Just last week I was invited to enjoy the epic riding in Sedona, Arizona. The only thing better than leaving the wet spring weather behind was that the reason I was spending 3 days in such a beautiful place was to get some early rides in on the 2008 Magura
brakes and forks.
A lot of you already know about Magura's line of brakes, but their forks are not as widely used. That might change with some of the new ’08 offerings.
2008 Magura Durin
The all new Durin platform is focused at a more pure XC market with the 80mm travel version coming in at 3.1lbs and the 100mm at only 3.2lbs. Both forks utilize 32mm stanction tubes and Magura's Dual-Arch Design (DAD). While still being competitively light weight race/xc forks, the steering precision felt to be a huge jump over that of other light forks on the market.
Dual-Arch Design lowers make a noticable differance to the steering
The Durin has a unique look to it but also has some neat features beyond the DAD magnesium lowers. Dynamic Lockout (DLO) is Magura's method to keep the fork from being too active on the climbs but at the same time still letting it sag to the correct level and extend into pockets and holes on the trail. All this is done by controlling the flow of oil on compression and the big advantage is no change in geometry between a fully active ride and the locked out setting. With traditional lockouts the fork becomes rigid in the fully extended position moving your weight farther back and not exactly helping on the climbs.
Dynamic Lockout retains your regular sagged riding position and not only helps with traction but also makes for an easier tracking front end. You adjust your DLO with a remote lever to make things real easy. While all this tech talk sounds confusing the really great thing about the Durin is how simple it becomes in use. Set your air spring pressure using the guide on the fork leg (which even has space for you to write in your personal settings) and dial in the appropriate rebound for you and hit the trail. Light, Simple and Stiff.
2008 Magura Laurin
The Laurin FCR is Magura's second new fork for 2008. With remote travel adjustable from 130mm down to 100mm, the Laurin is more of a “trail” fork then the Durin. With that much travel, a quick release and a total weight of 4.2lbs it should fare nicely against similar offerings. 32mm stanctions and Dual-Arch lowers ensure a stiff platform despite the lack of heft. While the stats sure sound good the real neat part of the Laurin is the Albert Select platform feature.
Albert Select dial when not used with a remote lever
On the top of the right leg is a large blue dial (the “Select” dial) with a smaller anodized gold finger dial (the “Albert” dial) in the middle.
Albert select remote
It is an easy two part adjuster that lets you dial the forks compression platform to the terrain no matter what trail you are riding for the day.
Flight Control remote
You use the gold middle knob to dial the amount of platform you will want to use for the climbs or smoother parts of the trail. The blue knob is operated by a minimalist lever on your bars, just give it a push and it activates the amount of preselected platform on the fly. When you are ready to get argo again just push the release button and it instantly transforms back to full travel. Flight Control is the handle bar mounted lever that lets you play with the travel from 100mm up to 130mm.
If you want bigger and badder then take a look at the Woton, Magura’s big fork for 2008. They step up the stanctions to a full 36mm, use the Dual-Arch design and everything is tied together with a Maxle. Stroke is at 160mm (6.2”) or down to 120mm that you can do with a remote if you choose to do so. Just like the Laurin, the Woton also uses Albert Select technology with a remote handlebar control option and is also competitively light at 5.5lbs. Depending on where you live and how you ride I can see a lot of aggressive riders opting not to use one or both remotes, just installing the Woton and heading straight to the gnarliest terrain they have. I did some epic 5+ hour rides with a Woton on the front of my ride and was very pleased with the results. While one or two rides do not make for a product test, there were some brutally hard rocky sections and I could have sworn that someone put the front of my DH rig onto the unfamiliar bike I was riding.
Woton on the front of our rigs for the weekend
All this great suspension let me ride faster and hit things harder but what about slowing down? I have had a number of bikes with Magura brakes in the past and they are one of the few (maybe the only) company that I have never had any problems or broken parts with. The German company aims to continue this with an entirely new Louise brake for 2008 that comes with a 5 year leak proof warranty. There are three levels of Louise brakes for you to choose from but all three share alot of features and all use the same pad as the ’07 model.
All you home mechanics will be stoked with the new Easy Bleed Technology found on all three Louise brakes. EBT simplifies bleeding by incorporating a threaded hole on top of the reservoir cap. No special fitting needed, just push the syringe right into it and bleed. No more excuses about dirty work areas as this should eliminate any spillage. While you are in the process of bleeding and installing your Louise brakes you’ll be pumped to find that all Louise calipers use the post mount standard to keep it simple.
Split perch brake levers make life a lot easier at the shop but Magura takes it a step further with QuickFit, a hinged bar clamp much like the one found on the burly Gustav brake in the years past. The new hinged clamp is not only lighter then a two bolt split design but also means I’ll drop less parts when working on my bike.
Heat Eater is a neat little finned cooling device located on the brake line just above the caliper fitting. Its real simple, the fins increase the surface area and dissipate the heat in the caliper and rotor before it makes its way into the brake line.
The basic Louise brake is a nice simple unit that comes with all of the features above and also incorporates a reach adjustment screw that fits a 2.5mm allen key. If you are looking to pimp out your Louise it is also available with the super trick Venti rotor.
The Venti rotor looks great and is claimed to give 15% improved ventilation
Jump up one level and all of a sudden the Louise comes with BAT. Those three letters stand for Bite Adjustment Technology. So not only can you adjust your reach but also the amount of lever throw before you start to slow down. This is the brake I have spent the last 3 days on and it felt great. The rider who had the bike before had completely different settings than me but all it took was a minute and they fit my girly hands much better. Unlike some dials on my bike that I need to turn 57 times (at least it feels like that many) the BAT dial only needs about 1.5 turns to go through its full range of adjustment. Fittingly this version is called the Louise BAT.
If you want the best then you might be interested in the Louise Carbon. All you need to know is that it has all the cool adjustments of the regular Louise BAT but with the added bling factor of a carbon lever blade. It may save a few grams but damn, it looks great.
The morning view from my deck
Magura picked a great place to test their products as Sedona and the surrounding area has some amazing riding that will challenge even the most advanced riders out there. It is one of the few places where you will have fun sessioning a climb until you get up and over it. The riding over the three days was varied and included everything from fast and flowy with marbles to keep you on your toes to slickrock moonscapes and even some beautiful singletrack through the trees.
The trail gets steep just up ahead....
I was not sure what to expect while gearing up for my first ride in Sedona but after a short grunt up against gravity, the group was together and ready to rip. While the terrain is very technical and demands that you be on it at all times you will still be better off on a mid-travel rig over something with more cush. The trails were rolling with no sustained long climbs and if you cleaned the 5-10min grunt you would be rewarded with some great downhill sections. I spent the majority of the first ride trying in vain to keep Forrest in view. I knew I was close because I could hear him yelling at the cactus to get out of his way or else!
180 step-up or dead sailor drop?
Our guide for the trip was a strapping man of a man named John. Besides his main goal of showing us the prime trails in town I am pretty sure his second goal was to rip the legs off of us soft journalist types. If I had to guess I would say he is in his mid fifties but has more muscle in his left leg then I have in my whole body. Not only did he pedal up and over some gnarly climbs but he also cleaned all of the scary hard sections. From what I gathered he and his wife (who also shreds) spend most of their time in a 28ft RV traveling from riding mecca to riding mecca and mountain biking more then humanly possible. He is definitely doing something right because he had a shit eating grin on his face the whole time, even after 7 hours in the saddle.
John knows the lines around here
Three days on a fork or a brake system is obviously not a real product test but I was still stoked on everything I spent time on, especially the Woton fork and Louise BAT brakes. Hopefully down the road we will have a long term test on a new Magura
product, as it is great to have another alternative to some of the other players out there.