I recently broke off the lever of my front brake and am looking for a replacement lever or front brake. Need some input/suggestions from more experiences riders.

Some of my questions:

  • What are the (dis)advantages of multiple pistons (for example a 4 piston caliper) better than less pistons?
  • Would cooling fins be recommended? (I don't ride downhill but do brake hard and often)
  • Is there a way to find the piston size/lever 'leverage ratio' without having to ask each manufacturer?

I originally had a Magura MT4 which I was very happy with but I fell and the lever (more specifically the fluid reservoir) broke in half (due to it being made of plastic). If I could get something similar in terms of braking power which is a bit more robust (not made of plastic) that would be great. Alternatively I could install something similar to this to prevent the lever from breaking/snapping (I believe they're called "lever guards"):

enter image description here

The bike is very heavy (e-bike), approx 45kg and fast (70kph) so I need very good braking power. With the MT4's I could do a stoppie (riding on front wheel only) with 2 fingers on the lever.

I replaced the broken off lever on my MT4 with a Shimano lever (not exactly sure which one, will add photo below) but for some reason I have to press the lever way way harder (on MT4 I needed 1-2 fingers with very little force to block front wheel (dry tarmac) and with the Shimano lever I need to press as hard as I can with 3-4 fingers and still can barely block the front wheel) to get the same stopping power (same caliper/hose, different brake lever).

Shimano lever:

enter image description here enter image description here

I have tried looking for replacements online but could not find the 'leverage ratio' (leverage of the brake lever itself and the size of the piston in the brake handle) anywhere in the spec sheets for the models I've looked at. I am using a 180mm Magura brake rotor.

I think a downhill type brake would be the best option.

Brake Requirements:

  • a lot of braking power (block front brake with 1-2 fingers without much force)
  • Weight is no issue (they can be heavy)
  • price under 120usd/100eu if possible (if there is a big difference in quality/performance when going a bit higher budget please don't refrain from suggesting a bit more expensive models as well)
  • adjustable bite point/reach for bonus points
  • they do NOT need to be e-bike specific (no brake sensor needed)

Any suggestions are welcome/greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Original (broken) MT4 lever:

enter image description here

  • 1
    Product recomendations are off-topic as they are only of use to the asker and tend to become obsolete quickly. If you can't get a compatible replacement Magura lever you need to replace both the lever and caliper. As you found out with the Shimano lever different systems push different volumes of fluid and this changes the 'leverage ratio'. Jan 25, 2020 at 13:13
  • 2
    I answered the last question in my previous comment. Mixing different levers and calipers is not recommended. Jan 25, 2020 at 13:36
  • 1
    components from a manufacturer are often compatible.Shimano and Sram publish extensive compatibility info. Research on the Magura web site to see if they do the same Jan 25, 2020 at 17:07
  • 7
    At 75km and 45kg, its not an e-Bike, its an electric motorbike and motorbike brakes.
    – mattnz
    Jan 25, 2020 at 20:26
  • 1
    On that bike, 4 Pot caliper with fined brake pads, with a Hope V4 vented disc. Cost -what's the cost of weeks in hospital because your brakes failed?
    – mattnz
    Jan 25, 2020 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


As Argenti said in comments - mixing levers and calipers is not recommended.

Magura's website is very informative on what Magura parts go with what Magura brakes and how to select parts. I did not find any Magura / Shimano cross reference.

There is a very nice explanation of the pros and cons for different hydraulic brake configurations to aid in decision making. Here is a chart describing 2 vs 4 pistions:

Two Piston vs 4 Piston vs Trail Combination (4 Piston Front / 2 Piston rear)
Two Piston vs 4 Piston vs 4 Piston Front / 2 Piston rear

The page also has information on Magura specific rotors and brake pad performance and an interactive guide for setting up brakes.

Magura also makes a one finger aluminum MT4 compatible lever.

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