Magura Direct is the North American wing of the famous German brake and suspension maker, and it also distributes a range of quality cycling accessories that are made in Germany and the Netherlands. Pinkbike was invited to Magura Direct's tenth annual product launch in Sedona, Arizona, to learn about and test ride Magura's latest braking and suspension systems, as well as eyewear and helmets from Uvex; inflation devices, tools and mudguards from SKS; and a new all-mountain tire from Vredestein. We also learned at the launch, that Magura Direct will also be taking on tech support for Bosch e-bike power assist units in North America. Test bikes were provided by Norco, Pivot and Specialized, and e-bikes from Lapierre and Haibike were also on hand. Magura's traditional location at the Agave resort gave us access to Sedona's red rock trails from the doorsteps of our cottages. Good food, perfect weather and some of the area's best guides ensured that no journalist went home with fresh legs. In case you suspect that Magura Direct's product launches are poorly masked excuses for us to shred technical trails in mountain bike paradise, we prepared the following reports: Magura Direct
Magura Camp: 2014
BY: R Cunningham
Magura MT Next Brakes
Magura's MT series brakes, once considered groundbreaking for their light weight, drag-free performance and German reliability, had slipped back a few notches against competition from the likes of Shimano, Formula and Avid as members of the long-travel trailbike revolution began to demand significantly more stopping power. Magura's response, as usual, was delayed by the fact that its engineering staff steadfastly refuses to be driven by its marketing wing to rush a new project. Magura's latest MT Next brake series incorporates a lot of improvements in the lever assembly and a couple of significant innovations at the caliper. The result is more power and better ergonomics throughout the lineup and an all-new design for all-mountain and enduro riders.Lever-pivot location:
Magura changed the pivot locations of the two-finger MT brake levers to increase power and also to obtain a more ergonomic squeeze position for riders who prefer to run the lever closer to the grip, or for people with smaller hands. Both aluminum and carbon levers are offered at different price points, and there is a tool-free reach adjustment feature on the upper-end models.Bite-point adjustment:
MT6, MT7 and MT8 brakes feature a tool-less contact-point adjustment dial that can be removed and reversed, also without tools, so it can easily be configured for North American or Moto-style riders. Two calipers:
MT Next brakes are separated into two groups: even-numbered designations - MT2, 4, 6 and 8 brakes are primarily for cross-country/trail use and feature conventional two-piston calipers; while the MT5 and MT7 brakes sport a new four-piston caliper and are designated for DH, all-mountain and enduro use. Both calipers use magnetic pistons to ensure drag-free pad retraction and also to further ease the job of replacing the top-loading pads. The pistons are offset slightly to put asymmetric pressure on the pads - which reduces noise and optimizes braking forces. Banjo-type hose connections ensure optimum hose-routing for every frame and fork.Four brake pads:
Taking a cue from its BMW Moto braking systems, Magura adapted its four-pad, four-piston caliper for MT7 and MT5 brakes. The arrangement is reported to maximize squeeze force and also to reduce heat buildup, as the lead pads capture more heat, leaving the trailing pads cooler and more effective. In addition, the individual pad configuration also allows designers to add a central bridge in the forged-aluminum caliper that adds significant strength and stiffness to the caliper with a minimal weight penalty.New Master cylinder design:
Magura retains its "Carbotecture" injection-molded carbon-reinforced-resin lever body design, but the master cylinder has been reduced in size, and the bleed port has been reconfigured to extend the life of the sliding cup-seals. The advantage of Magura's fiber-reinforced plastic lever body is that the ports and sliding surfaces can be molded with smoother surfaces and with greater precision than metal parts, and at similar strengths and lighter weights. MT Next levers are ambidextrous, and thus, do not require bleeding to switch right-to-left on the handlebar. Depending upon the price point, the clamps are either carbon fiber or aluminum, and they now feature Torx retention screws, not the previous, easy-to-strip, aluminum nuts.Same mineral oil:
Magura was a leader in using mineral oil for its bicycle braking systems, well before the disc brake revolution, so it should come as no surprise that all of its mountain brakes still run on mineral oil.Thicker rotors:
Magura brake rotors are a full, two-millimeters thick to help them stay cooler, more true when heated, and to offer more stability to the system. The industry standard is 1.7 millimeters thick.Prices and weights:Cross Country:
• MT2 - 365 grams, $100 per side (Cast, two-piston caliper, Carbotecture (resin) lever and body, reach adjust only)
• MT4 - 345 grams, $160 per side (Forged-aluminum two-piston caliper, aluminum lever, reach adjustment, resin lever-body)
• MT6 - 370 grams, $270 per side (Forged-aluminum two-piston caliper, aluminum lever, tool-less reach adjustment, pad-contact adjustment, resin lever-body)
• MT8 - 299 grams, $370 per side (Forged-aluminum two-piston caliper, Carbon lever, tool-less reach adjustment, pad-contact adjustment, resin lever-body, carbon clamp)All Mountain:
• MT5 - 380 grams, $200 per side (Forged-aluminum four-piston caliper, aluminum lever, reach adjustment, resin lever-body)
• MT7 - 355 grams, $320 per side (Forged-aluminum four-piston caliper, aluminum lever, tool-less reach adjustment, pad-contact adjustment, resin lever body)
Magura TS8 150 eLECT Fork and Shock
Magura launched its wireless, electronically controlled eLECT fork at this same camp last year and Pinkbike's Mike Levy has the full story about how the system performs in the real world in this long-term review
. The big news this year, was that Magura added the feature to its shock. Magura's eLECT system has a brain inside the fork's compression damper that uses an accelerometer to sense one full degree of change in the bike's angle of attack. When that happens, in "automatic" mode, it signals the damper to close and sends a signal to the shock, which does the same. Touch a remote control on the handlebar and it will switch the system off automatic, and revert to manual mode. In manual mode, the shock and fork can be locked out or opened with one push of the button. In both automatic or manual mode, the eLECT system senses when the bike is either airborne or dropping off a ledge and instantly opens the fork and shock - and if something goes wrong, the system defaults to open mode. ELECT's wireless system is reported to save over 15 grams per side, when compared to a cable-actuated remote system, due to the weight of steel cables and housings.
Magura designed the eLECT system for XC racing, trail riding and enduro, and its engineers paid special attention to making it very lightweight and user friendly. The system turns itself off after five minutes of non-operation and can be recharged with a USB cable. Run times are averaging 40 hours which, for most riders, works out to recharging once a month. The entire computer brain, battery, piezo-electric lockout motor, and wireless communication system is squeezed into a 20-millimeter cap, and the stem of the fork's compression damper. The shock's actuation device is piggybacked above the rebound dial. Because the housing requires a special threaded boss, there is no aftermarket eLECT kit for Magura shocks. Magura offers the eLECT system in a dedicated shock and as an option for its 80, 100 and 150-millimeter-travel TS8 29er forks. The eLECT TS8 fork MSRP is $1400 USD and is reported to weigh 1681 grams in the 80-millimeter version. Magura also offers a retrofit kit for all 2010 or later TS6 and TS8 forks for a wallet-challenging $650 USD. There is no set price on the eLECT shock at this time.
The Magura eLECT system makes a great case for electronic suspension controls with its clean, wireless operation and the ability to coordinate the action of the fork and shock either automatically, or with a push of a remote button. We foresee the day when dropping the seatpost will automatically trigger the fork and shock to open up, and raising it will automatically set the suspension to a firmer-pedaling "trail" mode. When asked if Magura could make such a thing happen, high-ranking officials at the launch indicated that it was already beyond the discussion stages. We hope so, because such a system would be perfect for longer travel trailbikes,
Magura's top tech guy in North America, Mike Mentione.
Magura eLECT Damper Installation
While we were testing Magura's newest version of the 150-millimeter-travel TS8 fork, we asked their top suspension tech and sales guru, Mike Mentione to run through the process to install the eLECT system into the stock fork. The $650 kit includes everything that you'd need to install it at home, and after watching Mike run through it once, it would be safe to say that a reasonably proficient home mechanic could breeze through the task in 30 minutes. The two special tools needed are a 28-millimeter socket to unscrew the original compression damping cartridge and a special spline tool that is included in the kit to tighten the eLECT damper into the fork. The other tools you'll need should already be in your box: Torx screwdrivers, a 1/2-inch ratchet, and a pin spanner.
What's Inside the Fork
Magura's TS8 forks use a two-piece damper cartridge. The lower section contains the rebound circuit, while the upper section is the compression stack. The compression damper assembly slides into a socket at the upper end of the rebound housing, which allows Magura fork owners to remove or change the compression module without taking the fork from the bike - and without spilling any suspension fluid. Those who opt for the eLECT system can switch back to the original damper any time and, in anticipation of this, eLECT kits include extra O-rings.
The eLECT's wireless function is activated by pressing the remote button for three seconds, after which, it will flash orange until the system syncs, and then turns green. The bike is then placed on level ground and the button on the fork crown is depressed for three seconds to orient the eLECT compression damper. The damper button will flash three times and then you are good to go. Later, if you only want the automatic lockout to kick in on steep hills, you can elevate the front tire to replicate the grade, hold the button down and re-orient the damper. Magura may have invented the easiest remote lockout system made - electric or mechanical.
UVEX Helmets and Eyewear
UVEX helmets are made in Germany, and as one may expect, they are well constructed, with much attention to detail. This year, UVEX released a half-shell North American-style enduro helmet called the Quatro, that features a lower back, extra strength in the shell, a raised channel for a goggle strap in the rear and cleaner looking, ventilation ports. UVEX developed a quick release camera mount for the Quatro, which it sells separately, and a separate lighting mount dedicated to the powerful Lupine lighting systems. Two Quatro models are available, with the Pro featuring a stylized wing shape in the rear, and the standard model without the wing. Two shell sizes are available that work out to X-small/small, and medium/large sizes, Black/red and balck/silver are the default colorways, with more colors to come. Weight is stated at 295 grams and the MSRP is $180 for the Pro and $160 USD for the standard Quatro.UVEX
Inside the Quatro, a full 360-degree micro-adjustable head band provides a secure and comfortable fit and molded-in bug netting keeps the hornets out. The headband is vertically adjustable, which is an important feature for any helmet that drops low in the back, The shell is in-molded, as is the bug netting, which looks sharp and s proven to increase the impact protection of the helmet to a degree. The visor is adjustable - a major plus for helmets in the enduro/AM category, and the chin strap buckle features UVEX's Fastrap bayonet - ratcheting closure which can be quickly adjusted to add or release tension without fussing with webbing and buckles. Quatro helmets pass EN 1078, TUV GS, CE and CPSC standards.
SKS is also from Germany, where it manufactures a wide variety of bicycle accessories - mostly related to poor weather and bad fortune. For poor weather, SKS is an industry leader in quality fenders and mud guards,
To make the best of a road or trail-side mechanical, SKS makes a variety of mini-pumps, multi-tools and Co2 inflation devices to get you back on your wheels. SKS also makes some shop-quality floor pumps that actually stand the test of time, so after you realize that you have been fighting that cheap piece of junk pump ever since it was new, shop SKS's floor pump range
and replace it with the real deal. SKS Germany
Vredestein hails from the Netherlands, where the tire maker is well respected for its high performance road racing tires. While its mountain bike range has had measured success in the XC realm, this season marks its first serous effort to enter a tire into the far more aggressive all-mountain/trail environment. The Bobcat is a very promising AM/trail tire design, studded with large, well-spaced tread blocks that are molded from a double-durometer rubber compound. Pronounced edging blocks are lined up in a continuous row to provide deep cornering security, and a 120 thread-count casing ensures that the Bobcat will roll fast on level ground. Vredestein only makes the Bobcat in a full-width, tubeless-ready, 2.35-inch casing - and it actually measures 2.35 inches when mounted to AM-width rims. Bobcats are presently available in 29 and 27.5-inch wheel sizes, with claimed weights at 800 and 600 grams, respectively. Bobcats for 26-inch-wheel bikes are expected to appear later this year. We took a pair of Bobcats home for testing, so you should expect to hear the full story on this new contender in the AM/enduro arena soon.Vredestein
Bosch E-Bike Tech Support
Bosch and Magura Direct partnered to provide technical support and service for the German electronic firm's e-bike power units in North America. Bosch does not make bicycles, only the drive systems, and it has captured the upper-end of the global e-bike market in just a few short years. Lapierre
provided a dual-suspension and a hardtail e-bike for guests to try out at Magura camp, and Haibike
also had a dual-suspension e-bike on hand. The Bosch performance drive contains a reduction gearbox that incorporates the crank axle, Which appears to be a Truvativ-compatible spline. An internal computer reads the rider's torque output and crank RPM, and then adds up to 250-percent of the rider's output. Those brave enough to try the bikes began to call the Bosch system 'E-PO,' or 'E-doping' after Amgen's infamous blood booster. And, how does the system perform on technical dirt? Let's just say that no existing KOM would be safe in Sedona if the Forest Service allowed e-bikes on the trail network. They don't. Bosch E-Drives