2004 looks to be a pivotal year for Magura in the UK. The German brake and fork manufacturer has junked its labyrinthine UK distribution setup and replaced it with a single UK subsidiary, Magura Bike Parts UK. The new wing will handle distribution, technical support and servicing which should make Magura stuff easier to get hold of.
And it looks like being worth getting hold of, too. There are revisions across the brake line, with the Louise and Louise FR disc systems being completely redesigned with one-piece calipers, wavy rotor (160mm on Louise, 160, 180, 190 or 210 on Louise FR) and new levers. And there’s a five-year warranty against leaking. All variants are £139. The pricier (£169) Marta gets a wavy rotor too, or for an extra forty quid you can get the Marta SL complete with carbon fibre lever blade.
Magura hasn’t just been busy with brakes, though. There’s a load of new suspension stuff too. The Magura suspension range was initially a joint venture with Rond, but now for simplicity’s sake the Rond name doesn’t appear anywhere – it’s just Magura. The forks have always had a fairly low profile in the UK, but deserve to be seen more. They’re certainly feature-packed, with some models having on-the-fly travel adjustment, or the strangely-named “AlbertPlus” high- and low-speed compression damping adjusters.
Some of the forks are renamed and restyled versions of last year’s range, but there’s a couple of all-new products in there at generally opposite ends of the riding spectrum. For the XC and trail riders, there’s the Ronin, an air-sprung fork with 80 or 110mm of travel, adjustable rebound and compression damping and a lockout. The chassis is quite stout, with 30mm stanchions and Magura’s signature triple-bolted crown. Claimed weight is 1,595g (3.5lb) and the suggested price is £399.
If you’re looking for something altogether meatier, though, then the amazing-looking Thor could be just the ticket. We’ll just mention the £699 price tag in passing and move on to the techy stuff. Thor is a 150mm travel single crown freeride fork, available in 1.5 or 1-1/8in steerers. 32mm stanchions are threaded into a deep forged crown (a bit like Mountain Cycle Suspenders…) and slide into a cast aluminium slider assembly with a carbon wrap and twin brake arches, one front, one rear. Down the bottom is a standard 20mm through-axle.
Internally, Thor has all the toys. “Flightcontrol” travel adjustment lets you wind the fork down to 110mm and you get preload adjustment, rebound damping adjustment and high- and low-speed compression damping adjustment. So you ought to be able to get Thor dialled in to your liking. Or get very confused…
For sheer adjustability, though, it’s going to be tough to beat Thor’s rear shock brother, Draco. It’s a coil-sprung shock with a piggyback reservoir containing the now de rigeur platform damping gubbinses. The dedicated knob twiddler can adjust spring preload, rebound damping, low-speed compression damping, platform damping, high-speed compression damping, spring rate progression and something else that we can’t quite identify but it’s got seven different adjustments so we’ve obviously mislaid one. The Draco shock is £399.
There’s also a more XCish air shock, the Odin Plus. It weighs from 290-340g depending on how big a shock you need, packs three-way damping adjustment and promises a very linear spring rate from its large-volume chamber. It ought to be pretty durable, too, with a hard-chromed shaft and spherical bearings at the mounting points. An Odin Plus will set you back £299.
And they’re doing wheels, too, built up from Magura-branded DT hubs, Mavic rims, black DT spokes and, cunningly, black brass spoke nipples. There’s a range covering entry-level, XC race and freeride applications.
More Magura stuff at www.magura.com.