deniz merdano ryan walters suntour dharco magura review 17.jpg
REVIEW

Magura MT5 HC Disc Brakes

Words Ryan Walters
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Apr 26, 2022
Reading time


What do Danny MacAskill, Loïc Bruni and Fabio Wibmer all have in common?

Aside from the fact that they’re ridiculously talented on bikes, and collecting Red Bull cheques, the three gentlemen in question rely on Magura brakes to stay as close to the ragged edge as possible, without going over. If you know anything about Danny, Loïc and Fabio, you also know that I’m not exaggerating when I say that dependable brakes are required to keep these guys alive in their 9 to 5.

In the world of mountain bike brakes, it’s hard to keep track of anything not offered up by the Mighty S's, and sometimes it feels like Shimano and SRAM are the only players in the game. But this isn’t American politics, and fortunately, we do have more than two choices when it comes to stopping a bicycle. While it might not be a household name, Magura has over 125 years of experience in designing and manufacturing control systems for motorcycles, cars and bicycles. Among other notable innovations, they were the first company to offer a hydraulic rim brake for bicycles, in 1987. I was first introduced to the German brake maker way back in 1999, when my very first DH bike came equipped with a Magura “Tomac” hydraulic rim brake to clamp the rear wheel.

Today, Magura offers a wide variety of hydraulic disc brakes (and they still sell hydraulic rim brakes!), and while the MT7 is their flagship, 4-piston brake for the gravity crowd, Magura also offers a more budget friendly option in the MT5. Forgoing some of the adjustments and exotic build materials found on the MT7, the MT5 is aimed at those who still want gobs of stopping power, but don’t want to brake the bank (see what I did there?).

MT5_HC_Small.jpg

The MT5 HC is an upgraded version of Magura's wallet-friendly MT5. For a few extra dollars, you get the HC1 alloy lever blade with reach adjustment, as well as 9.P Performance pads. The red accent colour comes standard, but you can gussy up these brakes in other colours as well.

For those of you more familiar with SRAM and Shimano, it’s worth noting that Magura does things a bit differently. Historically, I’ve been used to picking a brake model, a rotor size and a pad compound - and that’s about it. With Magura, there are an astounding number of ways to customize your setup. From several different styles of lever (4-finger-levers, anyone?), to various pad compounds and configurations, as well as 5 different styles of rotor - you can go pretty crazy with dialing in your brake setup exactly how you want it. For those looking to keep their cockpit as tidy as possible, Magura offers a selection of “Shiftmix” clamps that allow you to mount your shifter and dropper remote on the brake perch. On top of all that, you can even customize your calipers and clamps with a veritable rainbow of accent colours. I used to think I was immune to vanity, but I readily admit to swapping out the accent colour on the MT5s more than once during the review.

To streamline my selection process, Magura had me test the popular MT5 HC brakeset. The “HC” refers to the 1-finger, adjustable-reach lever blade that is included in this set, rather than the standard 2-finger blade. The upgraded lever puts the MT5 HC at a slightly higher price point than the base MT5, but Magura found that e-bikers preferred the extra leverage offered by the 2-finger blade, whereas non-e-bikers preferred the 1-finger blade. In other words, the MT5 HC is aimed at skilled gravity riders on acoustic* bikes. Rounding out the HC package, Magura includes their organic 9.P Performance brake pad, which sits just below their Race compound in terms of power. While packing less bite than the Race pads, the Performance pads promise longer life and less brake squeal, not to mention a lower price point. The reversible lever body contains a radially mounted master cylinder, and is constructed from Magura's proprietary Carbotecture composite material, promising the strength of aluminum, at half the weight.

*Ugh. I did it. I said it. I’m sorry.

Installation and bleed procedure.

If you’ve successfully carried out a brake installation and bleed with any other brand, getting it done with the MT5 is within your wheelhouse. While the procedure is somewhat less refined than those from Shimano or SRAM, installing the MT5s should take no longer than 1 to 6 beers for the well-equipped home mechanic. You will need to make sure you have the Magura specific bleed kit, AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT USE ANYTHING OTHER THAN MAGURA ROYAL BLOOD MINERAL OIL!!!!! We all have a buddy who knows a guy that once heard of someone running Shimano mineral oil / Johnson & Johnson baby oil / Astroglide in their Shigura-franken-brakes, and the result was nothing but high-fives and good times. But the truth is that Magura specifically formulates their Royal Blood to play nicely with their seals and materials. Using any other oil (including Shimano oil), can result in poor performance, failed seals, and is guaranteed to void the impressive 5-year leak proof guarantee. In Magura’s defence, Shimano says the same thing about their brakes and mineral oil. So, do yourself a favour and just stick with the blue stuff for Magura brakes.

Because it’s 2022, you can find detailed installation and bleed procedures on the Magura YouTube channel. I followed the video bleed instructions to a T, but it’s worth mentioning that I found I had to cycle fluid through the system several times to get all the bubbles out. The instructional video will have you believe that 3 or 4 cycles should do it, but I was still drawing bubbles out after at least a dozen or so syringe cycles. As with any brake bleed, don’t rush the process - you’ll thank yourself later.

deniz merdano ryan walters suntour dharco magura review 20.jpg

For maximum braking power, Magura recommends their MDR-P 2-piece rotors. Aside from the badass, MotoGP look, they feature a steel braking surface that is riveted to a lightweight, aluminum carrier for maximum power, stability and heat dissipation. In the interest of comparing apples to apples, I chose a 220mm rotor up front, and a 203mm rotor out back - the sizes I typically use. The MDR-P rotors are not cheap, and not particularly light either, but Magura offers less expensive 1-piece rotor solutions as well.


Round 1 - “Performance” pad compound.

Brakes installed, I headed out for a typical winter ride in North Vancouver. In the interest of a thorough review, I had good intentions of actually taking the time to bed-in the pads and rotors according to Magura’s specific instructions. This annoyed the hell out of my riding companions, as they waited for me to do 30 full braking stops from 30km/hr in the parking lot. Even after the bedding-in procedure, brake power felt underwhelming for the first several minutes of riding, but then, as if the MT5s suddenly realized what their mission was, braking power increased considerably. It’s entirely possible (probable) that I lost count, and didn’t do the full 30 braking stops for the bedding-in procedure. I mean, getting my DH-bike-with-a-dropper-post up to 30km/hr, from a standing start, on flat pavement, 30 times in a row requires a Herculean effort - and come to think of it, my laziness is likely a good representation of mountain bikers in general. So, yeah, we’ll go with that.

After achieving full power with the Performance pads, I was fairly happy with the MT5’s while cruising along on fast, flowy trails. I’m glad I spent two beers bleeding these brakes, as I feel the thorough bleed helped establish their rock-solid lever feel. I don’t think I’ve ever used a brake that was so consistent in its feel and bite point - and that might just be my favourite characteristic of the MT5. I was initially worried about the lack of lever adjustments, but pleased to discover that a slight reach adjustment (the only adjustment offered), was all I needed to make the MT5s feel spot-on. Reach is adjusted by a 3mm allen key, which feels a bit silly in these days of tool-free adjustments, but the consistent lever feel made this a non-issue after the initial setup. Lever stroke felt just about perfect, although I did find that pad-rotor free clearance was on the tight side, and it took some patient caliper aligning to get the brakes running completely drag-free. The HC1 alloy lever blades feel a bit rounder in profile than most other blades, but they proved to be very comfortable in all conditions. While not as crisp and punchy as a Shimano brake, the MT5 had none of the wandering bite point issues that Shimanos are known for. Compared to a SRAM Code, the MT5 again had a more consistent bite point, while also feeling less spongy than the DOT fluid competitor. In terms of modulation, the MT5 was predictable in turning lever force into braking force - sitting in the Goldilocks zone between the binary feel of a Shimano, and the logarithmic curve of a SRAM. Mountain bikers have all kinds of theories and opinions on what constitutes “good modulation” - but in the end, these opinions are usually based on the brake that a given rider is accustomed to. The MT5 has what can only be described as a “neutral” feel, that will suit all but the pickiest riders.

deniz merdano ryan walters suntour dharco magura review 45.jpg

The 9.P Performance pads were at their best when riding fast, flowy trails, where they could stay relatively warm and dry. Pulling hard on a cold brake while trying not to die on a vertical rock slab was a situation better handled by the 8.R Race pads.


The elephant in the room.....

Unfortunately, there was no getting around the fact that the Performance-pad-equipped MT5s just couldn’t match the raw stopping power of their metallic-pad-equipped competition. I’m a heavier guy, on a heavier bike, and while the Performance pads did the job on mellower terrain, I was never able to get the power I needed to confidently charge the steeps. On the plus side, the Performance pads did prove to be very quiet - possibly the quietest braking experience I’ve had in recent memory. But the lack of power had me entering rowdy sections more tentatively than I normally would; I just wasn’t able to trust these brakes when it really mattered. In addition, the Performance compound seemed to require a warm-up period to achieve maximum stopping power. This was far from ideal during cold, wet winter rides with lots of stop-starting on the bike. Once up to speed however, and after a few, strong brake pulls, the pads would warm up and become much less terrifying.

February in North Vancouver was somewhat of a worst-case-scenario for reviewing brakes, and during those rare, warmer days, I actually got along much better with the Performance pads. Riders in warmer latitudes might find all the power they need in the Performance compound, and any brake is going to suffer some diminished performance in cold, wet conditions. But knowing that a higher performance Magura pad existed, I had to give the MT5s the chance to raise the bar to my expectations. I reached out to Magura, and was soon upgraded to their 8.R “Race” compound pad.


Round 2 - “Race” pad compound.

Interestingly, whereas the Performance pads are supplied as two friction surfaces per pad, connected with a common steel backing plate (two pieces per caliper), the Race pads forgo the common backing plate, and are designed around the idea of a separate pad for each piston (four pieces per caliper).* This has the added benefit of being able to swap out brake pads without removing the wheel. I’ve heard rumours of curious folks experimenting with different brake pad compounds within the same caliper, presumably searching for - something? But these are probably the same weirdos running Shigura-coconut-oil brakes, so you should probably, definitely not Google it. With 8 Race pads installed, and accent colour set to purple, I performed another half-assed bedding-in procedure, and dove straight back into the trails.

*Another advantage Magura references here is more efficient cooling and no heat conductivity between the rear pad and the harder-working front pad

deniz merdano ryan walters suntour dharco magura review 19.jpg

Red means stop.


The difference in braking power over the Performance pads was immediately apparent. While they still seemed to have a warm-up period to them, the Race pads instilled much more confidence while negotiating steep and technical terrain. Lever feel and bite point remained unchanged, the only difference was a whole lot more power. Well, there was one other difference as well - the previously silent MT5s suddenly became somewhat more vocal. Not in the screamy, howling way other brakes typically vocalize, but the Race-pad-equipped MT5s developed a very noticeable “gurgling” sound during intense braking events. Again, I reached out to Magura, and was told that this sound was likely the result of “metallic content in the pads interacting with the rotor holes”. Potential solutions included: sanding the pads, flipping the pads to opposite sides of the caliper, switching to “Sport” pads (yikes!), switching to one piece rotors, or just riding till the pads wore to a more silent condition. After cleaning, sanding, and then flipping the pads, the gurgling noise diminished to an acceptable level, although it never fully disappeared.

With Race pads installed, the MT5 suddenly becomes a viable braking option for rowdy, North Shore terrain. While cold-weather performance is perhaps not quite as high as a metallic-equipped Code or XT, the Race-equipped MT5 still delivers enough power to tame pretty much any trail you can throw at it. At $189.00 U.S., the MT5 HC swims in the same pool as the SRAM Code R, G2 RS, and Shimano’s 4-piston SLX brake. All of those stiff competitors offer tool-free lever reach adjustment, and while I didn’t find it to be a huge issue, I know it’s a feature that will hold value for some. Out of the box, Code and SLX will have a slight edge in the power department, but the MT5 wins hands-down in lever feel, with its class-leading consistency. And while SRAM and Shimano seem to sit at opposite ends of the modulation spectrum, the Maguras sit somewhere in the middle, a trait that will appeal to a wider audience overall.

So, the big question is: Can the Magura MT5 HC compete with those from the Mighty S’s? The answer to that lies in what you are looking for in a brake. If outright power is first and foremost on your mind, there are better options out there among the current crop of low-cost, 4-piston brakes. Riders at the very sharp end of things would be better served by taking a look at Magura's MT7 brake. While coming in at a higher price, the notoriously powerful MT7 also gives you more adjustments, and fancier build materials. But if you’re just looking for consistent feeling, no-nonsense brakes that get the job done, while not completely emptying your wallet, the MT5s are worth a second look. Particularly after you've set them to purple.

deniz merdano ryan walters suntour dharco magura review 48.jpg



Magura MT5 HC - $189.00 U.S.

Magura

rwalters
Ryan Walters

Age : 40

Height : 1803mm

Weight : 86kg

Ape Index : 1.03

Inseam : 787mm

Bar Width : 780mm

Preferred Reach : Pretty comfy at 487mm these days.

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Comments

helpimabug
helpimabug
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+15 LWK Andrew Major DanL kcy4130 cxfahrer Luix slyfink Michael Klein Andy Eunson Pete Roggeman MTBrent Velocipedestrian trumpstinyhands Beau Miller Tjaard Breeuwer

Apology not accepted for calling a normal mountain bike “acoustic”.

If we have to do guitar analogies, it would go more like this:

Hardtail ~ acoustic 

Full suspension ~ electric

Ebike ~ guitar hero controller

Oh, and rigid singlespeeds are banjos, because they are difficult to play, yet annoy everyone.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+10 Ryan Walters kcy4130 Andrew Major slyfink Andy Eunson mtbman99 Pete Roggeman Velocipedestrian Beau Miller Tjaard Breeuwer

Normal mountain bikes are...mountain bikes. They don't need any extra adjectives to describe them.

Reply

Hollytron
Hollytron
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+3 Timer Tjaard Breeuwer Mike Bergen

Hardtail guitars are a thing too! A guitar (usually a fender stratocaster) that forgoes the tremolo bridge (whammy bar) is called a hardtail. Gibson tried to get us guitar nuts excited about a robot guitar (it tuned itself) but that turned out about as well as the fox live valve stuff.

Reply

Sethimus
Sethimus
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+2 domdb Reed Holden

the correct term is amish bike

Reply

mikkyberg
Mike Bergen
2 weeks, 1 day ago
0

I support this!

But I do think Jedidiah would like a 150mm e-bike to pull the plow. Weird Al could do a follow up track.

Reply

djjohnr
John Rodriguez
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+5 Ryan Walters BadNudes mrbrett Pete Roggeman IslandLife

I've been running MT5s on my trail and downhill bikes for the last 6 seasons, here's what I've learned:  the two finger levers (which you can use one finger on just fine) produces significantly more power than the HC levers (started with the 2 finger lever, upgraded to the HC levers then went back to the 2 finger levers), the race pads have more stopping power, but glaze over pretty easily (I've found that the 2 finger levers plus the performance pads have more than enough stopping power), it's best to gravity bleed these if you can.

Reply

BadNudes
BadNudes
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+4 Andrew Major Ryan Walters JK47 Pete Roggeman

I waffled for so long on the MT5 vs MT Trail based on the lever (I never saw the MT5 HC when shopping). Went with the long levered MT5 and glad I did. I guess the clamps end up a little further inboard, but longer levers give more power and more modulation in exchange for more lever throw. I like to run my levers pretty far out and use those cheesy 'sticky fingers' style brake lever grips for some insulation from aluminum lever heatsink effect on cold rides,  so maybe that helps with the feel of the lever compared to the HC, or at least just means the 2 finger lever suits me very well. I've used the MT Trails on a test ride and like to think I could feel the decreased power of the shorter lever on the front brake  but might've been down to poor bed-in/set up (rear brake was definitely less powerful, but to be expected with 2 fewer pistons).

They do take a long time to bed in, and I get plenty of the gurgle noise on hard stops with 1 piece rotors. I'd also noticed that on cold rides I sometimes needed to warm up the brakes with a pull or two to get working properly, but this seemed to go away as the pads bed in more. I think the "30 stops" recommendation is sort of the minimum needed to get the brakes working safely, but the brakes seem to keep bedding in and getting better for a few rides after that. Maybe I've just been lucky but I've found bleeding easy and trouble free. In all, the best brakes I've used.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 BadNudes Beau Miller

Ha! Wish I could have given the 2-finger levers a try.

Reply

Timer
Timer
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

The 1-finger levers feel so much nicer, though. Main reason i bought my MT Trails.

Reply

Tadpoledancer
Tadpoledancer
3 weeks ago
0

In a recent episode of the Downtime Podcast, some Magura employees were saying that the name of the “two finger lever” was very misleading as it works great with one finger. I think the name is there because it is also used for more consumer oriented bikes as well, where customers might want two fingers on the brake as that’s what they are used to. 

They should change it to “long lever” or something.

Reply

luisgutierod
luisgutierod
2 weeks, 6 days ago
0

the best lever for these mt5 calipers is a shimano zee or saint..

Reply

Shortyesquire
Andrew Collins
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+3 Luix Ryan Walters BadNudes

I get the same gurgling sound on my Cura 4s when really hauling to a stop. It's a by-product of running aggressive sintered pads. BTW the Cura 4s are monster brakes with sintered pads.

If you're looking for a quieter pad that is also very effective the Uberbike Racematrix pads are very very good. Better than most sintered compounds I've used and the Trickstuff Power+ pads. The trade-off is higher wear, but they do better than most organic compounds.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 BadNudes Beau Miller

While I had to cut off the review somewhere, I feel the Magura pad compounds are the Achilles heel of the system. I wish I had the time to try the brakes with some MTX pads, as I’ve heard nothing but good things. And the MTX pads are even cheaper than the Magura Race pads.

Reply

helpimabug
helpimabug
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

I’m also curious about EBC pads.  I remember liking their automotive pads for autocross, but they made a lot of dust.  They have a sintered pad compound available for mt5/7, but oddly their website says not to use them with hydraulic brakes because they get too hot and can cause “hose ballooning”.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 4 days ago
+2 mnihiser Mike Bergen

Lol, makes pad for hydraulic brake - says pad shouldn’t be used in hydraulic brake.

Reply

Hollytron
Hollytron
3 weeks, 1 day ago
0

Codes do it too, mostly when its dry and warm in my experience.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks ago
0

I get the Code gurgle when I’m rolling down insanely steep, sustained pitches.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 Ryan Walters Mike McArthur

Timely article. I've got a couple boxes of MT5s sitting on my desk. I was tired of Shimano shenanigans and didn't want to splurge for Code RSCs on this bike. Normally I want to stick to one of the Big S's for ease of parts sourcing, particularly when on the road, but my LBS stocks Magura and this is a bike I'm not going to ride far from home. I figured it was okay to take a walk on the wild side.

The last time I had a set of Maguras were some hydro rim brakes pre-Y2K.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 Andy Eunson Vik Banerjee

While I can't confirm this as 100% verified information, I've heard that you're likely to see more bikes spec'd with MT5s this year, as well as more shops carrying them - and this boils down to the Big S's having very low stock on everything due to - you guessed it: supply chain issues.

If you want lots of power, my only suggestion is to start with an aftermarket pad, like MTX.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Can confirm. MTX red in my XT4 piston makes a big difference. Nearly silent when dry, softer bite but all the power at the end. I’d love to see a review of aftermarket pads. Many of us simply buy metal pads of the same manufacturer as our brakes but there are other options now that seem to be better.

Reply

Da-Peach
Chris Petsche
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Only as long as the Ali Express sintered pads are part of the trial!

Reply

Briain
Briain
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Not sintered, but I've been using AliExpress pads for a couple of years on codes, not quite as good as the real thing slightly less power and wear quicker but at a tenth of the price I don't care

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll keep that in mind when I need new pads. Unless the stock pads are complete garbage I'll run them since they are paid for. No point in wasting them.

Reply

rotorburn
rotorburn
2 weeks, 6 days ago
0

Stock pads are pretty close to garbage if you're riding aggressively. I usually pick some up from Germany as local retailer's prices were madness.

Reply

AverageAdventurer
AverageAdventurer
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+1 Briain

Is there anyone here that has hc3 levers? I'm really curious if I could get the ergos adjusted to the point where I could middle finger brake without crushing my index. There's a few of us weirdos out there that would prefer it.

Reply

Sethsg
Sethsg
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 AverageAdventurer

Depend on how wide you keep your fingers on the bar but it is doable. The HC3 levers are amazing!!!

Reply

gdv
gdv
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 BadNudes

Curious about the grips you are running there.  Is that some sort of cork or rubber material?

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 gdv

Those are some very clapped out Serfas lock-ons, and they are the best. Super sticky and slim.

Reply

hotlapz
hotlapz
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Ryan Walters Andy Eunson Nologo

Just buy MTX red pads and be done with it.

I bought the MT5s because I was sick of the wandering bite point on my XTs. I still get a wandering bite point on the MT5s, especially on descents but the problem is less pronounced. On the other hand, I bought my MT5s for $135 (each) from merlin.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+3 Nologo BadNudes Beau Miller

This is interesting. Maybe you could improve the wandering bite point with a thorough bleed? I still can’t get over how consistent the MT5s were for me.

Reply

slimshady76
Luix
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Andy Eunson Beau Miller Sjwagner75

I've found the Magura levers/MCs to be pure garbage. They flex noticeably, and once the tiny seal they have to equalize pressure in the reservoir (the one sitting against the handlebar) goes bad, they become a leaky mess.

I guess they work well if you aren't prone to crashing, but once that plastic stops being fantastic, they become completely unreliable, and replacement/warranty isn't cheap or viable.

Most mid-pack Specialized bikes used to sport them, and after watching my friend (who owns a bike shop) bitch about them for so long I'd avoid them like the plague.

Reply

Mic
Mic
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Luix

My exact thoughts, from what I have heard about the levers and seen happening to the plastic I am in no mood of trying that one. I am still remembering the old Gustav M fondly...and am really wondering why Magura had to produce a completely new brake with this carbotexture stuff.

Reply

mattg95
Matthew Goodman
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Luix

Yes, they feel unsettlingly flexy compared to Sean code metal levers. It's just not confidence inspiring feeling that plastic lever flex when you grab the brakes hard. I swapped the levers out for Shimano xts and never looked back

Reply

mattg95
Matthew Goodman
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Luix

Should also point out the lever body snapped on my first crash. It wasn't even the lever arm, it was the master caliper body that attached to the arm. So I need a whole new master calliper

Reply

Ncoulter
Nick Coulter
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Luix

Having owned some Maguras in the past, my first thought when looking at these was, “omg do those things look fragile.” I had a small piece of plastic that covered the bladder break off of mine, and the Magura reps told me it was irreplaceable and a new brake was necessary. I bought the new brake, popped the piece of plastic off and put it on the old brake, and it functioned as if it were never gone. That experience and the delicate builds, in general, put me off the company. They would have to come up with a real rock star new brake for me to try them again.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I've definitely heard the stories of broken Magura levers and perches. Maybe I got lucky, but I did have a couple incidents that involved the perch getting hit and moving on the bar, with no broken parts.

Reply

Nologo
Nologo
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Same here, heard stories, stocked spare master cylinder/levers and they are still untouched. I do crash unfortunately.

A set of mt5s is at least 4 years old and a set of MT trails at least 2 years old. So far so good.

I also tend to be very insensitive to lever shape, longer ones on mt5 (set more inboard), hc3 on trails and standard shimanos on another bike. If I can set them close enough to the grips all work well.

Bleeding takes a couple of tries sometimes.

Reply

rotorburn
rotorburn
2 weeks, 6 days ago
0

I was a big MT5 fan, and still think they make sense at a given budget.

That said, I had BOTH levers start leaking after a few years, within a few weeks of each other. Magura was great with their 5 year 'no-leak' warranty though. But I don't really trust the carbotecture stuff as much as real metal.

I also found them to need more cleaning/maintenance to stay decent than high-end Shimano's. Nothing crazy, but I'm lazy so I swapped to Saints/XTR 4 pots and no complaints (except serviceability I suppose).

Reply

DadStillRides
DadStillRides
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Ryan Walters

Someone on here had recommended the galfer green pads for mt5s, and I've had a good experience using them on my MT5 HCs. Another much better option than the stock pads.

Cool to learn about the shiftmix option

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 BadNudes

It's all relative, but to be honest $189 doesn't seem very budget to me.

Reply

Kenny
Kenny
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 Beau Miller Mike McArthur

I don't think he said it was a budget price ? He said at that price they're comparable to sram and Shimano. 

That said they can be had for more like half that if you look around. 

At around 135 euros for the PAIR, I don't think magura mt trail sport can be beaten in the budget category. (Basically the same brakes except MT4 rear caliper, which if you decide doesn't have enough power you could replace for another 50-60 bucks. 

I like mine but agree the magura pads I've used have been meh. I had Kool stop red and thought they were good. Just wore them out and put on nuke proof metallic, no rides on them yet though.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
3 weeks, 5 days ago
-1 John Hinton

The article by line (that's what the line below the headline on the home page is called, right?) is "What happens when German engineering takes on the budget brake segment?" Which Ryan may not have written. Semantics really, but these seem more mid range perhaps mid low to me.

Edit: Again it's all relative. I mean, if you include the likes of trickstuff, everything is budget.

Reply

Kenny
Kenny
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+3 Timer JK47 slyfink

I agree it's all relative and what I'm saying is, given an entire set of mt trail sport is 135 Eur, and standard MT5s (non HC lever) are 67 Eur each. 

So we're talking 200-250 cad for a complete set of brakes. If you don't consider that a good budget option you picked the wrong sport.

Reply

Timer
Timer
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 kcy4130 Beau Miller

The mid-range Maguras can often be found at prices far below MSRP. When i bought mine, the MT Trail and MT5 were cheaper than the Shimano ZEE.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I did write repeatedly about the MT5 being a "budget" option. I think this is the reality of bike parts in 2022. Keep in mind that $189 is MSRP, and you may find them cheaper. I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, but I think this price is in line (maybe slightly higher) than Code R and SLX. You can save about $20 if you go for the base MT5.

As far as bang-for-your-buck 4-piston brakes go, I think Shimano Zee is probably the brake to beat. The new SRAM DB8 is priced very competitively, but that's an unknown entity to me.

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TomM
TomM
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Beau Miller

Thanks for the in-depth review.  I'd love to know how the Hayes Dominion A4 brakes stack up against these and "The Mighty S's".  Hope you get a chance to review them some time.

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jt
JT
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

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JK47
JK47
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 slyfink

I've been running MT7 brakes for the last year and MT5's on my other bike for 6 months. I bedded in the MT7's to the letter, doing the process for front and rear individually, and they have been awesome. I found that the Performance pads wear quite quickly (gone through 4 sets on the rear and 2 on the front), but they work really well down here in SoCal (born and raised in Vancouver, so I know what kind of weather you're dealing with). I half assed the bed in process on the MT5's and also had poor performance, until I did it properly...I weigh 220lbs

Magura USA want almost $40 a set for MT7 pads, but I found they can be had direct for Germany for $15, and I bought my MT5 brakes for $80ea direct from Germany as well. AT $80 the MT5 are a real value, and replacement levers can be had for $30 rather than $60 we get gouged for here.

Zero issue bleeding either set, by just doing the quick bleed from the lever.

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roil
roil
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Care to share the website?

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kekoa
kekoa
2 weeks, 4 days ago
+1 roil

Google German bike website and go to town!

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axle
Alexander Filler
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Ryan Walters

Coconut oil? So last decade. All the cool kids use Avocado Oil now.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I'm on camel milk these days. It comes from the other side of the planet, so it must be the best.

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cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

But it used to come from Lillooet.

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DangerousDave
DangerousDave
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

As a trials rider, I used Magura HS33 rim brakes on and off for about 15 years. While the aluminum versions had design flaws that led to the levers cracking (trials riders put different forces through the levers, think pulling up/down on the levers when doing a move), the carbotecture levers they came out with were notably worse. Instead of cracking, they would just break. Maybe they've improved their materials since then, but I'm skeptical.

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Sethsg
Sethsg
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I've ridden straight into a tree with mine and they never broke I have also fallen and slid sideways dragging them down a bunch of rocks (they got scratched) and they are fine. If I were you I would give them a try the worse that happens is you need to set them up as Shiguras (shudder).

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T-mack
T-mack
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Andrew Major

I've had 4 pairs of MT5s and share the same sentiment. I actually had my bike fly off my buddies rack on the Inland freeway and it tomohawked itself for a long ways. Lever body was all smashed but still worked fine lol. Front wheel and fork were not so lucky

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DBone57
DBone57
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Martin

I bought, installed, bled and bedded in a set of Trail Sports with brand new MDR-C rotors and sold them after 5 rides because of the gurgling sound. I have experienced turkey warbles, but never gurgling. I went back to 2 piston 8100XTs front and rear with Shimano resin pads and literally could not be happier.

As for the Shimano Wandering Bite Point? As soon as I stopped doing the internet's highly recommended 5 minute lever flick/bleed with the wheels and pads installed (which overfills the system) and went back to following Shimano's bleed procedure to the letter (pads out/yellow blocks in), the WBP vanished like a fart in the wind.... Dead nutz consistent.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 4 days ago
+1 Martin

Shimano is clearly a leader in making some of the best bike products, but I think brakes have been an area where they’ve always struggled with consistency. I’ve run a few different Shimano brakes over the years. More often then not, they had wandering bite point. I had a set of Saints that it didn’t matter how many textbook bleeds, or Marshy Syndicate bleeds I did - they would wander all the time. I’ve read that the usual culprit is the seals foul easily in the master cylinder. They allow fluid to bypass into reservoir, creating a virtual leak, even though system is fully bled and not leaking fluid externally. This explains why they often “pump up” after several lever pulls.

Further, I’ve heard that the master cylinder walls in Shimano brakes degrade way faster than other brands, exacerbating the sealing issue. This is probably why I was always drawing black mineral oil out of my Saints, even when the oil was only a month old.

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martin
Martin
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

Yeah there are definately some issues to solve on Shimano brakes. I just shared my experience, but I did not mean to say that in the sense that people don't bleed their brakes properly. I've read many people having those wandering bite point issues and most of them were good mechanics.

I guess I was lucky with my sets (slx m7000 and XT M785), but I've read the same about the master cylinder walls getting used up because of the internal finish, the ceramic pistons cracking, mc bladder ruptures, etc.

If money was no object, I would have liked to try TRP's DHR EVOs (or Trickstuffs, but that's another unreacheable step up), but for the price I could get the MT5s and most reviews I had read, the Maguras seemed like the best choice. It's always fun to try new bike parts anyway, isn't it?!

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 4 days ago
+1 Martin

I’ve had friends get lucky and get great Shimano brakes. I will admit that the “best feeling brakes” I’ve ever tried were Shimano. But it seems there is a lot of luck in getting a great set. My goto brake has been (and continues to be) Code - simply because you know what you’re getting. Codes are pretty damn consistent, and you can treat them like shit, and they still work really well.

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martin
Martin
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

Damn, I just bought MT5s to replace SLX M7000s, we'll see how that goes. I never felt the wandering bite point on my SLXs, but like you, I followed Shimano's method (and Marshy's youtube video) for bleeding. I do it before every riding season and I never have to redo it for 6 months. Solid feeling brakes all the time, no wandering bite point. I always store my bike vertically, so maybe this helps?

Still eager to get my Maguras here so I can compare, but my SLX lever replacement didn't feel 100% so I decided to try the MT5. I would have bought 4 piston Deores but they were twice the price and I couldn't find any in stock anyway.

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bailey100
william bailey
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 jaydubmah

Seems like a lot of work for a brake that can best be described as adequate.

I had the MT7's and found it tough to get the pads not to rub regardless of which pads I used.

In addition, the noise you describe could also be felt through the lever and it is challenging and time consuming to eliminate.

Add this to an awkward bleed and it just seems like there are better options out there,

Dominions can be had for similar money,bed in easier, and offer the same consistency with more power and an easier bleed. 

No purple though so there's that ..

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slyfink
slyfink
3 weeks, 4 days ago
+1 Ryan Walters

So I'm curious about the whole "use only Magura blood" thing. I've had my MT5s for 3 seasons now. I had a fresh jug of Shimano mineral oil when I first set up and installed my brakes. So I figured I'd use that up before getting Magura's fluid (thank you very much internal rear brake routing...) . I've gone 2 whole seasons without a bleed, and they are still solid. Am I missing something here? Am I putting myself at risk of catastrophic failure or something?

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 4 days ago
+1 slyfink

Psssst….just don’t tell Magura!

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HollyBoni
HollyBoni
3 weeks, 2 days ago
+1 Timer

Dead man walking.

Just kidding. Manufacturers always want you to use their own stuff. That's how they guarantee the product will perform as intended, they can cover their a*s when it comes to warranty stuff, they can make a bit of a profit on selling oil, grease etc etc. 
Substituting Magura oil with something that does the same thing is perfectly fine.

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Pato
Patricio Padilla
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 Ryan Walters

Nice analysis as always! Thanks Ryan

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks ago
0

Thanks a lot Patricio!

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Sethsg
Sethsg
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I have MT7s and they are amazing but there are a few things that make em harder to set up than SRAM or Shimano. You need to bleed them multiple times (as mentioned above), it is difficult to the pads and callipers perfectly aligned with the rotors. Also, I wouldn't recommend getting the 2pc rotors, the rivets have loosened up on my mine after about 5-6 rides and now it feels like my fork and headset are constantly worn out which is annoying. 

Also, a question why do they make 203 mm rotors rather than 200mm rotors? Since most bike frames come stock with 200mm mounts, it makes it difficult to find the perfect sized washers. I actually need to sand my pads because I have slightly too thick of washers so about 1mm of pad sticks over the rotor, which means some of the pad's surface has worn in and the top is not worn. So there is a small lip.

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T-mack
T-mack
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 cheapondirt

203mm is actually 8" exactly which is how rotors were measured back in the day. 200mm rotors are the new standard. IMO 200mm should piss off.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+3 Pete Roggeman DBone57 shenzhe

"203mm is actually 8" exactly"

Not if you're a machinist ;)

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T-mack
T-mack
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Ryan Walters

Ha! Ok fine .008" is a mile I'll give you that, but considering the tolerances I've seen in the mtb world, that's pretty much 8"

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

This comment has been removed.

T0m
T0m
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I have run MT Trail Sports with HC levers for two years now and really like the consistent feel and power over the SLX I had before. The stock Performance pads were garbage in my experience. They glazed immediately and never broke in. Magura should ship only Race pads. Seriously, why even offer a lower friction pad for modern mountain bikes?

I use the Copper-free metallic pads that Cedric Gracia developed with the German pad seller Disco Brakes, who sell good value pads. The Copperfrees have high braking power and last well with noise on par with Shimano. Discobrakes has a website cheerfully designed in 2002 but these pads are worth a go IME.

Carbotecture is a polarizing material. I’ve not had any issues but shop rats swear they’ve seen cracked and leaky MCs. Magura makes carbotecture OEM clutch cylinders for BMW which seems like a strenuous test environment for the material, minus bike crashes tho.

Shimano has basically disposable aluminum master cylinders once worn, so not sure how they’re any better than composite material. If someone has pictures of an exploded or sheared Magura MC from crashing please share. I will agree Carbotecture levers are flexy trash, metal levers all day.

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roil
roil
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I just ordered disco's ceramic pro pads. Have you tried these pads?

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

The internet would have us believe the MT5 is basically an MT7 and that's basically the strongest brake EVARR... So it is refreshing to read that reality is more nuanced.

I didn't like my Code R's but at least they came with metallic pads.

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JK47
JK47
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

The MT5 basically is the MT7 except for a few details that actually make them easier to set up, more clearance between the disc making alignment easier without too much difference in feel. I own both and I'm extremely happy with both, but would do the MT5's from here on out due to large difference in price, and replace the pads with MT7 pads when the time came.

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Hepcat
Beau Miller
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Is it though? I wonder what the physical differences are. (Besides lever/pads/where they're made).

I had MT-5's and buddies had MT-7, I couldn't tell the difference besides the yellow.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

The MT7 has slight differences in the lever that result in higher leverage, which equates to more power. The tradeoff is that the free stroke on the MT7 ends up being smaller due to the higher leverage.

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Hepcat
Beau Miller
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Ah. So even when running identical levers they'll be different brakes?

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

From what I understand, the lever blades are interchangeable, but the leverage difference is accomplished in the MC body itself - possibly through different hinge points / angles.

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JK47
JK47
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

The lever blades have different part numbers and look sightly different the way the return spring is implemented. I had the HC-W lever on my MT7 and MT5, but have since changed to the Oak levers on the MT7. The tabs that prevent the MT7 lever from moving forward are flimsy, and once they go the return spring is not far behind (broke 3 tabs and one spring), leaving you with a free flopping lever. The MT5 don't have that tab, and I have since started just snugging up my levers so they can rotate in a crash.

eriksg
eriksg
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I've had different experiences personally. I have MT7s on my main bike and MT Trail Sport on my backup. The trail brakes have shorter free stroke and a much firmer feel. The MT7s have bigger free stroke and feel more rubbery. Absolute power maybe goes in their favour, but I find the action a bit sloppier overall (even after many many bleeds, and remains consistent over months of use). It is enough of a difference that it bugs me when I switch back and forth.

Furthermore the 'BAT' adjuster that supposedly changes free stroke on the MT7s appears to do nothing at all in my experience.

I like the brakes for power + lower price + mineral oil, but I'm not sure if I got a bad set or if that's just how they are.

Hepcat
Beau Miller
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

This comment has been removed.

JayB
JayB
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I’ve tried multiple brakes in the past. From Slx, Zee, Hope e4 and Code R. My current MT7 HC3 is the only set of brakes that spared me from bleeding them every few rides because of inconsistent lever feel. I’m a heavy guy with 209lbs full gear and previous brakes always cooked up my rotors and for some reason I always have fading every now and then. The Magura MT7 is the only brakes that kept me from working on my brakes every now and then because I don’t like how they perform. My last brake was Code R from my sentinel v2 and I really like the modulation. But it fades and I feel it lacks power so it kept hurting my wrist every ride from grabbing the level so much. MT7 blew me away from modulation and power. I like how light the level feels and I don’t need to grab like crazy just to slow down on trails. I recently tried to adjust the HC3 lever to delay the rear from locking and it actually works pretty well. I’ve been using them since the beginning of fall last year and still haven’t had the need to bleed nor adjust the calliper. Haven’t crash on it yet and I hope it will survive, because I’m tired of fiddling with brakes and it seems for now, I found the one that works well for me.

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moraucf
moraucf
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

I bought 2 pairs of mt5s back in 2016 and they are still going super strong on both bikes! Have bled them a few times but are still super consistent and strong. Currently happily using MTX pads. Got each pair for $115 which is nuts haha, I just looked cause I remembered getting a good deal on them.

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DaveSmith
Dave Smith
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

I've got the MT5s on my Arrival. These are my first set of Magura brakes and so far so good with the lever feel but will be swapping out the Performance pads to the Race pads because I do want a bit more bite on the steep stuff.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 4 days ago
+1 Dave Smith

Dave, if you haven’t bought already, I’d recommend the MTX. They’re cheaper, and I have a feeling you’ll be happier with them.

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Jankslayer
Cody Canning
3 weeks, 3 days ago
-1 Timer

Modern Magura’s are junk. Cheap plastic held together with wood screws lol. The stock lever shape is trash, bleeding them without mushiness is a pain compared to it’s competitors. The bleed blocks are junk too, they easily wiggle or compress themselves out during bleeding. 10-15 years ago Maguras were decent before they went plastic.

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HollyBoni
HollyBoni
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

Mine came on a complete bike, swapped out the levers to Shimanos (cost me 50 bucks) and personally I love them. I don't know what they were thinking with those long levers on the MT5s tho.
I haven't had issues with bleeding even with the stock levers. Leave the pad retaining screws when you install the bleed blocks, there is a slot in the bleed blocks where they slide in. And if you have MT5 style pads and no pad retaining screws, toothpicks work perfectly as well. 🙃

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