By Karl Rosengarth, photo by Justin Steiner
All forks in Magura’s 2012 lineup received a makeover, including the Thor. Magura gave its air forks a more progressive (less linear) spring rate, by decreasing the air volume. Changes to the low-speed compression damping circuit resulted in smoother operation. All forks shed weight by swapping steel for aluminum rods on damping assemblies and by switching from oil-bath to silicone grease lubrication of the bushings.
I started with the air pressure in the middle of the recommended range for my 150lbs. body weight and after some ride-adjust-repeat trials, settled on 50psi. This gave the fork a plush feel, which matched my cushy Yeti 575 test bike.
Rebound damping adjustments are made via a large, red plastic knob on bottom of the right leg. The knob’s 12 clicks offer a wide range of adjustability that should satisfy the fine-tuners. I started with a mid-range setting, liked how it felt, and rolled with it.
The Thor comes with Albert Select Plus, Magura’s externally-adjustable platform (low-speed compression) damping, which is controlled via aluminum knobs atop the right leg (optional remote available). To keep the fork as plush as possible, simply switch off the platform by turning outermost blue knob counterclockwise. Turning the blue knob clockwise engages the platform, and then rotating the gold inner knob controls the amount of damping.
The gold knob offers seven full revolutions of adjustability, with six detents per revolution, for a total of 42 total detents. In my opinion, there were too many detents to try and count them for tuning purposes. I ended up counting “revolutions” of the knob instead.
Dialing in a light amount of platform firmed up the Thor’s compression just enough to combat fork dive under hard braking and bobbing from moderate rider inputs. Dialing up additional platform kept the fork from diving in harsher G-outs—pump track, anyone? The highest platform settings made the fork feel locked out, until it encountered a hit big enough to blow off the platform. One complaint is that the small gold knob was difficult to grasp and turn with my bare hands. I needed full-fingered gloves to get enough grip.
The Thor’s suppleness over smaller trail chatter felt on par with competitive offerings from Fox and RockShox. The elastomeric negative spring and silicone-greased bushings proved successful in combating stiction. Elastomers may seem old-school—Magura assures me that technology has come a long way, and they’ve successfully tested elastomers in extremely cold conditions.
In addition to saving weight, silicone grease is slicker than oil and, according to Magura, tends to stay inside the fork longer, as opposed to “wicking” or drying out, especially under the heat created by repeated fork cycles.
The Thor handled big impacts and drops without feeling divey, or bottoming harshly. Compared to the Magura Durin Marathon I reviewed in 2008 (issue #141), the 2012 Thor’s spring rate felt more progressive and the bottoming resistance was markedly improved.
I credit the double-arch design of the lowers and the 15mm QR for creating a noticeably stiff chassis that kept the front wheel tracking where I pointed it. I couldn’t detect any unwanted flopping or twisting of the fork legs.
After four months of trouble-free riding, I’d recommend the Thor for the long-travel trail rider looking for a high-performance, lightweight fork. All-day cross-country epics anyone? The 3.75lbs. weight, solid performance, and stiff chassis are a sweet combination for a 150mm fork. No doubt that $900 is on the high end of the spectrum, but remember: light, strong, cheap—pick two.
- Price: $899
- Travel: 150mm (internally adjustable to 140mm)
- Weight: 3.75 lbs.
- Spring: Air
- External Adjustments: Rebound, Low-Speed Compression Damping
- Axle: 15mm QR
- Country of Origin: Germany