Andre Jute

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« on: March 05, 2022, 01:03:21 PM »
On another forum, someone has revived a thread from 2010. Magura's HS11 and HS33 are now the same hydromechanically, differing only in cosmetics (the cheaper HS11 is more attractive), but otherwise what I wrote in 2010 is equally true in 2021:

a personal review by Andre Jute

When about a year and a half ago I mentioned that I was ordering my
new bike with Magura HS 11 brakes, rather than the HS 33 which were
available simply for asking, on the advice of the makers that the HS
11 are more docile and controllable than the HS 33, the RBT peanut
gallery, who had probably never seen a hydraulic rim brake, screeched
that it was a terrible mistake, the HS 11 was more of a drag than a
brake, that *of course* I should order the HS 33. As always I measured
the advice I actually took by the experience and observable general
wisdom of the givers, and stuck to the HS11 even though I'm a hefty
sort and a hard downhill charger. On the other hand I insist that
everything I own and use works with the utmost precision, refinement
and, dare I say it, docility. I don't keep ill-mannered dogs.

My arguments at the time were that the makers of the bike were in the
best position to know what their sort of customer finds most useful,
and that I'm an artist whose mind can wander so that I sometimes
carelessly use the controls clumsily, a perfect recipe for a face-
plant. I had also found Shimano's roller brakes (the top 70/75 models)
on my Trek more than powerful enough but their controllability barely
acceptable, and the Shimano front disc brake on my Gazelle Toulouse
I've always disliked for its lack of predictablity and crude absence
of fine control; it is a brake just waiting to cause an accident.
Besides, the option was always open to buy HS 33 for around 130-170
Euro and retrofit them on the bosses provided on the frame for the HS
11; in the context of the sort of bike I was ordering, that's a drop
in the bucket, and not a waste but money well spent to get the correct
brakes; as we shall see, it proved unnecessary.

Utopia, the makers of my Kranich, are very serious about the docility
of the brakes on their bikes: they even fit the HS 11 without the
brake booster, and advise their customers not to order the booster
until they have tried the brake without. I've never even considered
ordering the booster, either.

Yesterday, after 17 perfectly happy months with the HS 11 I was proved
right. I've always been very happy with the controllability of the HS
11. They're not exactly forget-and-squeeze brakes, as I found out
yesterday, but any rude behaviour on their part is usually confined to
locking up the rear wheel. Otherwise they are the most refined and
progressive bicycle brakes I've ever owned. That there really isn't
much to say about them says it all: they serve quietly and
unobtrusively who serve best. It is true that a few times I've
wondered if I couldn't have used the 10-15 per cent extra stopping
power the HS 33 is reputed to have, but never to the point of actually
looking up the price of the HS 33 at my favourite internet bicycle
component pushers. The controllability of the HS 11 in daily use was
just too much of an attraction to bugger around with it. (There is
also the likelihood that the HS 33 will find no more usable friction
between road and tyre than the HS 11 does, in which case the extra
power of the HS 33 merely adds an unnecessary additional requirement
for fine control by the operator. I'm too old and too experienced to
want to pose as the guy who has to have a Ferrari because it proves I
can control the uncontrollable. Or something. I leave that sort of
childishness to the peanut gallery.)

In any event, the HS 11 have more than enough stopping power to turn
nasty if handled brutally. Emulating Sheldon, I've been consciously
using the front brake only; after all, it does most of the stopping.
Yesterday I overdid it.

I sped down a long steep hill that leads from the countryside into
town. I have my braking points well marked but yesterday I was taking
advantage of the loose gravel having been swept off the last curve by
the winter rains and was probably doing 60kph as I came up to a T-
junction at a busy main road. Just as I braked a fellow standing there
greeted me. I turned my head to nod and in that moment must have
squeezed the front brake too hard because the front wheel just washed
out instantly -- no recoverable sweep like on loose gravel, just gone
in less than the blink of an eye (4/1000ths of a second) -- and the
rear wheel rose. Afterwards I realized that I actually pulled the rear
brake lever too when I realized what happened (I have pretty fast
reflexes for an old guy) but by then the rear wheel was in the air.
All that I managed to do to ameliorate the situation was come down on
my side rather than on my face.

There's no damage to the bike, thank you for asking. A new thick track
suit has holes in one knee and a small mark on my skin. The other shin
has a modest pedal scrape and that's it.

More than strong enough, those Magura HS 11 hydraulic rim brakes. But
generally very docile, unless you're stupid and at the limit don't pay
attention. But then again, I don't suppose too many people with such
bikes ride them as hard as I do, so it is likely that I'm the only one
who has discovered the bite of the Magura HS 11, and it took me 17
months. With any other brakes I've ever had on a bike, considering the
way I ride, that accident would have happened long since and several

I certainly won't be going back to disc brakes for any purpose
whatsoever. And if I order a new bike of any type, I'll order the
Magura rim brakes, and in the HS 11 model, and without the booster.
The docility of Magura's HS 11 in everyday use is a value beyond

COPYRIGHT 2010, 2022 by Andre Jute


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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2022, 11:48:46 PM »
Setting up new pads on the Shimano v-brake on my daughter's new bike reminds me of how ill mannered I become with the time lost getting them biting just right.

Changing pads on Magura rim brakes are a doddle and keep my manners good when setting the power right.

I have to agree with Andre. Super mannered rim brakes are a joy to have.
If only my bike shed were bigger on the inside...