Magura RT8TT Hydraulic Road Brake Closeup Look – Updated!

With the cat out of the bag on Magura’s year-long developmental partnership with Cervelo, we’ve got a look at the future of road brakes with their new RT8TT hydraulic brakes and levers.

UPDATED: English language press release added with feature list, plus more tech info and images throughout the post.

Yes, hydraulic disc brakes for the road are on the horizon. But there is a massive number of riders out there now that might want to upgrade to a hydraulic groupset without giving up their beloved frames. For those people, hydraulic rim brakes coupled with a same-brand system or Di2 / EPS hack are the answer. For the latter, Magura is first to market. Well, first for the TT crowd anyway…

2012-2013 Magura RT8TT hydraulic road brake caliper for triathlon and time trial bikes 2012-2013 Magura RT8TT hydraulic road brake caliper for triathlon and time trial bikes

As these renderings show, the brakes use the same single-bolt, center mount as traditional mechanical calipers. That means they’ll fit on any standard road bike!

Magura RT8TT hydraulic road brakes for triathlon and time trial bikes

Pushing from that central bolt is a small piston that pushes a cam to split the arms and bring the pads to the rims. From an aerodynamic standpoint, it brings everything in closer and directly in front of the frame, a benefit to any bike, and there’s no cable sticking off to the side.

Magura RT8TT hydraulic road brakes for triathlon and time trial bikes

It is interesting to see a rather large return spring. With mountain bike hydraulic disc brakes, the diaphragm that moves along with the pads helps pulls things back open when the lever is released. That diaphragm is also generally how hydraulic brakes self adjust for pad wear. Word is, there’s no pad wear adjustment on these road calipers because the lever pushes enough fluid and the leverage ratio is enough to move the arms a significant distance. You simply adjust the lever reach with a small allen key instead.

Magura says the benefits of road hydraulic brakes (rim or disc) are:

  • no cable friction means super smooth braking action and feel
  • massive braking power with minimal lever force
  • fine modulation of braking power

Magura RT8TT hydraulic road brakes for triathlon and time trial bikes

These brakes come to us with taglines like “speed management” and “seconds make the difference.” The concept is that you can brake harder and later, saving a few precious seconds. It’s certainly true in mountain biking, and the benefits of that strategy in TT, Triathlon and Criterium racing should be obvious. For good ol’ fashioned road biking, having easier modulation and lever feel that’s not only easier smoother but translates into more power even when the rider is fatigued can only be a good thing.

Magura RT8TT hydraulic road brakes for triathlon and time trial bikes

Above, the TOP of the brake lever (left) and the FRONT (right) show the reach adjustment which effectively doubles as pad adjustment through the front of the lever. Much like a quill stem, the levers use an expanding grooved section to lock into just about any round aerobar or bullhorn handlebar.

The schematic below shows a quick release switch to open the brakes for easy wheel changes.

2012-2013 Magura RT8TT hydraulic road brake caliper for triathlon and time trial bikes

The RT-series brakes use a fully closed system like Magura’s current HS33 rim brakes, and they come with a 5-year leak proof guarantee. What’s really amazing is that the complete setup comes in at just 495g. By comparison, Shimano Dura-Ace brakes are about 294g/set and 80g for the TT brake levers. Add cables and housing and you’re likely just over the weight of Magura’s hydraulic stoppers.

The group will appear on the Cervelo P5 exclusively for 2012. For aftermarket, it’ll be available in June for €599 / set.

According to the press release below, an RT6TT will be on offer, too, at €499 / set, and likely standard road brakes, too.

We’ll also see both versions for road bikes, RT8 and RT6, with adapters. More on this as we get it.

2012-2013 Magura RT8TT hydraulic road brake caliper for triathlon and time trial bikes

PRESS RELEASE (English Version):

MAGURA RT8 TT: Brake revolution for triathlon and time trialling – The world’s lightest and fastest hydraulic rim brake for the road

In 1987, MAGURA invented the first hydraulic braking system for mountain bikes. 25 years later, the world market leader takes its experience in hydraulic rim brakes to the road. Working together with aerodynamics expert Cervélo, MAGURA has now introduced the world’s lightest and fastest hydraulic rim braking system for the road, the MAGURA RT8 TT (TT for Time Trial). The motto is: “Aerodynamics by Cervélo, Hydraulics by MAGURA”. Their braking power and modulation set new standards for triathlon and road bikes. This allows effective speed management both on the descent and before curves. This way, cyclists are able to gain crucial seconds.

The challenge facing MAGURA’s development department in Bad Urach was clear and concise: to build the world’s fastest brake for the road. It had to be extremely light, provide greater braking power than any other road bike brake before it, yet still be capable of exact and smooth control. It also sets new standards in terms of aerodynamics for triathlon and time trial machines. In order to trump here, MAGURA brought on board the Canadian bike manufacturer, Cervélo, for its exceptional expertise in aerodynamics. After more than one and a half year of intense development, MAGURA now presents the braking revolution for triathlon and time trialling: the first hydraulic rim braking system for the road – the RT8 TT (RT for Road Team, TT for Time Trial). Four factors stand out here: high braking power, fine modulation, light weight and optimal aerodynamic shape.

Speed management à la MAGURA: The one who brakes later stays fast longer
As a hydraulic rim brake, the RT8 TT has a crucial advantage over comparable mechanical braking systems: Friction losses are considerably lower allowing greater efficacy. This feature allows optimal control. Apart from this, only the slightest of touches is required to produce a high braking power.

The RT8 TT combines rapid deceleration with the best possible modulation therefore providing ideal speed management. “On descents, the cyclist can brake later and more precisely therefore gaining crucial seconds in those few meters before the curve,” MAGURA Head of Marketing, Götz Braun, explains. MAGURA’s slogan for the RT8 TT is also: “Seconds make the difference!”

Light construction without compromises
The RT8 TT is designed for minimal weight: The carbon brake levers save precious weight, as do the light and extremely stiff aluminium brake bodies. The result of the collaboration is the lightest hydraulic racing bike braking system on the market at only 495 grams.

Aero bladed lever minimized frontal surface area. Photo from Fair Wheel Bikes forum.

Maintenance-free and light ergonomic construction
The RT8 TT is a completely maintenance-free braking system and is unaffected by dirt, dust and water. With the help of the hydraulics, changing the brake pads is relatively simple compared to cable brake systems. Numerous patents and 25 years of MAGURA expertise in the field of hydraulic rim brakes underpin the new innovative braking system. Thanks to the clever “quick release” mechanism, the wheel change takes only a moment. The brake lever set-up is also uncomplicated. Of course, the RT8 TT uses MAGURA Royal Blood mineral oil. In contrast to the often-used DOT braking fluid, it doesn’t have to be exchanged and there are no health concerns. Nevertheless, should it be necessary to bleed or to shorten lines, this can be done quickly and simply. MAGURA also provides a five-year warranty covering
oil loss from the line.

The ergonomically formed carbon brake lever and the exceptional modulation of the RT8 allow perfect braking, even for cyclists with small hands. “They provide the best braking control for the cyclist and thus also a feeling of security,” Götz Braun says. The RT8 also converts the very slightest of touches to high braking power. It is therefore also ideally suited
to the needs of the female cyclist taking part in road racing events

An uncovered RT8TT on the UCI-compliant version of the new Cervelo P5. Photo from Fair Wheel Bikes forum.

Cooperation with aerodynamics expert Cervélo
MAGURA streamlined the RT8 TT in collaboration with the aerodynamics expert Cervélo using a wind tunnel. The brake bodies are shaped aerodynamically and the hydraulic lines are hidden inside the tubes. The ultra-stiff brake levers form part of the wing profile.

RT8 TT celebrates premier in 2012
For the 2012 season, the RT8 TT will be incorporated exclusively into the Cervélo P5 time trial machine. The new RT8 TT is approved by the International Cycling Union (UCI). It will premier in the middle of March at the Ironman in Australia. As sponsor of the Garmin-Barracuda team, MAGURA will also launch the RT at the Tour de France time trial.

Other RT8 TT models
As well as the triathlon brake RT8 TT, the road bike RT8 converter will also make an appearance in 2012. There will also be a cheaper version of both models – the RT6 TT and the RT6 converter.

Features of the MAGURA RT

  • The world’s first and fastest hydraulic rim brake for the road
  • Ideal speed management by braking power and modulation
  • Field of application: Triathlon/ Time Trialling
  • Material: Carbon/Aluminium
  • Available from June 2012
  • Models and prices (front and rear brakes in set, without brake shoes):
    • RT 8 TT (Triathlon) 352 £ / 599.00 €
    • RT 6 TT (Triathlon) 282 £ / 499.00 €

The MAGURA RT gives the cyclist:

  • Better speed management before curves and on the descent
  • Hydraulic system provides high braking power and smooth control
  • High efficacy as a result of the hydraulic system and materials used: rigid aluminium brake bodies and carbon brake levers for direct power transmission
  • Light construction: at 495 g, currently the lightest braking system on the market for road bikes
  • Aerodynamic design using Cervélo expertise
  • Ergonomic carbon brake levers
  • “Quick release” mechanism for quick and simple set-up
  • Maintenance-free braking system: not affected by dirt and water and easy to maintain
  • Suitable for incorporation into road bike frames

Comments

Jimbo - 01/17/12 - 4:33pm

This is profoundly pointless. Anything to make a buck. God bless consumerism.

LP - 01/17/12 - 4:41pm

Let’s hope sram comes up with something closer to the hub!

GermanPRguy - 01/17/12 - 4:52pm

You can find some more, real product pics here:
http://www.light-bikes.de/forum/showthread.php?t=19396&page=2

I’ts ridiculous that they send out a press release A) with these pics & B) only in German

Great job, guys! Greetings from a German countryman.

will - 01/17/12 - 4:54pm

quote from the article-

“For good ol’ fashioned road biking, having easier modulation and lever feel that’s not only easier but translates into more power even when the rider is fatigued can only be a good thing.”

i have yet to be so fatigued on any ride i have ever done that i felt i needed easier braking.

this is such crap.

im all for innovation but dont feed me some b.s. like this.

i cant imagine having a brake more powerful than a dura ace 7900. imo- those brakes are too powerful. should be great to see how many people eat it b/c of these more power easier modulation nightmares.

dgaddis - 01/17/12 - 5:08pm

“honestly Mark, we didn’t know it applied to the brakes, too!”

hmmmm….so what else do we have to wait for?!

LP - 01/17/12 - 5:10pm

It looks like they made them just because they could. At the same time, they are adding one more step before releasing a road disk brake. Slowing down progress imo.

LP - 01/17/12 - 5:11pm

@ dgaddis

Probably P5 review

Valentin - 01/17/12 - 5:19pm

BikePR.com. It’s easy to bitch but seriously… Second time in ten days…
I can understand the relations with brands but then don’t call it bikerumor and let someone else do the actual rumor part if you have become too close.

Sebastian - 01/17/12 - 6:15pm

Its a great to see companies offering new ideas and products! I just wish they would pick standards to design around.

sloppy - 01/17/12 - 7:13pm

embargo, what embargo http://www.magura.com/roadbike/
They won’t let you put something up that they already put up?

h2ofuel - 01/17/12 - 8:30pm

I wish everyone would stop complaining about “a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist” and “just another useless way to steal my money”, etc. They’re almost always stupid arguments. Some of you come to this site, read these articles, and then do nothing but complain about the products and the methodology of the staff. If they make you so upset, don’t read them. Take your right of opinion and do something useful with it instead.

Danno - 01/17/12 - 8:54pm

Ripnshred had a great call on the initial news flash – why doesn’t Magura make a full hydraulic road bike lever & hood into which Di2 or e-Campy shift buttons simply plug into? Hydraulic rim brakes on a TT bike (where braking is far from your first priority), in this age of asplosive carbon rims, just doesn’t seem like a Great Leap Forward.

Nick - 01/17/12 - 8:58pm

Every TT bike I’ve ridden has had a noticeable lack of braking power/modulation due to the miniscule levers and weak hidden calipers. Having the extra power could compensate for this. Not that I’d ever buy it, but I sure wouldn’t mind riding it.

Roy - 01/17/12 - 11:02pm

Brilliant execution! Now lets gain some clarity and get to work on that ultra light road disk caliper that every other brake maker on earth is spending time and money on.

Sevo - 01/17/12 - 11:46pm

h2ofuel-Yep I agree. It’s armchair engineers at their worst. I particularly enjoy the comments about not needing the new Magura brakes and all that BS. Course if any of those naysaying tri-geeks every had time on hydraulic brakes they’d know better. I have to laugh.

In reality, this is huge. Love the fact that Magura’s brakes resemble the old Campy Delta brakes. Love the look of the brakes and just hope a standard road lever will be available….and a wee hope that one could just run a hose to a disc vs the road calipers. But I’d be happy either way. This is huge for Magura. Anyone who’s been a fan the last few years knows they are the best brake out there. Very exciting.

Danno-Great call my butt. He missed the boat. And he pulled a peanut gallery comment at best. It’d be very hard to be able to integrate both systems easily in the setup. One or the other, maybe. But either or in same unit. Tough.

Also, only rims that explode are the vaporware stuff Paul Lew designed and sold to a gullible Reynolds. Get a set of the ENVE wheels (or really anyone else out there) and no issues. Hydraulic rim brakes are a Great Leap Forward. Go spin around on Magura’s current offerings that get spec’ed on pretty much any worth riding Euro city bike. Just as good as many other’s disc brakes.

Wish people would do a wee bit of research before they post BS slaps at any product on here. Or anywhere.

Chris - 01/17/12 - 11:58pm

I’ll be more excited when they come out with a regular, dropbar lever. I stopped doing time trials years ago. The idea of hydro brakes and electronic shifting is appealing if for no other reason than putting an end to constant cable maintenance (a real issue in rain soaked Seattle). Of course I’ve already solved the reliable shifting issue by going back to friction shift levers. :)

Jimbo - 01/18/12 - 12:34am

Great leap forward…circa ’87… Like the Mao reference though. Old tech with new stickers and new markets makes you go faster, didn’t you know?

Joshua Murdock - 01/18/12 - 1:16am

If nothing else, this is the lightest TT brake system available. That alone is justification. The fact that it comes with much greater performance is just a huge bonus. This isn’t consumerism. It’s innovation.

The only retro-grouchs’ opinion I will respect is that of the one who still rides a penny farthing bicycle. Everything after that is needless consumerism.

Also, someone suggested that they can’t imagine – or would want – a brake more powerful than the DA 7900. The advantage of hydraulic brakes isn’t so much the power as it is the modulation. Any brake that can lock the wheel is as powerful as it can get for the friction between that tire and the ground. The ultimate goal of braking is to slow the bike to the fastest speed possible without loosing control. With the finer control of applied braking force offered by hydraulic brakes, a rider can come closer to achieving this goal. This translates to faster overall riding.

While the brakes themselves may not be more powerful, the controls are, thus taking less effort to lock up the wheels. This simply requires one to be careful while riding and become acclimated to their bike. It seems reasonable that anyone who rides a bike with any frequency should become familiar with its performance, right?

Always remember, there was a time when we said we could never imagine a bike lighter than 20 lbs. We could never imagine having more than 10 speeds. We could never imagine anything made of carbon fiber. There is no way anyone imagined bikes as advanced as many of the ones available today. Bikes will always advance and, as they do, continue to surprise us. Someday this will be old technology found on $1,000 entry level bikes. I can only imagine what will be on the $10,000 bikes then!

Gold - 01/18/12 - 9:11am

Closed system that doesn’t allow you to adjust for pad wear except by means of adjusting lever reach, which means you have to pull more to get the same braking as the pads wear? Doesn’t strike me as a leap forward. And FYI, it’s not the diaphragm that causes caliper retraction. That is all about the seals on the caliper pistons. The diaphragm just allows fluid to enter into the system from the reservoir as pads wear, and for fluid expansion and contraction through heating and cooling cycles. Might not be such an issue on a brake that uses rubber pads, but it matters heaps on a disc brake.

Gold - 01/18/12 - 9:17am

Too add a bit of sugar, I will say I too like the old Campy-esque Delta look of the calipers.

mark trousdale - 01/18/12 - 10:08am

now i’ll have to bleed road brakes *sigh*

Matt - 01/18/12 - 12:07pm

Some Issues with Road Rim Brakes:
Heat: Under heavy braking – Clinchers COULD blow out and Tubulars COULD unglue – moving the braking to a DISC would keep the heat away from the tube/tire.
Rim Wear/Weight: Rim walls are thicker to compensate for braking forces and wear
– move to a disc and the rims could possibly get lighter without a braking surface and they would not wear out and warrant replacement.

**Notice Stopping Power is NOT listed: Current rim brakes are very capable of far exceeding the coefficient of friction between your skinny road tire and the pavement causing it to skid or slide.

So why would we need hydraulic rim brake with greater stopping force?!?!
What problem are they attempting to solve?!

aj - 01/18/12 - 12:14pm

FAIL! Magura did this right before mtb disc came out. Rim brakes on road bikes are slated for the archives. maybe there will be a niche market for those wanting to have an expensive upgrade on their old outdated bike.

Robin - 01/18/12 - 4:28pm

I think folks are missing that these are going to be a niche product, one designed for TT and tri bikes, bikes that will not see disc brakes for a long time, if ever. They make perfect sense for TT and tri bikes because they remove a not-insignificant source of drag, i.e. cables hanging out in the wind, something that can’t be done with a lot of bikes because of high cable drag that would result in hiding said cables. They of course offer improved braking especially for creatively placed brakes.

royalewithcheese - 01/18/12 - 7:53pm

@Matt you can indeed make road tires skid with a mechanical road brake, however with the hydraulic brakes you can get the braking forces right to the limits of tire grip faster, and presumably with better modulation, therefore riding right at the edge of manageable braking force more confidently, to allow the late braking that Magura seems to be touting here. That being said, disks will perform significantly better in the modulation department as they don’t have the feedback losses from rim and pad compression. My only real worries are switching from race wheels to training wheels and back since many triathletes only have their TT bike, and of course I really don’t want to have to install a set of these with internal routing ever, though its probably less effort to make them work than the awful rear brake on Trek’s Speed Concept.

Justin - 01/18/12 - 10:05pm

Some others have mentioned my main points already, but let me reiterate:

Although it is true that most hydraulic brakes are more powerful than cable-actuated brakes, the real value of a hydraulic brake system is modulation. When I say modulation, I mean the level of control you have over braking forces. The advantage of hydraulic brakes is that there is a feeling of direct control/feedback at the lever when you apply the brakes. The hydraulic fluid you are forcing through the brake lines to actuate the brake is nearly incompressible (everything can be compressed at least a little) and encounters a lot less friction than a cable being pulled through a section of housing. The feeling of direct control you get with a hydraulic brake is diminished with the more flexible cable-actuated brakes we are all accustomed to. Cable-actuated brakes leave the rider comparatively numb to just how close they are to locking up the brakes and causing a loss of control.

The alleged superiority of a hydraulic brake of course assumes that the brake is well designed, manufactured, bled, and adjusted. Those familiar with modern high-end mountain bikes and their vastly superior control and feel over cable-actuated brakes will know what I mean. Which leads me to wager that the future for performance bikes is in hydraulic disc brakes, not rim brakes, and not cable-actuated disc brakes. So, while this is a neat application for a niche market (TT), ultimately it is just a precursor for what we will be seeing later this year and well into the future on road bikes–lightweight hydraulic disc brakes.

Mindless - 01/24/12 - 3:29pm

About frigging time, but it should be a disk frame to go with it.

John - 02/08/12 - 6:11pm

Can’t wait to give these a wirl personally. I use disc on the mtb and this seems a certain progression although I think SRAM have stole the march now with their launch of red shifter/hydraulic unit

Casparbc - 04/11/13 - 3:53pm

Will these work with hs33 levers ?

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