Review: Oak Components Root Lever – An aftermarket upgrade for Magura brakes

You may have throwbacks to the mid-2000s when Dangerboy CNC brake levers were all the rage, but the Oak Component root lever does more than just look like a sculpted aluminum stick. In addition to providing more tweaks to fine-tune a wider lever throw distance and custom pad bite point contact on the Magura brakes, there are also structural bonuses built into the lever.

We’ve seen a number of World Cup teams, like Specialized Gravity, specifically select Magura’s MT7 brakes as their first choice. The Oak Components riders also prefer these brakes and decided to improve the stopping procedure by creating the Root Lever that works with any of the Magura MT Next master cylinder bodies.

Details of the oak root lever

• Compatible with all Magura MT Next master cylinders
• Bite point and reach adjustments
• Hose twist protection
• Black or silver anodized finish
• 100% made in Bavaria
• €148 per set
oakcomponents.de

Based in Bavaria, the tech start-up manufactures its own CNC components in-house for an incredibly niche product, but builds an impeccably finished product that is available in two anodized colors for €148, per set.

Technical details

Bite point adjustments can be cheated by manipulating the amount of brake fluid in a given reservoir, but this is not necessary with the Root Lever. Oak Components calls this Contact Point Adjustment or CPA – it’s basically where the lever stops in travel. A tool-less dial uses detents to adjust the lever in quarter-millimeter increments that can be locked in place via a 1.5mm grub screw. On the back of the dial is a rod that pushes on the master cylinder piston to move the pads closer or further from the rotor. The grooved outer edge of the round dial provides good grip for turning, even with muddy or wet gloves. The throw or empty path adjustment (EPA) of the lever is another adjustment that can be adjusted with another screw of the same size and the hex key is included in the box.

You may also be attracted to the spring wrapped around the brake line – something you don’t often see on mountain bike brakes. This mechanism relieves and dissipates energy that could be directed towards bending the brake hose as it enters the lever body. To secure the spring in place, another of those tiny grub screws runs through a separate barrel that slides over the brake hose first and butts against the outside of the master cylinder, held in place by a third screw.

Finally, Oak Components claims the lever is stiffer than the stock Magura HC 1-finger lever and is also more resistant to bending in a crash. It’s also a bit longer overall than the 1-finger HC lever and has a more pronounced square edge around the buy area where you’ll find additional machining for better grip.

At this close angle, you can see how the CPA dial is pushing on the tank.

Setup and setup

To guide you through installation, Oak Components has created a video tutorial. Overall, the process is quite simple and does not require a full brake bleed.

Removal of the stock lever is done with a few gentle taps with an awl to pop the adjustment pin out with light force. The pin can slide in both directions because it and the lever bodies are symmetrical. The root lever can then be installed with little effort to put this pin back in place. Unscrewing the lever body from the bar and placing it on a flat surface will be less difficult than trying to do it on the bike.

Next, unscrew the compression nut and strip the crushed olive to slide the spring and barrel onto the pipe, then put everything back in the reverse order, ending with the spring and plug barrel. Before unscrewing the hose it should be noted that you will need a new olive as the brake line must pass through the spring retainer barrel. It would be nice if a new olive was also included with the purchase of the levers. By the way, I’ve found that cutting the brake line, making it inherently shorter, isn’t necessary if you can pinch the olive enough to split it and snap it off the line.

Once you have everything assembled, start with where you would like the pads to contact the rotor using the CPA, ie: how far away the lever is from the bar when the brake is fully engaged. From there, use the 1.5 hex wrench to dial in the levers to the maximum reach you want. Oak includes two of these tiny spares, but I’ve added Loctite to each of these tiny grub screws for added peace of mind. There is some overlap in how the two settings influence each other, so getting it right takes a little longer than a set of SRAM Code RSC brakes.

The adjustment range can swing from almost 25mm all the way up to 55mm from the bar with this ODI grip. It takes a bit of tinkering to get it right, but ultimately more options means more tinkering. For the most picky, they will be delighted to finally have their levers perched and engaged at symmetrical distances. It’s worth pointing out that the stock lever’s tipping security is also lost with the inclusion of the reach adjuster – these will only get you so far and I’ve never seen a stock lever damage the master cylinder because of this.

The root lever is the same length as the original Magura 1-finger blade, but straighter like the bronze-colored Loic Bruni signature lever.

Performance

The CPA dial is second to none, the standout feature of this lever. A small dial that gives you the ability to fully synchronize the contact point of brake engagement is a game changer. It also means you can make changes to the feel of the lever as the pads wear down. I’ve even had other longtime Magura fans surprised by the crispiness of the Root Lever. Similar to Shimano brakes, the stock Magura free-stroke dial has little effect on the system. Magura’s HC3 lever provides that same action, but the usable range is much smaller, and the lever’s blade shape is the most aggressive curve of the bunch.

We have seen some Magura riders, like Danny Hart, opt for the longer 2-finger HC lever, which gives more leverage and less feel. The Root Lever might be a good compromise for riders who want less of the blade bend of the stock 1-finger HC option, but less travel than the 2-finger. I always got along well with the stock 1-finger levers and the only detail I noticed on the root lever was a more prominent square edge for your finger to wrap around.

The component-integrated protection features are also an Oak enhancement design. During the test, I may have touched the ground once or twice. There was strong evidence of stretching since I had to scrape mud off the CNC cutouts. The levers and hose fittings came out straight and unscathed, even after a serious entanglement in cleared brush. The ends of the levers are nicely beveled and round, but the leading edge has a sharper edge. I wouldn’t call that a problem, but for security reasons removing a little more hardware might be worth it.

€148 sounds like a lot of money for a pair of machined levers, but the functionality the Root Lever brings to an already impressive set of Magura caps puts the set well above any brake combination I’ve tried before . This goes for performance, manufacturing and design. Having that strong connection at each fingertip adds confidence and safety when braking. They also have zero slope and nothing will roll out or bounce.

There is about 30mm of usable reach adjustment.


Benefits

+ Wider range of adjustment settings compared to stock levers
+ Solid construction with hose protection function
+ Adjustment dials stay in place

The inconvenients

Need to remove brake line to install system
Lever blade may be too square for some riders’ preferences


Pinkbike’s take

I’ve been a fan of the Magura brakes for a long time and adding the Root Lever to the system has increased their performance even further. This niche product is on par with Magura’s highly adjustable HC3 lever, but offers a more traditional lever shape. With the contact pad adjustment, you can select where you want the brakes to engage in place without having to overfill the reservoir and retain that crisp feel for a longer period of use. Mate beer

Wiley C. Thompson