Installation | First Impressions
2018 Magura MT Trail Sport : Bleed How To & First Impressions
Magura's MT Trail Sport, new for 2018, shares the 4-piston front and 2-piston rear caliper configuration of the more expensive MT Trail model. It comes stock with the massively hooked HC lever blades and the master cylinder is made of the same 'Carbotecture' material as Magura's BMW Motorcycle clutch bodies.
As with other high-end Magura brake systems, the Trail Sport uses one-piece calipers, Royal Blood mineral oil, a specific bleed fitting and a unique bleeding procedure compared to other brake systems. At $275 (USD) they are roughly half the price of Magura's top end MT Trail system.
The Trail Sport is quick and easy to set up. Center the calipers over the rotors and tighten them down. Then squeeze the brakes a few times to set the piston position. It's easy to manipulate the pads with a screwdriver against their back plates until everything is running drag free.
I bolted the Trail Sport's 4-piston front caliper onto the RockShox Recon Silver fork and 2-piston caliper on the accompanying Marin Hawk Hill frame. After a quick brake-in period consisting of a dozen short hard stops on a hill near my house it was time to hit the trails.
After several rides I can say that as good as the stock Shimano Acera brakes are, especially considering the price, there is no question that the Trail Sport is a more advanced system in every way.
That shouldn't be surprising as the Trail Sport system is more than twice the price of a basic Acera brake system and in that way it reminds me of the X-Fusion Manic dropper post - the remote to which is snuggled up against the Trail Sport's lever.
That is to say that the rigid post and quick release that came with the Marin were totally usable. But, for the extra cost there is a premium upgrade in the riding experience for notably less money then I would expect to have to spend for the premium experience.
Magura brakes are easy to bleed but require a slightly different process than other systems on the market. Here's the process I went through to ensure the best possible performance from this set of Trail Sport brakes on test.
Tools of the Trade
To start cut the lines, install a new barbed insert and ferrule and then re-thread the brake fittings into the master cylinders for both brakes. I do this with the master cylinders off the handlebar to ensure that the brake lines don't kink while I tighten down the fittings. Then it's time for the tools.
I need two syringes, a Magura bleed fitting (the same one they've used since time began), some Royal Blood, a sharp object - or drill, and a T-25 Torx Key.
For one of the syringes I'll remove the plunger and put a hole in at the 30ml mark. Any pointy object will do from a sharpened spoke to a drill bit. It isn't necessary but filing the inside of the syringe after making the hole is good idea.
This syringe will double as the catch basin when fully bleed the system from the caliper up and also as a vacuum tool for quick bleeding air from the master cylinder after cutting the lines.
The lines of most brake systems can be cut without having to bleed the systems. I'm not talking about best practices, merely what one can get away with. Air is only potentially introduced at the line and then should transit to the master cylinder rather than the brake caliper.
But then how often is it that after a crash, or a long drive or telling buddies how awesome a brake feels (sans bleed) after install and then it becomes a spongy mess?!
Remove the bleed plug from the master cylinder while leaving the caliper closed. Then, suck a bit of fluid into the syringe with the hole at 30cc (use syringe not mouth). Now insert the syringe into the master cylinder and cycle it gently up and down.
As the syringe is cycled gently the master cylinder bladder is pumped in and out releasing any air bubbles that may be trapped to be purged through the hole. It's seriously that simple.
Repeat both sides and it's time to ride your bike.
The Perfect Full Bleed
Sometimes cutting the lines turns into a SNAFU and a full bleed is required. And heck, it's good practice for 2am the night before that big Enduro race.
Magura uses one piece calipers for every brake including the more budget friendly MT Trail Sport and even the $60 per wheel MT 2. Magura tells us this structure increases stiffness, cuts weight and is much more complex to manufacture compared to bolting together caliper halves.
To simplify construction Magura's bleed port is located at the side of the caliper opposite from the mounting point for the brake line. Magura has used a thread-in bleed fitting going back to the first hydraulic rim brakes and these two features combined seem to confuse a lot of people bleeding their brakes.
The secret is to un-bolt the caliper.
With the brake caliper removed I raise it above the master cylinder so that the bleed port cover screw is the highest point in the system - no leaking when I remove the screw. The next step is to thread in the bleed fitting with a loaded syringe attached.
Now drop the caliper down so the master cylinder is the highest point in the system and the caliper bleed port is the lowest.
Push fluid through until no more air bubbles are coming out of the system. Seal everything up. Hit those components with some mild soapy water. Done.
If for some reason the brake lever were still spongy at this point - hard to imagine - it is a good time to try the the quick bleed trick again to see if those last couple air bubbles can be coaxed from the system.
With the brakes full broken in and working nicely I'll be ack with a proper review.
In my quest for the ultimate in min-maxed component spec the Magura MT Trail Sport brakes have joined X-Fusion's Manic dropper post, RaceFace's Aeffect Cinch crankset and Aeffect wheels on the NSMB Marin Hawk Hill test bike.
For more information check out Magura here.