Magura TS8R 120mm 29?er Fork: Mid Term- by Grannygear and c_g

Editor’s Note: Grannygear and c_g both have the Magura TS8R forks on test and have decided to give you- the readers- a double for your money Mid-Term Report. For the Out Of The Box report by Grannygear, go here.

Grannygear’s Mid-Term Report:

I have quite a few hours in the saddle of the Camber with the Magura TS8R 120mm fork on it and I am getting to know the fork pretty well, I think. Tuning the fork was a delicate matter. It seemed very sensitive to small air pressure changes. I found that it felt the best at 65 PSI, but 70PSI was a bit better in preventing too much sag when climbing out of the saddle. If I ran 60PSI it would sink too far into the travel when my weight was forward, like in a steeper pitch and I was standing, but it was more supple…a delicate dance. Now the fork is designed to settle into its travel even when locked out, and that is kind of interesting. It does allow for a lower front end/steeper head angle when ascending if your weight is on the front end hard, but I have not decided if that is good or bad or I am just indifferent. It does not stay there like a Fox Talus with travel adjust would do, but it does not stay locked out and at full height like a typical Fox RL, Manitou, etc. fork might do (assuming the compression knob is fully closed.

For the weight of the fork, 1729g by my scale, it certainly feels stiff enough. I cannot feel any noodly-ness interfering with my intended path. Since this fork only has the DLO2 damper and does not give me any progressive settings for low speed damping…it is off or on, pretty much…I do appreciate how little it bobs when climbing out of the saddle when the damper is open. I typically had the rebound control only a couple of clicks from full open. However perhaps that is a side benefit of the next less than positive attribute.

What I did struggle with was getting the fork to respond well to sharp edged hits. Big rolling, compressive stuff? Very nice. Little trail ripples? Pretty good. In the middle, not as nice. It just felt a bit harsh. Not terrible, just not in balance with the Camber’s FSR back end. In fact, if I ran the Camber with the rear Fox shock Pro Pedal ‘ON”, the bike felt balanced. I was concerned that the fork might have been dry inside, so I tore it down and looked. It was decently lubed up, but I added some Slick Honey and reassembled it. It did help, but not like I would have hoped. I bet that, if this fork’s attributes had been on a hard tail bike, I would never have noticed it. But getting a bike to be balanced front/rear is important.

There are a couple of other things to mention. First, this has to be the easiest fork I have ever serviced, at least as far as I went into it. I bet I had it apart and back together in 15 minutes.

Second, what is up with that axle set-up? Who thought that taking the lever off the quick release axle was a good thing? So now I either have to get out my multi tool or struggle with getting the tiny little lever out of the fork leg, and if you have weak fingers or just cold ones (ouch!), that may be hard to do. I guess I do not see the big upside unless you never pull your front wheel. Then, OK. Other than that, give me a Fox QR15 type lever, still the best in my opinion.

Third, I would like to have a lever or something added to the DLO2 adjustment knob on the top of the right fork leg. As it is, it is too smooth to grab well with gloved hands, especially while riding when you may only have a couple of seconds to take a hand off the bars and twist that knob around.

However, other than the bit of harshness in the compression stroke on faster hits, the fork is a light, stiff, and good looking partner on trail. We will keep on it and see how some more time treats us.
c_g´s Mid-Term Report :

As you know, we are having a sample of the TS8R on test as well, only that ours is the 100mm version with the remote lockout. It has been ridden a lot mounted to long term tester hardtail, the BERGAMONT Revox Team for the last 3 months.

As for Grannygear´s words above, I can confirm almost everything down to the spot, only that I didn’t find it to be all that smooth on the small things either – somehow the MAGURA TS8R to me felt like a really decent „control fork“ (as in being able to maintain control over rough grounds at speed) but not as much of a „comfort fork“. After about 2-3 hours of riding I would always find my hands and arms more tired than I had been on the a FOX or a well set up ROCK SHOX fork.

Just like Grannygear mentioned, the MAGURA TS8R seems dead simple to set up by only one air valve and no other adjustments but rebound to fiddle with, but tricky to tune in right. I started out with the recommended air pressure, which to me was overly harsh and found my personal sweet spot – considerably lower than indicated by the table on the left leg – at 4,5 to 4,8 bar. In contrast, I had a co-tester try it, and he found the recommendations spot on for his riding style.

The one detail that really didn’t do well, was the original remote lockout system. Somehow within one week of riding it would only release after a considerable delay time … if at all :( . After some discussion with the MAGURA engineers, we sent it back to MAGURA in Bad Urach and the fork got fitted with an updated lever (which is the one production forks will have). Ever since it worked as good as any mechanical remote. I like the way, the cable stop is located in the rear side of the fork bridge, but fear it gets a lot of spray by muck and moisture right there.

The other thing was that the plastic lever itself does interfere with some two-bolt brake levers. We ran MAGURA´s own MT8´s brakes on the Revox during the test and with the integrated trigger mount we couldn’t find a decently ergonomically position that actually worked. Luckily MAGURA already has alternative clamps available with an integrated remote mount that does away with the problem (for their brakes).

Other than the remote issue the MAGURA TS8R has been a solid performer for me. It is plenty stiff, has very little brake dive (partly due to the particularly direct suspension characteristic), is really good looking (don´t you agree?) and reasonably light.

For the next testing phase I will run it on the BMC Fourstroke FS01 (test intro here) and see how it does on this short travel full suspension bike. I often find that many suspension forks by nature reveal different characteristics when ridden on a full suspension bike as opposed to being ridden on a hard tail.

Stay tuned for more in a couple of weeks,