Archive for Manitou

Bike Checks: New Build on a Transition TR500!

We will be featuring bikes that are build at Tionghin from now and having a bike checks on the complete set up!

Bike Checks on a Transition TR500!

We do provide Race Shield protections on your bikes with additional cost on the labour charges too!

Getting ready for oversea downhill terrain!

Read on..

The complete build of the bike!

Components List
Frame: Transition TR500
Fork: 2017 Manitou Dorado 27.5
Headset: FSA Sealed Headset
Wheels: WTB complete wheelset
Tires: Maxxis HIgh Roller 2 27.5 x 2.4
Bar: Raceface bar 35mm clamp
Grip: Transition lock on grip
Crank: Raceface Chester Crankset
Brake: Shimano Saint Brakes
Rotor: Shimano rotor 203mm front and rear
Stem: Raceface direct mount stem
Seatpost: Raceface seatpost
Saddle: WTB Saddle
Pedal: DMR Vault
Cassette: Shimano XT cassette
Shifters: Sram GX shifters
Rear derailleur: Sram GX
Front derailleur: Nil
Chain Guide Device: E13 LG1
Chain: KMC Chain

Stay tune for more upcoming new builds and bike checks!

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New Manitou Magnum 27.5+ and 29+ Fork

Manitou Magnum 27.5+ and 29+ Fork

Manitou says that their new Magnum fork has been designed from the ground up to work with 27.5+ and 29+ tires, and that includes an entirely new chassis, custom valved damping, and an air spring system that’s been lifted from the Dorado downhill fork and tuned for this application – more on all the fork’s tech below. Travel ranges between 80 to 140mm for the 27.5+ model, and 80 to 120mm for the 29+ fork, and there’s enough clearance for riders to fit a massive 3.4” wide tire. The Magnum is already shipping to bike shops, and it retails for $900 USD.

Manitou was at pains to make it clear that the Magnum is not just a 29er fork that’s been widened out and spec’d with a 15 x 110mm axle, and that the purpose-built fork is actually 5 – 7mm lower from axle-to-crown than its competition for this very reason. It also sports the company’s reverse arch design, a machined out hollow crown, and the 15mm x 110mm thru-axle is Manitou’s own Hex Lock design.

The fork employs a very similar air spring as you’d find inside the Mattoc and Dorado, with the air valve at the bottom of the leg pressurizing both the positive and negative chambers simultaneously and to nearly the same pressure. This near-balancing between the positive and negative air springs is said to make for a responsive top end to the travel, and Manitou says that the fork’s active early stroke is important as it takes away the high-volume front tire’s tendency to act as an undamped air spring. In other words, less uncontrolled bounce that first time fat bikers often take notice of, and also more control.

The Magnum’s Incremental Volume Adjust system allows riders to easily tune the amount of progression that the air spring provides.

Repositioning the white air piston on the IVA system is as simple as moving around the four black spacers that are above and below it.

One of my few complaints with the Mattoc was its lack of volume adjustment, and while the fork’s Hydraulic Bottom Out control helped in this regard, the ability to tune mid-stroke and bottom-out by changing the volume of the air spring is handy. Manitou listened and has come up with something they call Incremental Volume Adjust, a nifty tuning system that allows the volume of the air chamber to be changed by moving 10mm spacers above or below the air piston itself, a process that only requires releasing the fork’s air pressure and opening up the top cap. There are four positions available, and the neat part is that all of the pieces are contained within the fork – there’s no spacers floating around in the bottom of your tool box.

It works like this: release the fork’s air pressure and then unscrew the top cap – the IVA assembly is attached to it and will come out with it. The plastic spacers that determine the height of the air piston can be pushed off of the rod by hand, allowing you to reposition the piston for more or less progression (higher for less, lower for more) and then reinstall the spacers accordingly. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to make changes.

The Magnum’s MC2 compression assembly is housed at the top of the fork leg.

Riders can adjust high- and low-speed compression, as well as bottom-out ramping, with dials at the top of the right leg.

The Magnum’s damper employs all of the company’s high-end, acronym-heavy damper technology that’s laid out in their TPC system. TPC means ‘Twin Piston Chamber’, and it’s exactly as it sounds: there’s a rebound piston at the bottom and a compression piston at the top. The fork’s MC² compression unit allows for both high- and low-speed adjustment, and the Hydraulic Bottom Out control dial at the center allows riders to tune how the fork ramps up in the last 25mm of its stroke. As its name suggests, HBO harnesses oil displacement to slow the fork down during compression in the later stages of its stroke, doing so by using a position sensitive valve on the bottom of the MC² compression damper. As the fork nears the end of its travel, a small extension on the end of the Magnum’s rebound damper enters the hollow HBO unit, and since the confines are tight and the entire system is submersed in oil, the fork’s compression action is slowed.

Stay tune for more updates of arrival of the Magnum!

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Bike Checks: New Build on a Transition Patrol!

We will be featuring bikes that are build at Tionghin from now and having a bike checks on the complete set up!

Bike Checks on a Transition Patrol!

We do provide Race Shield protections on your bikes with additional cost on the labour charges too!

Custom decals and matching stickers for it!

Read on..

The complete build of the bike!

Components List
Frame: Transition Patrol 2016
Fork: 2016 Manitou Mattock
Headset: Chris King Inset headset
Wheels: Chris King hubs with lightbicycle carbon rims on Wheelsmith DB14 spokes
Tires: Maxxis DHF2 650b x 2.3 front and Maxxis DHR2 650b rear
Bar: Renthal FatBar
Grip: Velo Lock on grip
Crank: Shimano XT Crank with Straitline Bashguard
Brake: Hope Tech Brakes
Rotor: Shimano XT rotor 203mm front and rear
Stem: Straitline 50mm stem
Seatpost: Thomson Elite seatpost
Saddle: WTB Saddle
Pedal: Nil
Cassette: Shimano XT cassette
Shifters: Sram XO trigger shifters
Rear derailleur: Sram X9
Front derailleur: Shimano XT double
Chain Guide Device: Nil
Chain: Shimano XT speed chain

Stay tune for more upcoming new builds and bike checks!

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2014 Manitou Mattoc is here!!

2014 Manitou Mattoc Pro
The Mattoc is a nod to all the trailbuilders who make this sport possible, and Manitou set out to design a fork that is as exacting as it’s namesake. They built it for riders who like to earn the right to use gravity . A fork that provides efficient pedaling and yet can handle any terrain you throw at it, making it an ideal platform for enduro riding.

TPC (Twin Position Chamber): Providing 4-Dimensional Compression Damping; The velocity dependant circuit responds to the terrain while the Pressure Dependant Circuit flattens the bumps, the Energy Dependant Circuit activates on big hits while providing unmatched small bump sensitivity and the Position Dependant Circuit creates a bottomless feel.
Dorado Air Spring: Features a single air input on top of the fork and a large volume air spring to give a linear spring feel. Combined these give the ultimate sensitivity for any rider in any condition.

Grab yours in store now!

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Manitou Mattoc All Mountain Fork

Manitou forks has been quiet for a couple of years, with only the downhill Dorado being a stand out fork in its range. Now, however, comes the Mattoc; a 160mm trail fork designed by the Dorado designer, using much of the same technology. And, 26in lovers rejoice as there’ll be 26in and 27in versions.

The chassis is similar to existing forks like the Tower, with a tapered steerer and the X-Loc axle. However, the Mattoc internals have been developed for the rufty-tufty world of enduro with much trickle down from the Durado.

The Mattoc was named after the trailbuilders’ tool

Numbers first then: It’s coming out early 2014 and will be available in 140/150/160mm via clip-on/off internal spacers, so it’s easy to change the travel. Stanchions are 34mm. The 26in version will even go to 170mm. The lowers are the same, although the fork offset is different for both forks. Theoretically, though, it would be possible to buy the 26in version now and then run 27in when/if/when you upgrade. A 27in wheel in a 26in fork would have more trail (and be more stable/DH feeling at the expense of some slow speed nimbleness), so it might be an acceptable upgrade path for a 26in rider who might want to go bigger wheeled in the future. Or you could just go out now and get a 27in bike. Did we mention that they were everywhere at the show?

Lovely satin red finish. Black and white available too.

The fork has a clever hydraulic bottom-out. Rather than have a steeply ramping air-curve at the bottom of the stroke, there’s a more linear air spring and when the fork is into its final 30mm of travel, it engages with the hydraulic bottom out, where the rate of bottom out curve is governed by the flow of oil through adjustable ports.

Rather than slot the bushings on the stanchion-facing side, to allow oil to pass through, the Mattock has slots on the back side of the bushing, to allow oil to pass, while keeping full bushing contact on the stanchions to keep things solid. There’ll be a Pro/Expert/Comp level of fork and although we don’t have prices yet, they’re looking to be less than the cost of an equivalent Rockshox Pike.

The Mattoc. Classic Manitou reverse arch and bold graphics.

Stay tune for the arrvial of the Manitou Mattoc in stores.

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Bike Checks: New Build on a Specialized Demo 8!

We will be featuring bikes that are build at Tionghin from now and having a bike checks on the complete set up!

Bike Checks on a Specialized Demo 8!

A DH machine for any one who dare to ride it.

We do provide Race Shield protections on your bikes with additional cost on the labour charges too!

Read on..

Complete build of the Demo!

Upfront of the complete build.

Manitou Dorado for the front obsorber.

Cane Creek XIIX headset.

Cockpit on Avid Exlir brakes and XT shifters.

Front crankset on Shimano Saint crank and Race Face chain ring.

Shimano XTR shadow rear derailleur and XT cassette.

Chris King hubs for the engagements.

Cane Creek double barrel.

Components List
Frame: Specalized Demo 8
Fork: 2013 Manitou Dorado
Headset: Cane Creek sealed headset
Wheels: Chris King hubs on ZTR Flow rim and DT Swiss spokes
Tires: Kenda Excavator front and rear 2.35
Bar: Deity low riser bar
Grip: Crank brother lock on Grip
Crank: Shimano Saint crankset on Race Face chain ring
Brake: Avid Exlir R brakes
Rotor: Shimano XT 203mm front and 180mm rear
Stem: Thomson X4 31.8mm clamp stem
Seatpost: Rock Shock Reverb seatpost
Pedal: Wellgo Pedals
Cassette: Shimano XT 11t – 34t
Shifters: Shimano XT shifters
Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR shadow plus
Front derailleur: –
Chain Guide Device: Truvativ X0 ISCG05
Chain: Shimano XT 9 speed chain

Stay tune for more upcoming new builds and bike checks!

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First Look: Manitou Mattoc Fork

Manitou hasn’t had a top level 160mm fork in a number of years, but for 2014 the company is coming out swinging with the introduction of the Mattoc, their high end, air sprung all-mountain fork. In development for almost two years, the fork has 34mm stanchions and will be available with 140, 150 or 160mm of travel for 26” and 27.5” bikes, with an additional 170mm option available for 26ers. External adjustments include low and high speed compression damping, hydraulic bottom out, and low speed rebound.

Manitou Mattoc Details:
Intended use: all-mountain/enduro
26”/27.5″ travel: 140, 150, or 160mm
170mm available for 26″ only
34mm stanchion tubes
Dorado air sprung
HSC, LSC, rebound, and hydraulic bottom out adjustments
Tapered steerer
15mm HexLock thru axle
Weight: 1877g (Pro), 1990g (Expert)

What makes the Mattoc especially enticing is its use of technology borrowed from Manitou’s Dorado downhill fork, a fork heralded for its plush feel and excellent adjustability. Like the Dorado, the Mattoc uses independent oil seals and dust wipers to reduce the chance of leakage or blow outs, and a hydraulic bottom out adjuster that controls the last 32mm of the fork’s stoke separately from the other compression settings. The Mattoc also uses the Dorado’s large volume, low pressure air spring, which is designed to be moderately progressive throughout its stroke for a controlled, bottomless feel.

A look at the fork’s internals reveals a number of well thought out features in the Mattoc’s new Multi Control Compression (MC²) damper, particularly the way that the high speed compression (HSC) damping is adjusted. When the external HSC dial is turned it adds more preload to an internal shim, accomplishing the same feat that adding a thicker shim would do, but without the need to pull apart the fork. Low speed compression (LSC) damping is changed via a tapered needle oil system – turning the external knob alters the volume of an orifice, changing the fork’s damping characteristics. There is also the option to add on a handlebar mounted remote to change the LSC on the fly.

A closer look at the Mattoc’s MC² compression damper. The far left portion is the hydraulic bottom out control, and just to the right of it, above the o-ring and below the silver ports, is the high speed compression shim. Low speed compression is altered via a needle valve inside the damper.

The Mattoc’s shim-based rebound damping is adjusted by turning the dial located on the bottom of the right leg. Turning the rebound dial controls a taper needle oil system, with different shim stacks available from Manitou for riders that want to fine tune the fork’s rebound damping. This high level of tuneability should make the Mattoc especially appealing to garage tinkerers, a fact that Manitou took into consideration when designing the fork. They wanted a fork that the end user could rebuild at home, reducing the downtime that occurs when sending a fork away to be serviced.

The Mattoc’s compression and bottom out resistance control dials are at the top of the fork, and the air valve and rebound adjust are at the bottom. The Mattoc uses Manitou’s signature reverse arch, and has separate oil seals and dust wipers.

The Mattoc Pro weighs in at a claimed 1877 grams, and the Expert is reportedly 1990 grams. The weight difference comes from the Pro’s use of a cartridge based rebound damper. The Mattoc Pro will retail for $860, with the Expert’s price still to be determined. There will also be an even lower priced Comp model that uses a different air spring. White and black color options will be offered as well.

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2012 Manitou Forks are here!!!

2012 Manitou Dorado Pro
The Dorado MRD was a huge success – for Manitou and for the world – class athletes who got to ride one. This year, we are happy to introduce the Dorado Pro – an exact replica of the Dorado MRD, but with aluminium legs instead of the Dorado MRD’s carbon fiber legs. Everything else is the same – the dual-chamber air spring, the TPC+ damper, the hydraulic top-out and bottom-out circuits, and the unsurpassed performance.

  • Travel: 180 and 203mm
  • Chassis: Aluminium legs and crowns w/Aluminum Steerer
  • Spring: Dual-chamber air
  • Hub interface: 20mm HexLock™
  • Damper: TPC+
  • Colour: All black Ano
  • Weight: 6.55lbs

2012 Manitou Circus Comp
Do you remember first grade when the Circus came to town and you attended it as a field trip? There was always some excitement until the clowns came up into the audience and you freaked out. Well get your freak on kids, because here comes the Circus!

Hex-Lock is Manitou’s proprietary thru-axle technology for riders who demand uncompromised steering precision. The hexagonal ends of the Hex-Lock axle resist twisting forces and lock lower legs in place for unsurpassed stiffness. Hex-Lock is compatible with standard 20mm hubs and parts.

  • Weight in Lbs / Grams: 5.32 / 2413 (80mm) w/Aluminum Steerer
  • Travel: 80, 100 Internally Adj
  • Spring: Coil
  • Spring Rate: Firm
  • Bottom Out: Dual Bottom-Outs (1 / Leg)
  • Steerer: 1 1/8″ Steel
  • Crown: Forged I-Beam Crown
  • Crown Finish: Black Ano
  • Offset: 41.27
  • Compression Damping: Absolute w/ Jump Stack
  • Rebound Damping: Adjustable TPC
  • Adjustments: Mech. Preload, Compression to Lockout, Rebound
  • Leg Diameter: 32mm
  • Leg Material: 4130 Chromolly Steel
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • Brake Mount: PM 6”
  • Axle: 20mm Hex TA
  • Crown to Axle: 458/478
  • Colour: White

2012 Manitou Marvel Expert
When you name a fork Marvel, the fork better be marvellous. Manitou did not disappoint with this fork. At 120mm of travel, this fork is a fierce fighter in the XC/ light trail category. Put this on your high end XC frame and be amazed at the difference it will make. Manitou did not just want to make an excellent fork; they wanted to make a statement to the rest of the industry. Not only are bike frames changing but components including forks are too. You’ll notice some striking architectural features on the Marvel including the crown design.

  • Weight Lbs / Grams: 3.4Lbs / 1543g (100mm)
  • Travel: 100, 120
  • Spring: ISO Air
  • Bottom Out: Rubber Bumper
  • Steerer: 1.5 Tapered
  • Crown: New I-Beam Crown
  • Offset: 41.27
  • Compression Damping: TPC Technology, Absolute (in leg)
  • Rebound Damping: Adjustable TPC
  • Adjustments: Air, Compression to Lockout, Rebound
  • Leg Diameter: 32mm
  • Leg Material: 7050 butted AL
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • Brake Mount: PM 6”
  • Axle: QR15mm Hex
  • Crown to Axle: 470 / 490
  • Colour: Black

2012 Manitou Minute Expert
A great fork communicates everything that’s happening between your tire and the trail, without jarring loose any expensive dental work. In the past, though, you had to accept a weight penalty in order to gain rock-solid steering. The Minute is here to change all that with its ultra-stiff 32mm stanchions, MARS Air spring, and available Hex Lock thru-axle. Forget about noodly XC forks and heavy trail forks. It’s time for a Minute.

  • Weight: 1906g
  • Travel: 80mm, 100mm, 130mm
  • Spring: ACT Air
  • Spring Rate: Medium
  • Bottom Out: Rubber bumper
  • Steerer: 1.1/8” steel
  • Crown: Forged I-Beam Crown
  • Crown Finish: Black Ano
  • Offset: 41.27
  • Compression Damping: TPC Technology Absolute
  • Adjustments: Air, Compression to Lockout, Rebound
  • Leg Diameter: 32mm
  • Leg Material: 7050 straight wall AL
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • Brake Mount: PM 6”
  • Axle: 9mm
  • Crown to Axle: 458 / 479 / 508
  • Colour: Black

2012 Manitou Minute Pro
A great fork communicates everything that’s happening between your tire and the trail, without jarring loose any expensive dental work. In the past, though, you had to accept a weight penalty in order to gain rock-solid steering. The Minute is here to change all that with its ultra-stiff 32mm stanchions, MARS Air spring, and available Hex Lock thru-axle. Forget about noodly XC forks and heavy trail forks. It’s time for a Minute.

  • Weight: 1657g
  • Travel: 100mm, 120mm, 140mm
  • Spring: MARS Air
  • Spring Rate: Medium (100, 120), Firm (140)
  • Bottom Out: Rubber bumper
  • Steerer: 1.1/8” aluminium tapered
  • Crown: Forged Deep Bore Hollow Crown
  • Crown Finish: Silver Polished
  • Offset: 41.27
  • Compression Damping: TPC Technology Absolute
  • Rebound Damping: Adjustable TPC
  • Adjustments: Air, Compression to Lockout, Rebound
  • Leg Diameter: 32mm
  • Leg Material: 7050 Butted AL
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • Brake Mount: PM 6”
  • Axle: 20mm, 20mm non tapered, 9mm
  • Crown to Axle: 478 / 498 / 515
  • Colour: White

Grab them while stock last!

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Manitou Circus Expert Suspension Fork Review!

I recently wrote a post about my Banshee AMP build, and in it I mentioned that I decided to go with the Manitou Circus Expert fork. After spending some quality time shredding on the new rig I am confident enough to put my thoughts on the Circus Expert down on paper – err, screen.

Last year I installed a Circus Comp on my older DJ bike and spent a long time riding it. I was so impressed by how well the fork performed that I was itching to give the top model a go. After talking with Ed Kwaterski, the product manager at Manitou, about the new Banshee Amp project that I was putting together, he was more than happy to offer up the Circus Expert for review.

The Manitou Circus Expert is much like the Comp, but with a few changes. For starters there is a big difference in weight: at 2,134 grams the Expert is 300 grams lighter than the Comp.

Where did that weight savings come from? Well for one thing, the stanchions on the Expert are made from 7050 aluminum (high strength aircraft grade metal that is both stiff and fatigue resistant), compared to the 4130 chromoly in the Comp.

The second key feature is the lighter ACT spring in the Expert vs. the coil in the Comp. Lastly, the Expert’s steering crown is hollow for additional weight savings.

With the ACT spring, you get weight savings from having the preload adjustments taken care of by the air chamber, while the coil takes care of the travel. The ACT system also adds to the bottom-out resistance when you’re near the end of the travel. As an added measure, the Circus Expert includes dual bump stops (one per leg) to keep things from smashing together when you case it badly.

What remains the same is the proven 20mm hex through-axle and the two bolts per leg arrangement. The same goes for the new Absolute+ jumping stack and TPC rebound controls. They didn’t have to change these as they already worked very well.

One feature I am particularly fond of is the clown nose and the sticker pack. Nothing says fun like stickers and a clown nose! They were great entertainment for my son while I assembled the bike.

Setting up the Circus is pretty easy, and installation took all of fifteen minutes. If you have the tools and want to do it yourself this is an easy fork to attempt.

Tuning the fork didn’t take very long either. I just needed to keep my fork pump handy and I found that I needed a bit less than the recommended air setting for my weight. 200 pounds was in their low range of 20-35 PSI.

Personally, 22lbs of pressure seemed to work best for my weight, but again that is all rider preference. Maybe when I grow up and start doing 360′s I will jack up the pressure, but for now that’s where it’ll stay.

As far as the compression and rebound settings, I am 3 clicks away from lock out on the compression side and smack in the middle with rebound. The only issue with rebound on the Circus is that there are no clicks, just a dial knob. A felt marker can be helpful for keeping track of your favorite positions.

The Test
The Circus is definitely a great match for my Banshee AMP, as both the AMP and the Circus are lightweight and stiff. Overall control is synergistic.

As I explained above, the Circus Expert has some definite improvements over its heavier sibling, and those improvements translate to real-world increases in performance. For instance, the reduction in mass makes the front end lighter and more responsive.

Once tuned, I also found I preferred the overall feel of the spring compared to the all-coil feel of the Comp. The rise in rate as the fork compressed when landing was not sudden but noticeable.

Speaking of compression, the ABS+ damper is right on the money yet again. I found that locking it out on the pump track really gave the bike a bit more drive in the berms and completely eliminated any dive. Even when it was locked out, the damper still functioned respectably.

I tend to lock out the fork when practicing skinnies. At times when I did fall off, usually at very slow speeds but with sudden front-heavy drop offs, I was happy to have that lock on preventing the bike from fully compressing.

On the bigger jumps I kept the compression settings at usually 2 – 3 clicks from lock out. At that setting there was just the right amount of compression dampening. After a while, though, the higher rates of compression did make my wrists a bit sore. It’s a small price to pay for good control over the wheel.

Rebound was a set-and-almost-forget situation. Seeing that most of my DJ riding is usually smooth with only one or two big hits, the rebound settings generally stay the same. The Circus Expert rebound worked consistently well. On the progressive jumps I didn’t feel any packing down, nor did I get the fork to toss me off the bike. The fork just provided good control.

Over the duration of my review I had no issues at all with the fork: no leaks, no creaks, no anything else. I really think Manitou has a winner here for a DJ/4x-style fork. At a cost of $449 MSRP, this fork won’t break the bank and you can still afford to take the kids to the real Circus!

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Manitou’s Marvel Pro and Real Custom Tuning – Eurobike 2011

Available in 100mm and 120mm travel options, Manitou’s Marvel Pro is their top tier XC fork. Inside you’ll find a damper that combines Manitou’s proven TPC damper with the pedalling performance of the Absolute+ piston and shim configuration. TPC refers to the fork’s Twin Piston Chamber – two pistons, one compression and one rebound, in a serviceable cartridge that lowers weight through oil volume. Manitou pioneered the two piston design in mountain bike suspension (later on developing the TPC+ system that uses a third floating piston as well) that you can now find inside of many other forks.

This is then combined with the Absolute+ damper to create a system that offers a firm pedalling platform early in its stroke, but that also opens up quickly to let the suspension work over the terrain. The 32mm stanchion Marvel Pro is available in both QR and 15mm axle versions. The fork’s price of $699.99 USD price puts it well under the competitions high-end offerings, but only time on the trail will show how it compares in performance. Stay tuned, we have our names a Marvel Pro for testing.

Manitou Marvel Pro details:

  • 100/120mm travel options
  • ISO Air spring
  • TPC Absolute+ damper
  • Adjustable compression (to lockout), rebound and air spring
  • 32mm stanctions
  • QR15 hex thru-axle or 9mm QR lowers
  • White or black lowers
  • Tapered and straight 1 1/8th steerer options
  • Weight: 3.5lbs
  • MSRP: $699.99 USD (tapered steerer, QR15 axle)

15mm HexLock thru-axle: Manitou’s QR15 HexLock thru-axle uses a 90 degree quick release lever to disengage the axle from the lowers. The silver dial adjusts the tension once the QR lever is tightened down. Adjust it once and it is set from then on in. The photo above clearly shows the axle’s hex shaped clamping zone that resists twisting. The recessed dropouts on the Marvel are shaped so that the tension adjustment – the anodized grey aluminum dial assembly on the axle – sits mostly inside the lowers, with only the dial itself exposed. The opposite side uses threaded insert for the axle to tighten into that is also replaceable if damaged.

Absolute+ damper: The compression damper ()above left() used within the Marvel Pro fork employs a digressive shim stack to provide a specific amount of low speed compression damping early in the stroke. This provides a firm pedalling feel at the top of the fork’s travel to keep it from bobbing under power. The large black tube just above the piston is a closed cell foam compensator that does the same job as an IFP (internal floating piston), but without the added friction of an air spring seal, in that it compensates for changes in the oil volume as the rebound damper rod enters and exits the cartridge. Without it the fork would require an air gap in the cartridge, something that can lead to foaming oil and inconsistent damping.

How it works: A digressive damping curve means that once the oil pressure (which creates damping force) climbs high enough to engage the shim stack, the opening of the shims is drastic enough that any further increase in stroke velocity does not add any appreciable increase in damping force. This is differentiated from an orifice damper in which damping force climbs exponentially with stroke velocity, or a standard linear shim stack where damping force climbs linearly with increase in stroke velocity. This was first used on race cars and motorbikes to prevent chassis roll when braking or changing direction, but still allowing the suspension to absorb the ground below. It is accomplished by preloading one or more of the shims so that they are flexing in the opposite direction of the oil flow before entering the travel.

Manitou achieves this by shaping the compression piston (bottom right in the above photo) in such a way that the outside edge of the bottom shim rests on a raised lip and is flexed down – preloaded – by tightening the piston bolt. This preloading requires more oil force to flex the shim at first, giving the damper its platform feel. Once oil pressure (damping force) climbs to a level that matches the preload of the shim, the outer edge of the shim will lift off the lip, rapidly releasing that pressure. With the right shim stack, the system can handle high stroke velocities with little or no increase in damping force. The really neat thing with a digressive shim stack, and what Manitou have done on their Absolute+ damper, is the ability to actually tune the exact amount of damping force change that you want by altering the amount of preload and shim thickness in the very same way that you would tune a standard shim stack.

True custom tuning: Manitou is bringing custom tuning to the masses in 2012 with their Absolute Plus Tuning Kit. Unlike the motocross world where riders can open up and alter their suspension, supplying shops and consumers with the means to alter their fork’s damping by changing the shim stack has not been something that the mountain bike industry has embraced. While some may argue that the average consumer is likely to do more harm than good by messing about within their fork’s damper, this certainly shouldn’t keep those who know, or who want to know, from doing the job.

Thankfully, Manitou agrees. Not only does the Absolute Plus Tuning Kit come with all parts that are needed, including shims, pistons and other assorted bits, it also comes with a detailed booklet that provides a number of different shim stack suggestions and corresponding dyno charts to show you exactly what to expect. This allows you or your shop to explore nearly endless custom tunes in order to find the right setup for your style and terrain. We picture suspension nerds and wannabe suspension nerds everywhere jumping with joy right now.

Visit the Manitou website to see their entire lineup.

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