Ross gives us the low-down on the Magura MT7 Pro brake system after 9 months of all-weather rallying.
The MT7 Pro is Magura’s top end, big-hitting, gravity brake and is used by such people as the fast Frenchman, Loic Bruni. Designed to offer ultimate braking performance, while being ergonomic and intuitive to use, the MT7 Pro is based around a 4 piston caliper and composite lever.
Magura MT7 Pro – Construction
The lever or brake master as Magura refer to it, on the MT7 Pro’s is made from a composite material that Magura call Carbotecture. The name comes from a combination of the words ‘carbon’ and ‘architecture’ and has been developed in-house by Magura to suit its very specific purpose.
Carbotecture uses a mixture of ‘high-tech’ polymers and carbon or glass fibres, which are then converted into a granulate via various processes. The Carbotecture material is designed to be super light yet also tough enough for bicycle brakes and motorcycle parts, and Magura claims it to be 50% lighter than aluminium.
The MT7 Pro brakes use Carbotecture SL that uses medium-length carbon fibres (as opposed to short lengths on standard Carbotecture) this is said to further enhance durability and reduce weight. The MT7 Pro come fitted with the HC ergonomic one-finger lever blade – which is made from aluminium – although other levers are available separately and can be swapped over easily. The brake master also benefits from a radial design which is designed to reduce friction and make the brake more sensitive and allow easier modulation
Being designed for gravity use, the MT7 Pro utilise a 4 piston caliper for added stopping power. The caliper is forged from aluminium and is made from one piece, adding strength and, according to Magura, also increases modulation.
Where most four-piston brakes have a single brake pad on each side, effectively covering two pistons, Magura uses four individual pads – one on each piston – that magnetically sticks to the pistons removing the need for springs and quieting the brakes by reducing rattle.
Magura offers several different options for customising both the master and the caliper, with different coloured and patterned ‘covers’ being available for the brake master, and different coloured rings for the caliper, ensuring even the most matchy matchy riders are catered for. For those looking to take it one step further, you can even upload your own images/patterns for custom master covers.
On top of just aesthetic customisation, Magura allows you to pick and choose from a whole host of options to customise your brakes to your specific needs and gives you the information to do this. There is a ‘customise your brake’ section on their website that gives you information about all the different options, allowing you to choose the parts that will best suit you and your riding.
This ranges from information on the benefits of 2 piston or 4 piston brakes, or even what they call trail combination which is 4 pot front, with 2 pot rear. There’s an explanation of their brake pads and the specifics of each compound – bite in the dry, bite in the wet, fade, noise etc. Information on the different rotors available, and different options for the levers, letting you configure the setup you’re looking for.
It’s not all information, facts and customisation though! Magura has teamed up with SQlab to offer riders advice and recommendations in regards to lever fit, adjustment and ergonomics.
With this partnering, Magura has produced their Ergonomic Guide, giving riders the information they need to perfectly set up their brake position (to combat things like carpal tunnel). The set-up is split into three easy adjustments – the master position on the bar, the lever blade angle, and the reach of the brake lever blade. Each is specific to the rider and is calculated using metrics from your own body/position.
Magura MT7 Pro – Set Up
The MT7 Pro’s feature a fully removable half clamp system so getting them set onto the bars is nice and easy. There are also options for Shimano or SRAM shifter mounts so getting them to fit with your preferred drivetrain isn’t a problem.
I fitted them with an SRAM X01 drivetrain, and while there isn’t a huge amount of adjustment on the clamp, once I had my lever angles sorted the shifter was in an easy to reach and intuitive position. Using the Magura set-up guide, it’s nice and easy to get an idea of where you should be positioning your levers/master for the best ergonomics, and then adjusting to suit your preferences.
I fitted the brakes ot my Santa Cruz Megatower, and due to the internal routing I had to trim the hose and bleed the sytem. Magura also supplied the bleed kit which proved to be a faff free process. Anyone with experience bleeding brakes shouldn’t struggle and its a quite standard procedure with a syringe at either end and brake fluid forced through the system until there are no air bubbles left. If you have bled a Shimano system you should find this a breeze.
In addition to the brakes, I was also sent a pair of MDR-C rotors for the test which have an additional connecting ring, increasing stiffness and and reducing vibration. Brake pads were the Sport compound and I was also sent a set of the HC3 lever blades – which offer independent reach and bite point adjustment – so I could give them a try and see how easy it was to swap them over.
Magura MT7 Pro – On The Trail
As with any brake, getting the pads bedded in is key to get good performance, and after a good few runs up and down the road outside my house I was happy to hit the trails. Magura offers a few different compounds of brake pads and my test set was supplied with the green ‘Sport’ pads which are designed to offer a short bed-in time, along with high durability and powerful braking.
The standard HC lever that comes fitted on the MT7 Pro’s has quite a wide lever, which gives a really positive feel to it from the get-go, giving a big and well-hooked area for placing your finger.
I prefer to set my levers up so that they come fairly close to the bar, I feel this give me a much better overall grip on the bars, which in turn reduces arm pump. The additional adjustments on the Magura levers allowed me to get the levers exactly where I wanted them with the correct bite point for a no-compromise feel.
Hitting the slopes and using the MT7 as they were designed, at speed and in anger, the power that they offer when yanked on is pretty amazing.
While some brakes offer a simple on/off feel, the Magura MT7’s offer extremely good modulation which lets you pick your braking spots. For me, good brakes and good suspension make a huge difference to a ride experience and the confidence you have, and the MT7’s let you concentrate on what’s ahead and enjoy the trail.
On steep, slithery tracks, I’ve found myself able to brake less, yet control speed better as I was able to easily modulate the brakes and control my speed without just dragging them, or grabbing a handful and slithering down the hill. When things do start to go wrong though, there is shed loads of power on offer.. Grab a big handful and it’s like dropping an anchor! Knowing you can ride into pretty much anything at any speed and have the ability to control speed or stop, really boosts confidence.
A lot of the test was done in properly filthy conditions, and while the performance was still good, if I had to be picky, I’d say that the pads lost a bit of bite when things were really wet and muddy, they were also pretty noisy. I’ve also tried Nukeproof sintered pads which worked well and gave a good consistent feel.
During the test, I swapped the levers over to the HC3 lever that I had also been sent. This was actually a really easy process using the clamp and punch I’d also been sent, (it’s basically just removing a couple of pins) Magura has even produced an easy to follow online video and the whole process took about 20 – 30 mins.
The HC3 lever has a slimmer profile to the standard HC lever and also a much smoother, gloss finish. On top of this, they also have independent reach and bite point adjustment. This does allow you to dial in the brakes even further with the extra adjustment making a tangible difference. While I like the additional option of the bite point adjustment and the enhanced set-up this offers, I think overall I preferred the feel of the HC lever and its matte finish. That said though, I found I’m happy to ride with either and currently have the HC3 on.
Magura MT7 Pro – Reliability
The brakes have been tested over a period of around 9 months and have been ridden in all conditions, from baking heat to properly snowy sub-zero temperatures and the performance has for the majority of the test, stayed nice and consistent. After the first few rides, I wasn’t happy with how the rear brake felt compared to the front. I gave it another bleed and since then I haven’t had to re-bleed it and feel and consistency have both been good. I also had an issue with the pads (in the rear again) not feeling great and lacking bite. I assume this was down to contamination as I swapped them over and that seemed to solve the problem.
I really can’t fault the Magura MT7 Pro brakes. They’ve performed well over a long period with barely any maintenance and when I have had to work on them, it’s been nice and easy.
They offer bucket loads of power, along with great modulation, and loads of options for customisation and getting them ‘just right’. If you’re looking for new brakes and fancy something away from the obvious options, the MT7 Pro’s should be on your list. They could well be my new favourite brake.
|Price:||€219.90 per end plus rotors|
|Tested:||by Ross for 9 months|
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