Go ahead, call it a comeback. Call it whatever you want, just don’t dismiss Magura’s latest brakes without giving them a try. It may have taken a few years, but with the introduction of their latest brake levers, Magura has some seriously powerful – and seriously adjustable brakes worthy of your attention. On top of that, there are a number of new ways to customize your brakes to match your ride, new rotors, and more…
Developed with feedback from the legendary Danny MacAskill, the new HC3 lever that was introduced earlier this year is just as good as you would expect. Borrowing technology from their motorcycle division, the HC3 (HC for Hard Core) lever offers built in reach adjust with an Allen 3, and Ratio adjust with a T25. That ratio adjust changes the ratio of the brake pressure, either making the lever shorter or longer from the pivot point. With +/- setting on the lever, the + increases brake power for dry, grabby conditions where you can get away with higher brake power. The – setting then dials back the power which is better for wet, loose conditions where skidding may be an issue.
All of this is easily adjustable, and the adjustments are quite apparent out on the trail. The MT7 and MT Trail brakes were already fairly impressive, but with the new HC3 lever they are like a new brake. Most noticeable is the improvement in ergonomics, especially if you prefer one finger braking, but the ratio adjust is also noticeable as well. Even on the highest setting, the brakes still have a progressive feel to the power so you aren’t just locking up the front end every time you grab a handful of front brake. In terms of lever feel, these are some of the best that I’ve tried, and definitely the best from Magura.
While the ergonomics of the one finger brake lever are a big improvement over the previous lever, close attention has been given to the underside of the brake lever as well. As we discussed with Danny back at Sea Otter last year, the original lever could pinch his fingers under full compression on huge landings. To eliminate that possibility, the lever is not only shorter, but it also has a larger contact point on the tip for both the HC and HC3 lever blades. The HC lever blade has a similar shape to the HC3, but doesn’t have the built in adjustments, just a tooled reach adjust.
The HC3 lever was first introduced with the Danny MacAskill signature MT7, but they are now available as a lever upgrade alone for MT 6, 7, 8, and MT Trail brakes. If you have an older set of brakes with the longer lever blade, the HC lever is also available as an upgrade.
Magura was also showing off a new light weight rotor, the Storm SL.2. Claiming to be the same weight as the Storm SL, the SL.2 has been optimized so that the weight is in more key areas so they can withstand more braking abuse. Offered only in 160mm and 180mm rotors, they are 2mm thick. For heavy duty braking applications or the need for 200mm rotors, the Storm HC is the answer. It’s not super new, but the Magura Centerlock rotor adapter caught our eye as they looked like a well thought out solution – though they are specific to Magura rotors.
With all these introductions, Magura is building quite the catalog of brake parts which is kind of the point. They want to be able to tailor each brake system to individual needs – down to custom colors of brake clamps and caliper rings. Then there are options for the ebike set with brake levers with integrated brake switches, and ball end levers which are required for use in Europe for Pedelecs. There are also a number of brake pad options with Comfort (blue), Standard (grey), or Race (gold) pads for most of their brakes. All organic compounds and offered for two or four piston brakes, the Comfort pads are less likely to squeal and offered for each brake except MT7s (you can still use the one piece pad for the MT5). Standard pads offer a better overall performance, while the Race pads are aftermarket only and intended exclusively for race use due to their high heat, noisier, fast wearing compound that will stop you on a dime.
Add all of this up and you’re left with some of the most adjustable, customizeable, and powerful brakes on the market- which in the end is great news for you, and for Magura.