Power is nothing with out control, and you have no control with out power. This could not be more true than when you are booting down a hill at over 60Kmh with a 18% gradient. Add to the equation gravel crumbling off your wheels well they beg for traction, a tight turn, and that nice bit of mud to get the party started.
Power! Ya OK, most of us want it and desire to have more of it and maybe some of us really need it like when you are using both hands on both brakes till you are white knuckled and not stopping. Simply needed ! However if you are obsessed with taking over your neighbourhood block or just feathering a brake lever and find yourself moving rapidly further than your current bike position with a sudden need for new dental work you may need to get that under control.
Am I going all gangster here? Well it is the Bad Boy blog and we got some big things to stop you.
The Magura MT5 is a 4 piston calliper design disc brake. It uses two brakes pads and is the brother to the MT7 from Magura. Unlike the MT7 it is not ugly yellow which would not match the Bad Boy (he digs black) and it is slightly down on absolute power. It also lacks the top loading brake pad changing but if you are honest how hard is it to undo the front wheel and change the pads? Anyways most likely with a brake pad change you may want to consider a bleed so no biggie and not like pads change every day.
Up front Bad Boy is using a 180mm Rotor with a standard 6 bolt configuration mounted to his Chris King ISO hubs. Over his previous Magura MT2 brakes, also from the previous generation of Magura MT line he is 20mm larger in the front with the rotor. The MT2 was also a dual piston design but it was not lacking in enough power for most situations. In all honesty he likely would have stuck with them had they not developed a strange problem with loosing pressure. Perhaps it was some air trapped in the line or a small leak somewhere but we will have to wait and see what Magura says as they out for inspection.
The back side is still running a 160mm rotor as this was the smallest he could go with the mounting. I think a 150mm would have also been more than enough but the control is great and I will speak more of this in a moment.
Over the previous generation MT2 the banjo system allows for a better placement of the hoses. Also it can be mounted on either side of the calliper and the bolt on the second side can easily be removed for bleeding. Personally I think they look very sexy and sleek hiding in disguise their true awesomeness.
Lever adjustments can be done with a Torx bolt to adjust how closely the reach is. Mine I kept pretty much fully extended and with my size 8-8.5 hands I never felt it too far a stretch.
Though this is a two finger design on the levers I found no issues often using just the one and this is really where the MT5 comes into its own in regards to power. Over the previous generation MT2 the way the brakes seem to engage is very similar. Actually at first the two brakes where so similar in feel that I sort of was wondering if this was any type of upgrade at all. Simply going down the street in commute mode the first few days I felt it was just like brand new brake pads in my MT2 after a fresh bleed. Keep in mind this is also with the 180mm rotor instead of the 160mm I used to have up front so I was having my moments of deep thought(s).
Oh but how the power can deceive:
A few days later I decided to take a boot down one of my little hills on the way to work. Maybe a 8-10% type of hill on the road. Coming down for the first few curves it was business as usual with a finger or so on the levers. However I did seem to notice I was using a little bit less effort to brake the speed down. Now as I hit the last section and as I was racing for the lights spinning out my gears as fast as I could I was confronted by the need to stop for the good ol red light. On the MT2 system I would have had to have two fingers grabbing with a pretty good effort to slow down fast enough but now with the MT5 I was coming to a very, very fast stop and could have easily done an endo if I wanted. What is even more amazing is how much feel and modulation I had during this whole process. Keep in mind I was still under 30KM on the pads and they where not broken in but I was fully adjusted with my body weight over the rear wheel for maximum braking power.
Some few weeks later and now some 500KM more I can really give some impressions on what that first little hill spin was about to reveal.
Power, let me talk about this first. With the exceptions of maybe some some Saintly cousins of another brand I don’t think I have come across a brake as powerful. Having gone through various brakes on this bike in testing I had always believed I could never have this power goal fulfilled where my lust for power would prevail. But again the point comes back that power means nothing with out control, and in brakes the control really comes down to modulation. There was a reason I went back with Magura and choose them even with my previous brakes.
Modulation, oh that feeling is so sexy and addictive. When you are burning down a dirty trail and realize you want to make that turn the last thing you want is power that instantly locks up. You know the turns where you leaning the bike, the wheels are starting to drift as the traction is fading with a slight hissing sound of gravel and the odd ricochet of rocks, and then OH that last curve is coming all to fast. This is the control where you really need to feel everything on that edge and have perfect feedback. These brakes just rule for this and you can just keep on slowly squeezing in till just before you lock up containing maximum control, and slightly ease off to decend the next straight away. It is a hard thing to describe this feeling if you never had it but it is class that comes from the best precision engineering. Class like in an AMG Mercedes, or Porsche with their brakes where they are not really harder to use but you never loose that feel either and get disconnected. It is that combination of power and modulation that let you focus on the task at hand and where engineering becomes perfection and you are one with the machine and the machine is just a natural extension of your actions.
With the upgrade to the MT5 system I am able to push a bit more into situations where I can brake much later and not worry about wiping out as I may lock up the brakes. There has not been a moment where I need to guess how much power to apply, or if it will come on unpredictable. They really are worth considering and with a Cannondale Bad Boy they are just simply Bad MOFOS. Hats off to Magura as this is quite a leap forward over the previous generations and a serious brake that will stop you not dead in your tracks.
You been warned, you will be stopped!
Thanks for checking this out and a special thanks for Uwe and the team at Bikes24 for helping get Bad Boy setup. They are always great and have helped Bad Boy become his true potential.
Also join us for some chats on Face Book Bad Boy Owners
and MTBR Bad Boy Thread.