MAGURA Know-how from the world of motorbikes

Many of the technologies used in today’s MAGURA MT bicycle brakes have their origins in MAGURA’s proven motorcycle products. Only a very few people know this – but MAGURA has its roots in motorcycles. Here’s a brief history.

As a partner of BMW Motorrad, the MAGURA name has been synonymous with safe products for braking, clutching, accelerating and steering since 1923. In the course of the following years, more partners were added: Kreidler, Zündapp, Horex, NSU Motorenwerke, Tornax and Triumph – to name just a few of the best-known motorcycle brands. In the post-war period from 1948, MAGURA, like the entire motorcycle industry, benefited from the incipient two-wheeler boom: motorized bicycles became the “pioneer vehicles of motorization”, as they were much cheaper to buy and maintain than cars.

Even cheaper cars were still too expensive for the average citizen in Germany at that time, so motorcycles were preferred to the more practical car for cost reasons.

In the early 1950s, things finally began to turn around. Small and very small cars came onto the market and were only marginally more expensive than heavy motorcycles and in some cases even cheaper than many sidecars. Politically, the “car for everyone” became a goal of growing prosperity, so that by 1957 there were already more cars than motorcycles registered on German roads. The number of motorcyclists became fewer, the car conquered the roads.

This development heralded a long crisis in the motorcycle industry – and it also indirectly affected MAGURA. As a parts supplier for many motorcycle manufacturers who were now going bankrupt, MAGURA subsequently opened up additional areas of business – including the bicycle industry.

From “Hydro–Stop” to “MT” – Unmistakeable motorcycle DNA 

In 1987 MAGURA launched the world’s first hydraulic bicycle brake, the “Hydro-Stop”, which was to achieve cult status a few years later with the characteristic MAGURA Raceline neon yellow. In 1997, the engineers in Bad Urach then presented the legendary Gustav M disc brake and conquered the MTB segment with it. A full 13 years later, this was replaced by today’s MT disc brakes. Hydro-Stop, Gustav M and MT – these products all have one thing in common: the inspiration of their design and functionality comes from MAGURA motorcycle products. Let’s take a look at the highlights of our developers.


MAGURA MT brake callipers vs. Supermoto brake callipers

The legendary MAGURA Gustav M was a technological milestone with outstanding braking performance. Even its design was based on that of motorcycle brake callipers. The fixed calliper design with four pistons, the MT7 brake callipers, was derived from the floating calliper design with two pistons.

The corresponding product from the motorcycle sector was a blueprint godfather for the MT7 brake callipers. At that time, between 2004 and 2012, MAGURA had the 750er brake callipers for supermotos in its range. The callipers were forged, while the CNC-milled piston covers stood out in colour from the rest of the calliper.

When you pick up an MT7, the parallels become clear: the brake calliper is forged from one piece and the piston covers can be optically individualized with coloured plastic rings. But there’s more behind this first impression. The experience gained in the motorcycle sector was incorporated into concepts of stiffness, heat management and dimensioning of the piston diameters. In this way, the “Triple Arch Design” of the MT7 and MT5 callipers originated from the design of the supermoto brake calliper and refers to a technology that was developed to stiffen the housing. Four individual pads were used in the supermoto brake calliper. This is a feature that only the MAGURA MT7 relies on as standard in the bicycle sector. With success: the sum of the features adopted from the motorcycle sector or developed specifically for the MT7 have resulted in a brake that has already proven its tremendous braking performance in independent tests and on test rigs several times – it’s a worthy successor to the Gustav M.

HC3 Ratio Adjust vs. 3-way adjustable lever bearing point on the HC3

Wouldn’t it be nice if braking behaviour could be adapted to a wide variety of conditions? That’s what Danny MacAskill thought, and he’s been among the world’s elite in trials and street trials for years. So the development department at MAGURA set to work – and found what they were looking for in the HC3 motorcycle counterpart.

The MAGURA HC3 radial brake cylinder allows the individual adjustment of the feel in the hand lever. This is achieved by the 3-way adjustable lever bearing point. Depending on which of the three bearing points the axle is located, the required manual force and lever travel change during braking. The special feature of this solution is that full radial actuation of the piston at an optimum 90° angle is possible in all three lever bearing positions.

Inspired by this unique selling point of the HC3 radial master cylinder for motorcycles, the HC3 lever blade of the same name was developed for the MAGURA MT. Although the design approach differs from its motorcycle counterpart, it achieves a comparable effect in practice. The braking behaviour of the MAGURA MT can be adjusted as desired with the HC3 lever blade: easy to modulate on slippery surfaces or hard-biting when short, fierce braking is required.


MAGURA MT Trail SL vs. Husqvarna brake system

The concept of the MT Trail and MT Trail SL is unique: four pistons at the front, two pistons at the rear. At the front, where high and easily modulated braking force is required, four pistons do their work, while two pistons are sufficient at the rear. In this way, the MT Trail SL offers optimum braking performance at a low weight.

However, the concept of the MT Trail SL didn’t simply happen, it has its origin in the motocross/enduro sector, where the motto has long been, more pistons at the front than at the rear.

MAGURA MT master vs. HC3 radial master cylinder

Since the first Marta and the second Louise brake generation, the disc brakes from MAGURA have all had radial master cylinders. With a radial design, the brake piston moves perpendicularly to the handlebar, whereas an axial design of the master moves it parallel to the handlebar. The result is a compact design and a particularly direct braking feel.

This technology originated in the motorcycle sector. On the racetrack, where hard braking is the norm, radial master cylinders really come into their own. They provide precise feedback from the track surface and brake during braking, enabling the rider to make the most of the limit between maximum deceleration and a locked front wheel. However, this technology also provides additional safety on the road. Despite advanced ABS systems, radial master cylinders also offer a more precise and direct braking feel than axial brake cylinders.

Based on this positive experience in the motorcycle sector, MAGURA engineers also adopted this design for the MT series masters. With success: thanks to the radial masters, the multiple award-winning MT brakes also provide riders with a direct hand lever feel and transmit precise feedback from the front wheel – this brings enormous advantages and a plus in safety, especially on highly technical trails.


MT7 Pro

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Radial Brake And Clutch Master Cylinder

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1-Finger HC3 Lever

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MT Trail SL
Trail Combination

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