Magura MT Sport Brakes
TWO-MINUTE REVIEWS

Magura MT Sport Lever Blades

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Mar 6, 2019

Better Living Through...

It's not hyperbole to state that carbon fibre brake levers have changed my riding experience this winter. It's a cut-and-dry difference with longer rides, lighter gloves and an utter lack of digit discomfort. The carbon Magura levers I've been running on my hardtail are a no compromise product where the (high) price of entry delivers the excellent ergonomics of their HC lever format with a slight tweak to the width that I think, materials aside, makes them an improvement over the aluminum versions. Take my money.

The issue, which I noted in Better Living Through Carbon Fibre, is a lack of compatibility with Magura master cylinders which aren't made in Germany*. Yes, the outlay in treasure also sounds massive - you can buy a good brake for 100 USD per blade - but at this point I'd give up running a dropper post before I'd surrender the plastic-fantastic on my fingers in the winter.

So what's a person to do when they have one of Magura's excellent budget-friendly brakes like the MT5 or Trail Sport? Enter the Magura MT2/Sport lever blades, injection molded from one of their Carbotecture materials and easily installed at 30 USD a brake.

*Magura MT 6, 7, 8, and Trail Carbon brakes

Magura MT Sport Brakes

I do prefer the shape of the aluminum HC lever blade and will reinstall it for the warmer months.

Magura MT Sport Brakes

Removal/install is easily accomplished with a punch and something to support the master cylinder.

Magura MT Sport Brakes

I've been running the MT2/Sport lever blade on my MT5 4-piston brakes. I've used three different lever shapes.

I've owned a set of Magura MT5 brakes since 2015 and this is the third distinctive lever shape I've used with the system. The original long MT5 blade, the aluminum HC lever blades, and now this MT Sport blade which is the stock option on their high-value 80 USD per wheel MT Sport system.

For the old folks, swapping the lever blades on the Maguras is exactly the same process as installing a sweet set of Dangerboy or eNVy lever blades on a Shimano M765 or M800, back in the day. For anyone else all you need is a punch, mallet, and something to support the master cylinder body. If in doubt this is a quick job for any competent local shop.

Magura MT Sport Brakes

The injection molded Carbotecture master cylinder and lever blade are very pleasant in the cold.

Magura MT Sport Brakes

Still a stiff one-piece aluminum caliper. This setup has four pistons front & rear.

Magura MT Sport Brakes

The lever shape isn't on par with the carbon fibre or aluminum HC levers, but that's an easy fix for Magura.

Whatever the brand, I'm only buying brakes with a non-metal lever option going forward. It makes a huge difference for me. Given Magura's expertise with injection molding and the fact none of their brakes have aluminum master cylinders, I can certainly envision a near future where their aluminum blades have been retired. All they have to do is copy the shape of the carbon HC blades for the other injection molded options.

For fans of Magura's budget conscious brake line who want a finger-friendly lever blade for cold and wet weather, these are a drastic improvement. I'll be swapping the aluminum HC lever blades back on for the warmer season, but when the weather's foul, I'll be on these 30 USD Carbotecture Sport blades. Magura riders looking for cold weather finger-friendliness can check out the lever options at Magura USA.

Comments

chachmonkey
+1 Andrew Major
chachmonkey  - March 6, 2019, 8:18 a.m.

Sorry, this is off topic, but which grips are those and how do they compare to the Renthal ultra tackys?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 6, 2019, 8:37 a.m.

That’s the Sensus Swayze. Fantastic grip - I’ve run them for years as a lock-on and started running then glue-and-wire after making that switch. I like to have one bike with Renthals and one with Swayzes as I find when I’m riding a lot my hands feel better over successive days if I change it up.

They are very different from the Renthal. They don’t have the same grip from friction (material) but they have excellent grip from design (waffle). They feel much bigger at first squeeze but on the trail the width feels similar but with more give.

There’s an ODI-made Eclat grip that I really like that’s similar.

I still think the Renthal Ultra Tacky is the best - thin - grip option in the market for wet conditions (and I use them year round) but the Swayze is differently awesome (and for those that like the lock-on, the push-on is so much better - just like the Renthals).

Highly recommended as a push-on option.

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chachmonkey
0
chachmonkey  - March 7, 2019, 3:44 p.m.

Thanks for all the info! They (and the Eclat grip) sound like a very interesting option.

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andy-eunson
+1 Andrew Major
Andy Eunson  - March 6, 2019, 8:42 a.m.

I think people discount just how cold metal levers are in winter. People assume they need thicker bulkier shittier gloves. I tell you, going up the lift on Sunday it was -15 ° C and one hand was cold holding my aluminum ski poles in one hand. And that’s with pretty thick gloves.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 6, 2019, 8:50 a.m.

I’ve tried thick gloves, tool dip, and different tapes - nothing comes close to carbon and for me it’s worth every penny.

But, Magura using their injection-moulding expertise to make these cheaper levers that are stiff enough and feel good is a big step I think in terms of bringing carbon comfort to more pricepoints. 

The brake these come on - MT Sport - is Magura’s most basic disc brake system and it’s excellent. I really can envision them updating the lever shape to match the HC and switching all the brakes to carbon on the high-end and this Carbotecture material for the less expensive systems.

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LWK
+1 Andrew Major
LWK  - March 6, 2019, 1:58 p.m.

Andrew, you've talked about cold hands and carbon levers enough that it seems like a bit of an obsession! :)  I live in the prairies and so I am well versed with cold.  I just wear my big Hestra lobster claw mitts and I'm good.  Why do decent gloves not work?  I am assuming its wet weather riding for you in the winter - is that the problem?  Tech nature of Shore riding that requires frequent and hard braking? poor blood circulation in your hands?  All the above? Not poking at you, just honestly curious!

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AndrewMajor
+2 LWK Kenny
Andrew Major  - March 6, 2019, 4:21 p.m.

Part of it is dealing the wet-cold combo for sure, and part of it is I’ve been having some troubles with hand strength/pain in the cold but certainly riding steep technical terrain with big thick gloves sucks and being uncomfortable when you don’t have to be sucks too.

Another issue is sweat. Unlike truly cold places temperature regulation is hard here - especially in rain gear. Overheat going up and then freeze coming down. Having carbon levers means one less thing I’m insulating against on the descents.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 6, 2019, 4:21 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 6, 2019, 8:51 a.m.

Another point that Bart brought up on FB is the non-metal Carbotecture master cylinders don’t get sluggish at cold temps. Not something I’ve noticed around here but in Calgary it makes a notable enough difference to be a selling feature.

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bart
0
bart  - March 7, 2019, 12:15 p.m.

Yup!

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justin-bonk
+1 Andrew Major
Justin Bonk  - March 6, 2019, 9:59 a.m.

I bought a used bike a while back that had Magura MTS(?) brakes. The levers were almost entirely plastic (OK some kind of fancy pants injection molded nylon stuff). I figured i would swap them out, but they worked great. I never had a problem and they felt on par with Shimano in terms of modulation and power. The only thing that worried me was the coarse thread screws (similar to wood screws) going into the plastic bodies at the clamps. High end plastics are now very reliable, don't get brittle and have less catastrophic failure mechanisms than aluminium. They also cost a shit ton less than most carbon fiber parts. I'm no expert, but i'm surprised there isn't more carbon fiber showing up in these injection molded parts, seems like glass fiber is still the go to. I would think the marketing departments would be all over adding enough carbon to call them omni-directional CF.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 6, 2019, 10:12 a.m.

The German made master cylinders and non-metal levers use carbon fibres (MT 6, 7, 8, and Trail) and the more budget options use glass fibres (MT Sport, 4, 5, Trail Sport).

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Magura is they really are a manufacturing business first. Yes, they do marketing. Yes, I know that’s become an industry cliche used to justify some stupid stuff - Overdrive Steerer tunes for example - but  it’s actually true in this case. 

I try not to use the word ‘plastic’ because it’s so generic. These blades are glass fibre (like the Resin flat pedals I so love) and use the same material that Magura uses in the masters and also clutch bodies for BMW Enduro motorcycles.

Everything breaks sometimes but I’ve had great experiences with the durability of Magura’s high end and more budget options. I’ve never had an issue with the coarse crews across many brakes - or heard of an issue for that matter.

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Kenny
0
Kenny  - March 6, 2019, 10:14 a.m.

In the case of magura mt trails that already exists, there's at least 3 flavors I'm aware of. 

You can buy plastic/aluminum mt trail sports for about 200 bucks for a set, mt trail sport carbons for more like 400 bucks a set, and mt trail carbon SL for about 500 bucks a set.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 6, 2019, 10:19 a.m.

The MT Trail and MT Trail Sport brakes use different master cylinders.

MT Trail whether they have the original carbon lever, aluminum HC lever, or carbon HC lever use the lighter German-made master cylinder.

MT Trail Sport comes aftermarket with aluminum HC levers (different levers due to slightly different architecture) and OE can be purchased with the MTS lever blades I’m testing here.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 6, 2019, 10:14 a.m.

In addition to these levers (which are from the MTS) I’m doing a review of the MT Sport brakes. They’re excellent for the price and compatible with Magura’s top end Race Pads (use the same pads as the high end two piston brakes) if anyone wants to juice upnthe stopping power.

Reply

DBone95
+1 Andrew Major
Darryl Chereshkoff  - March 6, 2019, 10:13 a.m.

Hey, sorry for the off topic, but do you have any plans to get your hands on a set of Shimano BR-MT520 4 piston brakes? They look like world beaters at their price point, but I wonder if they suffer from Shimano's now patented Wondering Bite Point?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0 Darryl Chereshkoff Kenny
Andrew Major  - March 6, 2019, 10:28 a.m.

It’s still a ServoWave brake so I’d be pleasantly surprised if it didn’t act like a ServoWave brake.

That said, I doubt it re. a review but I’ve had much better experiences with Shimano 4-piston brakes (Saint / Zee) than 2-piston models and the price is right so I’d give them a go if the opportunity came up.

The brake I’d REALLY like to try from Shimano is their XT Trekking lever (non-ServoWave) mated to a Saint or Zee calliper.

In the summer mind you. Once you go with carbon/resin brake levers in the winter it’d be hard to give a fair test to brakes with aluminum levers comparatively (at least with my hands).

Best overall value brakes I’ve ridden (aluminum levers) are the Formula Cura 2 (loads of power) and the MT Trail Sport. That performance vs. price vs. maintenance.

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rnayel
0
RNAYEL  - March 6, 2019, 11:17 a.m.

I recently picked up a pair of MT Trail Carbon brakes for an upcoming build and I'm considering the HC3 levers. Any thoughts on the HC3 lever Andrew?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 6, 2019, 11:25 a.m.

What performance gain are you hoping to achieve through the added complexity/adjustments of the HC3?

I much prefer the shape of the new HC blades over the older straight blades that you have (personal preference), presumably you picked up a clearout? 

I’d personally try the stock blades and if you do decide to change to the HC shape, as I’ve noted in this piece and the article linked at the top, I’d get the Carbon HC levers.

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earleb
0
earle.b  - March 7, 2019, 11:52 a.m.

Do you have a shot of this lever against the original MT5 lever? I am okay with the original lever on my MT5's but would love something with a touch more "hook" and width at the tip of the lever.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 7, 2019, 11:56 a.m.

I think I still have an original MT5 lever (upgraded mine to HC as soon as they were available) so I’ll try and confirm and make a photo happen today.

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