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  1. #1
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    Magura MT5 vs Shimano Zee vs Formula Cura

    Hi all,

    Looking to swap my Guide R brakes to something more powerful. Both the Shimano Zees, Magura MT5s, and Formula Curas look to offer plenty of power at a solid price point. Unless there is a good reason to go with something like Saints/MT7s I would definitely prefer to keep costs down.

    Going by Enduro-MTB's brake test (link below), it seems like the MT5s are the most powerful, with the Zees and the Curas tied. However, I've heard mixed things about the MT5's lever, and am wondering how well they would work with IceTech rotors.

    The Curas seem to have solid power, fine modulation, and quality levers. However, it sounds like the MT5s have better power (and maybe modulation?).

    The Zees are certainly the workhorse of budget high power brakes, but seem to lack the modulation of the MT5s and Curas. While I don't care much about weight, the Zees do come in at about 100g more than the other options.

    Does anyone have some hands on feedback with one or more of these brakes? Right now I'm leaning towards the MT5s, despite the possible problems with IceTech rotors. Is there anything else I'm missing that I should be considering?

    Thanks.

    https://enduro-mtb.com/en/best-mtb-disc-brake-can-buy/

  2. #2
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    I ran the Formula Cura's this year and really liked them. Good modulation and power. I just put on the new Cura 4's because I wanted a bit more power and can't wait to get some seat time on them.

  3. #3
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    I don't have much experience with different brakes but at 210lbs find the ZEEs work very well with one finger. They can be grabby and I could see how a lighter person might not like them.

  4. #4
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    Not sure what pads they tested, but the Zees come with resin pads stock. You can upgrade to metallic pads for a decent increase in power.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by hookem34 View Post
    I ran the Formula Cura's this year and really liked them. Good modulation and power. I just put on the new Cura 4's because I wanted a bit more power and can't wait to get some seat time on them.
    Thanks for the recommendation. Sounds like the Cura 4s would be an even better option, I'll definitely look into them.

    Quote Originally Posted by scycllerist View Post
    I don't have much experience with different brakes but at 210lbs find the ZEEs work very well with one finger. They can be grabby and I could see how a lighter person might not like them.
    Zees do look solid, but I'm not a huge fan of a grabby brake. It sounds like I may be better served with the Maguras or the Curas.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    Not sure what pads they tested, but the Zees come with resin pads stock. You can upgrade to metallic pads for a decent increase in power.
    Definitely something to keep in mind. I think the MT5s had cheaper pads too, so it sounds like both the Zees and MT5s could push better numbers with different pads.

  7. #7
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    Don't have enough runs on my front Zees, but so far so good

  8. #8
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    My riding experience with Zee's is about the same as others have stated above. Good and reliables brakes would be the pro about them.
    I'm almost a formula brakes fanboy, the only problem is that I don't like to spend that much on brakes, otherwise the Cura 4pot would be on my next build.
    Now the Magura MT5, they caught my attention when they came out, and I like the feel and power they have, but I can't wrap my head around the plastic master cylinders.

  9. #9
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    I've got MT5's on my rig for a few months now. At 230lbs they offer similar power with better lever feedback than the Saints they replaced. I did experience the wandering bite point with Saints a couple times (maybe 4-5 times and only at the bike park) but nothing that has resulted in a crash. More an annoyance than anything.

    I will say that the Shimano's are still the MUCH easier to bleed, maintain and work on without a mess. Being able to bleed the lever and caliper without losing a drop of fluid and KNOW you've got a solid bleed sometimes gets taken for granted. I absolutely HATED bleeding SRAM Guide's before their bleeding edge tech. Another thing to keep in mind is that although MT5's will work just fine with Shimano rotors, Magura rotors are thicker so bleeding with their bleed blocks may result in a longer lever throw than you want and it will take some fine tuning to your brakes to feel just right.

    On a budget, I'd do the MT5's again. With cash to spend, gimme Saints all day errrday.



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  10. #10
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    Well with thinner non-Magura rotors youíll potentially lose your brakes before the pads wear thin, so beware ... which theyíre also operating with less heat mass capacity too.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by hookem34 View Post
    I ran the Formula Cura's this year and really liked them. Good modulation and power. I just put on the new Cura 4's because I wanted a bit more power and can't wait to get some seat time on them.
    Definitely want to hear about the new cura's. Might just start a new thread. They may have me trading up from Saint's.

    OP, given what you said I'd go Zee's.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  12. #12
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    So things changed up a bit and I ended up getting a deal on a set of MT7s. These look to be phenomenal brakes, just a bit worried about using them with IceTech rotors. It sounds like it will be fine, as I've heard of other users running MT7s with IceTech rotors with no problems. Just not 100% about doing something out of spec on a brakeset this nice.

    Thanks for all the advice. The new Cura 4 pots look really nice, they probably would have been my pick if not for the deal on the MT7s.

  13. #13
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    Well people do it, but it kind of bugs me when someone says itís no problem without explaining the actual situation. People need to be informed first, then they can decide for themselves. Magura has their reasons for not recommending it:

    https://www.velonews.com/2011/10/mou...n-holes_252053

    youíre at the recommended min thickness with new rotors. Wonít take much use before theyíre technically out of spec. If you want braking power then the rotor needs to be up to the task, but whether it reveals itself as a problem or not likely depends on many factors. The overall safety issue though would be if the friction material sheared off the backer plate for some reason, which would potentially allow the pistons to come out of the caliper bore with an immediate loss of some or all braking on that end.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheUnknownRider View Post
    Well people do it, but it kind of bugs me when someone says itís no problem without explaining the actual situation. People need to be informed first, then they can decide for themselves. Magura has their reasons for not recommending it:

    https://www.velonews.com/2011/10/mou...n-holes_252053

    youíre at the recommended min thickness with new rotors. Wonít take much use before theyíre technically out of spec. If you want braking power then the rotor needs to be up to the task, but whether it reveals itself as a problem or not likely depends on many factors. The overall safety issue though would be if the friction material sheared off the backer plate for some reason, which would potentially allow the pistons to come out of the caliper bore with an immediate loss of some or all braking on that end.
    Thanks for the link, though I didn't quite see where they mention possible caliper failure (the structural and heat stability seems to be about the rotor, something I would expect to be a non-issue with IceTech discs). I definitely am on the fence about pushing the pistons out too far, but would like to wear out my current disks before dropping coin on new set + centerlock adapters (I can't seem to find a 2mm thick centerlock rotor).

  15. #15
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    I have Magura's on my 29+ hardtail (plus one other bike now, but doesn't mean much in this context) I have 203/180 rotors on it and the braking power of the front 4 piston caliper is impressive. I'm 205 lbs and that bike has heavy wheels/tires and those brakes easily do the job with great modulation.

    I've owned many Shimano's, still have 3 sets in service, but no experience with the Zee's or the Formula's.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    I have Magura's on my 29+ hardtail (plus one other bike now, but doesn't mean much in this context) I have 203/180 rotors on it and the braking power of the front 4 piston caliper is impressive. I'm 205 lbs and that bike has heavy wheels/tires and those brakes easily do the job with great modulation.

    I've owned many Shimano's, still have 3 sets in service, but no experience with the Zee's or the Formula's.
    Sounds great, Magura's brakes seem to be some of the most powerful around. What rotors are you running with them?

  17. #17
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    I've had MT5s in use for about 3 years with non-Magura rotors. Last year with Shimano Ice-tech. Never had a problem.
    The brakes are powerful and with great modulation, but weak master cylinder/clamp/lever is a minus. if you tend to crash. They are also pretty hard to bleed as was mentioned.

    Formula Cura seems pretty nice and powerful, but they seem similar to other Formula brakes in that they are hard to align so that they wouldn't rub on the rotors. The space there is so small.

    I think I'll try the Shimano MT501 next. The Deore brakes on my other bike have been great.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by N-K View Post

    Formula Cura seems pretty nice and powerful, but they seem similar to other Formula brakes in that they are hard to align so that they wouldn't rub on the rotors. The space there is so small.
    This. Been using Curaís since they came out. Switching back to Shimano soon (new XTR).


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  19. #19
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    My 2cs:
    I'm riding Mt5s for 3 seasons now. I've ridden Zees before and tried Curas this year.
    MT5 is the most powerfull. By a noticable margin. Modulation is awesome. I've ridden them with shimano rotors and magura rotors.
    What i don't like about mt5s:
    1.) plastic lever body is weak. If you are ham fisted, you'll crack it. If you crash, you could easily break it. I ended up with 3 spare lever bodies. Lever blade is fine and tough, body is shit.
    2.) On shimano rotors (0.2mm thinner), feeling is spongy and pistons can overextend. Works, but anoying. Magura rotors give much firmer feeling. Bleeding them is a bitch also.
    3.) They eat brake pads like candy.
    With all that, they never leaked, never did lever pull all the way to the grips and never faded. Performace was superb.

    Zee are strong, but modulation is shit. And you have to deal with the stupid leaky servo wave lever (warrantied 3 pairs before maguras).

    Don't have long term experience with Curas, but after MT5s, they were to weak for me, and squealed worse than Avids.

    If you are coming from guides, or 2 pot brakes, any of there will be a significant upgrade, but none is clearly better than the others. Maguras perform the best but keep in mind what I wrote above.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix864 View Post
    Sounds great, Magura's brakes seem to be some of the most powerful around. What rotors are you running with them?
    Magura rotors for now. They warble a bit more than I would like and plan to switch to XT's. They're a little noisy at times but I also don't like that I can feel every cutout as it passes through the brake pads.

    It's a minor annoyance, maybe a pet peeve?, but functionally they're fine.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Magura rotors for now. They warble a bit more than I would like and plan to switch to XT's. They're a little noisy at times but I also don't like that I can feel every cutout as it passes through the brake pads.

    It's a minor annoyance, maybe a pet peeve?, but functionally they're fine.
    That doesn't sound right. You sure you bed the pads to the rotors correctly? Warble is indicative of an uneven mating surface.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rondre3000 View Post
    That doesn't sound right. You sure you bed the pads to the rotors correctly? Warble is indicative of an uneven mating surface.
    Yes, properly broken in. Maybe warble isn't the right word. It's a feel thing more than a sound thing. I can feel cutouts in the rotor.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoshy View Post
    My 2cs:
    I'm riding Mt5s for 3 seasons now. I've ridden Zees before and tried Curas this year.
    MT5 is the most powerfull. By a noticable margin. Modulation is awesome. I've ridden them with shimano rotors and magura rotors.
    What i don't like about mt5s:
    1.) plastic lever body is weak. If you are ham fisted, you'll crack it. If you crash, you could easily break it. I ended up with 3 spare lever bodies. Lever blade is fine and tough, body is shit.
    2.) On shimano rotors (0.2mm thinner), feeling is spongy and pistons can overextend. Works, but anoying. Magura rotors give much firmer feeling. Bleeding them is a bitch also.
    3.) They eat brake pads like candy.
    With all that, they never leaked, never did lever pull all the way to the grips and never faded. Performace was superb.

    Zee are strong, but modulation is shit. And you have to deal with the stupid leaky servo wave lever (warrantied 3 pairs before maguras).

    Don't have long term experience with Curas, but after MT5s, they were to weak for me, and squealed worse than Avids.

    If you are coming from guides, or 2 pot brakes, any of there will be a significant upgrade, but none is clearly better than the others. Maguras perform the best but keep in mind what I wrote above.

    I have mt5's on my enduro rig with a Magura storm (203) rotor on the front and then a SLX (180) rotor on the rear. and there is definitely a difference in the feel between the two. when I place another order for parts I am changing out the rear rotor to a magura storm as well, unless I move over to a different brake all together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix864 View Post
    Thanks for the link, though I didn't quite see where they mention possible caliper failure (the structural and heat stability seems to be about the rotor, something I would expect to be a non-issue with IceTech discs). I definitely am on the fence about pushing the pistons out too far, but would like to wear out my current disks before dropping coin on new set + centerlock adapters (I can't seem to find a 2mm thick centerlock rotor).

    Magura Storm CL (Center Lock)

    https://www.magura.com/en/components...lpage/?p=27863

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheUnknownRider View Post
    Thanks for the link, interestingly the Centerlock rotors do not show on the US shop page. However, my local LBS is able to get the rotors. Seems like the only way to get Centerlock Magura rotors in the US is through a distributor.

  26. #26
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    Thereís a lot of parts that donít show up on the website. If you contact them they can verify and you can also buy direct. Direct is MSRP, but you might not be getting any discount regardless in that situation.

    edit: actually they are on there using the search function, they didnít come up from the pull down menu. All currently shown as backorder may be why. WorldWideCyclery is showing 203mm in stock and 180 with 1-2 week delivery. Might be others.

  27. #27
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    I've got the MT Trail Sport (I believe the front is the same as the MT5) and the ZEE. The big difference for me is the power and modulation. If you want absolute stopping power...the ZEE is the answer. Modulation the Magura. The ZEE is paired with 203mm RT86 rotors and the MT's with 180mm Ashima rotors. Getting back onto the ZEE bike...I have to remind myself to go easy on the brakes for a few mins until I re-adjust to the way they work. For all around brakes...I like the Maguras...just because they are a bit more "forgiving".

    FWIW...I'm about 150-155lbs all geared up with my pack, full face helmet, and pads.

  28. #28
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    I've gotten the MT7s installed and set up, and have had a few rides with them. The brakes have been excellent so far. Installation was relatively painless and typical. The screws that thread directly into the one piece composite lever do make me a bit nervous, but everything has been solid so far.

    As far as using IceTech rotors goes, I have had good results so far. Brake power is fantastic and lever feel and throw is good. That may change as the pads wear, but for now I have no qualms about running IceTech rotors with the MT7s. Pad clearance on my IceTech rotors is ridiculously tight -even after my best effort at centering the pistons and caliper I can still hear a bit of rubbing (can't hear or notice it on the trail, so not a huge issue). I can't image getting a rub-free setup with an even thicker rotor.

    Power and modulation is definitely as-advertised. Power is fantastic, they are definitively more powerful than the Guides, Codes, XTs, Zees, and XTRs I've used. Overall the MT7s are on the overkill side, but I don't think anyone would mind having a more powerful brake. I really like the feel of the brakes - they have a firmer lever than SRAM's brakes, while also offering far better modulation than Shimano.

    The HC1 levers are comfortable enough and have a relatively wide range of adjustment. The bite point screw does have some affect on the feel of the brake, allowing for some customization of lever throw and brake modulation. The lever housing is quite light and feels solid enough, but if I had the option I probably would go with an alloy lever housing to decrease the chance of striped threads.

    Overall, I am extremely happy with the MT7s. They strike the perfect balance between modulation and lever throw, all while offering plenty of power.

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