Magura MT4 disc brake review

Solid performance, easy adjustment on the fly, decent weight and a good price makes the new Magura MT4 disc brake a top pick.

Germany’s Magura have been building disc brakes for many years and the latest development is their best yet. A complete overhaul as part of a family of four disc brake systems, the MT4 is the second-tier offering and costs a very reasonable £139, yet packs most of the same technology found in the more expensive MT6 and MT8′s without the same dent in your bank balance.

The Magura MT4 brakes have a rather neat trump card up their sleeve; external bite point and lever reach adjustment. A small hex key adjusts the bite point of the brake pads while a small knurled dial on the front side of the lever blade alters the reach to your preference. You won’t find this tool-free adjustment higher up the range where in the pursuit of lightness, the adjusters have been removed.

This has the benefit of making it very easy to dial the feel of the brake levers however you like. Like a lot of lever travel? Like your levers firm and a close bite point? It’s easy to set them up to your personal taste. A useful application is to keep the feel of both levers identical, if for example you have to bleed one brake.

Magura’s new-for-2012 MT4

When Magura revamped their brake lineup, they reshaped the lever and slimmed down the reservoir. That makes the MT4 a very compact brake, with a narrow clamp that takes up little space on the bars. The lever is well shaped with a nice feel with a preference to one-finger braking, but two-finger panic braking is doable too.

Power at the lever is impressive. We tested with a 180mm front rotor and 160mm rear and the power available at the fingertips proved on a par with the Shimano XTR brakes (same size rotors) they replaced on the test bike. The brakes feel very solid, there’s no hint of mushiness or flex, and the levers always felt very firm no matter how hard we pulled on them. Modulation of that power is good with a nice smooth transition from just scrubbing of some speed to bringing the bike to an immediate halt.

The new dual arch single piston brake caliper

Attention to detail extends to split lever clamps making for easy cockpit adjustments and complete swapping of brakes. The brake pads can be easily replaced, as you can remove them via the top of the caliper so there’s no need to remove the wheel. The brake pads fitted are an organic material. They bedded in quickly and are wearing very well, and we detected no hint of noise even riding through puddles and the rain.Weight comes out at 334g per end with a 160mm rotor. Rotor sizes offered include 140, 180 and 203mm. The rotor is new and is called the Storm.

Reshaped lever is more ergonomic

Talking of weight, the top-end bells and whistles MT8 weighs 280g, so a 54g weight penalty is, well, not much of a penalty really. Like the MT8, the MT4 uses Magura’s Carbotecture technology, a carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic reservoir body. The MT4 uses a heavier and cheaper aluminium lever blade rather than the carbon lever of the top-end model.

334g on our scales with a 160mm rotor

Another weight saving is in the new calipers. Their double arch design (a similar concept is found in the company’s suspension forks) stiffens the caliper to the extent that loads of excess material can be removed. A banjo fitting allows for easy hose alignment on the bike.

Verdict

A hard-working brake that doesn’t cost a lot but offers stacks of performance and we really liked the easy lever adjustment. The MT4 really is the pick of the new Magura disc brake family. Buy the MT4 and pocket the money you’ve saved.

Pros

Value for money
Solid braking
Lever and bit point adjustment
Quiet
Great lever shape

Cons

None so far

Price: £139
More information: Magura MT4 disc brakes

Features and details

  • Carbotecture master body
  • Split clamp
  • Flip-Flop design
  • Integrated reservoir
  • Royal Blood mineral oil
  • Anti-Features: Anti-drag, Anti-heat, Anti-squeal
  • RHR: Rotateable Hose Routing
  • EPR: Easy Pad Replacement
  • Feel Safety: ergonomic blade shape
  • EBT: Easy Bleed Technology
  • BAT: Bite Adjust Technology
  • Double Arch: single piece caliper design
  • Weight 330g (including 160 mm Storm Rotor)
  • Colours: Brake lever and caliper in a shiny silver body, and black lever blade
  • Guarantee: 5-year leakproof warranty after online registration on magura.com
  • Designed and manufactured in Germany
X

Next up in *Components

Shimano XTR Trail M985 Pedals