I tested the Magura MT8 brake set. The German manufacturer of brake and suspension systems qualifies the MT8 as the ‘first choice for cross country’. According to the manual, the set is also suitable for all mountain and enduro bikes. My Cannondale Habit is something between a cross country and an all mountain and the MT8 is a nice upgrade for this kind of bike.
The first thing I notice when I pick up my green/yellow bike after mounting the brakes are the bright red covers of the MT8. If you prefer a different colour of the covers, Magura offers the possibility to customize the set. By default, however, the set comes with red covers.
The callipers have two pistons and that is why Magura classifies the brakes as ‘cross country’. The set is equipped with the Storm SL.2 180mm disc brakes. For the MT8 you can choose from 3 different discs with diameters of 140-203mm.
Adjustment & performance
During my ride home I immediately notice the difference with the standard brake set my bike was equipped with first. It is like comparing apples and oranges, both in terms of quality and price, but I am very impressed. What a braking power!
The brake levers feel nice, the handle is light but firm. There are 2 buttons on the brakes. One is for setting the pressure point of the brake, the other is for adjusting the range of the lever. I only notice a slight difference when setting the pressure point. Perhaps this option comes in handy when the brake pads get frayed. At first, I am not able to fine-tune the range of the lever. I have fairly long fingers, but even in the ‘shortest’ position, the lever is too far away from my handlebar to put my finger in the preformed shape of the lever. That is far from ideal, and to keep contact with the levers, I have to continuously pull the lever. Maybe this turns out not to be a problem while riding and off I go.
After a couple of rides, I shift the levers towards the outside of the handlebar, so my finger is positioned in the middle of the lever. Normally I ride with my finger as far as possible on the outside of the lever, where leverage is biggest. Thanks to this adjustment I can relax my fingers which feels more confident. Great solution.
It is surprising how smoothly the brakes feel. It feels a bit like squeezing a sponge. My previous brakes felt more direct and therefore were not easy to dose. I get used to this spongy feeling very quickly. The MT8 brakes are easy to dose and therefore I can control my bike much better.
I tested the brakes in the Netherlands during the last hot summer days and the first days of autumn. In the rain, but also with temperatures close to zero degrees Celsius. Apart from the slippery surface during rainy days, which of course affects braking, I notice no difference in performance of the brakes itself.
Great, easy to dose brakes with a lot of braking power. The suggested retail price for the Magura MT8 Carbon is € 559,- without rotors and adapters. Qualitatively, the brakes can be compared with Sram Level and Shimano XTR. The price of the MT8 is a bit higher but the MT8 is more lightweight than its competitors.