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Review: Magura’s Mighty MT7 4 Piston Hydraulic Brakes

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Magura MT7 hydraulic disc brakes review (2)

It’s been a while since the Gustav M was the heavy weight king of the Magura line up. Since then that top spot has been taken by a new comer, the four piston MT7. While still offering massive amounts of power, the MT7 sets itself apart with a lightweight build that somewhat hides its heavyweight punch. On one hand the MT7s are light enough to find a home on enduro rigs but are powerful enough to stop full on DH bikes.

After living with them for a few seasons, the MT7s were a surprising fit for a completely different kind of bike as well…

Magura MT7 hydraulic disc brakes review (5)

Borrowing from their moto development the four piston caliper is the source of the brake’s power. Forged in a single piece to mimic the same shape as their supermoto caliper, the brake houses four pistons with 4 individual brake pads. As we were told during the brake’s initial release, the leading edge of the brake pad provides most of the brake’s power so increasing the number of leading edges effectively increases the stopping power. The MT5 brake uses the same piston layout but uses two pads instead of four, though the friction material is split into two on each pad.

Magura MT7 hydraulic disc brakes review (9)

With most of the weight centered at the caliper, the brakes are mated to a Carbotecture SL body with an aluminum lever which helps keep the weight down to 268g for the complete assembly (with full length hose) minus rotor, adapter, and rotor hardware. For the complete breakdown on actual weights make sure to check out our first impressions on the MT7. Compare that to something like the Avid X0 Trail front brake we tested (with a shortened hose and no bar clamp) at 206g, and the MT7 is heavier but not by much.

Magura MT7 hydraulic disc brakes review (4)

Installation:

Overall, the process of installing the MT7s was fairly straight forward but there are a few things to point out. First, depending on the positioning of your rear brake in the frame and the frame itself you may find yourself wanting to switch to Allen bolts over the included Torx bolts. Basically, tightening the rear bolt is a major pain since whatever Torx wrench you try only allows about a quarter turn before you have to reposition the wrench. This isn’t a Magura specific problem as it happens with any company using Torx fittings for their brake calipers and only presents itself as an issue when the caliper is tucked inside the rear stays. Allen bolts allow you to use a wrench with a ball end on the rear so you can tilt it to clear the seat stay. The design of a Torx bolt won’t let you do that so it either requires a specialized tool, or the patience of a saint as you continually reposition the wrench. I’m a fan of the Torx fitting in many situations, just not this one.

The other thing to consider is the brake mount itself. Due to the extra long pad wrap of the MT7 caliper, any misalignment of the caliper is exaggerated resulting in the possibility of a rubbing brake. When mounted to a Turner Burner for Enduro testing the caliper bolted up without issue and was easily adjusted. But when I went to install it on my Borealis Echo the rear post mounts weren’t quite faced properly which resulted in the pads just barely rubbing. Unfortunately, since we don’t have access to a 197 x 12 compatible brake mount facer (does one even exist yet?) it required some hand work with a file to get the brake to be quiet. Again, this was no fault of Magura’s, but the longer contact patch of the pads will make inconsistencies like this more noticeable.

After cutting the lines down to appropriate lengths, bleeding the brakes was easy enough following Magura’s video instructions – though I will say the syringes from something like the Jagwire Mineral Oil Pro Bleed Kit make the job much easier. Since the initial bleed the brakes have been perfect. However if the brake would start to leak the would be covered by Magura’s 5 year leak proof guarantee for brake levers and cylinders.

Magura MT7 hydraulic disc brakes review (3)

Magura brake pads mt7

Durability:

If there is a weak point of the Magura MT7s you would think it would have to be the lever. But after a full season and two different bikes, the MT7s have proven themselves to be as, or even more durable than other brakes, levers included. Between many crashes including one in particular over a wooden feature that ended up with the brake lever pinned between two logs, and one bike falling off a moving vehicle (don’t ask), short of a few scrapes the brake levers are no worse for wear. After that crash on the wooden feature one of the brake levers did end up bent, but I was able to straighten it with some trail-side ingenuity and to this day you can barely tell it was ever tweaked. Also the fact that it bent instead of breaking off from the lever body is a big plus in my eyes.

When it comes to pad wear, you can tell the brakes have been used but there is still quite a bit of friction material left even after a full winter on a fat bike. Yes, I put this monster of a brake on my fat bike, but as it turns out that’s not nearly as odd as it sounds. Depending on how you choose to ride your fat or plus sized bikes, all that extra rotating weight can really benefit from powerful brakes especially if you find yourself riding trails with any sustained downhills. As it turns out, the MT7 is also the most temperature stable brake I’ve ever used, providing consistent performance down to about -12ºf this winter. No squeaks, no loss of brake pressure, or pumping up. Just constant performance regardless of the conditions. That was as cold as it got around here or I would have tested it to even lower temperatures. Even after riding through a rushing creek at 20ºf (we have some weird weather patterns) the completely frozen over brakes quickly melted through the ice and went on with trouble free braking. The large lever blades add even more reason to love the MT7 for fat bike usage as they work great with bulky gloves.

Ultimately, we expected the MT7s to be a great choice for Enduro to DH bikes, and they have proven that to be the case. Mounting them up to a fat bike to continue their testing over winter was a pleasant surprise and just proved to be an added bonus for an already great brake.

Magura MT7 hydraulic disc brakes review (8)

Performance:

While Magura has apparently gotten varied feedback on the bite point on the lever, I found the set up using the tool-less adjustment to be just about perfect when the lever was pushed in far enough to allow one finger braking. Otherwise the brakes can be set up to facilitate two finger braking if that’s your preference. As with almost every brake we’ve tested with a bite point adjustment, it went unused.

Really the only area we can fault the MT7 is in the noise department with a bit of grinding under heavy braking. Our test brakes were set up with the lighter and sharper Storm SL rotors so it is entirely possible the standard Storm rotors that are drilled rather than slotted would result in a quieter set up. There is also the fact that these brakes have seen a lot of road salt, ice, slush, mud, and ocean water by this point so the pads have been through the ringer. Otherwise the brake refuse to squeal or make any other annoying noises.

Overall, the MT7 has been a consistent performer that provides a huge amount of usable power. Modulation for the MT7 is on point and will give you the control to start pulling stoppies like Bernard Kerr. Ok, maybe not exactly like Kerr, but they do make it very easy to find that point between just enough stopping power and TOO MUCH! The Magura MT7s prove to be a versatile brake that should be a great match for most riders looking for controllable power. And now that there’s a limited edition RaceLine yellow version – what’s not to love?

Product Details:

  • Weight – 268g (complete brake assembly and uncut 2000mm hose)
  • Rotor – Storm or Storm SL, Sold separately, 160, 180, 203mm
  • Lever body – Radial Carbotecture carbon flip flop design with EBT, two finger lever
  • Royal Blood Mineral oil fill
  • MagnetiX Brake pad system
  • $319 per brake
  • 5 Year Leak Proof Gurantee

magura.com

 

 

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23 Comments
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greg
greg
8 years ago

There are ball end Torx wrenches. Google it.

Ripnshread
Ripnshread
8 years ago

That lever is not Carbotecture, otherwise known as long fiber injection molded. It is alloy. The alloy under the scraped off paint and the fact that it could be “bent back” are two big hints at that. The “lever housing” is Carbotecture.

steveo
steveo
8 years ago

magura is now making great brakes, i have had little luck with the rotors though. Mounting them backwards actually helps a little as does using sintered pads but really the best solution is icetech rotors

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
8 years ago

I have a question; on your fatbike, were you using gripshift or triggers? Shimano (and Avid) levers aren’t super over gripshifts, you get one finger hanging right on the hook of the lever. If these are longer, as I suspect they are from handling MT-S levers, they might be a better solution in that application.

Roy
Roy
8 years ago

Awesome brake review it sounds like one set of pads for all that use? Snimano would have eaten pads like potato chips under the conditions you describe. Glad to hear magura has a unquestionably top performer again

Seraph
Seraph
8 years ago

Ugh, you lost me at “Magura”.

TheKaiser
TheKaiser
8 years ago

@steveo, what is the issue that you are having with the rotors? I thought maybe you meant overheating, since you mention Icetech, but I can’t see how mounting them backwards would play a role in improving that.

Serge
Serge
8 years ago

Amazing brakes!

Tested them last year in the Brixen bike festival in Italy.
With an anticlimatic return to my own bike. Regarding my own brakes: “Where has the power gone?”

MsC
MsC
8 years ago

Probably the judder caused by the cut out slots in the Storm SL rotors. I experienced the same with the Magura MT6, MT8 and MT8 Next. The cut outs are just too aggressive. The Storm rotors or Ice Tec rotors are a better choice for curing this phenomenon. You can of course always file a shallow edge at the brake pads, so they won’t hang up in the slots as easily. If your caliper is 100% parallel to the disc, it’s a lot less, but due to uneven pad wear over time, sooner or later it will pop up again.
Magura’s lever shape is horrible : way, way too big. You have to really run them inboard like 4cm from the grip. Otherwise, when they are set for one finger braking, you will be squashing your other fingers between brake lever and grip, thanks to the ‘dent’ in the brake levers.

bart
bart
8 years ago

Got a set of these earlier this year and couldn’t be happier. no issues running Storm SL rotors, but did find a longer than normal bed in time with just the shear amount of pad material. no noise no grinding just good predictable power. makes it real easy for one finger braking on long descents, very little fatigue.

jsager
jsager
8 years ago

I agree with what @serge said – along with everyone else is saying about the brakes being great, you really realize how good they are when you go back to a bike that doesn’t have the MT7’s. You can use them with the Magura matchmaker, also, if you have SRAM shifters, which will mount the lever inboard of the shifter and clean things up nicely.

Padrote
Padrote
8 years ago

can’t get past the huge, unwieldy lever.

Gunnstein
Gunnstein
8 years ago

@Eric I’m using MT2 and gripshifts, they fit nicely when snug to each other. (Not so happy that one of the calipers is leaking oil on the pads/disk.)

cole
cole
8 years ago

Double the pistons means a higher probability of failure, just as with a V12 motor or a RAID array of hard drives; more parts means more parts that might fail. This is especially problematic when just one part failing renders the rest useless…

Marten Hoffmann
8 years ago

So Magura finally managed to make a proper disc brake that might even handle the loads of a mountain tandem. That would be the first time since the infamous Gustav M ………

steveo
steveo
8 years ago

#The Kaiser
My issue was the juddering after 1 or 2 rides. I would sand the pads and clean the rotor with alcohol but in 2 rides the problem returned. Switched to sintered and reversed rotor direction and it was better and there was much less black sooty build up on the pads. With the icetech and the sintered it can go 10 rides and only minor degradation of braking quality before the rotor needs to be cleaned with alchahol. I dont know if it’s the cooling properties of the icetech or just the shape or metallurgy but with the mt8 next it’s great, nice and linear, no on off switch like shimanos . The next levers are also better than the last gen because they adjust out further for longer fingers.

Psi Squared
Psi Squared
8 years ago

@cole: multiple piston brake calipers are a standard in motorcycles, cars, and other applications, yet failures are not a problem. Unless you quantify the failure rate for hydraulic disc brake calipers and the change in the failure rate due to the addition of multiple pistons, saying the failure rate will increase is kind of meaningless.

Eric.NM
Eric.NM
8 years ago

@Padrote: lever shape and size preference are a lot like saddle preference. I have four sets of Magura brakes in our garage, and they are my favorite lever shape of all the major (and minor) players.

I personally find Shimano brakes to be incredible, but I cannot stand their dainty little levers. Shimano brake levers = way too small for me. Magura = perfect. To each his/her own.

jonas
jonas
8 years ago

A lot of people have a real hate-on for magura brakes but how much of this is based on actual experience?

I have a set of 2008 louise brakes on my specialized enduro and in seven years I’ve ridden them hard on the steep and gnarly terrain of south western bc (fraser valley, north shore, squamish, sunshine coast, whistler, pemberton and the chilcotins). They have always provided tons of stopping power and modulation. They are quiet 95% of the time. They’ve been incredibly reliable. Apart from changing the pads a few times I’ve only had to bleed the front brake once.

They’re superb brakes and deserve more respect.

david
8 years ago

It’s also good to note that most of Magura’s brakes are coming with a tag stating a guarantee for five years for no bleeding or leaks, which is pretty impressive.

Papazitz
Papazitz
6 years ago

I have a set of mt7’s on my Dirt Works Piranha, 100 volt, 70mph ebike. The 4 piston caliber’s are ok. The uppers suck. I say this because of the plastic torx filler/ bleeder plugs. The heads strip way too easy. Both ( weak ass plastic)screws on one of the uppers are gone and are impossible to get out., what a lame choice of material ( plastic?) For the price they could have used titanium , or any other light, stronger metal.

Joek
Joek
1 year ago

@Papazitz You’re only supposed to do the plastic screws up finger tight! (1.5Nm). You can buy replacements though

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