Manitou Black Elite 2003 Front Shocks

3.82/5 (39 Reviews)
MSRP : $449.95


Product Description

Weight: 4.1 lbs
Travel: 80/100 or 100/120 Rapid Travel Adjust top mounted
Damping: TPC+
Adjustments: Preload, Rebound, Travel
Lubrication: Microlube with Motorex Grease
Spring: Coil
Casting: Magnesium RA
Stanchions: 30 mm aluminum
Steerer: Aluminum


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Reviews 1 - 15 (39 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Myles Collins a Downhiller from Richland Center WI, United States

Date Reviewed: May 1, 2007

Strengths:    light and rigid as in strength.

Weaknesses:    During warm days it is ver plush, but during cold days its like riding a rigid.

Bottom Line:   
This fork is a great fork at first, but after about 3 years of hard riding it starts to have problems. Starts to creak and feel like crap even after changing the fluid.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   My secret ones

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   The wonderful world of EBAY

Bike Setup:   I used this for street and DJ.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by SGT. ROCK a Racer from Grande Cache, AB

Date Reviewed: May 2, 2005

Strengths:    Lockout useful
Durable


Weaknesses:    Oversprung

Bottom Line:   
This fork failed to impress me from the beginning. While I have used other Manitous with success in the past, this one was oversprung for my weight (165 lbs.). It truly beat me up on the rough trails. In the 80mm mode, there was so much preload that the fork was essentially locked out.

With the purchase of a Marathon S, this fork has been moved from my full sus trail bike to a hardtail, where its shortcomings will not be so evident.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $230.00

Purchased At:   Greenfish

Similar Products Used:   Marzo z3, Marzo Marathon S


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Eric a Weekend Warrior from Corona, California

Date Reviewed: March 29, 2005

Strengths:    Great experience with customer support/warranty service.

Weaknesses:    Difficult to get a usable spring rate.

Bottom Line:   
These forks are okay. I have the 100/120's. The 120 setting is a little too soft for my liking as it bottoms out frequently, and the 100 setting is a little too stiff. I usually keep it on 100mm with min. rebound adjust, that seems to handle most of the terrain I ride okay.

I bought my Specialized used on eBay. The previous owner had upgraded the forks to the Manitou's and upgraded to Hayes hydraulics. It seems he tightened the front caliper down too much and stripped out one of the mounting holes.

I emailed Manitou warranty service and after asking when the forks were purchased, promptly sent out new castings, oil and a sticker pack. I got the replacement parts in only a couple days. I'm very impressed with the warranty service.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Similar Products Used:   None of any good quality. Cheap-O RST forks that really suck.

Bike Setup:   '03 Specialized Rockhopper FSR XC, Hayes hydraulic discs.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by James a Cross Country Rider from Mesa, AZ, USA

Date Reviewed: December 16, 2004

Strengths:    Closeout price. Fairly stiff.

Weaknesses:    Mediocre performance. Poor design. The travel is adjustable, but if you change the travel, the spring rate changes so much that the fork is useless in the other setting. I guess, you could just buy another spring and simply change springs when you want to change the travel. No, wait a minute. You don’t want to change the spring as you are likely to break the travel adjust wire that slides up through the spring. It’s very easy to break, as it is very very thin and you will not even know it is there until after you break it because Manitou failed to put it in their manual. Manitou's customer service is beyond poor.

Bottom Line:   
The fork's performance is almost adequate (as long as you don't change the travel). Even though I only paid $200 for the fork, I paid too much. Based purely on performance,there are better low cost choices out there (ie. Marzocchi MX comp). However, when you factor in Manitou’s abysmal customer service, this fork should be avoided if at all possible.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   Greenfish

Similar Products Used:   None!!! I also have a Manitou SPV rear shock. When the spacer that fits between the shock and the bike wore out, Manitou sent me a new one for the low price of $20 (for a 50 cent part). The bad news was that it took them almost three months to get me the correct item (they never returned one phone call or email I sent them and only sent the item to my bike shop after months of pestering).

Bike Setup:   Specialized Enduro

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Glenn a Cross Country Rider from SF, CA

Date Reviewed: December 10, 2004

Strengths:    Stiff

Weaknesses:    If you pull the fork up, there is a gap. Damping sucks.

Bottom Line:   
How anyone can give this fork 5 chilis is beyond me. The fox forks absolutely blow this away. The marzocchis are infinitely more superior. I walk away from every ride with beat up and bruised hands. It is maybe a 2 chili but I'll give it 1 to counteract all the fives. If you have the choice to spend twice as much, you will definitely get five times as much fork.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   greenfish

Similar Products Used:   everything just about.

Bike Setup:   Rocky Mountain ETSX - kick ass bike.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Mikey a Weekend Warrior from Clarks Summit, PA, USA

Date Reviewed: October 22, 2004

Strengths:    I used Answer forks for a long time, so when this fork came with my bike, I had a good feeling. My first day on the new bike, I went to Plattekill, NY, for the first time ever (ow). This fork took a serious beating...and also lay a serious beating on me.
Pluses: Microlube ports easy to use, adjustment controls easy to use, if a bit cheesy (plastic everything). Rebound damping works great. The fork is stiff and strong.
I have to admit, I am picky...if you are not, this fork could be a great value, as it is now cheap, strong and works OK for most.


Weaknesses:    Minuses: Stock spring too soft, No compression damping whatsoever...despite changing the oil, changing the coil spring, and playing with the shim stack. Dives on braking, bottoms out on drops, stacks up over whoops. I did a huge face plant at Platte because of these problems and it hampers my riding to this day. Seals do not work very well at keeping water and dirt out. And, of course, the stickers fell off...LOL

Bottom Line:   
I hated this fork from day 1, and nothing I have found works really well to fix it. Right now, I got my cut-off saw out and I have 1/2 of the medium spring and 1/2 of the heavy spring in one side, and 10 wt. shock oil in the other, with a 12mm steel washer on top of the shim stack to squeeze some kind of compression damping out of it. I just ordered a Marzocchi Z-1 SL to get away from this thing and can't wait for it to arrive!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Fell Mountain, Carbondale

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Main Bike World, Kingston (you guys rule!)

Similar Products Used:   Manitou Expert, Manitou Spyder R, Answer Mach 5, 'Zokes Z-4 and Atom Race, AntiGravity (back in the early days)

Bike Setup:   Giant AC-Air, Rock Shox SID rear shock, Truvative, LX-XT, Mutantoraptors on Rhinolites, Avid Mech Disks

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by alex g a Cross Country Rider from houston

Date Reviewed: October 13, 2004

Strengths:    simple straightforward design, reverse arch stiffness, easy to work on, available spring weights

Weaknesses:    bushing design, semi-bath lubrication,

Bottom Line:   
I weigh 150 and switching to the Soft spring ($20 well spent) helped this forks handling alot. When I first got this baby, the fork stroke was smooth as butter but after 3-4 months of riding and babying (cleaning ,lubing microports etc...) the stiction was getting ridiculous to the point of locking up the initial stroke. I ordered new lowers (bushings etc) and its back to its original buttery feel but I'm somewhat wary at this point. The bushing and internal lubing design is inferior to Marzocchis in every way. My Z2 Air is 2 years old and all I've had to change out is the oil every 6 months and its smoother than the Black. STILL the coil design ramps up better than air and doesn't bottom out on jumps, just not quite as adjustable as the Z2. Cool fork as long as your bushings hold up.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   walnut creek-austin

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   mtbr classifieds

Similar Products Used:   Marzocchi Z2 Air & Z2 BAM, Manitou SX & SXR

Bike Setup:   2003 Sugar 3+, Cane Creek Cloud Nine (yeah baby!)XT & XTR, Bontrager

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Zevik a Weekend Warrior from Tel-Aviv, Israel

Date Reviewed: September 16, 2004

Strengths:    soaks up most of everything. Takes a little urban beating on an almost daily basis, and trail bashing on weekends - and it just gets better.

Weaknesses:    got the 100-120mm model, and the 100 setting is so stiff it's useless.

Bottom Line:   
major upgrade for relatively few bucks. great looks. Outperforms my expectations.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Caesar Route

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $207.00

Purchased At:   greenfish

Similar Products Used:   bomber EXR, another black with stiffer springs, judy TT

Bike Setup:   Haro X2

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Graham a Cross Country Rider from Madison, OH, U.S.A.

Date Reviewed: July 6, 2004

Strengths:    Awesome red color Lots of adjustments Rebound, Compression, Travel. Its really stiff, Disc and V, Cool design

Weaknesses:    Kinda Heavy for only 100mm My Psylo Race 2002 Is lighter.

Bottom Line:   
This is the fork you need If you do the following. Number one Ride bikes, thats about all. Its good for all XC and a little FR jumping, It weighs about 4pounds (kinda heavy) it comes in several colors coolest being red, Its cheap about two hundred, its cool looking It comes in either 80-100 or 100-120. So if money is a little tight get one of these. You wont regret it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Mine

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   Other blacks, Other Psylos, Duke SL.

Bike Setup:   XTR, Avid Ti, FSA, Mythos XC, 24lbs of decent equipment. Fork came on other bike and I switched it over to this one

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Matt Fehman a Weekend Warrior from Ft.Wayne In. USA

Date Reviewed: June 25, 2004

Strengths:    80-100mm of adjustable travel(and mine is on the top of the leg)Strong but not to heavy, good all around fork

Weaknesses:    None yet (1 1/2 months on the bike)

Bottom Line:   
This fork retailed for $449 and supergo had the 80-100mm 2003 model for $199. At that price I should have got two.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   trail of tears

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $199.00

Purchased At:   supergo

Similar Products Used:   80mm Judy SL 100mm X-Vert

Bike Setup:   01 Specialized M4 stumpjumper XTR, Bontrager etc...

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by David a Cross Country Rider from Manchester UK

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2004

Strengths:    Plush and progressive - dosn't bottom out easily, easy set up.

Weaknesses:    '02 model, Crap seals - poor design of boots and lubrication rings
Not built to handle British weather - don't last long


Bottom Line:   
Fantastic when new .... but
knackered after 15 months of riding. Bushes gone for the 2nd time. They need a complete stip down every month or so and are always filthy, poor seals causes heavy scratching.
I appear to be performing heavy maintenance 4 or 5 times more frequently than friends but their Marzocchi's last and last while these have had it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   GlenTress

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   Leisure Lakes

Similar Products Used:   Various Marzocchi and Fox forks

Bike Setup:   Specialized Enduro

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Spinner a Cross Country Rider from Los Angeles, CA

Date Reviewed: May 29, 2004

Strengths:    Coil spring is responsive once you get the right spring for your weigh, damping adjustment. Great damping at high speeds, gotta hammer it to see what i mean it soaks up hits and baby heads like butter. Compression lockout.

Weaknesses:    No compression damping at lower speeds, feels mushy. Useless 80/100 rapid travel adjust. In 80mm mode it feels like a fork from 10 years ago. Very tight springy feeling.

Bottom Line:   
Manitous customer service is hostile.. My Rapid travel adjust blew out after a couple of weeks of riding. Called manitou for help and i had some prick on the line just being an unhelpful dick. Took to the shop i purchased it at and they had no clue what it might be.. I took it apart myself. The some junky plastic cone thing punched thru the rapid travel adjust thingamajig. Took it to the shop to show em, they said no problem we'll warranty order the part.. Still havn't seen the part and it has been quite a while.. Get the same story every week, check back on monday, manitou doesn't have it in stock

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   the next one

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   a chain not deserving mention

Similar Products Used:   forks

Bike Setup:   two wheels a frame and handlebars, does it matter...

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Randy a Cross Country Rider from San Clemente, CA

Date Reviewed: May 21, 2004

Strengths:    Smooth, adjustable 80 - 100mm travel is awesome, no flex, my stickers haven't peeled at all

Weaknesses:    Travel adjustment on bottom of fork leg is a huge pain, no lockout, adjusting compression and rebound using the knobs on the fork doesn't seem to make much difference, a little heavy

Bottom Line:   
I very pleased with this fork. Haven't ridden any high-end forks but seems to work great at this price point. I reduce travel to 80mm for climbing and it lowers the front-end and stiffens up the compression alot and it climbs better. Then hop off bike to adjust travel (at bottom of fork leg! grar) for 100mm of smooth travel on the way down. Now that they've moved the travel adjust. to the top of fork leg, I can completely recommend it especially if on sale.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   Supergo

Similar Products Used:   Duke, Axel

Bike Setup:   Came stock on Tomac 98 Special

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by matt a Cross Country Rider from la

Date Reviewed: May 10, 2004

Strengths:    Smooth long travel, rebound adjustment, great dampening, lockout, light weight

Weaknesses:    none so far

Bottom Line:   
This is the smoothest coil fork I've ever experienced, it is just as sweet as the air. Its like a pillow for the front of my bike. If you want a great shock at a good price, this is it. Absolutely the best on the market.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $250.00


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Andrew a Cross Country Rider from Owosso, MI USA

Date Reviewed: April 21, 2004

Strengths:    Super plush and smooth. Lockout, rebound and travel adjustments work great. Easy to service. Keeps front wheel super stiff.

Weaknesses:    In 80mm mode, there was a ratcheting noise that worried me but after about 30 miles it went away.

Bottom Line:   
This fork has performed well above my expectations. It has done everything I've asked of it without complaint and it looks killer at the same time. For the money, I don't think there is a better coil-sprung fork on the market. I know this model is used for mountain cross racing but anyone looking for a good cross country or all mountain fork shoud check this one out.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $240.00

Purchased At:   Greenfish

Similar Products Used:   RST and Suntour

Bike Setup:   2002 Fuji hardtail. Black Elite. TruVativ Firex 28-38-48 crank. XT 8 speed drivetrain. Easton EA- 50 cockpit. WTB Rocket V Race.

Reviews 1 - 15 (39 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


Upgrading a Manitou Black Elite - suggestions

Hey guys, I'm thinking about upgrading my Manitou Black fork. I've been riding it pretty hard for the past 3 years; mainly trails, stairs (lots of stairs), wooded mountains (think lake district England) etc. It's been through a lot, I'm running it with transmission fluid right now and I replaced ... Read More »

Need Manitou Black Elite spring cross reference.

:Greetings my fellow mountain bikers. :D Here is my dilema. I recently [B]upgraded[/B] my bike from a Haro Vector V3 (which has a Indy S fork) to a used 2005 Specialized Enduro (which has a Manitou Black Elite adjustable height fork). Needless to say, this bike has been a huge improvement for ... Read More »

Manitou Black Elite Air increasing travel?

Hi, there. I have Manitou Black Elite Air 80mm. Is there any chance to make it 100mm or 120 if it`s possible? Thank you in advance. :)Read More »

Manitou 2006 Black Platinum vs. 2008 R7 Elite

I am building a bike for a friend and have both of the forks above in the title. Both have little miles on them but I am trying to decide which of them stays and the other goes. The Black, a 2006 model has the Mars Air spring, TPC with Lockout (not TPC+) and is a 120mm fork. The R7 is a 2008 Elit ... Read More »

Lowering a Manitou black elite?

Hey gang, I have a Manitou Black Elite 100mm and would like to lower it to 80mm. I can't find any reference to lower this fork anywhere on the interweb. I don't think its a 100/80mm. I got the fork from a friend who took it off his Specialized m4 stumpjumper. Any ideas, tips, pointers?Read More »

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