While much of Magura’s
2013 suspension buzz surrounds their entry to the 29in market
, we spent
considerable time at their launch on the, updated, TS8R 150mm fork, which
supports 26in and 650b/27.5in wheel sizes.

Magura boast their suspension’s ‘made in Germany’
production, and for years have adhered to a mantra of ‘stiff, light, easy’,
which has sometimes been lost in the mountain bike industry’s jungle of
technological jargon.

After spending two days on the latest iteration of Magura’s
Thor, now TS8R, we came away both impressed and intrigued by this high-end
suspension fork. Since we limited time on the new fork and because it uses
non-conventional designs — namely grease lubrication versus an oil bath — we
must qualify this ‘first ride review’ as such. This is a first impression,
albeit a good one. We look forward to a longer-term test, in which we can assess the viability of Magura’s designs. We’ll reserve our final
judgment after that test is concluded.

Ride and Handling:
light, stiff, and easy — and you thought you had to pick one?

Magura’s updated for 2013 TS8R 150mm suspension seems to be
perfectly designed for today’s contemporary trail market. DAD, its dual arch
design, makes it noticeably stiff out on the trail, possibly one of the
stiffest 32mm forks we’ve ridden lately.

The fork is legitimately light; we weighed a sample at
1,680g (3.7lbs) with its Maxle Lite through axle, which puts right in
contention with the big players, who have claimed weights around 50g lighter to
20g heavier.

The TS8′s crown is hollow forged, and quite sculpted

The TS8R is quite easy to use, too. Set your positive air
pressure — Magura use an elastomer negative spring — rebound, and platform threshold,
and you’re ready to ride.

So Magura’s fork seems to make good on their claim of
‘stiff, light and easy,’ but it’s the work they’ve done tuning the fork that
captured our attention; namely the work they’ve done on the air spring curve.
The new spring seems notably more progressive than either Fox or RockShox,
which mixes quite well with today’s mid-range 150mm trail bikes.

We set our spring right in the middle of Magura’s
recommended pressure range for our weight, and after a quick parking lot spin
we felt it slightly soft, but good to ride. We had planned, in the back of our
mind, to add pressure after a couple of hard bottom outs, but those bottom outs
never came. So that’s really what hooked us on the new spring, it’s quite
supple off the top, but really ramps very nicely to ward off any harsh bottom
out. We also found the fork to ride relatively high in its travel, which we
like in regards to handling.

Rebound control served us well, and the Albert Select +
compression damper, was easy to use and offered a wide range of adjustment from
firm lockout through heavily damped low-speed compression to almost no
difference from the open setting. Our one gripe here: the damper engaged with a
30° —
or so — rotation of the blue dial located at the top of the right leg;
because it’s a dial, there’s not much indication besides the fork’s feel of
what position it’s set. This is fine if you prefer a firm lockout, but if you
prefer a light low-speed compression type feel, you may ride a few descents
with it engaged.

The Albert Select + damper is easy to adjust and operate, but doesn’t give clear indication as to its setting, save for the fork’s feel

Construction and
features: DAD one of the stiffest 32mm forks we’ve ridden, plus: Fork Meister

Magura’s TS8 is updated; rather than all new, like the just launched TS8.

It combines the still new Fork Meister Concept, a grease
lubrication system launched in 2012, with Magura’s most advanced damper, which
is called Albert Select +.

After year’s of dealing with rider concerns over their
weeping fork seals, Magura switched from a open bath to a grease lubrication
system for their lower legs. The system doesn’t simply swap oil for grease, but
features redesigned bushings and seals specifically designed for use with
Magura’s Fork Meister grease, which is a food grade silicon lubricant. If we
have any question about the integrity of this fork, it’s the Fork Meister Concept
that we’d really like to assess through a long-term test.

Our fork legs stayed clean during our two days testing in
Sedona, AZ

The Albert Select + damper is relatively straightforward.
It’s a simple, open-to-platform adjustment with the ability to adjust the
platform’s threshold.

The chassis uses Thor’s hollow forged crown and 32mm
uppers. The 26in TS8 lower chassis, which also fits 650b/27.5in wheels, doesn’t
support Magura’s new M15 tooled through-axle. That’s not necessarily a
drawback as it’s equipped with SRAM’s Maxle Lite tool-free 15mm through axle.

While we found the new tooled M15 axle easy to use, we’ve come to appreciate SRAM’s Maxle Lite axle as the best and easiest to use
15mm through-axle on the market.