The MT8 from Magura is its lighter-weight cross-country and trail brake, featuring a single-piece, two-piston caliper and a composite lever body.
Magura MT8 Pro brakes specification
Magura’s brakes feature a flip-flop lever body, which can be mounted on either side of the bar. This means each brake comes with a long hose, ready to be cut to the bike’s requirements.
The brake levers feature a tool-free lever reach-adjustment, but no bite-point adjustment. The levers come stock as Magura’s one-finger HC aluminium lever blade, but there are a number of aftermarket options should you wish to try a different lever shape.
This lever is fairly contorted along its length, as the lever body extends quite far from the bar. At the end of the lever is a nubbin, which keeps your fingers in place, and the lever’s peened texture adds finger (or glove) grip.
The lever attaches to the bar via a split clamp, held by a pair of wide-pitched T25 bolts. They screw directly into Magura’s ‘Carbotecture’ lever body, a composite infused with carbon strands, claimed to be tough and durable.
From the lever, the hose extends forward out at an angle, and enters the caliper through an adjustable banjo fitment, meaning hose routing at the rear of the bike is easy to adjust.
The highly polished one-piece alloy caliper holds a pair of wide-diameter pistons, which push on a fairly large pad. The pad is held back by magnets in the pistons, so there are no springs to get caught in the rotor when the pads wear down. Fitting and removing the pads is fairly easy.
Bleeding the brakes is a basic affair with Magura’s kit. Largely it involved pushing and pulling fluid via a screw-in hose from a syringe at the caliper, with an open syringe pushed into the lever’s bleed port to act as a reservoir.
Magura MT8 Pro brakes performance
Magura is known for the modulation offered by its brakes, and the MT8 Pro is no different, with the brake’s upper power levels coming right at the end of the longish lever stroke.
From the factory I found the bleed to be relatively poor, with a vague-feeling lever that was inconsistent with how far one could pull it, often to the bar. The brakes felt a lot better after I’d given them a thorough bleed.
The initial bite isn’t quite as punchy as SRAM’s Level brakes, being a little softer and more muted.
After the initial bite, the lever doesn’t feel as firm as brakes from Shimano or SRAM, with quite a squishy lever feel as you pull on it. I know riders who like this, however I find it feels a bit wooden.
After the initial lever pull, power doesn’t build until the mid or late lever stroke, when the brake’s maximum power rises suddenly.
If you like this feel, the power of the brake is easy to control as you squeeze the lever, resulting in good, if not exceptional power levels.
I think the reason the brake has a less direct feel between lever and caliper is that the lever body itself flexes more than other brakes when you pull on the lever firmly, detracting from how firm the brake feels.
I’m also not a fan of the lever architecture. The main section of lever blade ends up parallel to the bar when fully squeezed, which can squash fingers if the lever reach is adjusted inwards.
As such, I ran the levers further out than I would have liked – it’s not possible to adjust the bite point, and so there’s quite a bit of free-stroke before the pads hit the rotor.
I’m also not a fan of the brake’s bar clamp. The broad pitch threads driving into the plasticky material doesn’t feel premium. There’s a lot of friction, and it feels like you’re stripping threads, even if you’re not.
Magura MT8 Pro brakes bottom line
There are plenty of Magura fans out there, who like the softer lever feel that doesn’t grab at the brake rotor when you first pull the brake lever. Personally, I prefer a firmer-feeling brake, with less lever travel overall, though.
The MT8s have decent stopping power, but their overall braking feel didn’t blow me away, and I’m not a fan of the Magura lever either.
However, the MT8 Pros offer good power levels, that are fairly easy to achieve without straining your finger sinews.
The calipers are beautifully made, and tend to be reliable too.
How we tested
This year, our expert reviewers have tested a selection of the best mountain bike brakes, split into two broad genres.
First, there’s a selection of the most powerful stoppers, aimed at downhill, enduro and electric mountain bike riders. We’ve kitted these brakes out with 200mm rotors front and rear to get the most out of their four-piston calipers and tested them on an e-MTB and our enduro bikes.
The second cohort is targeted at cross-country and downcountry riders, who still need plenty of stopping power without upsetting the scales. These two- and four-piston brakes grab onto 180mm and 160mm rotors in our testing, fitted to our downcountry test rig.
Before hitting the trail, we gave each brake a full going over in our workshop. Hoses were cut to get the brakes fitting neatly and to check out how easily they’re bled at home. We weighed and measured them, making sure no detail was missed.
We lined our levers up against SRAM and Shimano shifters to see which play nicely and weighed up the balance of cost and spec in order to reach our conclusions.
Brakes on test
- Clarks M4 review
- Magura MT7 Pro review
- TRP Trail Evo review
- Hope Tech 4 V4 review
- SRAM Code R review
- Hayes Dominion T4 review
- Shimano XT M8120 review
- Magura MT8 Pro review
- Hope Tech 4 X2 review
- Shimano XTR M9100 review
- SRAM Level Ultimate review