Magura Thor 2010 long-term review

Aug 12, 2010 at 0:07
Aug 12, 2010
by Lee Lau  
 
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The 2010 Magura Thor suspension fork is an impressive performer and among the best in its 140mm travel class. The old Thor's were a bit under damped - very plush, but prone to blow through the initial travel quickly - so much so that I would have to run a fair amount of compression damping even in downhill mode. Now, the fork feels magnitudes of improvements better - ie butter smooth at the top stroke, but without being over damped and harsh; and progressive on the latter of the stroke, but without harsh bottom out. Adjustments are also quite refined; the rebound knobs for example have logical tunable changes. The Magura Thor is also pretty stiff for a light fork - part of that is due to the double arch, but I'd hazard a guess that some of the stiffness is attributable to the 20mm axle - which is a very nice touch for a 140 fork.

Full review inside,

Cornering hard on an off-camber turn in the Rubberhead trails - Salmon Arm, BC.
Cornering hard on an off-camber turn in the Rubberhead trails - Salmon Arm, BC.

-Introduction-

The purpose of this review was to ride the 140mm travel Magura Thor all-mountain/trail fork over a moderately long period and to report findings. Mike has already reviewed the Thor previously on this previous Pinkbike article. I'll take some space to summarize his description.

Physical attributes

- All-mountain/trail air sprung fork Double crown design to add stiffness
- 32 mm stanchion tubes
- Standard, tapered, and 1.5" steerer tube options
- 20 mm Maxle Lite thru-axle QR (licensed from Rock Shox)
- Post-mount brake for 180mm rotors
- Total weight: 3.9 lbs. (with the tested standard steerer)

Adjustability

- Travel adjustable from 100 to 140mm
- Remote control lever (RCL) option mounted on the handlebar
- Rebound adjustment on lower leg
- Albert Select+ compression adjustment on right leg (Improved shim configuration for more low-speed compression - therefore less fork dive without compromising plushness)
- Air sprung adjustment on left leg



-Useful links-

- Excellent Magura Community with dedicated suspension board - example points to discussion re Magura Thor oil levels
- Magura air fork service manual with diagrams and instructions and photos (PDF put together from 3 page word document) - open this in an external Adobe reader; some browser Adobe plugins will return errors if you view it in a browser
- Magura service videos on the Magura site (annual service and periodic service)


Well-used Magura lowers - rebound knob and the Maxle light quick release (licensed by Magura) is featured
Well-used Magura lowers - rebound knob and the Maxle light quick release (licensed by Magura) is featured



Lee Lau's biases-

I am 5' 11", 160 lbs and have had over 15 years experience riding bikes in North Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, the Chilcotins and many other areas in B.C. and Alberta. I've also made many bike trips to Utah, Washington, Oregon, California and Ontario (for example) so I've had some experience biking in a variety of terrain. My bias is towards pedaling up and unlike many people who learned to ride bikes on North Shore trails, I actually enjoy riding (and sometimes bushwhacking) uphill.

I've ridden all manner of front suspension. In the all-mountain genre, I've owned or had extensive experience with the RockShox Pike, Revelation, Reba, Magura Thor 2009 and Fox Float RLC.



Well-used Magura Thor after some 30 days of riding - uppers feature the distinctive double arch. Integrated brake cable guide is visible in lower right corner of screen
Well-used Magura Thor after some 30 days of riding - uppers feature the distinctive double arch. Integrated brake cable guide is visible in lower right corner of screen

-Setup and Ride Impressions-

Installation

Ease-of-setup is the bare minimum I would expect from any modern suspension fork (particularly a German fork). The Magura Thor was a breeze to install; fork races slid on smoothly, brake cable guide is integrated on the lowers making for smooth routing and tolerances are German-anal perfect. The one glaring omission is the remote control lever (RCL) which is used to actuate the flight control remote (FCR) height-adjustment (110mm to 140mm travel adjustment on the fly). Put the RCL lever on the handlebar and soon you will feel like Inspector Gadget especially if you have a remotely adjustable seat-post. Your bike will be festooned with cables & your rider compartment very busy - best to put a "GEEK" fluorescent sign on your backside while you're at it.

Setup

Setup is a breeze. There is an air pressure chart conveniently stickered on the left fork leg. Interestingly I usually run higher air pressure than recommended on most forks, but for the 2010 Thor I ran air-pressure 5 psi below my recommended rider weight (I ran 60 PSI and am 160lbs - approx 76kg). I can only attribute this to the improved compression shim stack as I ran much more air pressure on the 2009 Magura Thor than recommended to prevent from blowing through travel. According to Magura, the 2010 Thor uses a far more progressive air spring than previous Thors. Therefore the 2010 Thor requires lower pressures, thereby increasing small bump sensitivity.

I would add (for those who do not read manuals) that there are two air chambers which must be filled so you must cycle the FCR height adjustment while adding air otherwise you will have about 5 - 15psi less air in the fork than you might think.

Rebound adjustments make a good deal of difference on the Thor. Solved from last year's Magura Thor is the rather annoying top-out clunk sound that could only be mitigated by running excessive rebound. You now can run very little or a lot of rebound without getting mystery noises. Compression adjustments via the gold Albert Select (AS) knob also make a lot of difference with a few twists of the dial. Fully turning on compression and engaging AS locks out your fork for climbing roads or smooth surfaces; putting a little bit of compression mellows out fork dive (although it should be noted that there's little to no fork dive - more on that in a bit)

My minor quibble is that the anodized knurled aluminium knobs are a bit hard to turn and also hard on the fingers if you're bare-handed, so making adjustments while you're riding along is not that easy.

View of Shuswap Lake from the Larch Hills Traverse - Salmon Arm, BC
View of Shuswap Lake from the Larch Hills Traverse - Salmon Arm, BC



Riding

There's not much to say about the Thor in climbing. It's in the middle of the range for weight for forks of this travel. It's stiffness neither helps or hinders climbing.

My non-comments aside, the more serious issue is the Thor is basically not height-adjustable while you are climbing technical trails. The plastic RCL doohickey doesn't look particularly tough and it isn't. Although I didn't break it, I know others who have broken it - and on relatively small tumbles. More to the point, the cable actuation has a lot of stiction so you have to press down hard on the RCL lever while simultaneously pressing down hard on the Thor to get the fork into short travel mode. This ain't happening if you're climbing anything remotely technical.

Without the RCL, travel-adjust is even more of a polite fiction. The FCR knob must be turned with one hand while the other hand presses down on the handlebar to actuate the shorter travel. In short, Magura must re-think the entire travel-adjustment mechanism. The process of pushing down on the fork while turning the FCR (either by hand or by the lamentably fragile RCL) is overly complicated and is difficult to perform while in the process of riding anything other then the smoothest of trails. This poorly thought out height-adjustment was and still is the Achilles heel of the Thor.

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Fortunately, front suspension is more about downhill than uphill and the Thor is a superior performer downhill. It's not a free-ride fork and I found its limits when airing out jumps or torpedo'ing down steep rock gardens, but within the "all-mountain" envelope of technical descending the Thor is a tunable, stiff, precise magical rapier that dissects trails. A distinctive attribute of the 2010 Thor is that it doesn't suffer from excessive brake dive, which seems to plague many forks in this class. In short, the Thor's action is very progressive. The top end of the stroke is plush (therefore the excellent small bump sensitivity), the middle of the stroke is very progressive and the bottom of the stroke even more so.

Here are other key positive attributes of the 2010 Thor:

- Thor is stiff. The fork doesn't deflect easily
- Thor is plush. Small bump sensitivity is best in class. Better than the Fox, RockShox and/or older Maguras I have tried. Don't believe me? Take one for a test-ride
- Thor's compression settings are meaningful. While the adjustment knobs could be a bit more user-friendly, the adjustments actually do affect the forks' attributes. In particular brake dive is easy to tune out.

For reference, I used the fork in a one week trip to Sedona (ultra-technical uphill and downhill slickrock), another road-trip to Salmon Arm, BC (smooth fast Interior BC trails); and on Vancouver's North Shore but mainly on the more all-mountain trails.

Magura Thor features adjustments such as compression via the Gold Albert Select dial on the fork leg in foreground
Magura Thor features adjustments such as compression via the Gold Albert Select dial on the fork leg in foreground

Climbing rocky roots in Lumpy's Epic - Pemberton, BC
Climbing rocky roots in Lumpy's Epic - Pemberton, BC



-Magura Thor Stats -

Price: An MSRP of $899


Pros:

- Torsionally stiff
- Distinctive good looks
- Plush; you get the full 140mm travel
- Easy to maintain
- Easy to tune

Cons:

- Almost useless height adjustment (whether with the RCL remote lever or without)
- Stickers and paint get banged around easily


See the Magura site for more information about specifications.
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35 Comments

  • + 7
 Did anyone noticed the missing part and crack in the 3 picture??? But other than that it is probably a "great" fork.
  • + 3
 i think it is just a chip in the paint, and it has the tapered sections that looks like a broken piece, thats what i thought at first as well.
  • + 3
 oh tobiberlin, you better watch out, last time I said something negative about Magura Thor (naturaly not riding it)it started with "how can you say that while you haven't ridden it!" and ended up with "f**k off and get the polish emigrants out of UK with you!"... so be careful Wink


and yes i think it's a paint chip that fell off, not a crack Wink
  • + 1
 i noticed that aswell, it really does look like a small crack.
  • + 2
 yeah if that's a chip in the paint, that's some really thick paint... I think it's a crack in the crown.
  • + 1
 It's in the foreground of shadow on lower leg so it's hard to say whether it's a crack or paint chip. Author does not seem to me to be a sponsored rider so I believe he would write it down if it's cracked. Location and shape of the ever mysterious black spot does not give a clear indication of it being a crack Smile


and even if it is, all stuff fails, maybe he did it after sending it big time off 30ft drop Wink let's ask Al Gore what he thinks
  • + 3
 Paint chip. Its a part of the fork that had a pedal rubbing against it when I stuck it on the rack. My bad as I didn't notice it. I "fixed" it by putting some white electrical tape there. Sorry - not showroom condition. Unlike some print mags (don't ask me to mention names), I actually ride these things and don't just make up stuff. Gear is meant to be used -- not left in the bedroom on a pedestal.
  • + 1
 phobospwns - are you talking about the crown? That's a shadow cast by the light! I really should take shots outdoors instead of in the garage lit by interior light. I thought you guys were talking about the small paint chip on the leg on picture right
  • + 1
 About the travel adjustment:
As I said in a previous post, I ride the Thor of 2009 myself.
First of all, the travel adjustment ist not ment to be used without the remote, so no wonder it doesn't work right. Try pulling your brakes without a lever ;-)
And yes, the remote lever looks a bit whimpy. Mine is made from aluminum, so I didn't manage to break it yet.
But if you do, the Poploc lever is compatible and works like a charm :-)

As for climbing:
I usually lower the fork before I start climbing, so putting pressure on the fork is no problem.
  • + 1
 ljack, If you read the review I did use the travel adjustment with the remote and offered suggestions on how to improve it.
  • + 1
 Yep, I read the review, it was a pretty nice read. :-)
My comment refers to the "Without the RCL, travel-adjust is even more of a polite fiction." part. It sounds as if it would be an option to use the travel adjustment without RCL, which is not the case.
  • + 1
 ah ok. I was told there was a travel adjust feature without the RCL which requires less force but the version I tried wasn't much better. Thanks for the feedback though
  • + 1
 I think that it's piece of good fork, but quite expensive. I'm in love wiv my PIKE, i dunno why, but it's working as well as fox etc 3 times more expensive. I've never seen betta workin pike. All after all, Magura is great company. But expensive Wink
  • + 1
 Is the fork adjustable in fixed steps or is it a gradual thing? For example, the Fox Talas used to be three steps of 20mm and is now two steps of 30mm difference. Is it the same idea here and if it is stepped what are the steps?
  • + 1
 It has two steps. Obviously full travel at 140mm and stepped down to 100mm
  • + 0
 No competition to widely available, easier servicable RS Revelation or Fox Floats/Talas which you can get for half the money with a good search.
At £679 SRP here in the UK you can get a better forks, perhaps even two pairs.
  • + 2
 good read, not sure about the asking price though, seems a little hefty for a fork like that.
  • + 1
 Wotans are better and have 20mm extra travel and adjustable on the fly. Think your vids are brill by the way.......................................
  • + 1
 Fossil - is that a Welsh flag? That's one of my favourite pinkbike features --- trying to guess flags without looking. Such a cool flag. I do like the Wotan myself but it is a bit of a different category. I tried a friend's Endorphin with a Wotan and its beautifully matched to the bike
  • + 1
 DhRtrPoland - I know it won't help the Euros but the Magura forks have been selling for 1/2 off right now at some online retailers. That's a bargain and a half.
  • + 2
 I googled "German-anal perfect" but didn't get any more Magura results, I got something MUCH different...
  • + 1
 So what's with the swap onto PB Lee??? Good to have ya on the lighter side =)
  • + 1
 Wanted a change from the same old people rehashing the same old tired circle-jerk. PB has a geographically diverse audience with more variety and wealth of opinion
  • + 1
 You're bang on with the crappy travel adjust. I have an '09 and think the same thing.
  • + 2
 Best review in a long time. Thorough, critical and balanced.
  • + 1
 Thanks!
  • + 0
 double arch is a stupid idea, all it does is catch all the mud and leave it collecting around the seals, must make them stiffer though so i guess it has its pros and cons
  • + 1
 I didn't have a problem with the double-arch collecting mud but I live in an area where the mud is mostly loam and doesn't cake up. So maybe its soil-specific? Wouldn't a single arch also collect mud - but I guess your points is maybe not as much?
  • + 1
 I ride the Thor 2009 and have no problems whatsoever with mud. Over here it is more clay than mud, but it still doesn't jam the arches.
  • + 1
 How would that fork compare to the 2011 Rockshox Revelation RLT ?
  • + 1
 No idea sorry
  • + 1
 ok no prob .......
  • + 1
 Thanks. I will stick with my 2006 Talas then.
  • + 1
 how do they see where there going
  • - 2
 The forks look the wrong way round to me because off the double arch

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