Magura shows off 2012 fork lineup

By Karl Rosengarth

Magura offers a wide range of suspension forks with a dizzying array of options, so I’ll focus on some global features and changes that run across their entire 2012 product line. Speaking of lineup, check out the list at the end of Magura’s 2012 fork offerings.

In response to rider feedback, Magura has gone to a more progressive spring rate for all of their 2012 forks. By decreasing the air chamber volume the forks’ Magura tuned the spring rate curve such that it "ramps up" more steeply near the end of stroke. This gives their forks a "less linear" ride feel than in years past.

I rode a 2012 Thor 150mm and I felt that the spring rate gave the fork a supple feel over small to medium hits, but it ramped up nicely on the big-ledge drops that abounded in Sedona. Prior Magura forks that I’ve ridden felt much more "linear" than the 2012 Thor, which handled bit hits without feeing divey, nor bottoming harshly.

For 2012 the Magura fork models that offer adjustable travel will use their brand new "Lift Select" system, which is much simpler to use than their prior system. Simply flip a toggle lever atop the fork and compress the fork (or continure to ride and hit a bump or two) – and the travel will lower by 40mm. To return to full travel, toggle the lever back to the original position, and unweight the fork. Viola. Lift Select can also be actuated via an optional handlebar remote control.

Magura lightened up all of their 2012 forks’ internals by switching from steel rods to aluminum alloy rods on their damping assemblies. A switch from oil-bath to grease lubrication on the bushings saved about 20 grams and resulted in smoother operation.

Magura made some tweaks to update the performance of their DLO (Dynamic Lockout) compression damping circuit and they now call it DLO2. The new DLO2 functions similarly to the previous DLOplus in that the lock-out is dynamic and while "on" allows the fork to sink into it’s recommended "sag" under the riders weight and also have full negative travel to follow the terrain.

The way DLO2 works is by having a tiny pin hole in the base shim (at the bottom of the compression damping shim stack) which allows the fork oil to pass through the hole and sag the fork under rider weight. But the hole is too small to allow rapid movement of oil due to an impact (hitting a bump). Under impact, the DLO2 is bypassed, and the normal compression damping circuit (shim stack) kicks into action. Magura explained this dynamic effect by analogy: if your open hand in a pool of water and as you slowly lower your hand, you notice zero resistance; but if you quickly and forcefully push your hand downward, then the resistance is prominent and obvious.

Magura offers their 32mm stanchion Thor fork in 140mm or 150mm travel, with 15mm through-axle only. I spent two days flogging a Thor 150mm with DLO2. The DLO2 compression circuit and the negative spring worked together to allow the fork to sag properly, and remain supple over trail stutter bumps, yet it still provided a nice "platform" feeling. The the fork did not bob under minor rider input. I was even able climb out of the saddle at a moderate pace with very minor fork bob.

Magura also continues to offer optional "Albert Select" which provides externally-user-adjustable compression damping, with or without a handlebar remote lever, for those who’d prefer additional tune-ability.

On rough trails, the chassis on the Thor felt nice and stiff. I give a lot of the credit to the double arch design of the lowers, and the 15mm thru-axle, for keeping the front wheel tracing where I pointed it. I could’t feel any flopping nor twisting, of the fork legs.

When the trail got rough, Thor kicked into action and gobbled up the bumps in supple and smooth fashion. The ride feel on the 2012 Thor represented a noticeable improvement compared to my past experiences on Magura forks which left me wanting a little more coosh. Based on my initial impressions, I’d say the 2012 Thor gives Magura a serious contender in the 140-150mm trail fork market. Perhaps a full-blow test is in order. Stay tuned.

2012 forks

Thor
Prices: $899-$939
Weight: from 1750g
Travel options: 140 or 150mm
Dropouts: 15mm through-axle only
Damping: DLO2
Available Options: Lift Select, remote lever, Albert Select damping

Durin SL
Price: $899
Weight: from 1299g
Travel options: 80, 100 or 120mm
Dropouts: 9mm
Damping: Albert SL
Available Options: remote lever

Durin Race
Prices: $839-$899
Weight: from 1380g
Travel options: 80, 100 or 120mm
Dropouts: 9mm
Damping: DLO2
Available Options: Lift Select, remote lever

Durin X
Price: $699
Weight: from 1690g
Travel options: 80, 100 or 120mm
Dropouts: 9mm
Damping: DLO2
Available Options: remote lever

Menja
Price: $549
Weight: from 1635g
Travel options: 85 or 100mm
Dropouts: 9mm
Damping: DLO2
Available Options: remote lever