German brand Magura has been in the brake business for quite some time - over a hundred years with motorsports - and while they may not hold the same chunk of OEM sales that the red and blue "S" brands share, they're certainly a force to be reckoned with. Back in the day, if you rode trials or just wanted some powerful, rim crushing (literally) stoppers, the Magura's HS-33 was the best option out there.
Fast forward a few decades and they've had some successes, but also some other brakes that weren't quite up to par, although their newest iterations of stoppers have received some big updates to remedy problems of years past.
The MT7 Pro is Magura's four-piston, heavy-duty brake, engineered for the crowd that needs the most power; enduro, downhill racing, etc. The brake is light at 255-grams, has a tool-free reach adjust, lever sweep adjustment, different levers to pick from, and pad options to help riders dial in a variety of looks and feels.
MT7 Pro Details
• Intended use: enduro / trail / downhill
• 4-piston calipers
• Mineral oil system
• Customizable levers
• Carbon fiber lever assembly
• Weight: 253g (w/o rotors, adapters)
• MSRP: $239 USD
All of these options are welcome as the MT7 Pro is a premium product, and it comes with a premium price of $239 USD per wheel for the brake assembly. Rotors and adapters are sold separately so add on $80-$100 or so more to complete the package as rotors are $33 each for the HC level and adapters are $13.
The MT7 with the HC-3 lever. Lots of adjustments and a substantial hook.
Details and Installation
The entire brake system is produced in Magura's factory in Germany. To keep QC tight, the entire building is sealed and pressurized so that there's no chance of dust or dirt getting in and contaminating the products.
If the price of the MT7 is a little too much to stomach, the MT5 brake is about half the price and a viable option for a lot of riders. Some people may have noticed a number of Magura's athletes running this brake. The big differences are that it doesn't have as many tool-free adjustments and the lever material is a thicker carbon and the blade is also a bit heftier. The brake has a slightly different feel that some athletes prefer, but it's the same system as the MT7 when it comes to the guts.
The MT7 Pro is Magura's flagship enduro, downhill, and trail brake, and it sports a composite master cylinder made out of Magura's "Carbotexture SL" material as well as a new "one-finger design" lever. The lever pictured here (and that I tested) was the ultra-adjustable HC-3 option, although I did spend time using the stock alloy HC-1 lever as well.
There's a four-piston caliper down at the bottom, and while other four-pot stoppers use a single pad on each side, the MT7 Pro's get four separate pads. The reasoning behind this, according to Magura, is that the smaller pads better dissipate heat than larger pads, and also that it saves a minute amount of weight.
A myriad of lever options as well as little color discs allow for some functional tuning and fashion. There are even colored faces for handlebar clamps if you're into that.
All of the brakes come with the same length hose no matter whether you need a front or rear, which means you're going to have to cut down the brake lines. With internal routing on most new bikes these days, that's a pretty common job, though. Fortunately, if you're careful, you likely don't need to do a full bleed or even anything at all, but if you do, the process is simple and painless.
I think that a lot of people, including myself, have historically pinned Magura's brakes as "difficult to work with" or "hard to bleed" and discounted them at that, especially at their premium price-point. The old bladders trapped air in funny places and getting a good bleed was nearly impossible. However, there have been some major updates and Magura now has a pretty damn competitive product that you can easily and successfully bleed.
As far as bleeding goes, Magura uses their own mineral oil. They say they like it because it doesn't attract moisture (DOT fluid can absorb it) which can cause degradation in performance over time. They also don't have to submit it for testing, therefore they can create and use a fluid that works best with the specific seals in their system.
The levers can be flipped to run on either side, so if your buddy from down under is visiting, needs to borrow a bike, and you don't live in the UK, you can quickly swap things around to goofy style and get on with your day without wasting time at the bike shop or defaulting to drinking.
Bleeding has become far more simple. There's an improved bladder that helps to keep air bubbles from hiding out where they don't need to be.
If you're attaching the lever body to your handlebar, you'll notice that the bolts have a much more open pitched thread than many others that you see on a bike. The force that you use on this clamp is lower than many other brakes that require equal torque on the top and bottom of the faceplate and an equal gap. You tighten the top of the faceplate completely to the lever body before snugging up the bottom. It's engineered to hold the brake in place while you're riding and then allow it to rotate in the event of the crash, preventing the brake from, er, breaking.
I tested this out with a nasty crash a few weeks back. Aside from some inevitable scratches on the bike, brakes, and myself, all was surprisingly just fine. I moved the lever back into place and rolled on down the hill.
Changing the Feel
Swapping levers is a simple process.
One of the things that make the MT7 stand out a bit from some other brakes is the ability to fine-tune their feel with different levers and pad compounds. When you're spending upwards of a couple car payments on a set of bicycle brakes, it makes sense for them to be able to be dialed in by the rider.
Riders have multiple different levers to choose from, including short or long, aluminum or carbon options, as well as the Danny McAskill's HC-3 lever that I've been running. You can also pick up Loic Bruni's signature lever
. Longer levers obviously offer more leverage and a bit softer feel, more similar to a SRAM brake while the shorter options will be more sensitive, similar to the blue S.
In addition to those options, there are three different pad compounds riders can choose from. All of the pads are organic (resin). Magura believes these work well and also keep the temperatures lower and minimize heat transfer from the rotor to the caliper and that should help performance stay more consistent. There is a "performance" level pad that comes stock on the bike, a "race" level pad that produces more friction and bite - think more like a Shimano brake feels, and then a "comfort" level pad with the least amount of bite. The comfort pads are also the quietest since as you increase friction, there's inherently more noise associated. The performance and race level pads all utilize one pad for each piston (four per caliper) and the comfort pads are one long piece, similar to what you see in a Guide or Code brake. If you want a metallic pad, Magura doesn't make one and you're going to have to go to an aftermarket option if that's the route you choose.
Besides pads and levers, there are also colored discs that can be swapped out to keep your fashion game tight, as well as three different rotor styles to choose from. HC rotors like the ones tested and reviewed here, Centerlock rotors, and a lighter weight SL rotor. Magura has their own Matchmaker style clamps to keep the bars clutter free and you have the option of running things inboard or outboard, depending on your preference.Performance
I worked with Magura's man on the ground and pro athlete Eric Porter to get my set of MT7's installed and dialed-in initially. The process was simple and painless, and if it wasn't for us tearing everything apart to see exactly how things worked it would have taken me, having never installed this brake before, maybe a half hour to put the set on and be pedaling to the trails.
I first rode the brakes with the stock lever, which is a bit longer than the Danny McAskill HC-3 I swapped over to. With the stock lever, there's a firm engagement and an excellent amount of modulation - I'd say if falls right between a SRAM Guide and a Shimano XT when it comes to modulation. The thing that stood out to me, however, was the consistency in the feel, firmness of the engagement, and noticeable quality of the system overall.
In switching to the HC-3 lever with a bit more of a hook on the end, and more adjustability, there's a quicker and stronger engagement, but still ample amounts of modulation.
After three months of riding the brakes on the trail, I haven't had to touch a thing. The MT7's are far and away one of the most consistent brake systems I've been on. Whether it's touch and go slow-speed technical riding or high-speed sustained descending, the consistency is right there and the same as it was the first day.
180mm Storm HC rotors front and back. I've found them coupled with the performance level pads consistent for how and where I'm riding.
I've been using the stock, performance-level pads and 180mm rotors for the entire time I've been testing and haven't felt the need for more power in any way. If I were riding the bike park all day, I would consider throwing on bigger rotors, but for all-around and riding just about anywhere, for a rider that's my weight, the 180's are more than enough.
I can't find anything to truly complain about with the MT7's. They are one of the best options for a high-end brake system on the market and a stark contrast to their predecessors. Very few things in our world of bikes are set-and-forget, but save having to swap out pads after a couple months of riding in garbage conditions, I haven't touched these brakes.Pinkbike's Take