Video: Magura's New MCi Conceptbike Has Just 1 Visible Cable

Apr 22, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

Cable-phobes rejoice, your cockpit prayers have been answered. This MCi Conceptbike from Magura has one of the cleanest cockpits we've ever seen with no handlebar cables and only the only visible cable on the bike being a front brake cable emerging from underneath the stem to route down the fork.


So, how have they managed this? Well, most of the cables are taken care of thanks to Magura's own wireless dropper post, the Vyron eLECT, and SRAM's AXS drivetrain. The brake cables are then hidden using Magura's MCi system.


We've first learned about this system back in January 2019 with a bike that had 2 visible cables (if you looked very closely) but Magura have now made an even cleaner bike with a few updates to the system on this XC hardtail.

The previous version of the MCi was a bit less clean with the rear brake hose leaving the bottom of the fork's steerer tube and re-entering at a standard internal routing cable port

The MCi functions in the same way as a retrofit hydraulic clutch for motorcycles and uses a cylinder in each end of the handlebar that includes the piston and the reservoir. Cables are then fed down the handlebar and into the proprietary stem. The front brake hose drops through a hole in the stem and down the fork leg to the caliper, but unlike the last version of the concept we saw this time the rear brake hose doesn't route through the steerer tube and out again. It now travels alongside it and straight into the frame.

The cable enters the stem from the handlebar, the same as on the old system.

The upper headset bearing is oversized, which allows the cable to be guided between the tapered steerer tube and the bearing, then into the frame with a reducing sleeve providing a guide hole for the tubing. This type of routing does require an oversized steerer tube with room to fit a larger cup, but Magura say that this is already available in production from some headset and bicycle manufacturers. This particular frame was made by Müsing-Bikes with the prototype handlebar coming from BikeAhead.

The front hose now drops out from the bottom of the stem and the rear hose runs parallel to the steerer tube and into the frame.

An oversized headset cup includes a groove for cable routing.

What about maintenance? Well, the brakes can be bled from each end of the handlebar and the cables can be split using Magura's Easy Link that connects the cockpit unit to the tubing and allows them to be separated without oil pissing everywhere.

The brakes can be bled from a port on the unit in the handlebars.
Easy Link connects the handlebar hoses to the internally routed hoses.

While this system does definitely make for a clean looking cockpit and, Magura claims, "better aerodynamics and greater protection for the hydraulic components", we can already see a few drawbacks. First, your brake levers are locked in place, Magura says it will set the lever angle based on "each bicycle model and optimized for the best possible seating position," but it's something we're sure a lot of riders won't want to lose; second, adding holes into components like a handlebar or stem probably isn't ideal, and finally, EasyLink or not, this definitely isn't going to make working on your brakes any easier.

The full MCi system

So, will this system ever see the light of day or is it simply a COVID curio? Magura says this particular bike is "almost ready for serial production" and that they would be open to producing the system for OE manufacturers, however an aftermarket version is off the table for the time being.


151 Comments

  • 352 1
 That's one visible cable too many. Magura, come back when you're serious.
  • 99 4
 WE WANT WIRELESS BRAKES!!!
  • 60 3
 This is the bike that I stop working on it myself and start dropping it off at the bike shop. With my extra time, not working on the bike, I would attend dental school to be able to afford the bike and the maintenance. LOL
  • 52 0
 Just wait till they run a front brake line through the entire fork and have the damping fluid double as brake fluid.
  • 55 0
 The message is clear. Where’s my drill? My stem and handlebar are about to get it.
  • 5 0
 @mnorris122: in theory if you had a wider rod for the air shaft, it could double as an hydrolic cable on the inside.
  • 60 0
 Magura don't trust them hose.
  • 5 1
 @mnorris122: so every time your fork moves it engages the brakes?
  • 6 0
 @mnorris122: They need to hire a few Citroen engineers for that to happen.
  • 7 13
flag nurseben (Apr 22, 2020 at 11:36) (Below Threshold)
 @unrooted: No, we don't, that is a recipe for disaster.

So ya know, the cables are still there, they only hid them in the frame, a process which adds complexity to building and unbuilding the bike.

Truly, this is not really heading in the right direction unless you don't work on your own bike, have a skilled tech at your LBS, and you have money to burn.

I do my own tricks and I'm frugal, so this concept is a no go in my life.
  • 8 0
 @mnorris122: Even better. Have the front brake increase front spring rate or increase front damping to reduce fork dive. This has been done on motorcycles several times over the years.
  • 2 0
 Probably could have worked on the TRUST fork RIP.
  • 8 1
 @unrooted: Still a more consistent bite point than ShimanoWink
  • 2 0
 @nurseben: some people will buy into this, others will buy into a trust linkage fork ;-p
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: hmm. I think front end brake jack might rear it's head.
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: They are called shoes.
  • 1 0
 they could route the front brake inside the fork
  • 3 0
 @gibspaulding: the entry level shimano brake on my dirt jumper has a great consistent bite point and my saints on the dh rig are shit
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: nah Magura makes a fork too, they just need to figure out how to integrate the brake line into the fork assembly itself.
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: could use the oil pressure from braking to activate a secondary low speed threshold to minimise brake dive
  • 1 0
 @gibspaulding: oh god why did you have to remind me :p
  • 2 0
 ....and the visible one is the easiest to hide. Ahahah
  • 2 0
 @unrooted: What's the tagline for wireless brakes? Maybe something like this:

"When your brake batteries die, you can too!"

Not sure how well that would sell, though...
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: wireless brakes for all!!!
  • 1 0
 @Phaethon85: If we are adding wireless electric brakes why not ABS at the same time.
  • 1 0
 @gotohe11carolina: "it would fail three times out of a trillion braking attempts" That means it would fail six times each time I ride the WC DH course at Vallnord. No thanks.
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: what if you use a coil fork and run the hose in the middle?????
  • 68 5
 me in 5 years: "I've never replaced any of my hoses or housing since owning this bike for 4 years".
guy: "does your bike still work well?"
me: "hell no, but poor shifting and leaky brakes is better than having to work on this thing"
guy: "facts."
  • 4 0
 God yes
  • 5 0
 Having to fish out a hydraulic brake line from the depths of my bike to get it to come out of the frame, while trying to jig if from where it went into the frame 3 feet away, has to be one of the most frustrating experiences of working on my bike. New bike has very nice tube within a tube routing for the cables so that problem has been solved.
  • 2 0
 Do hydraulic hoses need to be replaced regularly then? My rear brake hose is two years old now because I wanted a stiffer rear hose to make the rear brake match the front brake (in terms of stiffness and bite point) but the front brake still uses the original hose of the nearly fourteen year old brake.
  • 5 0
 @vinay: Nope, I was upgrading from the old crappy guides to shimano zee brakes. I also installed a new dropper (got rid of my reverb which had gotten all spongey and switched to a oneup) and had to thread that cable as well. I know some people upgrade to braided brake lines, like you get with shimano saints or hope brakes, because they have minimal flex, but I've never heard of somebody swapping out a hose due to non-impact or wear related degradation of the hose. Likely waki or someone else is going to come in here tell me that I'm an idiot and all of the pros do it on a weekly basis to ensure the most responsive braking.
  • 1 0
 @vinay:

Only time I've ever had to replace hose is when it's been damaged in a crash, or moving the brakes to a longer frame/fork. I hate to say this out loud, because some lizard company is probably going to think to themselves "we need to make more costly brake hose that is disposable and only lasts 2 years!" now, but brake hose tends to last a good long time.
  • 3 1
 This is nothing overly new. Triathlon bikes with hydro discs have entirely hidden cables/hoses with the exception of where the hose meets the caliper.
  • 1 0
 Ok, so what was the point of the OP? Brake lines don't need regular replacement. I still prefer external routing for everything but I do see some people prefer internal.
  • 32 1
 Yes! How stupid I was buying pre-bled brakes and just zip-tying to the frame tabs and riding... this is obviously better.
  • 24 1
 Ok but like why though..
  • 10 1
 "Hey, you see that mountain? Everest, I think it's called. Want to climb it?"
  • 3 2
 Because corona
  • 3 0
 Sometimes wanting to see if you can is reason enough
  • 1 1
 @just6979: *chomolungma
  • 17 3
 Fine, I'll be that guy that says idgaf about cables showing. In fact, this setup with naked brake levers just looks weird. I'm pretty sure whatever time and trouble exposed cabling has caused me has been made up about 10,000 times over by serviceability. Opinions, though.
  • 11 2
 Do I really need the added complexity and dependence of batteries (BT derailleurs systems and seatposts)? No god damn way. I don't even like hidden cables, but I'm living with it on my Banshee.
None of this matters to any riders I know. I'll stick with the nice cheap cable systems.
  • 11 0
 But, but but... Pinkbike keeps saying external cables look dated!

Older geometry is also "dated" or "out of date", so the implication is that non-internal routing is old, and old is bad?
  • 5 2
 Haha my banshee is all externally routed (2013 Prime), and I wouldn’t buy a bike with internal routing.
  • 4 3
 I prefer external routing (except for droppers) too, but if you are gonna go for internal routing why not take the extra step and actually get rid of all that cockpit clutter. Hose routing on the outside of a frame can look super clean, but the rats nest in front of the cockpit is a mess on any bike.
  • 2 0
 @unrooted: I said the same thing, until I broke a frame and wanted to new one ASAP. Only thing immediately available (time & budget) was a Commencal Meta SX, with the loudest internal routing ever: 3 holes at head tube, big opening at BB, but needed foam on everything inside because no tubes-in-tubes. And chainstay routes were too tight for brakes, and shift cable rattled inside but no room for foam, so back end went external despite lack of bosses.

I again said "never internal". Then the Meta was stolen...

Again time and budget lead to a bike with internal cables. At least this time it was brand new Specialized Stumpy 27 2019, with the best internal system I've seen: each cable/hose gets a single plastic tube end-to-end, snugged up at each end and tied down in the middle of the downtube and through a gasket joining the BB/seattube to the chainstay. So replacement is just one-shot to push the cable through the tube. Still gotta bleed the brakes, but at least they're protected (I have broken external hoses from rock strikes), so, tradeoffs.

Also, truly cannot see any cable from head tube to dropout. I still hate the designs that let the dropper cable out for a few inches to go from downtube to seattube, or that route inside the rear triangle for just 6 or 8 inches, regardless of tubes-in-tubes.

Specialized's plastic TIT routing: thumbs up! Best internal routing system, by far. (Except maybe not the best possible for moto style brakes, because the headtube holes are asymmetrical...)
  • 2 0
 "No god damn way"

Well put!
  • 2 0
 @just6979: If a dropper is going to be routed internally all the way up to the head tube I much prefer that it exits the seat tube and then re-enters the down tube a few inches later. It is way less of a hassle to install, and makes a much more reasonable bend in the housing so that the cable doesn't bind.
  • 1 1
 @pacificnorthwet: Did you not read what I wrote about Specialized's system? Doesn't exit at all and is the easiest thing to route, ever. Push and go. And it uses the sidearm to make no tighter a turn than it would being outside for a few inches (which looks f*cking stupid, just run it completely outside up to the seat tube of it's going to be outside at all)
  • 8 0
 I can understand why someone would want to do this from the technical achievement level (just to do it).

But I really, really hope this type of thinking doesn't take hold in the industry in the future.

I want to be able to replace components at will. I want to adjust the angle (and placement) of my bar, and my controls. I don't want to have to buy new bars each time I want a new width (narrower).

But what do I know? I prefer external cable routing to internal for the same reason (ease of maintenance).
  • 11 0
 What a dumb f*@king goal.
  • 7 0
 Not being able to change the angle of the brake levers is a total deal breaker. I'm one of the odd ones that likes my brakes closer to horizontal (~20 degrees down) instead of closer to 45 for most people.
  • 9 0
 so much effort to hide those unsightly hoses, when they should be trying to hide that unsightly FS frame.
  • 3 0
 Or how about that vulnerable derailleur? Why is that still visible to every rock on the trail?
  • 9 4
 Will this increase fun? I guess it will if your idea of fun is flexing on your friends at the TH about how few cables you have showing.
  • 19 0
 What's more fun than routing internal cables?
  • 19 1
 There is only one cable I enjoy routing.

I’ll see myself out.
  • 4 0
 I know people who don’t ride More than 2-3 times a year but like to build bikes up with all this kind of wizardry every year. It’s what gets their rocks off and keep money flowing and maybe Magura knows it? Or it’s a bored engineer who looked at current hose routing and said, “This isn’t unnecessarily complicated enough so I better show everyone who smart I am.”

Likely the latter.
  • 3 0
 @daugherd: It’s the KICS motto nowadays.
  • 2 0
 @chriskneeland: Bleeding brakes!
  • 1 0
 @PtDiddy: are you suggesting butt-stuff?
  • 1 0
 @just6979: Bleeding internal brakes. Now it's the best of both worlds.
  • 1 0
 @chriskneeland: During a pandemic? haha... Not much.
  • 1 0
 @PtDiddy: I prefer to think of mine as a nice stiff downtube. DaDaDa!
  • 1 0
 @chriskneeland: Umm, internal routing requires bleeding brakes... that's the joke.
  • 2 1
 @chasejj: we can’t all be above average.

Not to change the subject from sexual innuendos, but I really do hate internal brake lines.
  • 6 0
 That cable running down to the fork sure is ugly
  • 3 0
 Magura engineers were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.
My fixie has NO visible cables or hoses.......your move (tbf it has no cables or hoses)
  • 2 0
 This is what happens when you are pressured by marketing to come up with something new when you really got nuthin.
  • 8 0
 @chasejj: .
Me- Goddammit Magura, could your brakes be any more awkward to bleed?
Magura- Hold our schnitzel.
  • 1 0
 @watchmen: They are easy to bleed. We have 2 sets of 3 sets of MT5's and it couldnt be any easier
  • 1 0
 @chrismac70: That is because you are awesome.
  • 5 0
 Who will hold @Dangerholm's beer?
  • 1 0
 Ahh dang, shoulda been faster Mr. Holm. I guess now he'll have to do up a dirt jumper next with no front brake.
  • 3 0
 Why can’t the front brake be run through the steer-tube with some type of 90 degree connection??? Send all profits to unrooted@genius.com
  • 5 0
 internal bike with only one visible wheel coming soon.
  • 2 1
 Why, oh, why can't things be kept simple. Brake lines are just fine outside the frame. Period.
(Need I now be ashamed for owning Magura brakes- it does mean I helped fund this nonsense...?!? Maybe me running them as Shiguras is a part-redemption for my soul?!?)
  • 1 0
 Instead of this weird half-suspended thing with a cable hanging at the front and all the visual pollution from the air-suspended fork, take the concept all the way, get a nice rigid carbon fork in there and connect the brake caliper to the fork the same way the levers are connected to the handlebar. That would look like the future. Or, if you insist on suspension, the right leg can receive the suspension and damping elements, and the left leg the internal spring-shaped brake hose that would lead to the caliper port below.
  • 2 0
 Internal routine is a no go for me... sorry guys... I want to ride, not just past my time to execute shitty things... Thanks to my favorite british brands staying with classic ways.
  • 1 0
 Routing brake hoses out the bottom of the steerer tube on that one pictured bike is one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. There's no clearance in that space to have hoses flopping about. The brake hoses WILL be damaged as the fork moves. 1) Front & rear will both get smashed between tire and crown at bottom out, and 2) the front hose will get sheared between the fork arch and crown at bottom out. Good luck with your brakes after that. Someone was not thinking clearly.
  • 1 0
 My brakeless bmx has one less cable than this bike and is considerably easier to maintain too! This whole concept seems so much more hassle than it's worth, a complex solution to an almost nonexistent problem. I'll stick to external routing and zip ties (with the exception of dropper post hose going into the seat tube)
  • 1 0
 Does the easy link not introduce any air the system? Any air at all? Even a tiny lil’ bubble... is still a bubble. Unless both ends are dripping oil, isn’t a bleed necessary each time you connect / disconnect? Curious about that.
  • 1 0
 The road cycling world is all over fully hidden cables these days and the main reason (aero) does not apply for mtb. But Ridley's take on this topic has really got me thinking for mtb application: a "D shaped" steerer for the top headset you just feed the cable thru any standard stem and you can use your regural 1-1/8 top headset. You just need some space around the bar where the stem clamps (lots of current stems do that for design/styling reasons).

Why doing that? Ultra simple internal cable routing (just feed cable from the bottom and catch them at the headtube, ultra clean look (no cable ports or splitters in the headtube area) and most important in my book, no more rattling cables in front of my bars or uggly tape and mcgiver zipping to make it quite...

Sadly it's not up to Magura to create such standards, but I really hope it will arrive one day
  • 4 0
 The solution for a "problem" that nobody asked for.............
  • 3 0
 Why does a dog lick it's balls?

Because it can.

You know you would too.
  • 1 1
 It would be easier to just use an integrated bar/stem setup. I love the idea of a clean cockpit especially since I've got an amazing amount of cables lashed together trying to look clean.
  • 5 0
 Except for the 99% of people that need to adjust the bar roll due to their specific bike set up and bio mechanics!
  • 5 0
 @andrewbikeguide: you watch your mouth everybody is the same!
  • 3 0
 Electronic brakes are right around the corner. No power = no brakes.
  • 2 1
 Well, if you buy brake-by-wire brakes that aren't fail-safe (no power = all the brakes, like air brakes on trucks), that's on you.
  • 1 0
 not true

look a electrical saw with electric brake

no juice ....the blade stop straight away

it not me but the CSA / security shit certification !
  • 1 0
 electrical saw have integrated brake !!! no juice ...the blade aint moving at all so no brainer situation
  • 1 1
 I think I'd want a Trek/Canyon style steering stop. Probably not good to twist the rear brake hose very much, nor have the front brake hose smash into the top tube with only a few mm between stem and top tube.
  • 2 0
 Wouldn't it be more stealth if the front cable went through the steerer tube too?
  • 1 0
 Damn...so clean. Now with AXS when I see people with 4 cables I immediately know they are not dentists so its been very helpful. This will only help.
  • 1 0
 More gears equals more better, right? So why not more cables!
  • 1 0
 @just6979: That is not dentist logic!
  • 5 6
 Although it looks like a pain in the rear to bleed those brakes and a bit of a hassle to do basically any maintenance on that front end, lets not forget that Edison failed 1000 times at making the light bulb. Necessity is the father of innovation and I think this is going to be a step in the right direction for making our bikes a bit more tidy. I'm all for it.
  • 14 0
 "necessity is the father of innovation".... that doesn't apply here.
  • 2 0
 Necessity is the mother of invention, and this is the least needed thing. I like having the external brake hose so when the hose needs changing or putting new brakes on, I can do that without spilling brake fluid inside the frame... even mineral oil will make a mess
  • 1 0
 @andrewbn42: this is more like innovation's retarded step sibling.
  • 3 1
 *Not shown on camera... bleeding the brakes 5 more times to get them to feel satisfactory
  • 3 0
 Friend: Hey what are you doing?
Me: Oh just bleeding my handlebars.
  • 3 0
 what's the problem they're trying to solve?
  • 1 0
 Creates a futuristic machine, designed for a minimalist, clean vibe. Then conducts a photo shoot in a neglected workspace with loose wires in plain sight.
  • 1 0
 Why didn't they run the front brake hose down through the top cap and steerer like a DJer? Then it would be almost hidden as well
  • 2 0
 Huh, no Magura forks on any of those bikes
  • 1 0
 Cool relaxing edit. Just found a new song for my piano/chilling playlist yay
  • 2 1
 I want brake calipers integrated into fork lowers and the frame! Because you know, I am kind of an engineer myself.
  • 1 0
 Well yeah, I've been thinking about that too. But people will never settle on what size disc brake to run. Even when DH front brakes seemed to have settled on about 203mm (give or take two or thee mm) and the Magura 210mm rotor had been phased out, we're now seeing bigger rotors again. If anything, it would be the road cyclists who'd stick with the smallest rotors they can get their hands on. But in mountainbiking, people want to experiment.
  • 1 0
 @andrewbn42: Really? I actually thought it was a really good idea, it is just that the market is too small and molds for castings are too expensive to make various rotor size specific lowers. With USD forks it is a smaller part so it would be more doable but of course the gains there are also smaller. It seemed nice to have the brake hose connect high on the lowers so that the path from there to where the pistons are is much stifffer. Using braided hoses gives a noticeably more defined bite point so I could imagine guiding the oil straight through the casting (hence running an even shorter piece of hose) would make it even better. And I can imagine the brake calipers would be stiffer too when integrated in the fork lowers. Really the only downside I can think of would indeed be that different people prefer different rotor sizes and the market is to small to make different fork lowers for all these. That said, I recall BTR was experimenting with brake fluid piping on their frames and because of all the connections, bleeding it properly was harder than they anticipated. Not sure whether they continued the project.

Didn't check your link. Please check it yourself and report back what you think is relevant.
  • 2 0
 Condolences to the rank and file shop mechanic that gets to build this up.
  • 2 0
 File this with presfit BB's
  • 1 0
 What's that dangley bit hanging off the ass end that the chain runs through...
  • 1 0
 Breaking News. Magura just bought Katz so they can hide the drivetrain too.
  • 3 3
 Sounds like all of the responses here are from dudes working on bikes. I love the clean looks, I work on my bikes and I am OK with the extra fiddling for the clean looks.
  • 2 1
 What is with all these dudes obsessed with "clean tidy looks". It's just riding bikes in the woods. What a bunch of dandys.
  • 1 0
 @thegoodflow: It’s esthetics it’s what it is.
  • 1 0
 @stefanroussev: I guess the cables just aren't an eyesore to me. It looks like a machine, and the cables are part of it.
  • 2 0
 I love needlessly complicated solutions to problems that never existed!
  • 1 0
 Working at hiding everything but unable to hide the hand that holds the bike during the picture shot. Well...
  • 1 0
 So they managed to hide half the cables on the bike? 50% is not a passing grade.
  • 1 0
 Brakeless fixie mountain bike. Less cables still, and easier to work on. BOOM!
  • 1 0
 Id like one of those easy link hoses for my current setup. That is a clean looking bike though.
  • 1 0
 This officially confirms that I will never but any Magura product ever again.
  • 1 1
 There are actualy two visible cables. But I'm sure that there is a way to hide both of them.
  • 1 0
 The one visible cable actually isn't a cable at all... it's a hose.
  • 1 0
 The thing that caught my eye the most is the stem clamp.
  • 1 0
 So in other words a literal hell for mechanics
  • 2 1
 Step 1(Create non-existent problem
Step 2(Solve it, expensively.
  • 1 0
 why do people hate cables so much?
  • 1 0
 Stem's a bit twisted to the left
  • 1 0
 confused at why noones tried electronic brakes yet?!
  • 1 1
 Hahaha so dumb, I don't care about hiding cables!
  • 2 1
 Who is asking for this?
  • 2 0
 @mrbabcock Noone lol they are just creating more headache for bike owners and service shops alike. I think its a great concept to get a clean look but I'd rather look at cables than deal with that monstrosity.
  • 1 1
 Must have been caught with their pants down.
  • 1 1
 This looks like a home mechanic's nightmare.
  • 1 1
 An answer to the question that nobody asked
  • 1 1
 Love the easy link idea. Get that on the move.
  • 1 1
 @bicyclerider "hold my beer..."
  • 1 1
 But will it barspin?
  • 1 1
 Sure will! You just get no brakes for landing it...
  • 1 0
 Like a session
  • 1 0
 ctrl-f "bar spin" -- first thing I looked for in this article and in the comments. They missed a huge opportunity not making this system compatible with bar spins.
  • 1 3
 This is so awesome! Bikes are not only about the function, also for is important!
  • 1 1
 M A G U R A billboard...
  • 3 4
 So what.

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