Recently we have been on a bit of a brake binge, cycling through different sets of brakes on our Cannondale test bike. Up until now we have been concentrating on 4 piston caliper brakes. Now we’ve stepped sideways a bit to spend some time on the Magura MT4, a budget 2 piston brake.
Magura makes no bold claims about performance with these brakes and certainly does not aim their usage at Enduro style riding. The MT4 is a mineral oil based hydraulic brake intended for the entry level trail riding market as well as E bikes with a competitive price to match. What jumps out about these brakes is the warranty. 5 years of no leaking…or they fix them/replace them. That is a pretty rare feature of customer service at this price point. It certainly will attract the type of rider who wants brakes that offer value. Magura have excellent, easy to find web based materials associated with its brakes so ownership should be as trouble free as possible.
– Ergonomic, 2-finger, aluminium brake lever
– Carbotecture® housing & handlebar clamp
– Adjustable lever reach
– Forged, 2-piston brake calliper.
– All screws with Torx T25
– MagnetiXchange brake pistons for easy brake pad replacement
– Weight only 345 g
– Mineral oil based system.
– Compatible with all MAGURA Storm and Storm SL discs
– Color: Polished Black Anodized
– Warranty: 5-year leakproof guarantee for brake levers and cylinders (providing the original proof of purchase.)
– €135.99 List price per brake.
The lever blades are fairly big and designed for 2 finger braking, not necessarily our style of riding but perfect for the intended trail riding entry level user. The levers themselves are simple, with one adjustment screw which is a T25 torx adjuster. It actually gives more range of adjustment for the lever than the higher priced MT7 cousins, which will be undergoing an upgrade shortly to increase said adjustment. The levers are flippable and have an easy to access bleed port screw. In the hand they feel fairly lightweight and occupy a reasonably small amount of real estate on the bar. This means they fit with most other bar components with no troubles at all.
The levers integrate onto the bar nicely.
Due to the larger lever, we ran the gear shifter inside the brake lever.
The calipers are a single forged piece of aluminum with two large pistons and one set of brake pads. The banjo cable end means the hose can be pointed in the right direction easily. The pads are easily replaced with the securing bolt, and there is no spring to fiddle with. These have to be the easiest to replace pads we have come across.
The caliper is discrete and well designed with a easy to adjust hose direction banjo.
One bolt – no springs, pad replacement cant get any easier.
The MT4 uses the standard Magura discs that came with the MT7 as well. They brake nicely, don’t squeal and have worn exceptionally during their time on our bike.
We did not need to bleed our brakes at all whilst in use on our test bike, however should the need arise, Magura provided us with a helpful video showing how it is done.
On The Trail Performance
Since we have been using 4 piston brakes for some time we were expecting it would feel like we had no brakes with the MT4. This was not the case. They stopped incredibly well in all of the trail conditions we put them through including a run on the European Enduro Series race tracks in Punta Ala. We dragged them quite a bit to see how they fade and found that despite not resisting heat as well as the MT7 as they pumped up ever so slightly on an Enduro trail, (note: no more so than a pair of Shimano XT brakes we used recently). The brakes did not fade excessively – you squeeze and they stop. Yes, the MT7 stopped better as it has more power, but the MT4 did not leave us feeling we were missing power or control. The lever reach also remained in a constant position for bite point as well, which was great. Pad wear was acceptable and conducive to good brakes, we also found they ran quietly with no squeal or noise in all the varying conditions we used them in.
In our experience when testing all the different brakes we have had on our bike recently we would have to say that 4 piston brakes are really great, especially when riding Enduro. However not all riders train/test in an Enduro hotspot like Punta Ala, and not all riders are focused on Enduro, so when used on normal trail bikes, trails and descents, the MT4s did not miss a beat. In fact they seemed like an ideal brake at a reasonable price. Though they are not as light weight as the higher end models, they certainly don’t add a weight penalty that is going to be noticed. When we pushed them they have enough in reserve to stop really well.
The overall quality and finish of the brakes was excellent they fared really well in the mud and dusty conditions we tested them in. It was refreshing that they don’t look cheap in construction considering they are an above entry level brake.
If you ride very long descents with huge quantities of braking you might exceed what the MT4s are designed for and have a bit more arm fatigue as they pump up slightly, for that style of trail we recommend going to the MT5 or 7. The ideal place for these brakes is normal everyday trail riding, in all conditions. The MT4’s have enough power if you do need to go a bit steeper and further for short periods. Most importantly the MT4 won’t break the bank and quite frankly, they have an amazing warranty.