Super powerful and reasonably priced, the Magura MT5 hydraulic disc brakes have blown us away in terms of sheer braking prowess. As long as you don’t mind the ‘functional’ look and the large lever blade, these are a solid performer suitable for any trail or enduro mountain bike.
The four-piston brakes are aimed at the trail rider who wants big performance without forking out a huge wedge of cash. At £250 for a pair (front and rear plus two discs) they are over £120 cheaper than a set of Shimano Saints, about £310 less than a set of SRAM Code RSC’s but just £23 less than a set of Guide RE’s, with arguably very similar performance in terms of raw power. The price listed above is for one brake, a Magura Storm disc (£30) and a brake mount (£7).
The Magura MT5s are the brands cheapest four-piston brake, above it in the range are the MT7’s and the MT1893’s. Spec wise the MT5s feature a 'Carbotecture' lever body, a nod to the companies other business interest in producing injection moulded plastic car parts. The lever can be mounted on either side of the bars via the rudimentary large clamp.
The lever blade is alloy and designed for two finger braking, although you’d be forgiven for thinking you could use a whole hand for braking, such is the length and shape. An odd decision for this type of trail brake as I’d be willing to bet 95% of riders choosing these brakes will be braking with one finger and would benefit from a more reasonable shape lever blade. For that though, you’ll need to splash out on the MT7’s.
The MT5s have a radial lever design where the master cylinder/main piston is perpendicular to the handlebar, Magura says the design is more compact and frees up space on the handlebar. The lever feel is a tad spongy at the beginning, a feeling only heightened by the flex in the lever body and blade once you reach the bite point.
That said, once at the bite point the power is strong and you’ll be pulling up in no time. It’s an action and feel that take a while to get used to but once you have, it’s second nature to operate the brakes. There is hardly any brake fade when these get hot and they didn’t seem hindered by mud or rain aside from the pads screeching a little.
The last thing to mention about the lever is that you’ll need a tool to adjust the reach and there’s no bite point adjust. for that again you’ll need the pricier MT7’s.
The one piece forged calliper is chunky and has that in your face ‘Magura’ style. The two pads inserted are held in place by Magura’s 'magnetiXchange' technology which uses magnets instead of the normal spring you’d find in other manufacturers brakes. This is meant to make changing pads easier, which it does.
I did find that when riding along (not braking) more often than not there is a faint squeal from the pads rubbing on the discs, I can attribute this to the way the pads are held in place but it happened so frequently where I don’t get such a problem with ‘regular’ callipers. This, aside from the slightly flexy lever, was the only annoyance experiences with the MT5s, annoying not only for me but also my riding buddies.
Other things to note, the brakes come with absurdly long hoses, you won’t be able to avoid cutting them down and they’ll probably need a bleed too. Bleeding is straightforward, just remember to use the brands Royal Blood (mineral oil based).
The calliper features a cable exit on the inside which can be adjusted in angle to suit your frame and there are ‘Matchmaker’ clamps available for SRAM shifters. At 460g per end the MT5s are an average weight for a four-piston brake. Our test set paired the brakes to a 203mm disc on the front and a 180mm on the rear, during fitting I did have to take a file to the post mount as it sat super close to the disc paired with Rockshox Lyrik fork, so I gave it a little more room.
The Magura MT5s are an extremely powerful, good value brake that despite some noise issues will be transferred onto my new long term test bike. At £95 per brake, they are certainly worth a look if you are upgrading and your previous thoughts were cast towards brakes such as SRAM Guide RE or even Shimano Saint.
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