Mt Trail sport magura 2018
First Look

Magura 2018 MT Trail Sport Brakes (and more!)

Photos Andrew Major


Moments after demonstrating that the new Storm SL 2.0 brake rotors are perfectly up to the task of opening a beer bottle - despite still being 2mm thick and within a gram of the previous edition - Magura's Stefan Pahl took to the stage and changed my life.

Looking back at my naivete I can't help but pine for the relaxing days before I caught Stefan's funny* presentation on the Magura branded cowbell he was holding. I remember smiling as I wrapped it carefully and placed it gingerly in my luggage. The beaming smile my two-year-old wore as I presented it to her upon my return to the North Shore.

Now my life is like a Cyclocross race. Vacuuming? More Cowbell. Laundry? More Cowbell. Making Dinner? More Cowbell. Working on my bikes? More Cowbell. Taking a... More Cowbell! Thanks Stefan...

Stefan Magura NSMB AndrewM

Magura's Stefan Pahl was on hand to run through all the little details showing up in 2017 | 2018. His cowbell presentation was a bit of levity before digging down into the details. 

House Keeping

Why am I talking about a cowbell? Even my two year old knows "ain't broke - don't fix" and for 2018 Magura does just that by continuing to refine their excellent lineup of MT series brakes. While there are new lever blades and a host of other accessories available for the flagship and budget conscious lineups the core products haven't had an overhaul. What does that mean? Awesome power that is applied progressively from ergonomic, reliable and easy to bleed brake systems. 

Why take a series of brakes that is gaining interest, market penetration and an awesome reputation and completely redesign it?

Magura 2018 NSMB AndrewM

Magura's newest brake system is the MT Trail Sport which combines existing components to build a budget-conscious version of the boutique MT Trail system. Marin used a similar Magura configuration on select bikes for 2017 with great results. 

The one new brake model coming to market is the MT Trail Sport which is actually a combination of their MT 5 four-piston system up front, MT 4 two-piston system out back and a set of HC lever blades. The goal is to deliver the feel and performance of the MT Trail system at a lower price and if my experience with my MT 7 and lower priced MT 5 brakes is any indication it's going to be a great buy. 

In other words, if you are looking to experience Magura's very well received MT series of brakes on a strict budget the MT Trail Sport, MT 5 and MT 4 brake systems may scratch that itch. This piece is about a lot of hop-ups and add-ons that will primp up a bike, clean up a cockpit and fine tune performance - all at a cost - but are in no way necessary upgrades to their excellent brakes.

Magura 2018 NSMB AndrewM

Magura's caliper covers pop out to easily change the colour and are strictly a cosmetic feature for those that prefer an understated look. There are two sizes - one for the four piston calipers and one for the two piston calipers. 

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

It all started with persnickety athletes and customers trying to colour match their brake systems to other accessories on their bikes by swapping out the caliper covers on their brakes. Maybe it's MT Trail blue inserts into a set of MT 7 brakes to match a blue-and-black Deity setup. Or a mix-mash of inserts into a pair of Raceline Yellow calipers because 'All The Colours'. 

So far Magura's custom colour program extends to lever clamps and caliper covers but it is also very easy to remove and replace the master cylinder graphics - which has to be done to swap levers - so if demand is sufficient there is not reason that Magura couldn't start printing custom graphics as well. 

Magura 2018 NSMB AndrewM

Brake lever clamps colour matched to Magura caliper covers and a surprising number of bikes, bars and etc. 

Magura 2018 NSMB AndrewM

All the colours of caliper covers are available aftermarket for mix-and-matchy-ness. 


The thin cover that doubles as a graphic on the Magura MT master cylinders is another place the German brand could introduce customization in colours and graphics. They are very easy to swap out. 

Getting Rid of Clamps (Shimano and SRAM compatibility)

On a darker note - and not just because they are only available in black - Magura is addressing demand for backward compatibility and clean cockpits by introducing lever clamps for all the common the direct mount shifter options. That's the same-ol' MatchMaker from SRAM and any of the three iterations of Shimano's I-Spec**. 

Magura 2018 NSMB AndrewM

Magura lever body clamps for Shimano I-Spec and SRAM MatchMaker. 

In the case of the Magura clamps, the I-Spec models have a large amount of adjustment available on the vertical plane - separate from lever position, which for some riders is likely an improvement over a Shimano-Shimano interface. I've used the SRAM MatchMaker option on my bike and it puts the shifter in a very similar position to running a SRAM brake. 

I did find with the full length, non-HC, lever blades a MatchMaker mounted shifter sits further inboard than I'd like but it is perfect with the HC lever blade. 

HC3 Lever Blades

Jointly inspired by Magura's motorcycle division and Danny MacAskill, there are versions of the regular HC lever blades available for all of the Magura MT brake models. I go into greater detail in my review and the HC blades I've been using produce an excellent combination of ergonomics and modulation for my hands. 

The HC3 lever takes the same ergonomics and pumps up adjustment options. 

Magura 2018 NSMB AndrewM

The new HC3 lever blade is an optional upgrade for MT 6, MT 7, MT 8 and MT Trail brake systems. It has fully independent reach and power adjustments. 

With HC3 reach is an independent adjustment made possible by a two-piece hinged lever blade assembly. 

The power adjustment effectively changes the pivot point to shorten the lever blade which applies less pressure on the piston for the same effort for a trade off of improved modulation.  

Magura 2018 NSMB AndrewM

The standard HC lever blades in use on my Honzo. 


Magura's wireless dropper post is unchanged for the moment but they have added an inexpensive replacement cover for those that don't need the other electronic adjustments the remote has on tap. 

The replacement cover only activates the center dropper post button, making it quick and faff free in the heat of battle. 

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Running a Vyron without any other electronic gadgets? A inexpensive replacement cover makes for a giant target for thumbing the post up and down. 

Magura 2018

Magura 2018 NSMB AndrewM

All the customization upgrade options. 

Magura 2018 NSMB AndrewM

Sunset in Sedona brought to you by a 2mm thick Magura HC 2 and 2mm thick Magura SL 2 bottle opener... I mean... brake rotor. 

No, a cowbell isn't necessary. You can make just as much noise with an old aluminum handlebar and that 2001 Kona Stinky front triangle you've been saving. But, as my friend Dave used to say, sometimes, especially after a bad crash, it's nice to buy something pretty for your bike to remind it how you feel deep down inside. 

I like that Magura is carrying forward with their MT brake series with little details that are new.  It's nice to be able to swap out brakes without having to fuss about shifter clamps or drivetrain swaps.

*Yes, he's German. It was funny I swear!

**In my experience, adapting an I-Spec A shifter to an I-Spec B lever makes it necessary to file off a small tab on the I-Spec A shifter clamp. A quick, easy and obvious job. 

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Hi Andrew,

Great info here. I'm new to the Magura brakes - is there a good way to bed in the pads? I'm finding it takes a long time to get them up to power. Thanks


+1 Kirk Bothwell

Hi Kirk,


After install brakes or new rotors or pads (any brand) I ride up a hill near my house - on the road -that's decently steep. 

I find a pattern of coasting (doesn't have to be fast) with brief periods of hard braking beds things in quickly.

Once every couple rides when I get home (brakes not hot) I take a bottle of water, pore it on the calipers/pads/rotors and ride around in circles gently applying some brake on and off. I find that for the couple minutes of investment my braking quality is preserved. Again any system.

If you're installing new brakes (pads specifically) with old rotors I always recommend cleaning the rotors with rubbing alcohol and then (when dry) hitting them lightly with a bit of sand paper. 

Hope that helps!



Thanks Andrew. I put in the "Race" pads yesterday and realized what I was missing. Real power. Too bad Magura doesn't supply these with the brakes.



Anytime Kirk, 

The Race pads generate a lot of heat so they aren't the best option for folks that drag brakes a lot (and so not the best OE option).

I know quite a few people on MT5/7 and I've never had/heard a complaint about the stock pads - but it's great info that the Race pads are that much more aggressive.



Really nice insight into their product line. 

I received the MT 7's with my new Radon Swoop DH bike and was a little scared of the power from them initially. Amazingly powerful brake! I don't think I need them here in Ireland with our short trails but I enjoy them anyways. 

Those race pads don't last long either but they do make a difference when racing when you need to have well calculated dabs of the brake.



Thanks William!

I'll have some additional interesting info/tidbits up soon as part of looking at the new Trail Sport brake - which is probably the perfect choice for 90% of mountain bikers riding technical terrain.


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