Strengths: Lasts forever, incredible stopping power, excellent modulation, almost zero maintenance, super easy to change pads.
Weaknesses: it's getting a little tougher to find parts in america.
i have a few sets of these. the one i'm currently running has been in constant use going on TEN years now. TEN. i haven't bled the lines since i installed the brakes and cut the hoses to length. the front has had a kink in the hose since the first week, but it has not affected it. they have over 15,000 miles on them, and have been used for trials, xc, commuting, messenger work, long distance touring, endurance racing, xc racing, skatepark. they've been on two different bikes and have outlasted countless parts. i find the kool stop salmon pads to be the best for all around riding. i run discs on my current xc/endurance racer, but the karate monkey with these brakes is my back up race bike and still sees plenty of use, and saw near daily use up untill this summer. these are STILL a viable alternative to disk brakes, and have superior lever feel to and equal if not better stopping power than v-brakes.
a Cross Country Rider
from Manchester, UK
Date Reviewed: July 26, 2004
Strengths: Zero maintenance (after initial set-up), loads of stopping power, conversation point, no maintenance, fantastic customer service, value for money, no maintenance.
Weaknesses: Tricky to set-up initially - you need good quality tools and loads of patience. Not really designed for 2.3 inch tyres (but you can just about get away with it). The manual could be better written - especially the instructions for bleeding !
Fantastic brakes. I've had the one set for nearly 6 years, and had it fitted to 2 bikes and three different forks.
Only two things have gone wrong with them (despite the years of complete neglect). These were: 1. A split in one of the hoses. Using the Magura HS-33 service kit, I replaced the hose, refilled the system, and was ready to go in less than an hour. 2. One of the evolution mount bolts broke whilst I was undoing it to transfer the brakes to my latest set of forks. I emailed Magura UK asking if I could buy some more bolts from them - and within a week, Tony Barton had sent me 4 new bolts at no charge. Impressive customer service - thanks guys !
I've considered buying disk brakes due to the reduced wear and tear on the rims, but I've never had a rim split whilst using the HS33 (unlike when I ran v-brakes), and at just £100 for a complete set of HS-33's I cannot justify using anything else.
If you want the performance and low-maintenance of a disk brake, but at a much lower cost, then go for this brake.
Similar Products Used: Various brands of v-brakes.
Bike Setup: 2001 Specialized FSR-XC, Rohloff speedhub, Marzocchi Marathon S Coil forks, 2.3 inch continental vertical pro tyres.
a Weekend Warrior
from Bath / Bristol England
Date Reviewed: June 22, 2004
Strengths: POWER, durability, lack of service, Look cool.
Weaknesses: My red Ltd Edition HS33's, look a bit pink compared to my red frame, due to sun bleaching. But hey I bet David Hastlhofs shorts are going pink by now too. Snapped the leaver adjuster, so replaced with bolt, looks ugly but saved me £20, and does the job.
These are secondhand E-bays, looks like they have been working hard, chipped up but still fully working, I have HS11's on another bike, so used to the setup. Ensure you fit these corectly and they will give you years of maintenance free riding, the stock black pads work OK, but last almost too long, Im bored give me something to fix. Green frogs will come out in the winter. These brakes are so powerfull, they should fit them to Juggernalts, not just bikes, Im tempted to upgrade my Car to Magura's.
Similar Products Used: HS11's, Hydrolic disks, Brabhus ceramic's on my car.
Bike Setup: Handsome Dawg, Marz.Bomber Z4's, Anomeba bars, Club roost, FSA etc etc Trials setup..
a Weekend Warrior
from Dallas, TX, USA
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2004
Strengths: They're tough, I've yet to break one. They're not too terribly heavy stock, mine have a huge custom machined plate, so they weigh a little more. Great stopping power in both wet and dry conditions, was pretty impressed at how well they shed Texas mud (it's more like clay...).
Weaknesses: Pads aren't cheap. Never used the stock pads, I hear they aren't too wonderful...Cool Stops work quite well, though.
These are the best brakes I've ridden. They are also my first hydraulics. The lack of maintenence is wonderful. No cables to lube and strech out, only had to mess with 'em once, and it was pretty painless (new rims...different width). I didn't know rim brakes could bite down in mud and rain, these enlightened me to the possibility. They're tough, I ride a lot of urban assault and dirt jump, and am not always wise about the things I attempt. As a result, the lever's taken some serious beatings. It's not broken yet. They look sharp, and aren't too expensive.
Very nice brakes for bikes w/o disc mounts...
Complaints about this product probably stem from improper setups. I know that at the very least those who are complaining about leaking put theirs together improperly...
If you're planning to ride down a mountain at 60+ MPH, don't buy this brake. If you like to stop quickly, but don't need the braking power of an Italian automobile...these work just fine.
Strengths: Good modulation, awesome stopping power, work well in both wet and dry (if your used to V's!), easy to change wheels, value. Quiet operation.
Weaknesses: Can be a bit of a fiddle to set up, but you get used to it. The manual I had was not very clear and miss'd vital points about setting up! like the fact the EVO mounts are reversable and if you do that it move's the brake body/pads closer to the rim which on certain bike's make's it easier to set up, only a small problem.
These are amazing rim brake's in my opinion, maybe not as simple as V'S or quite as easy to maintain, but the performance gains out weigh the negative's. And if you like me and not ready for disc's then the HS33 make a good alternative to V's. I mostly use these for aggresive cross country riding. Getting them set up well is vital for good performance, its worth checking out Magura's website for tips on set-up. Kool stop brake's work better than stock pads, and although wet braking is not as good as dry, its still the best wet performing rim brake I have used.
Similar Products Used: Deore/LX V's, Avid SD-3's, Hope Mono's/Mini's/C2's
Bike Setup: Cindercone, Magura Tomacs, Mavic X138's, WTB saddle, LX mechs/shifters, Panaracer Fire XC's, Marzhocchi Z3 Flylights.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: December 27, 2003
Strengths: belting in all weather, cool colours,
Weaknesses: fiddly if your not used to them
Superb brake set, excellent in any weather, reliable, easy to service and look after when you have fiddled with them once, very important to install correctly first time!!!!! or your problems will mount up ride after ride, you will not have any problems if installed right the very time!!!! Mine are coming upto a 1000 miles, no problems so far apart from some new pads (£20.00) in next few months, greenfrogs are good.
Bike Setup: Cannondale H/Tail, Bombers, Azonic Headlock, Truvativ XC Riser Bars, Shimano Deore LX, Mavics with 2.1 Panaracer XC's
a Weekend Warrior
from Boise, Idaho
Date Reviewed: September 3, 2003
Strengths: Superior to linear brakes, once set-never look at them again til it's time to change pads, not all that heavy compared to cable brakes.
Weaknesses: If you aren't mechanically inclined, you are in for a long haul of no fun unless you pay a shop to set them up.
The biggest bang for your buck in stopping power (for rim brakes only). If you want better, go with mid range or higher discs. Read all instructions throuroughly and then go to the magura cult online for more info before you even pick up a wrench. Setup is crucial, but when you get it right, you never have to touch them again except for pad replacment. Superfast wheel removal, modulation beyond belief, haven't had any problems with mud or wet yet so not sure about those complaints. Don't like the routing with the heat shrink tubing, but it works and the setup could be easier, but I can't fault them for this since working on anything worthwhile takes time and knowledge. If you can adjust deraileurs or repack a wheel, no problem !
Similar Products Used: xt v's (eughhhh!) hope c2's & m4's hayes hfx mag's
Bike Setup: they'r on an old fisher joshua ZO at the moment
a Weekend Warrior
from Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2003
I have had the Magura HS-33 for about 2 years and can't find any flaws. The main complaints I have herd are "they are to expencive" or "they are hard to set up". Yes, they are a bit expencive,but they are worth every cent, no cable to streth, easy to change pads, and extreamly progressive. If you read all the instructions in the manual and read the tips on the net they shouldn't be hard to set up at all. Maguras are good for every condition and every style of rideing. Once you try them you will never let them go!!
a Cross Country Rider
from Aylesford, Kent, UK
Date Reviewed: February 15, 2003
Strengths: Stopping power, modulation. Very easy to change the pads.
Weaknesses: Slightly heavier than V-brakes. Some say they're pricey, but at £95 for a full set, there are much more expensive and less well performing V-brakes around. The heat shrink hose fixing isn't ideal, the optional hose guides are a better idea, but not easy to get hold of in the UK.
These brakes work superbly, and the control is outstanding. The contrast between these and cable operated V-brakes is amazing. I tried spinning the back wheel with the bike on a workstand and bringing the wheel to a halt slowly with the original V-brake. The lever travel was jerky, and the wheel stopped suddenly (newish LX brake and new XTR cables). With the Maguras fitted, and the same test, the free spinning wheel can be slowed down very gradually with the lightest touch on the lever. It makes the difference between controlled braking and rear wheel lock-out on slippery descents.
Initial set up could be tricky for the inexperienced. The first one took me 1 1/2 hours, the second one 30 mins. When you've done the first one and got a feel for it the second one is much easier. The fitting instructions are very clear, concise and well illustrated - It's well worth taking the time to read them properly a few times before opening your toolbox. Fix the mounting washers to the brake bosses with silicone sealant. That way you won't lose them later when you have to take off the quick release to fix a puncture.
Take care when cutting the tubing, and follow the instructions for this to the letter. I did and found the brakes didn't even need bleeding afterwards.
Changing the wheels is a fairly simple affair; with the tyre deflated, undo the quick release mount, slide off the cylinder with the booster attached and hey presto you can get the wheel out. When you refit, just get the brake block at the right height on the rim, hook the booster over the nut on the fixed side and do up the release. Just remember to wait until the wheel is refitted before inflating the tyre again. Personally, I think it's easier than a tyre change on a V-brake, what with all that fiddling to free the noodle.
All in all, a superb piece of kit, with little ongoing maintenance in contrast to my V brakes which needed adjustment after almost every ride. A serious alternative to disc brakes if you can't afford them or like mine, your bike doesn't have disc mounts.
Similar Products Used: Avid Arch Rival 40, Shimano LX.
Bike Setup: Kona Muni Mula, USE Shock post, Shimano LX/XT, Mavic X517 Ceramic rims, Hope hubs.
a Cross Country Rider
from LEEDS, W YORKS, UK
Date Reviewed: January 25, 2003
Strengths: German build quality,durable, excellent stopping power,good modulation,works well in wet.
Weaknesses: standard brake pads wear out fast. No bleed kit supplied with set. diffucult to follow instructions.
Before My brakes arrived I perused over this forum and became a little aprehensive by the amount of people reporting installation problems. This was not the case for me. I am relativly inexperienced when it comes to being a cycle mechanic but these babys where easy to install and set up. Anyone reading this forum contemplating whether to buy them or not, listen: *Easy to install *Excellent stopping power (dry & wet) *Look the dogs gonads *costs £25 for them fitted by a professional. *£00.00 if u do it yourself. *Deflate or remove tyre when fitting them.(correct clearences etc) *Naturally leave the actual wheel rim on. *For correct clearance place a thin piece of metal/card board under each pad then set the blocks flush against them. *tighten all nuts and go test. *proceed to local area and hit some dirt.
Favorite Trail: Tong to Fulneck public footpath ( @night)
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: trails bikes uk
Bike Setup: Kona Kahuna 02, full xt, judy tt forks,magura hs 33s, kona standard head set, planet x beam me up stem (blue), crud guards.
a Cross Country Rider
from Worcester, MA, USA
Date Reviewed: November 18, 2002
Strengths: power, modulation, maintenance-free, adjustable lever take-up, weight(relative to discs)
Weaknesses: set-up, weight(relative to V's), fragile hardware
The bike noted above is the third bike I have owned in the last four years. All these bikes have had the same set of brakes! Not the same model, the same set. In each case, the only work I have ever done besides setting them up is replace the pads, which is a less than 30 sec. operation. I agree completely with all the 5-chilied reviews regarding the power and modulation these brakes provide. I weigh about 190lbs., and ride fairly technical singletrack. Around here, almost all the riding is very steep and also muddy much of the time. In my experience, these brakes have nearly the power of discs, with better modulation(a fair trade for me). I also agree that these can be a real pain to set up. Allow at least 2-3 hours, and then only if you have previous bike wrench experience. Do not attempt installation if you don't have a high degree of patience. Having said that, the pay-off is definitely worth it. I have replaced some of the light aluminum mounting bolts with steel ones from the hs-11 kit after breaking them. This is probably due to the repeated retightening necessary during the initial installation and the fact that they have been reused on multiple bikes. Hint-take your tires off the rims, much easier to set the pads parallel and at the correct distance. I work in a bike shop, and have installed a few sets, and I still need to set aside an afternoon for the job. Speaking of rims, if you can afford a set of ceramic rims, they likewise are worth it. Power and modulation are improved, and you won't toast your wheels nearly as fast. In muddy areas, regular rims do suffer increased wear. A rear booster is definitely required, I myself haven't felt the need for a front booster with my X-Vert. I give these brakes the highest rating, both for performance and value(due to their durability).
Bike Setup: Klein hardtail, Manitou X-Vert Air, Bontrager ceramic rims w/Phil hubs.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 11, 2002
Strengths: power, looks nice (raceline yellow on a black bike), 5 years guarantee, no wires, no DOT-brake-fluid
Weaknesses: weight?? (if you are really interested in 200gr) not as powerful as a Louise FR :-) expansive, but they are worth it
these are really nice Brakes! They aren´t much more powerful than my former V-brakes, but its enough in all stuations. The real difference is that you feel what your brake is doing. If you need oder want the power of a fat disc-brake, then forget it of course. But for all others it´s one of the best brake systems, that you put on your bike and forget.
Be warned about the installation!! I needed some hours...