DSC06400This is Clay, lurking menacingly behind his beloved Fat Boy.  Clay goes about 240lbs all geared up and it is not all fat.  Years spent on fire crews fighting brush fires and lots of hours in the gym has given him some body mass, so when Clara Peller was looking for the beef, she could have pointed at Clay.  And he likes, well, loves his Specialized Fat Boy, even racing it in local XC events.  Now Clay is not fast, but he can put down some power (broken free hub, chainrings, etc) and he also makes big demands on the stock bike’s brakes.

In fact I think Fat Bikes stress the entire drivetrain, what with the incredible traction at the rear wheel, so there is a lot of braking force being fed into the rotors on a Fat Bike, going downhill, at a fast race pace or on-trail situation.  He is not just toodling along some groomed snow packed trail.  After the last XC race, Clay had cooked the brakes pretty well and the rotors were discolored. The brakes had always howled when applied hard and were just so-so modulation-wise.  It was time for an upgrade.


The stockers.


The new bling…Magura 4 piston power.

We chose a set of the new Magura MT5 Next brakes, both for the decent cost, weight, mineral oil fluid, and 4 piston power with great modulation.  The swap was simple.  We had Magura pre-shorten the lines to length and pre-bleed them, but I have shortened and mini-bled two sets of MT5s so far and it has been dead simple with good results.  I installed a set of MT5s on a friend’s pedal-assist e-bike and we had to shorten hoses, custom route lines, etc.  Anyone who has any experience with cutting brake lines and re-hosing, etc, should have no qualms at all about this process (using the Magura kit, not included with the brakes).


The stockers used mineral oil too.


Now that looks like a serious brake lever.

We also upgraded to 180mm Storm SL rotors, front and rear.  Weighing the Tektro assembly vs. the Maguras, we saved 126g, about a 1/4 pound.  Not bad.  Stronger brakes, better feel, and lighter too.  Winner!  Note:  I was just informed that we were sent the Storm SL rotors by Magura and I did not fact check that before I installed them.  No biggy, except that made for a lighter package and it is NOT what would normally ship with the MT5 brakes.  Just for the sake of clarity.  GG

NOTE:  Clay needs to buy a torq-key tool as he cracked one of the perch clamps by over tightening it (you can see it in the pic above).  Keep in mind that these would appreciate some care to avoid over tightening.


Stock Tektro 160mm rotors…poor little things.


180mm Magura Storm SL rotors.

The brakes gave Clay what he was looking for and there is no more howling noises, although every Magura brake I have used so far has needed a pretty decent break-in time.  Until they bed-in, it is less than impressive, so be patient.  Once they bite in, it gets very good.

Note: These brakes were purchased from Magura USA at a discount by the bike owner. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.