If you're considering a new set of brakes, the new Magura MT line of brakes is worth a hard look. I've had the MT8's installed for coming up on a few weeks and I have been really impressed with the performance(especially at such a light weight). Having owned Magura Marta SL's for the last few years, I wasn't sure how I would like the new brakes from Magura. The Marta's were really reliable, low maintenance, and consistent, but the feel of the brake was always a deal breaker for me(too on-off, poor modulation), so they were relegated to my '3rd string' bike.
Enter the Magura MT8:
Out of the box, both brakes come with full length housing if you are inclined to set them up 'moto' style. Installation requires shortening of the hoses, but this can be done without having to bleed the brakes. If you do have to bleed the brake, this is probably the most simple process out there - and I have worked on(or owned) just about every brake.
From there, setup is a total breeze. Though the parts seem very delicate(carbon clamp, AL bolts), installation was still quite simple - way better than the setup of Formula R1's in my experience. A few pulls of the lever and the caliper lines up perfectly. The pads have very good clearance, so brake rub is totally a non-issue. Noise-wise, they sound very similar to the Marta's I used to own - in general they are very quiet, but not absolutely silent(which is to be expected w/ disc brakes).
The feel of the brake is really what I was most interested in and Magura certainly came through - much improved feel over my last set of Magura's. The lever is a nice ergonomic shape and the modulation is excellent, allowing you to 'feather' the brakes and just scrub a little speed.
Power: If you are looking for raw power, these may not be the brakes for you. The Marta's definitely have more raw power than the MT8, but the MT8's are much more controlled under braking - almost to the point where it is difficult to lock the brake(which is definitely a positive for trail riding - brake lock means loss of traction/control). If you like a very on/off feeling brake, you may want to look elsewhere.
All things considered, these are definitely some of the best brakes I have put my hands on. We'll see how the reliability goes, but so far sooooooo G-dam good.
Time to ride!!
Weight: This is a full brake(full length housing), 160mm rotor, adapter, all bolts(rotor/caliper/etc)....everything. Caliper and lever alone weighed 198g's with full length housing.