Ok so title says it. i just picked up some Maguras dirt cheap from a buddy of mine. By cheap i mean $50 for the whole setup . I asked him if he had any and he said yeah and told me $50 would cover it. Im pretty stoked!
So here are my questions.
Is it worth the money to get steel braided hose for the hydro lines?
The braided hose is nice. The plastic hose has a tendency to pinch or snap. The braided hose will take more abuse and is more flexible to boot.
The Magura branded braided hose is expensive. A cheaper option is to get generic braided hose. A bike shop that does DH and freeride bikes will have generic hose and should have the necessary fittings (or they can order the necessary fittings if necessary). They’ll be able to cut the hose to the right length for you and get it all set up. The most troublesome hose is the crossover hose (that goes over the top of the tire). The stock plastic crossover hose is a little too short for use with a 3" DH tire on a muni. Something about an inch or so longer than the stock crossover hose would be better.
UDC sells the braze-on mounting kit. Most any bike shop can also get the braze-on kit. You can also get parts directly from Magura USA.
Pads last a long time.
The hydraulic bit can be messy and tempermental to set up. You have to deal with the mineral oil based brake fluid, making sure there are no leaks around the fittings, and making sure there is no air in the line. That part is fussy. Actually putting the brake on and getting the pads adjusted is easy.
Take a look at the Magura Cult page. They have lots of tips on how to bleed the brakes and do other maintenance. Read all their info on Magura rim brakes.
You’ll need a bleeding kit. It’s basically a big syringe with a special tube and fitting. Along with some extra brake fluid. The Magura Cult page suggests using Finish Line Shock Oil No 5. It’s shock oil for bike forks. Any bike shop will have it. Much cheaper and easier to get than the Magura branded fluid. Magura sells the bleeding kit. It’s a mineral oil based fluid, not at all like the nasty brake fluid for cars that can peel paint.
If you need to know details about threading and fitting size you can download the Magura shop manuals at the Magura web page (you have to dig around to find the links, but they’re there).
The biggest problem I’ve had is leakage, which is largely due to the fittings coming loose and me being to lazy to check them on a regular basis. After having to get the damn things bled and so forth every few months (a huge pain in the ass), I took Scott Wallis’ advice, bought an 8mm wrench and keep the fittings tight. You’ll also want to get max fluid in the thing so the brake engages with just a little pressure on the handle. The pressue is only so adjustable with the little red disk. On super steep stuff the torque on the rim is so great that even fully cranked the brake won’t lock the rim (but I weigh 210, so maybe it’s different for a lighter rider), but will certainly slow it way, way down, making otherwise suicidal stuff ridable. I’ve never changed my pads in two years.
A cheap alternative to the braided line is to use the plastic lines and buy some clear urethane tubing at the hardware store. Slice it lengthwise and then fit it over the plastic tubing. It looks a bit unsightly when it gets worn, but it functions well until you can afford the braided lines.
As far as dealing with the brake fluid mess, if you can afford the 15 or 20 bucks to have a bike shop do it (with a mechanic that knows what he/she is doing), it’s quick and easy.