Magura Gustav M Disc Brake ReviewwebpageMagura Gustav M Disc Brake Review: Initial review 29th December 2004
I was recently lucky enough to have the chance to test out the 2005 Magura Gustav M on some of our long, torturous downhill trails here in Bolivia. Magura USA sent us a couple of different pairs in the mail to test as they know that the massive downhill mountain bike rides here test any and all equipment -- especially brakes! We've run Hayes disc brakes here for many years (you'll see reviews of the Hayes Mag Disc Brakes and the Hayes El Camino Disc Brakes also on our web site). We use about 1,200-1,600 disc brake pads a year... so yup, we're doing a lot of braking out here.
This review is written after about two weeks of various riding, including urban DH and DH/ free riding on many different types of terrain. I installed the brakes on my 2003 Kona Stab Primo downhill bike with a Marzocchi Shiver on the front.
Other than that, the brakes are easy to fit. As long as the disc is somewhere between the caliper body, the floating piston design lines it up for you. Very easy, and you don't seem to get any brake drag once it has self-adjusted.
These are not a flip-flop lever, so to change sides of the brake levers you have to swap the brake lines over and rebleed. This is not a problem for most people, as I don't know anyone who changes the sides they have their brakes set up on, ever! However it is an almost insurmountable problem for us at Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking, since we have to swap the brake sides for clients to the side they are used to using (e.g., New Zealand, Australia and England use right-hand front brake; USA, Canada and the rest of Europe are left-hand front brake).
These brakes are also considerably heavier than the Hayes Mags or Hayes HFX-9s that we usually run. As such they are even heavier than the recently released 2005 Hayes El Camino brakes (also reviewed on our web site).
I think that these brakes are plenty powerful enough to have a short 2-finger lever and have no need for the huge 3-finger lever they are fitted with; it's just too big and has too much leverage.
On the runs I did I had absolutely no problem with brake fade or lever pump. The riding temperatures were mild so I don't know if it would be more prone to pumping up in really hot weather like my home in Perth, Australia where a 40 C. day will test most brakes out.
The pads were super soft, providing very, very positive braking, but the sacrifice is that they are made for a good time not a long time. After my couple of weeks testing about 5 rides I had used about 10% of the pads which means they would last about a month of riding for us here (remember that we quite regularly ride more than 200,000 ft of vertical descent in a month, so our pad wear is exceptional). One of the nice extras is a wear indicator on the pad for when it's getting low, which is good for extreme conditions or slack buggers who never check their pads. Pads are not as simple to change as the Hayes but I guess most people don't need to change them every month like we do here.
One of my rides was extremely muddy and I did find that with a bit of mud around the caliper area it tended to drag a little (jamming the floating action), but this was a lot of very sticky mud, and probably not the kind of thing you would encounter very often.
On my last ride I had a bit of howling coming from the back brake for a while, but as these are a "self adjusting" brake I didn't look at changing the alignment. The sound did eventually go away. This could be frustrating if it happened repeatedly.
These are not a flip-flop lever, so to change sides of the brake levers you have to swap the brake lines over and rebleed. This is not a problem for most people, as I don't know anyone who changes the sides they have their brakes set up on, ever! However it is an almost insurmountable problem for us at Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking, since we have to swap the brake sides for clients to the side they are used to using (e.g., New Zealand, Australia and England use right-hand front brake; USA, Canada and the rest of Europe [including your all inclusive holidays in Spain are left-hand front brake).
A big thanks to the guys at Magura for sending us this set to demo.
Mac Hosking, Senior Guide 2004
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