You may have flashbacks to the mid-2000s when Dangerboy CNC'd brake levers were all the rage, but the Oak Component's Root Lever does more than just look like a sculpted stick of aluminum. In addition to providing more adjustments to fine tune a broader lever throw distance and personalized pad bite point contact on Magura brakes, there are some structural bonuses built into the lever as well.
We've seen a number of World Cup teams, like Specialized Gravity, specifically select Magura's MT7 brakes as their top choice. The riders at Oak Components also prefer those brakes and set out to improve the stopping procedure by creating the Root Lever that works with any of the Magura MT Next master cylinder bodies.
Oak Root Lever Details
• Compatible with all Magura MT Next master cylinders
• Bite point and reach adjustments
• Anti-kink hose protection
• Black or silver anodized finish
• 100% made in Bavaria
• €148 per set
Based in Bavaria, the startup tech company manufactures their own CNC components in house for an incredibly niche product, but builds an impeccably finished product that is available in two anodized colors for €148, per set.Technical Details
Bite point adjustments can be cheated by manipulating the amount of brake fluid in a given reservoir, but that's not necessary with the Root Lever. Oak Components call this the Contact Point Adjustment or CPA - basically it's where the lever stops in the travel. A tool-free dial uses detents to set the lever in quarter millimeter increments that can be locked in place via a 1.5mm grub screw. On the back of the dial is a rod that pushes on the master cylinder plunger to moves the pads closer to or farther away from the rotor. The grooved outer edge of the round dial provides plenty of grip to turn, even with muddy or wet gloves on. The throw or Empty Path Adjustment (EPA) of the lever is another tweak that can be set with another screw of the same size and the hex key is included in the box.
You may also be drawn to the spring wrapped around the brake line - something you don't often see on mountain bike brakes. This mechanism relieves and dissipates energy that might be directed to bending the brake hose as it enters the lever body. To secure the spring in place, another one of those tiny grub screws runs through a separate barrel that first slides over the brake hose and butts up against the outside of the master cylinder, held in place by a third screw.
Lastly, Oak Components claim that the lever is stiffer than the stock Magura HC 1-finger lever and is also more resistant to bending in a crash. It's also a touch longer overall than the HC 1-finger lever and has a more pronounced square edge around the purchase area where you'll find further machining for extra grip.
At this up-close angle, you can see how the CPA dial pushes on the reservoir.Installation & Setup
To guide you through the installation, Oak Components has created a full tutorial video
. Overall the process is fairly straightforward and doesn't require a full brake bleed.
Removing the stock lever is done with a couple gentle taps with a punch to push out the press fit pin with a low amount of force. The pin can slide through in either direction as both it and the lever bodies are symmetrical. The Root Lever can then be installed with little effort to push that pin back into place. Unbolting the lever body from the bar and placing it on a flat surface will be less finicky than trying to do it on the bike.
Next, unthread the compression nut and strip the squished olive to slide the spring and barrel over the hose, then replace everything in the reverse order, finishing with the spring and stopper barrel. Before you unthread the hose, it should be noted that you will need a new olive as the brake line needs to feed through the spring-securing barrel. It would be thoughtful if a new olive was also included with the purchase of the levers. On a side note, I have found that cutting the brake line, inherently making it shorter, isn't necessary if you can pinch the olive enough to split and break it off of the line.
Once you have everything assembled, start with where you'd like the pads to contact the rotor using the CPA, ie: how far away the lever is from the bar when the brake is fully engaged. From there, use the 1.5 hex key to dial in the levers to your desired maximum reach. Oak does include two of those tiny spares, but I did add Loctite to each of these minuscule grub screws for peace of mind. There is some overlap of how the two settings influence each other, so getting things just right takes a bit longer than a SRAM Code RSC brake set.
The range of adjustment can swing from nearly 25mm all the way in to 55mm from the bar with this ODI grip. It takes a little bit of mucking around to get things right, but ultimately, more options means more tinkering. For those who are very particular, they will be delighted to finally have their levers perch and engage at symmetrical distances. It's worth pointing out that the swing-out safety of the stock lever is also lost with the inclusion of the reach adjustment - those will only get you so far and I have never had a stock lever damage the master cylinder because of this.
The Root Lever is the same length as the stock Magura 1-finger blade, but straighter like the bronze coloured Loic Bruni signature lever.Performance
The CPA dial is bar-none, the standout feature of this lever. One little dial that gives you the capability to totally sync the contact point of the brake engaging is a game changer. That also means you can make tweaks to the lever feel as the pads wear. I even had some other long-time Magura fans become startled by the crispiness of the Root Lever. Similar to Shimano brakes, the stock Magura free stroke dial has little effect on the system. Magura's HC3 lever provides this same action, but the usable range is much smaller and the lever blade shape is the most aggressive curve of the bunch.
We've seen some Magura riders, like Danny Hart opt for the longer 2-finger HC lever, which gives more leverage and less sensitivity. The Root Lever could be a good compromise for those riders who want a less curvy blade of the stock HC 1-finger option, but less travel than the 2-finger. I always got along well with the stock 1-finger levers and the only detail I noticed on the Root Lever was a more prominent square edge that your finger has to wrap around.
The protection features built into the component are also a highlighting design from Oak. During the test, I may have touched the dirt once or twice. There was solid evidence of the lie down since I had to scrape mud out of the CNC cut outs. Both the levers and the hose connections came out straight and unscathed, even after a serious tangle in some cleared brush. The ends of the levers are beveled nice and round, however the leading edge does have a sharper edge. I wouldn't call that a problem, but for safety's sake, taking a bit more material off might be worthwhile.
€148 sounds like a lot of cash for a pair of machined levers, but the functionality that the Root Lever brings to an already impressive set of Magura stoppers puts the whole package well above any combination of brake I've tried before. That goes for performance, workmanship, and design. Having that solid connection at each finger tip adds confidence and security of the feeling while braking. They also have zero slop and nothing will unwind or bounce around.
There is roughly 30 mm of useable reach adjustment.
Wider range of tuning adjustments over stock levers+
Solid construction with hose protection feature+
Adjuster dials stay put
Need to remove brake line to install system-
Lever blade might be too square for some riders' preference