You’ve got to admire Magura’s honesty – the press pack for its 2007 fork range starts with the line “…we have to admit that until today our suspension activities haven’t been very glorious”. We think that it’s being more than a little hard on itself there – Magura forks have a good reputation for value and reliability and we’ve found recent examples to be solid performers.
However, the forthcoming 2007 Magura fork line is completely and utterly new. It’s one of the dwindling group of fork manufacturers to do all of its R&D and production in-house, in this case in Bad Urach in the south of Germany. It’s not the driest part of the world, which goes some way to explaining Magura’s ability to build forks that keep on truckin’ without much in the way of maintenance. Not that we’re recommending a no-maintenance regime for anyone’s forks, of course – just because we wantonly neglect ours doesn’t make it a good idea…
Before we stray completely from the point, let’s have a gander at the funky (and we’re not exaggerating – some of this stuff really is rather cool) features that you’ll find on the new forks. First up, the whole range is designed to be run with big disc brakes – all of the forks are approved and warrantied for use with brake rotors up to 210mm (8.5in). And if you’re at all worried about your disc brake forcing your front wheel out of your dropouts, Magura’s forks should reassure you – forks with QR dropouts have them angled forwards at 45° so that brake forces on the hub try to push the axle into solid metal rather than towards empty space.
Previous high-end Magura forks have been equipped with Albert Plus compression damping, with individually adjustable low and high-speed damping circuits. Certain 2007 forks will have Albert Select, which is a a dial-adjustable platform damping system – the calibrated dial lets you choose from a range of “platforminess” with a fully-open mode right at one end.
The most obvious feature of the new range, though, is the Dual Arch Design. Most manufacturers put the brake arch that joins the two sides of the fork together at the front. Manitou puts its round the back, and Pace used to have one front and back on some forks. Magura has gone for the front and rear option to remarkable visual effect and probably fairly impressive stiffness effect too.
So those are some of the tech highlights – here are the forks upon which they’ll appear…
Some readers may recall Magura’s ill-fated Thor freeride fork. Announced in late 2003, it had adjustable travel from 110-150mm, carbon-wrapped aluminium sliders with a unique twin brake arch design and all of Magura’s damping toys. Unfortunately it proved to be too expensive to build for Magura to sell them at any sort of accessible price and Thor never reached full production. The 2007 Wotan fork, though, is clearly a direct descendant of Thor (and yes, Norse mythology geeks, that should be the other way around…). While it looks vaguely similar and has familiar-sounding operational parameters, Wotan is a completely new fork. The cold-forged 6082-T6 aluminium crown has integrated cable stops for the remote Albert Select platform damping adjuster and Flightcontrol on-the-fly travel adjustment. The upper legs are 36mm in diameter and run into the Dual Arch Design sliders, which feature SRAM’s Maxle QR through-axle system at the bottom end. Wotan is air-sprung and delivers between 120 and 160mm of travel. The target weight is 2.4kg (5.3lb).
Next up is Laurin, described as an All-Mountain and Tour fork. “Tour” is one of those curious designations that’s very popular in Germany but somehow doesn’t translate terribly effectively – it makes us think of Dawes Galaxies and Carradice panniers. What Magura’s getting at is the ride-all-day/enduro/marathon kind of area. Laurin has 32mm upper legs, Albert Select platform damping, Dual Arch Design sliders, corrosion protectors at the disc mounts and dropouts and forward-angled safety dropouts. There’ll be three travel options – 130, 100 or 85mm – all air sprung and all with a target weight of 1.7kg (3.7lb).
The Menja air fork is structurally the same as the Laurin, and also has air springs, the same travel options and the same claimed weight. The added feature is the Dynamic Lockout System that locks the fork out at the sagged position rather than fully-extended for more effective weight distribution on climbs but without making everything as steep and low as a lock-down system.
Finally we have Odur, a coil sprung fork with Dynamic Lockout, Dual Arch Design, safety dropouts etc and so on, a choice of 100 or 85mm travel versions and a target weight of 1.98kg (4.3lb).
All the forks have aluminium adjuster dials and, while shown here in the standard matt black colour (or absence thereof) scheme, will be part of Magura’s custom colour programme, letting you coordinate (or indeed intentionally clash) your forks and frame. No news on prices yet, but Magura say that they’ll be “competitive”.