note: Weights and prices are for a single brake (caliper, hose and lever, but no rotor or adaptor, unless otherwise stated).
Also on test
- Clarks M2 Disc Brake
- Formula Cura disc brakes
- Hope Tech 3 V4 disc brakes
- Magura MT Trail SL disc brakes
- Shimano BL-MT501/MT520 disc brakes
- Shimano SLX M7120 disc brakes
- Shimano XTR Trail disc brakes
- SRAM Code RSC disc brakes
- SRAM G2 Ultimate disc brakes
- Tektro HD-M285 disc brakes
- TRP Slate T4 Evo disc brakes
|Price||EUR €110.00GBP £95.00USD $139.00|
|Weight||515g – calliper, hose and lever - for front and rear|
Fluid: Mineral oil
Weight: 250g (f) 265g (r)
Adjustments: Reach (TD)
Details: Split lever clamp; Shift Mix Shimano/SRAM shifter compatibility options
|Brake type||Hydraulic disc|