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  1. #1
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    Marta SL vs XT for upgrade???

    I am looking for a new set of brakes for my new hardtail build.

    I have actually had great luck with my current Juicy 5's (once the squeal and gobble dissappeared) but wanted to move up a notch.

    My mind was made up that I was going to try the Magura Marta SL's as they have had great reviews, and I think german engineering is second to none. My LBS however, is steering me more toward Shimano XT for a no hassle, well built, easy to bleed and service, mineral oil brake. They described the Magura stuff as "good, but finicky". They are knowledgable and I respect their opinion, but I figured I would ask around a little more before deciding.

    Any experience with the two or advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Maguras over XT any day. My Louises have been on my bike for 4 years....easy to bleed (1x/yr) with mineral oil, great modulation.

  3. #3
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    MBAction gushes over the Martas every chance they get and I don't think I've ever seen a bad thing said about them aside from being a bit pricey.

  4. #4
    DGB
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    I've not got Martas but I do have Louise BATs (not hugely different to Martas anymore, esp. since 2009 and them using the same pads) and M775 XTs on my bikes and I find both of them to be very good.
    Personally, I prefer the feel and the reach adjustment range of the XT levers. The XTs also have a free-stroke adjustment that the Martas don't have (BAT on the Louise levers).

    I would say that, from what I've read, the older Magura stuff was more finicky from a bleed point of view but the newer models are a doddle to bleed.
    My XTs (some of the earlier M775 models) have been a bit tricky to bleed but I believe they have been reworked internally in later versions to make bleeding easier.

    IMO you can't go wrong either way as both are solid options and head and shoulders above Juicys (I had J7s so I know).

  5. #5
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    I have both and the jury is still out on which one I like better. For the price I think I would get the XT M775's unless you are looking to save a little weight. Also for the record I have the 08 model Marta's. Both are great brakes and I think you would be happy with either one.

  6. #6
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    Thank you

    Thanks for your thoughtful replies.

    I figured that both were great brakes and I really can't go wrong either way. Hearing from those of you who have had both re-inforces that opinion.

    I think I am going to give the Magura Marta SL's a try. Brakes are not a place on the bike where I want to cut corners due to a cost marginal cost difference. They are one of the most important components for both safety and feel of the bike.

    Thanks again for the input.

  7. #7
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    XT's

  8. #8
    Daniel the Dog
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    XT's

    No doubt. I had nothing but hassles with Magura brakes in the past.

  9. #9
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    Main issues?

    Thanks for the input again.

    Curious what the main issues you had with the Magura brakes were.

    Most of the issues I have heard about were at setup (which I will have my LBS do). After that I have heard in general that they are powerful, reliable, great feel, and easy to maintain.

    The final verdict will be when I spend some time on them and find out for myself, but it is good to know others experience as well.

    Thanks

  10. #10
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    I had the Marta SLs and finally switched 'em out last year after hassling with them for three years - just too finicky for me. They're sitting in a box in my garage if you want 'em cheap. PM me if you're interested.

  11. #11
    one more time
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    I vote XT's - no hassle.

    They arent light but they just work.
    Bikes, beer and pizza.

  12. #12
    wuss
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    I've had 4 sets of Maguras over the years and they have all been great. My previous bike (stolen) had the latest Marta's, and now I have the latest Louise (I was being cheap). I think the new Marta's are just as powerful as louise, all you lose is the lever adjustment (which I don't use) and the handy clamp for the handlebars (which I do like).

    Plenty of power and modulation, and have been extremely reliable for me. I'm not super fond on the looks though.

  13. #13
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    I have a Louise carbon bat and 3 set of SL and 2 has never give me any problem. One I'm trying to figure out the problem I'm loosing pressure when I brake. I've tried immobilized the caliper but didn't work may be I did it wrong. I just bought a new caliper hopefully after I switch it out it would be better.

    I also have 2 set of Xt but for some reason I just don't like the lever feel. The Magura feel better may be because they are carbon lever. There's no lever up grade for the XT yet. If Twenty6 makes them my vote would go to XT. They are nice levers. My juicy 7 feel awesome after I switched.

    Also XT feature the Servo Wave which change the mechanical advantage of the levers in the first few mm of lever action. I spent all this time learning how to modulate and it seem XT does it automatically. It's something to get used. As for the set up I agree XT is no hassle. Both have plenty of power to spare. one is much lighter as Magura whole front system weight almost the same as XT lever.

  14. #14
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    Levers

    I agree that the looks of the Magura brakes really are not that great.

    From the replies so far it would seem that I should just put on XT and be done with it, as no one has really negative experiences with them and the weight for me is really not that big a deal.

    The main reason I am so torn is that I really did not like the feel of the XT brake levers either. It seemed just too long and not that ergonomic for me. The Juicy five levers have been perfect. It was really noticeable as soon as I tried the XT brakes out on a bike.

    Well I will stew on it a little more. I feel so lucky to be concerned over such trivial things as what high end brake to put on my new bike. Lots of people are concerned with getting a job, or putting food in their bellies.

  15. #15
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    If weight isn't an issue, I would recommend you consider Gustav. You would be hard pressed to find a negative comment I think besides the weight and that they have a slight drag ( no discernible drag if set up properly ) My LBS tried their hardest to steer me to Juice. They get a discount from them, whereas probably not from Magura. I Think dealers don't get much of a discount from Magura,whereas they may get a significant discount from companies like Shimano because they buy more products.

    I love my Gustav's, and glad I was able to think for myself and not be swayed by my LBS self interests. If weight isn't a problem for you ( they don't weight that much ) Gustav does have a long lever probably similar to XT, but you can order the shorter levers. I think they would be heads over your other choices, and it's nice to have brakes that not many others have.
    Last edited by suba; 03-24-2010 at 06:21 AM.

  16. #16
    wuss
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    Somehow I don't see the Gustav's as being targeted for the same purpose as the Marta and XT brakes... If you go along that route you would have to be considering Saints and V2's.

  17. #17
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    Hope makes good brakes but dot fluid doesn't work for me. I'm sure Saints are good, but Magura has a good reputation, and for me it's nice having components that aren't usually seen much.

    IMHO you can never have enough braking power. I'll keep my Gustav's

  18. #18
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    cold weather?

    If you ride in cold weather - you may want to research XT performance in winter. At least with the XT's that I have modulation goes to hell below freezing - almost no lever throw because the pistons don't retract properly. If no cold weather riding - they work great.

    I use BB7's in the winter and XT's in the summer - 20 minute swap, twice a year. Prefer the XT's over other hydro brakes I've tried (Avid and Magura only).

  19. #19
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    If you like'd your Juicy's, why not go to Elixirs? You're already aware of the turkey gobble possibility, and it sounds like you know how to fix it, should it come up. If you don't like the XT levers, then pass. You'll be using them many times and if you don't like them now, don't settle.

  20. #20
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    Elixers

    Unfortunately the fix for the gobble was time. I could not figure any fix out and then it just decreased on its own. The lbs was not overly enthusiastic about elixers, and I was thinking about trying out mineral oil brakes which limited my choices. I do not live in cold weather so XT would have been fine. I agree that lever feel could be a deal breaker for me and XTs. I am thinking that the Martas fit my requirements best (unless I run into issues like some of you unfortunately had). Luckily, we are talking bike brakes. Worst case scenario is I hate them, and in that case they cn be changed. Thanks again for your input and experiences. Very helpful to hear opinions outside the sales floor.

  21. #21
    Dual Squishy...
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    Straightline is coming out with new XT/Saint levers this Fall from what someone at Straighline told me. Personally, I have them on my Juicy 7s which I am swapping out for Saints. The Straightline levers are amazing! Check them out...

    Get the XTs and wait a bit for Straightline to come out with their levers, then you have a sweet setup...

  22. #22
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    Hopefully they release this new XT version. I spoke to the same guy(he said he's the only one answer the phone) about the inner plate about18 months ago he said to keep checking back. 2 months ago he told me that they scrap the project and focus more on the silent guide system instead. There lever looks nice.

  23. #23
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    Twenty6 Products said this about Shimano Levers:

    "Thank you for your interest in Twenty6 Products. We do not have any plans of making levers for the new shimano brakes. Thanks again,"

    From Straightline:

    " Nah the XT will come this fall we just did the Elixirs..."

    These are from emailed questions I sent to both TODAY, quick responses from both!!

  24. #24
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    great, Too bad about Twenty6, I asked when I got my lever for J7 if he'd do the Marta or XT, he said but not at that price it would be custom price somewhere in 300-500 well, too bad.

  25. #25
    Magura N. America Svc Mgr
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    I like seeing a comparison of Shimano and Magura as I feel there are few others you can compare as far as quality of construction and attention to detail. Hope makes beautiful stuff of course but performance is sometimes a question.

    There is no other bicycle brake that compares in performance, feel, power and modulation as a Magura, especially modulation. The Germans have had that right from the beginning. We have had issues in the past but we learn and continue to learn and evolve our product. We try to listen to feedback and slowly adjust and perfect.

    The bleed concerns of the past were simply rectified with educating the shops mechanics to feel comfortable with the details of ours and everyone else's brakes. They are no different from any others systems in how they work or how they should be serviced so anyone savvy with a Hayes, Hope, Sram, Shimano, Formula, Chevy, Ford, Ferrari, Brembo, Alicon, Willwood, Tokiko, Nissin, PM, etc.... should be able to service the brake. Why not? Sure there are tips and tricks but the basics are well established and easy.

    Good luck with your decision and enjoy your ride!
    Jude

  26. #26
    wuss
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    While I like my Maguras I do have to say that I found Hope M4's to have as good power and modulation as my Marta or Louise. However the problems I had with them was the noise and getting the pistons to align. The maguras on the other hand are silent and a breeze to set up.

  27. #27
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    At the end of last season I updraded to disks. After some research I decided on the 2010 Marta SL's. I have never dealt with hydraulic disks ever yet after carefully reading the directions I was able to easily set mine up which included cutting and shortening the hydraulic lines. I have not had a single problems since I put them on. The modulation is great and the levers feel awesome too.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jude@magurausa.com
    I like seeing a comparison of Shimano and Magura as I feel there are few others you can compare as far as quality of construction and attention to detail. Hope makes beautiful stuff of course but performance is sometimes a question.

    There is no other bicycle brake that compares in performance, feel, power and modulation as a Magura, especially modulation. The Germans have had that right from the beginning. We have had issues in the past but we learn and continue to learn and evolve our product. We try to listen to feedback and slowly adjust and perfect.

    The bleed concerns of the past were simply rectified with educating the shops mechanics to feel comfortable with the details of ours and everyone else's brakes. They are no different from any others systems in how they work or how they should be serviced so anyone savvy with a Hayes, Hope, Sram, Shimano, Formula, Chevy, Ford, Ferrari, Brembo, Alicon, Willwood, Tokiko, Nissin, PM, etc.... should be able to service the brake. Why not? Sure there are tips and tricks but the basics are well established and easy.

    Good luck with your decision and enjoy your ride!
    What exactly makes the Magura Louise Bat (http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/200...Brake-2010.htm) better than the Shimano XT (http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/189...Brake-2009.htm)
    RH SL Pro

  29. #29
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    Which one are you running now

    Quote Originally Posted by louisssss
    What exactly makes the Magura Louise Bat (http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/200...Brake-2010.htm) better than the Shimano XT (http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/189...Brake-2009.htm)

    To answer you more accurately, which brake are you running now

  30. #30
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    Squealing and Vibrating Elixir 4's (Elixir Levers + Juicy 3 calipers + G3 Rotors)

    I have Ashima Airotors in hand.
    RH SL Pro

  31. #31
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    Elixir+Juicy3 are they compatible?

    Quote Originally Posted by louisssss
    Squealing and Vibrating Elixir 4's (Elixir Levers + Juicy 3 calipers + G3 Rotors)

    I have Ashima Airotors in hand.

    I thought that the elixir are redesigned funny it still fit J3. Is it an OEM Elixir4?

    Well, I have both the Louise carbon BAT, and the Shimano XT, they are about equal on power, both use mineral oil and have lever,tool-free pad adjustment. They both have great modulation feel using 7" and 8" rotor as some brakes tend to feel really grabby when using big rotor.

    2 things that bothers me are Shimano is not the prettiest brake out there, XT has servo wave tech that varies the power through out the stroke. It's great if you are a noob using a powerful brake but if you spend time honing your modulation it feels a bit weird at first.

    I have a few rides on the Mags and XX, I like the way they feel especially the XX with carbon lever, but both have this whirling vibrations at the rotors like ABS brake or something, and for no particular they would let out a squeak every now and then. For the money I would think that this problem would be engineer out already. Of course it's not my bikes may be my friend has set it up incorrectly. I do experience the squealing on my Juicy carbon and J7 from time to time though.

    If you are looking for a great break, easy set up and good value, I'd recommend the Louise.

    Hope that helps

  32. #32
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    yea, i hate that vibrating that feels like ABS, i guess whats what i have now on my Juicy 3 calipers.

    Yes my setup came stock named as "Elixir 4's" from specialized.

    It looks like the Louise cost $150 each $300 for the set. the XT's are $180 for the set.... http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/192...ake-System.htm with that in mind which is better for the $$?
    RH SL Pro

  33. #33
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    Louise, German engineer is the best. I own a lot of brake Oro puro, XTR, XT, Hope and for the money it's great value. I paid almost twice that for mine when it first came out still think that it worth every penny.

  34. #34
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    I would try Formula R1

    The Formula R1 & One's smoked the competition in last month's
    brake test, with forty brakes lab and trail tested.
    The Louise brakes ranked higher than the Marta's. Of course all of
    these are excellent brakes, but in my opinon, "Why not the best?"
    just make sure that you use at minimum a 180F/160R configuration.
    Cheers,
    Kane

  35. #35
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    +1 on the One, that's like a down hill brake performance with XC weight. R1 is a bit pricy right now. I'm running 203/160 on my Puro and it's smokin'

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbratt
    If you ride in cold weather - you may want to research XT performance in winter. At least with the XT's that I have modulation goes to hell below freezing - almost no lever throw because the pistons don't retract properly. If no cold weather riding - they work great.

    I use BB7's in the winter and XT's in the summer - 20 minute swap, twice a year. Prefer the XT's over other hydro brakes I've tried (Avid and Magura only).
    Try using a different mineral oil, i switched up my 765 to pentosin hydraulic fluid and the brakes work much better at lower temperatures than with the stock shimano mineral oil.
    I don't wear a helmet, I wear a turban protector!

  37. #37
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    which brake is best for wet damp conditions like the north east?
    RH SL Pro

  38. #38
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    Final Report

    Thanks again for all of your replies. It is always nice to get closure on a thread when someone asks a question so here is mine:

    I ended up going with the 2010 Marta SL's. Just felt that I would give them a try and I got enough good feedback here to feel solid about it.

    My impressions so far (one ride only):

    1. By far the best "lever feel" of any brake I have tried. Super smooth and linear.
    2. Plenty of power for my 150lbs on a light hardtail.
    3. Don't look as bad as I thought they would. In fact I think they look really really clean.

    4.Only one bad. I tried to advance the lever adjuster screw a little and the f$#@ing thing stripped out. The carbon lever is fine but the screw is in there and stripped. Bummer! The lever position is fine so I will leave it alone until I have to deal with it.

    Time will tell if they end up being really good, reliable brakes but for now I am stoked with the decision.

    Happy trails

  39. #39
    Magura N. America Svc Mgr
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    Hey Thanks for going with the Martas! Great choice and good support from us internationally so you will be taken care of for years to come. Remember, We have a 5 year leak proof warranty we stand behind proudly.

    We can send you another adjuster screw so let us know where we can ship it.
    We had a batch of these that must have missed the hardening process and we've encounter some random situations like this.
    Sorry to hassle you with such a little nuisance but let us know how we can send you a new one.
    Jude

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