Earlier this year Magura launched their brand new TS (Team Suspension) line of forks. We've been testing the TS8 29er model for the past couple of months and have been consistently impressed with its performance.
The TS8 is part of a new line of fork sfrom German manufacturer Magura, and to develop these forks they used the guiding principle 'stiffer, lighter, easier.'
The TS line of forks are also available in each of the three current wheel sizes (26, 29, 650B) so they've got all the bases covered. Our TS8 arrived in 29er configuration with 120mm of travel, and slotted it into the Santa Cruz long-termer for testing.
There's DNA from the previous fork in evidence; the Dual Arch Design crown, 32mm stanchions and a 15mm bolt-thru axle, all making it the stiffest fork we've tested in this sector.
Suspension performance is the key criterion by which to judge a suspension fork and in this respect the TS8 is highly impressive. First thing is how easy they are to set up. Recommended settings for the air spring are printed on the lower leg for easy reference. Following them gave a good suspension action of the box.
Magura keep things simple with just a rebound dial and lockout so there's few dials to twiddle, but fortunately the fork worked so well we didn't miss any extra adjustment dials like high and/or low speed compression.
Magura have really worked on the internals and the damping is massively improved. The fork is now much more controlled, feeling more progressive throughout the stroke. They also sit higher up in the travel too.
Our model came with Magura's Dynamic Lockout system (DLO). A handlebar mounted remote lever operates the blue lockout dial on the top of the fork leg and unlike some lockout systems, these forks are allowed to settle into their sag and there's just a little bit of give – they're not locked out solid at full extension like some forks.
The rebound lever gives a good range of adjustment, we found an agreeable setting just a few clickers faster from the middle of the range. There's no compression adjustment on this fork which some will miss, but fortunately we never felt the need to adjust the compression damping during riding.
Sure it's nice having lots of settings to adjust but unless you really know what you're doing, it's all too easy to make a mess of it. We'd much rather ride a properly sorted fork with less adjustment.
Our local trails consist of everything from small roots to large steps and all taken at various speeds from walking pace to high speed. Over this terrain the fork did a great job of absorbing everything, at slow speed it excelled and when piled into holes at higher speeds it didn't loose composure.
The stiffness of the Magura TS8 fork is the real highlight. On a 29er the extra length of the fork and the forces generated be the bigger wheels places extra stress on all the components. We've ridden some 29er test bikes in which the suspension fork has really detracted from the overall ride performance. The Magura TS8, with its dual arch crown, tapered steerer tube and 15mm bolt-thru axle, is massively stiff and resists bending forces no matter how hard you ride it into rocks and rooty corners. It's the stiffest 29er fork with 32mm stanchions we've tested, though it will be interesting to compare it to Fox's new 34 fork.
Making the TS8
In the pursuit of lightness, Magura designed their own bolt-through axle, rather than using a Maxle or Shimano setup. It's called M15 and is a very minimalist design. A Torx T25 bolt tightens the axle into the dropouts and the lever is a removable tool piece that slots into the opposite end of the axle when it isn't being used.
Friction from a small rubber O-ring is all that keeps the tool in place. Our early concerns about it working loose over rough terrain have been put to rest as we've hammered the forks for a couple of months and not once have we reached for it only to discover it's vanished.
One small niggle is when fitting the bike to a fork mounted roof rack. If the rack is on the left side of the car it can be awkward to reach around the other side of the fork to tighten the axle.
Magura's attention to detail extends to one very small, but appealing design touch. The bottom of the fork legs have smaller rubber bumpers fitted, so that when you're placing the bike on the ground without a front wheel in (say when you're fixing a puncture or changing the tyre) stops the forks getting scuffed and scratched.
This fork had a tapered steerer tube – non-tapered options are available – and on the scales with an uncut steerer it weighed in at 3.78lb (1,715g) which is entirely respectable for such a fork.
Forks have gotten really expensive in recent years and they're now a serious investment for any mountain biker. Magura's TS8 fork is £100 cheaper than a Fox 32 Float 29er fork and easily offers comparable suspension performance and weight with stiffness way in advance of Fox's 32 platform.
Magura forks, it's fair to say, haven't enjoyed the popularity they really deserve but the new TS8 raises their game substantially. It's a serious and credible alternative to more popular choices like Fox and RockShox. If you're in the market for a new fork, the TS8 is worth consideration.
More information: Magura TS8 R 29er suspension fork
What Magura says about the TS8 R 29er suspension fork
Onwards and upwards is the theme for 2013 for our Team Suspension. The new Suspension Fork Range features a new design, a new name and new internal componentry. The perfect option for BIG WHEELS comes in the form of our new 29er Forks.
Uses 32mm double butted stanchions, Double Arch design lower leg to increase stiffness and improve tracking and control of the front wheel and supplied with a shock pump.
Unique Dynamic Lockout² system (DLO²) with more progressive spring rate offering better ground control than conventional lockout systems, including RCL² Remote Control. Alternatively also available with Albert Select + platform damping. Alternatively also with Lift Select travel management system. Superstiff 32 mm upper legs. Cold forged Aluminium 6082 T6 fork crown with integrated cablestops. All adjuster knobs made of high quality aluminium. Bolted hose guide for judder-free brake hose fitting. Protection Caps on DAD lower leg with MAGURA M15 thru-axle.