Magura MT5 Disc Brakes Review
Words & Photos by Drew Rohde
We have ridden lots of Magura brakes over the years, but it was not until we recently received a Cannondale Moterra for review that we got intimately familiar with the Magura MT5 brakes and their new two-piece MDR-P rotors. These monstrous 220 rotors are squeezed by four powerful pistons at each wheel and are designed to withstand the rigors of ebikes and downhill racers alike. Magura may not be the first name you think of when you think about brakes, but they offer a lot of customization options in a reliable brake system that packs a punch. We have found that Magura’s many options can sometimes work against them as riders who are not savvy to all the options may have a less than ideal experience from a brake that is just begging to be optimized. Read on to find out how we took these brakes from meh to yeah!
At 255g for the brake and another 241g for the massive 220mm rotors, the brakes are not light, but they sure are durable. Built to withstand heat buildup and abuse from downhillers, 50-plus pound eMTBs and cargo bikes, the Magura MT5 brakes are stout and a visual inspection lets you know they’re built to last.
At the heart of the Magura MT5 brakes are four powerful pistons driven by Magura’s Royal Blood (low viscosity mineral oil) and their MT5 Trail HC brake levers. Here we begin at Magura’s sometimes confusing and compromising list of options. Magura offers a wide array of brake levers for each of their brakes from single, two- and four-fingered varieties. Depending on which brake the brand’s product manager specs on your new bike, you could love their HC3 or MT5 HC levers, but hate the MT6 2-finger levers. If you did not realize that you could easily swap out the levers to customize your grip and reach, your experience is in the hands of the OE spec placed before you. Luckily, Cannondale chose to spec the MT5 Trail brake levers, which we got along with quite well.
Unfortunately for us though, Cannondale also chose to spec Magura’s 9.C or Comfort brake pads, which are designed for control and longevity rather than bite. After a call to Magura we found out that they offer three different pad compounds for their four piston brakes and we were sent some of their Performance (P) pads and new rotors. Before we swapped out the pads and rotors, we had a lot of fun and made a Panic Stop brake test video where we measured the stopping distance from 20mph to zero. We will be releasing that soon, however in short, we were able to shorten our stopping distance over 15% and increase the bite and power quite a bit.
A highlight of the Magura brakes is their MDR-P brake rotors. The e-MTB optimized rotors are made of steel and aluminum and feature a unique two-piece design. The rotor and centerpiece interlock the outer and inner rings for the best management of heat and stability. We ran a 220mm front and 203mm rear rotor for the duration of our test period.
If the options enough are not enough, Magura has a cool customization program where customers can purchase caliper ring covers and handlebar clamps in several colors to offer that unique touch to your bike. Want to get creative and match your brake hardware to the color of your bike or decals? Magura’s got you covered, and it is a neat feature, because who does not love custom?
Along with impressive performance, reliability, and color options, Magura offers a 5-year leak proof guarantee.