MAGURA’s new GUSTAV PRO mtb brakes might be bigger and beefier than their predecessors, but aren’t any more powerful. Instead, while developing their new stoppers, the German manufacturer focused on consistent braking performance and ease of maintenance thanks to the new EASY LINK system. How did they fare in our test?

MAGURA GUSTAV PRO | 4 pistons | 348 g | € 299.90 | Manufacturer’s website

MAGURA is a company with over 100 years of history that has a wealth of experience in producing brakes and composite materials. The first GUSTAV brake was launched back in 1996, and the name has just been brought back to life with the release of the new MAGURA GUSTAV PRO. It’s the first model in the new GUSTAV range, which will be expanded with further models at a later time. The existing MT range has remained unchanged and will be complemented by the new GUSTAV family.

When developing the new GUSTAV PRO mtb brake, MAGURA’s main objective wasn’t to maximise power, but to ensure consistent braking performance and ease of maintenance. However, the new GUSTAV is rather bulky and not the lightest brake out there, tipping the scales at 696 g – 100 g heavier than the average in our big brake comparison test. Given its size, however, this value is still perfectly acceptable, which is partly due to MAGURA’s proprietary lightweight Carbotecture construction. The GUSTAV PRO is compatible with the Bosch eBike ABS system, which also makes it an interesting option for trekking and touring bikes. Retail price is €300, and the first brakes should be available from mid-October.

The MAGURA GUSTAV PRO mtb brake in detail

Despite the new look, the new GUSTAV PRO still fits in well with the rest of the MAGURA range. The bigger dimensions allow for larger pistons and an increased oil volume. As a result, the brake GUSTAV achieves the same braking power at a lower oil pressure, meaning that it’s less prone to failure. The increased oil volume also has its advantages when used in conjunction with the ABS system, which relies on the brake’s own oil supply. In line with the GUSTAV’s beefy look, the new MDR-S 2.5 brake rotors come in a chunky 2.5 mm thickness, which is meant to improve heat dissipation and therefore provide more consistent braking power – and the thicker rotors are also quieter on the trail. The inside of the rotors is machined, which ensures a slight offset towards the interior and prevents the thick rotor from getting too close to the frame. The GUSTAV PRO mtb brake is also compatible with MAGURA’s standard 2 mm rotors. The bigger oil volume should also reduce the bleed interval. The thicker 2.5 mm rotors are only available in diameters of up to 203 mm, but these should deliver plenty of braking power in conjunction with MAGURA’s new pads, which have a bigger contact surface and rely on a new compound. Together with the larger calliper pistons, the pads should apply even pressure to the disc without tilt, which should allow you to use the brakes straight away without annoying bedding in procedures.

The rotors are machined on the inside to improve frame clearance.
Size Matters: not only the brake system but also the pads are impressively big.

The new GUSTAV brakes rely on MAGURA’s proven flip-flop lever design, which allows you to use the lever on either side of the handlebars. However, there’s only one bleed screw on the lever body, meaning that you’ll always have to turn one of the levers upside down to bleed. The complete lever unit is made of the same Carbotecture plastic which MAGURA use on all their MT models. The brake hose exits the lever parallel to the handlebars, keeping the hose close to the handlebars in a tight arc, resulting in a cleaner cockping, especially with internal headset cable routing systems. MAGURA are basically following a similar concept to SRAM, who position the hose closer to the handlebars with both their Code Stealth and MAVEN brake models. MAGURA also redeveloped the brake clamp, which is made of aluminium and secures the brake with a bolt on the clamp – a bit like Shimano’s system. A special adapter allows you to attach the shifter and dropper remote directly to the clamp, meaning that you’ll just have to choose the right MAGURA adapter depending on whether you have a SRAM or Shimano drivetrain. For the time being, the GUSTAV PRO only comes with one type of pad and one type of lever. This features a small notch that allows it snap off with harder impacts, preventing the lever body from getting damaged. The lever can be easily removed with a Torx T15 tool, without upsetting the hydraulic system. The lever features tool-free reach adjustment in the shape of a small wheel, while the bite point is not adjustable.

The cables run parallel to the handlebars, ensuring a clean cockpit.

The easily replaceable levers are designed to snap off with harder impacts, preventing the lever body from getting damaged.

The GUSTAV PRO mtb’s most exciting new feature is probably the EASY LINK system, a hydraulic connector in the master cylinder, which allows you to simply clip the brake hose into the cylinder with an adapter after removing a safety clip. This is meant to save you time and nerves while installing the brake, whether you are a home mechanic or a MAGURA OEM customer who has to install big quantities of brakes. In order to fit the cable into the EASY LINK system, you’ll have to use an adapter with EASY TUBE Technology, which can be clamped or bolted onto the hose. However, clamping requires a special tool, making this option more interesting for OEMs and big workshops. Home mechanics, on the other hand, can simply bolt the adapter onto the hose using an open-end spanner after cutting the hose to size. EASY LINK can also be retrofitted to other MT models with a bolt-on adapter.

Installing and bleeding the new MAGURA GUSTAV PRO mtb brakes

If you buy the MAGURA GUSTAV PRO to fit at home, this is delivered in two parts: the lever body and the calliper with attached hose. Both parts are fully bled, sealed and secured with a transport clip, which can be pulled out after half a thread turn. Since the lever can be used on either side of your handlebars, it’s not front or rear specific, so all callipers come standard with a 2 metre hose. If that’s a good length for your rear brake, you don’t have to do anything except routing the hose and plugging it into the EASY LINK on the lever – job done! For the front brake, however, you’ll always have to shorten the hose. Once you’ve done this, simply bolt the standard EASY LINK adapter onto the line and clip it into the lever – no bleeding required!

To connect the hose to the lever, simply clip the EASY LINK adapter into the main cylinder…

…and secure the safety clip – done!

Once everything is connected and the safety clip is back on, you just have to pull the brake lever once to push through a membrane in the lever. Now the brake is ready to use, and you can hit the trails straight away. The lever unit can be purchased separately, and it’s delivered bled and sealed, meaning that you could always have one in your tool box as a spare, ready to use as a replacement in the event of a crash without having to bleed it. Even when you have to remove the brake, for example to service your headset, you can simply close the cylinder with the transport clip and reattach the hose once you’re done servicing your bike. If you’re careful, you shouldn’t lose any oil, but in some situations you might require a quick bleed afterwards.

To bleed the brakes, you can either perform a classic quick bleed via the master cylinder like with all MT models, or a full bleed, purging the system with fresh oil through a syringe attached at the calliper. For the full bleed, you simply have to open the bleed port by turning it 90° anticlockwise using an open-end spanner, attach a full syringe of fresh oil, and connect an empty syringe to the lever. Now you can flush the system with clean fluid and see the old, dirty oil flowing into the lever-side syringe. In the calliper, the oil flows to the cylinders in series rather than in parallel, which should prevent any old oil from remaining in the nooks of the calliper after bleeding.

The MAGURA GUSTAV PRO mtb brakes on the trail

We tested the new MAGURA GUSTAV PRO brakes on a Canyon Strive:ON ebike and paired them with the new, chunky 2.5 mm rotors in 203 mm diameter front and rear. Installing the brakes is quick and easy. Simply attach the lever body to the clamp, position the lever and tighten the bolt. Reach is easily adjusted without tools. However, the small adjustment wheel is tucked away, requiring some dexterity and strong fingers. On the other hand, this position protects it from impacts in the event of a crash, meaning that it’s less likely to snap off. Even if you position the lever as close to the handlebars as possible, it’s still quite far away from the bars, which could be a problem if you have short fingers or simply like to run your levers very close to handlebars. The increased distance from the handlebars is due to the GUSTAV’s ABS compatibility, which requires a certain distance between the lever and handlebars. However, MAGURA already announced that they’re working on another brake lever which enables optimised lever reach adjustment. The adapters for the shifter and dropper remote are a bit awkward too, as they only allow for a limited range of adjustment. The adapters position the shifter and dropper remote quite a long way below the handlebars.

When you finally hit the trail, the GUSTAV delivers powerful deceleration right from the very first brake application, saving you tedious bedding-in procedures – awesome! The power delivery is solid without being abrupt, putting the GUSTAV on par with the MT7. What’s really impressive, however, is the consistent bite point of the MAGURA’s new stoppers. Despite the ever-changing weather conditions during this test, with long, heavy showers giving way to steaming-hot sunny intervals on long, tortuous descents, the GUSTAV PRO delivered a super consistent performance, providing powerful deceleration and a consistent bite point. In typical MAGURA fashion, this is very crisp and yet easy to modulate, without overwhelming you with an abrupt on/off feel. The GUSTAV PRO might not set a new benchmark in terms of braking power, but impresses with a predictable and reassuringly consistent bite point.

Our conclusions about the MAGURA GUSTAV PRO mtb brakes

With the new GUSTAV PRO, MAGURA delivered a big, imposing mountain bike brake that isn’t necessarily aimed at high-performance riders, but rather at those who prefer to spend more time on the bike than in the workshop. Its true strength lies in the details: the EASY LINK system makes it easy to install, while the bigger contact surface allows you to hit the trail without having to bed in the rotors. Both the lever reach and ergonomics aren’t (yet) easy to adjust, but the GUSTAV PRO offers solid power, regardless of the conditions.


  • Smart features facilitate easy maintenance
  • Very consistent bite point


  • Lever can’t be moved close to the handlebars
  • Limited ergonomic adjustments

For more info, visit MAGURA’s website.

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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: MAGURA

About the author

Simon Kohler

​​Simon loves speed. He has many years of racing experience as a longboard downhill skater, blasting down alpine passes on his board. In the meantime, he’s swapped four wheels for two, charging down trails and bike park lines aboard his mountain bike instead. He’s savoured some of Europe’s finest trails on various road trips through the Alps. Having lived in Austria for some time, he knows the local Austrian bike parks like the back of his hand. He’s a tech nerd through and through, using the skills and know-how from his engineering degree and his attention to detail to put the latest bikes and components through their paces for our reviews. As an early riser and self-declared muesli connoisseur, he lives his life powered by oats and the strength of his legs.