By Jon Pratt,
This past week I found myself in familiar territory for Magura’s press camp; the Red Agave Resort in Sedona, Arizona, where Dirt Rag had spent Spring Break earlier this year. A world-class trail system literally starts in the resort’s backyard. Trails like Llama, Highline, Templeton/Baldwin, and Slim Shady, show you all that desert riding has to offer.
Because of unseasonably hot weather, and a lack of rain, the trails were incredibly dry and powdery. Local singlespeed legend Zach Stanford said it best when describing them as “loose butt fun.” Just the place to test out Magura’s new products for 2013!
Magura’s lineup includes their new TS (Team Suspension) series forks. Available in 29” and 26”. The 26” with a Maxle Lite thru axle accepts 650b/27.5” wheels as well, or you can just go with the standard quick release and stick to your smaller hoops. All 29” models come with the new Magura M15 thru axle, designed with a self-retaining thread that makes locking the thru axle unnecessary. Just tighten the axle with a Torx T25 and you’re good to go.Oh, and once your finished cranking it down, just slide the included T25 tool into the thru axle where it’s held securely by an internal O-ring.
A nice bonus is all Magura MT brakes are attached with the same T25 bolts. No more riffling through your pack trailside for the right tools to readjust your brake levers or to change a flat. You can also remove the pads on the MT series with the same tool. You’ll need a 3mm Allen to bleed them though.
Magura likes to use the acronym “SLE” to describe their forks. “SLE” stands for stiffer, lighter, and easier. Translated to mean drop as much weight as possible, stiffen the fork with their double arch design and thru axle, and equip the forks with an air pressure guide printed on the lowers for simple setup.
Magura uses a four-part Fork Meister Concept in their TS line, which consists of a white Magura grease instead of oil, full surface bushings in the lowers so the larger surface can take more use before wearing out, a super slippery stanchion surface, and seals. Magura’s choice not to use lubrication oil in their forks is meant to keep the grease in the areas it is needed, and make servicing the fork a little less painful, as no oil will pour out when you take off the lowers. As for those new stanchions? They were noticeably smoother than the golden Kashima coated 32mm Float that was on-hand.
On all the thru axle models hard plastic caps adorn the bottoms of the lowers, protecting your fork when is it sans wheel. One of the protection caps doubles as your rebound adjuster.
The forks come in two build levels: TS6 and TS8. The TS6 is heavier and less expensive due to the use of steel instead of aluminum in some of the internals. And while both forks come with straight and tapered steerer tubes, the 29er is phasing out the long taper in favor of a shorter one to better support the numerous short headtubes found on today’s 29ers.
Both forks are available in 80, 100, and 120mm; black or white. Magura adds a 26” TS8 R 150 which also comes with or without Lift Select, allowing you to adjust travel in two stages between 120 and 150mm. The smallest brake you can run on the forks is a 180mm, and it’s directly mounted to the fork, no adapters here. Prices for the 26" range from $599 to $849, and to get one of the 29" models you’ll have to throw down either $649 or $849.
I rode a Specialized Camber Carbon with Magura MT8 brakes and a TS8 R 120 29” fork. The brakes were powerful, and saved me once or twice when I made some poor line choices on some hairy trails I wasn’t familiar with. The TS8 fork felt smooth and stiff, doing a good job of absorbing a lot of the fast small bumps along the Sedona trails—most notably the fields of moderately sized rocks strewn about the dried-up streambed crossings. G-out dips in the trail system didn’t leave me wanting, using all the compression the fork could offer, and the double arches keeping everything nice and stiff up front. My limited time on the fork left me with a favorable impression of the build quality and simplicity of the 29” TS8 R 120.
Alongside the launch of the TS6/8 forks, Magura introduced its MTS brake. Don’t get too excited though, it’s just a MT4 with additional colors to match Specialized bikes. Also on hand were their new TT Brakes; the RT8 TT and RT6 TT, which were pretty badass.
Magura also confirmed that its brakes will be the OE spec on 2013 Specialized, Cannondale, and Pivot bikes. The OE-specific colors will also be available as aftermarket items.
Some of Magura’s sister companies were in Sedona showing off their best. Uvex had some great new helmets which are extremely lightweight and adjustable. All of the brand’s helmets come with ingenious, optional LEDs for safer cycling around town. The LEDs either clip onto the rear of the helmet, or onto the tops of the straps where they are attached to the helmet body.
Along with the helmets Uvex introduced some new sunglass models, a few with their variomatic lenses that darken or lighten in various lighting conditions. The brown variomatic lenses were incredibly nice. I’m definitely going to get a pair for myself.
Last, but not least, SKS Germany was on hand showing off some of its products. Along with its great pumps they have a cool fender called the Raceblade Long that attaches to any racing bike without interfering with rim brakes and with quick installation and removal through the use of clip connectors. Also there is a new water bottle attachment system for use on frames without bottle mounts.
I had an incredibly fun and informative few days in Sedona. Thanks to all involved.