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4 25 18 Magura MT5 3 year review

Magura MT5 Brake Review – 3 Years

Read through our long term (3 year) trail test in the Magura MT5 Brake Review.

3 years and 4 bikes later I’m still running the same set of Magura MT5 brakes. Same levers, same master cylinders, same calipers.

A few sets of brake pads as well as a new rear line are what I’ve put into the system. (My HD4’s routing is longer than the Bronson was)

I continue to ride the Magura MT5’s for the same reasons that led me purchase them in 2015. Unmatched modulation, predictable performance, minimal issues from the brand as well as excellent product support in case of an issue.


Modulation in MTB is used to define how power is balanced with lever throw.

Brakes with less modulation have more power sooner into the throw. Riders who utilize, for lack of a better way to define it, an “ABS” finger pulse on their brakes may make less modulating brakes work better than I can.

I prefer smoothly applying pressure corelated to the amount of power required. Having brakes that provide variable power, rather than an “on/off” feel, and listening to my tires allows me to know how much grip I have or don’t!

Trail braking is much more predictable riding brakes with good modulation. Trail braking is staying on the brakes while leaning into a corner and “trailing” off them prior to apex. This isn’t used in every situation, but it is a nice technique to have in your toolbox.

Magura’s entire lineup offers excellent modulation per category. The two and four piston calipers to offer different levels of total power and heat capacity.

Magura MT5 caliper image closeup
I run the MT7 4 piece brake pads. I find that they align a bit easier and seem, seem, to have a bit more power capacity.


I hate testing brakes. There is so much personality of the bike’s performance tied to brake performance that a crappy brake is gonna be a crappy ride. But, every year we go through and ride a bunch of the contenders and pretenders.

The absolute worst when testing brakes is the intermittent works then doesn’t work feel. It’s completely unnerving. Wondering what a brake will do and when it will do it impacts confidence, speed and enjoyment.

Magura brakes don’t suffer inconsistent lever feel or power application unlike many of the leading competitors. While I find myself holding my breath testing other brands I know that I can expect consistency from Magura. I might prefer one lever or another, more power from the 4 pistons, different brake pads – but in the first few turns when I hit the brakes to acclimatize that’s what I can expect!


About once every 4 to 6 weeks on average I bubble bleed the levers. This is a pretty easy service, we have a lot of videos and writeups around on it and helps maintain a consistent feel.

I have never fully flushed the brake fluid. Magura states that Royal Blood does not age. If functional a Magura brake doesn’t need a full bleed with few exceptions. This seems accurate as I don’t notice the performance degradation in the mineral oil felt in previous DOT fluids.

Brake pads are easy to change. It is important to remember to open the bleed port as the 4 piston calipers move a tremendous amount of fluid and driving the pistons open will stress the bladder if the port is not opened.

Notes on initial install: My one complaint, which many of you will have read in previous write ups – it took a precise, slow bleed initially to get the great Magura lever feel I have. I had a small bubble hiding somewhere in the rear brake when I first installed them in 2015 which was frustrating until I corrected it. I’m not a mechanic but have bleed more than my share of hydraulic systems. I pushed fluid from both caliper and lever using syringes very, very, slowly a for a couple passes. I rotated the bike in the stand a bit and got out a bubble that had been stuck somewhere in the caliper. Since then, let me reiterate, 3 years – I have been beyond stoked! If you have issues find a competent resource to help you out. You should expect a great feeling, consistent lever with your Magura brakes.


This is all personal preference based on your riding dynamics but here is my setup.

I prefer the longer “2 finger” lever although I only use a single finger to brake. Moving the brake further inboard allows me to use my index finger at the very end of the lever. This allows ultimate leverage as well as the best modulation through distance of throw per angle of travel. That is to say the shorter the lever, or further in you apply your finger the less distance the brake has to travel and the quicker the power will apply.

Magura offers a variety of 1 finger lever with various adjustments which give riders excellent choices. I’ve ridden these options and find them 100% useable, although my preference is still the stock MT5 lever at the moment.

I run my brake levers out to where the first joint on my finger rests on the edge of the blade. Braking with the lever in this joint provides improved power and performance. There is less fatigue than with “finger pad” braking meaning you can confidently ride steeper and harder on the brakes.

I currently run 180mm rotors F & R which provide plenty of stopping power even as a larger rider (230lb). The excellent modulation of the Magura lineup allow the larger rear rotor without excessive brake lock. Other brake systems to create less “on/off” feel I often dropped to a 160 rotor, but prefer the 180 if possible for the increased heat capacity and leverage for power when needed.


Closeup of used MT5 lever after 3 years use


I love to show clients this – it’s WEAR NOT GLARE… If a picture’s worth a thousand words you can see I have run these brakes long enough to wear through the ano on the lever.

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Contact our sales team to help you define which Magura brake is the best for your riding style. We have a variety of special options available as well! Reach out by phone 888-697-6717 email or live chat in today.


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