Magura MT Sport NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

Min-Maxed With Magura MT Sport Brakes

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date May 13, 2019

Two-Piston Trail

Punching in as Magura's lowest-priced brake is this MT Trail at 80 USD per wheel.* Magura combines the same injection-molded Carbotecture master cylinder found on the MT Trail Sport setup I've tested previously, and the 4-piston MT 5 brakes that I've owned for years, with a basic 2-piston caliper which, quite remarkably at this price, is still a one-piece unit.

While not as ergonomic for me, as their generously hooked aluminum or carbon HC levers, the Trail brakes feature the same Carbotecture Sport blades I ran on my four year old MT 5 system for the winter in my quest to manage issues with cold digits.

This system is an easy choice for commuters but what about technical off-road mountain bicycling?

*Does not include rotors

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The same master cylinder I've been using for years on MT 5 and Trail Sport combined with the Carbotecture lever blades I tested this winter.

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Cost-saving calipers. They're still one piece for added stiffness but they don't use Magura's position-adjustable bolt-on brake line.

Magura Nomenclature

Call me boring, but I liked it when Magura's brake lineup was neatly organized by ascending numbers. MT2, 4, 6, and 8 for the two-piston systems and MT5, and 7 for the four-piston systems. Then the 4+2 piston MT Trail SL system came along and combined a 6 & 7, the MT Trail Sport was a lower priced trail hybrid of the 4 & 5, and now there a couple of named brakes at the top and bottom of the line-up.

Similar names aside, these Sport brakes shouldn't be confused with the MT Trail Sport brakes I've tested at purchase time. The 280 USD Trail Sport system can go up against brakes that cost twice as much, including any that Magura makes. On the other hand, with the stock pads, these MT Sport brakes belong in the same category as the SRAM Level. They feel great at the lever but the power is notably lacking.

Awesomize Your Budget Ride NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

Magura's 'Race' compound is their highest friction compound. They make the MT Trail bite like a Formula Cura, which is my benchmark for two-piston systems, but with a more gentle initialization that some riders will prefer.

Awesomize Your Budget Ride NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

Comfort in blue, the Performance pads I usually run are grey, and the Race pads are gold. The Race pads are a step up in braking from Performance and a leap from Comfort.

It's The Pads

Magura ships the MT Trail with their longest lasting, lowest friction, pad compound called the 'Comfort' model. Benefits? Longer pad and rotor life. And heck, it has plenty of friction for slow and stopping my bike on pavement. I was even quite happy with rear brake performance combined with a 180mm rotor. Up front was another matter. Ride one I was begging for more bite and when trails became steep or fast it turned to screams.

The good news is that Magura's two-piston systems all use the same pad shape. They make multiple compounds compatible with these brakes including the 'Perfomance' level pads I usually run and the 'Race' pads that I installed up front on these Trails. The Race pads make this as good as any two-piston brake on the market in terms of feel and power.

Magura MT Sport NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

Comfort pads installed out back. They work fine. Once these and the spares off the front burn out I'd switch to running Performance.

Magura MT Sport NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

It has to be Race pads up front with any Magura two-piston system. I can make a strong argument for Performance with the four-pistons.

Trails On Trail

With the Race pads up front and the Comfort pads in the back my MT Trail experience was excellent. As in my lever blade review, I long for a more HC-esque shape to the lever blade and I'm willing to throw down a few more dollars for the adjustable brake-line exit point on the caliper. But then, I'd be happily throwing down for the Trail Sport to get the four-piston caliper bolted to my fork so I'm not really the market for this setup.

There are lots of old-but-good mountain bikes, and entry-level performance mountain bikes out there in need of new binders for a wide variety of reasons. Magura's MT Sport brings an easy to service brake with most of the features of their more expensive options including compatibility with a variety of ShiftMix adapters for SRAM and Shimano, excellent power for a two-piston system with the right pads, and an excellent power curve at the lever.

They're very good brakes, and for 80 USD a wheel I won't be surprised to see a lot more on the streets and trails.

Any questions? Please post them below or check out Magura for more information.

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pedalhound  - May 13, 2019, 2:55 p.m.

I am running a MT5 in the front and MT4 on the rear and really love them, even with the stock pads they feel stronger than the Saints they replaced. I do want to replace the pads, any good links to get them at a decent price?


Andrew Major  - May 13, 2019, 3:43 p.m.

So you assembled your own MT Trail Sport system? Stock pads on the 4 & 5 are Performance I believe. 

I generally buy gear from my local shop so can’t help you there.


pedalhound  - May 14, 2019, 10:04 a.m.

I'll check with my local shop, but I don't find the Vic shops carry much Magura usually easier to get online.


Kenny  - May 13, 2019, 9:22 p.m.

Magura USA website has good stock and prices. If I need them in a hurry I buy pads from Cove. Which seems to happen more than it should because I always underestimate how fast they wear.


Kasey00  - Oct. 5, 2020, 12:04 a.m.

Stock pads on the 4 & 5 are Performance I believe. I also do want to replace the pads.


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