The Magura MT5 is the entry-level brake in the Magura range, but it shares some of the same components as the more expensive MT7, like the forged four-piston caliper and composite lever body.
The difference with the Magura MT5 from the Magura MT7 brake caliper is that it is painted rather than polished, the lever blade is aluminium, it has a tooled bite point adjuster and it also comes fitted with the cheaper 9.P Performance series brake pads. Instead of two individual pads, these are a sort of a co-op design – with a single backing plate but two independent squares of braking material. There are no caliper springs included, the pads just hook into the top of the caliper and are held in place by magnetic pistons.
Both front and rear hoses come uncut, so you will need to shorten the front before fitting and that means you’ll also need a dedicated Magura bleed kit, because it does have a different thread on the bleed port to most brakes. Bleeding can be temperamental, so if you can get away with not trimming the rear hose, I’d recommend it.
I’ve tested Magura brakes quite a few times and they always take a lot of bedding in. With the MT5 I’ve found the best practice is to do at least 25-30 stops (yes really) and then swap the pads over, because you usually get more heat into the front than the rear, then do another 25-30 stops. I can’t stress how important this is, because if you don’t cure the pads they can wear down really quickly. For example, a set of MT5 brakes came fitted to my HaiBike longtermer, and since it had already been ridden, I assumed they’d been bedded in. But on the first muddy ride the pads ground down to the metal in less than an hour. They also managed to unhook themselves from the caliper and become tangled in the rotor.
Despite the more involved set-up, for a £100 brake the MT5 has an incredibly light lever feel and it also feels progressive and pretty powerful. There are, however, a couple of issues – the power drops away as the lever comes close to the bar and it also gets floppy, which is not ideal if you like to run a short reach. The stock pads are also noisy and lack bite and, while Magura does produce a Race pad, I’ve not found it any more durable. To get the best from this brake, I’d seriously consider upgrading to a Swiss Stop Magura Disc 33 E pad – this is a similar price to the Race pad, but only takes a few hard stops to bed in and lasts much longer.
For an entry-level disc brake with a carbon body and forged one-piece caliper, the Magura MT5 is excellent value and it is lightweight, but pad life is poor and the performance can be inconsistent, especially if you run the levers inboard.