Magura MTS Hydraulic Disc Brakes: Out Of The Box/ First Impressions- by Guitar Ted
Last week I introduced the test on the Magura MTS brakes and that can be reviewed here. Now I have taken these brakes, gone over them with a fine toothed comb, and have them mounted to my Salsa Cycles Mukluk for ride testing.
Out Of The Box: The MTS brakes came with a set of the companion Storm rotors in a 180mm Front/160mm Rear set up for the Mukluk. The calipers, levers, and lines in the kit were pre-bled and assembled, ready for installation. Each brake also comes with an extra olive and barb for shortening the lines. Finally, a plastic tool comes in the box that has the function of wedging the caliper when a rotor is not present and will also aid in shortening the lines if needed.
The lines were extra long, but the Mukluk’s rear brake run actually needed to use every millimeter of the hose provided. This left only the front hose to be shortened. With a proper hose cutter, I was able to dial in the length of hose I wanted. Using the provided plastic tool, along with a locking pliers, I was able to tap the barb in with a hammer. With the new olive located correctly I reattached the compression nut and I was done. No re-bleeding was necessary either. Oh, and I should mention that Magura uses mineral oil in their system, which is a nice touch. (I’m not a fan of DOT fluid myself for environmental and personal reasons, having been an auto mechanic in the past.)
The installation of the calipers and levers was easily accomplished, but plan on using a T-25 Torx wrench to do the job. Much like SRAM’s upper end brake sets, every fastener on the Magura brakes were Torx type. I did run into a snag with regard to the adapter for the front brake. The caliper was slightly rubbing the top of the rotor so I had to space out the adapter with some thin washers to get the caliper to clearance the rotor properly. Beyond that little niggle, everything else went together just fine. I was pleased to see that the calipers had lots of adjustment to get them centered over the rotors properly.
First Impressions: The MTS brakes are nice looking, if not almost classy with the subtle graphics, overall black color, and gold-ish brown highlights. The ergonomics of the lever are fine with me. The blade, in aluminum here, is flattish and broad with a nice bend. Magura calls it a two finger lever, and that is accurate. The calipers have an open, minimalistic look to them which speaks to light weight.
Speaking of weight, these brakes replaced a set of Avid BB-7 mechanical disc brakes. The weight savings for this conversion were significant. The Magura MTS with the 160mm rotor weighed in at 330 grams, and with the 180mm rotor the weight was 350 grams. This weight was before lines were cut, by the way. The old brakes, (with Ashima rotors), weighed 950 grams total, including cables and housing.
Riding the brakes in didn’t take too long. About the average for a set of new pads and rotors, I would say. The brakes came in with a nice, smooth feel and modulate well. I would say it is on par with any new Shimano brake that has been set up to feel a bit on the firmer side than the softer feeling side. And that brings up the bit about adjustability.
You can set the lever’s beginning position,( for the most outward position, see the top image), and the lever can be set closer to the bars by quite a bit. The MTS model lacks the BAT adjuster,(Pad contact feature), so if you like the feel here, great, but if you prefer a very soft lever, or an “on/off” feel, the MTS won’t get you there. The MTS is upgradeable to the BAT pad adjustment feature though. As it is, I am pleased with the performance. In our previous introductory post on these brakes, a few commenters made mention of “dead travel” of the levers of other brakes. I am not sure how to properly quantify “dead travel”, since that is a subjective call. In my opinion, these brakes feel and operate in a normal range for brakes I have used from several manufacturers. If a brake with a quicker bite from the pads is desired, I would point to the upgrade to a BAT adjuster, otherwise, I see no problems with the MTS lever feel at this point.
I will continue to push these brakes through their paces into the winter and will come back with further thoughts then.
Note: Magura sent the MTS brake set to Twenty Nine Inches at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.