Manitou Axel Elite 2004 Front Shocks

3.32/5 (22 Reviews)


Product Description

All new for 2004, the Axel family is designed to provide new levels of high performance and high value. Features include 28.6 mm stanchions, convertible travel, hydraulic damping and a Manitou RA casting for ultimate stiffness without extra weight.


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Reviews 1 - 15 (22 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Anthony Galvin a Weekend Warrior from Islip, New York

Date Reviewed: March 5, 2008

Strengths:    No real strengths

Weaknesses:    To soft, lacks adjustments

Bottom Line:   
These shocks are poor for heavier riders. They are next to get scrapped with an upgraded fork. I find they bottom out easy and they do not adjust.

If you are a fire road rider carrying less weight, these are fine. They will take minor bumps and roots. If you are hitting trails and want a shock that will perform during agressive riding, these are not them.

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Favorite Trail:   Stillwell

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   With Bike

Similar Products Used:   n/a

Bike Setup:   Numerous upgrades for XC

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Rob Stebbings a Weekend Warrior from UK

Date Reviewed: September 12, 2007

Strengths:    Looks ok, reverse arch and no canti bosses.

Weaknesses:    Flexes a lot, even for a casual XC'er. Don't inspire confidence at all.

Bottom Line:   
1 rung up from Suntour, RST etc but Rock Shox offerings seem better in this price range.

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Favorite Trail:   Black Route, Thetford Forrest

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Purchased At:   With bike

Similar Products Used:   '98 RST 381 CL (really cheap but ok), '00 Judy Race (nice light XC fork), '00 Mazocchi Bomber (like a stonger stickier Judy Race)

Bike Setup:   '04 Giant XTC3 but with Specialized tires and my trusty Kore riser bar.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Kyle a Cross Country Rider from Corona, CA

Date Reviewed: March 6, 2007

Strengths:    Cheap!!! If you can't afford something else it workable.

Weaknesses:    Soft!!! If you are a big rider this thing will kill you. Tightening and loosening did nothing to change damper.

Bottom Line:   
Hold out for something better if you can. These came stock on my Rockhopper and I beat the heck out of em for a year. I was new to mountain biking and they were perfect for a beginner. They held up good and never locked up on me. I could never get them adjusted properly and they constantly bottom out cause i'm a big rider. They couldn't keep up as i became a more advanced rider. Marzocchi makes some much better stuff in the same ballpark price range or, if you have the cash, Fox Vanilla series are incredible.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Red Box

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Montrose Bike Shop

Similar Products Used:   Marzocchi All Montain III, Fox Vanilla

Bike Setup:   '05 Specialized Rockhopper, Rhyno wheels, Avid BB7 185mm, Marzocchi All Mountain 3 Suspension Fork '05, panaracer, Easton Monkeybar

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by JDEcho a Weekend Warrior from Savage, Mn.

Date Reviewed: December 22, 2006

Strengths:    On paper it would seem to be a good XC fork. Reliable.

Weaknesses:    To soft for heavier or aggressive riders. Adjustability is all or nothing, no in between.

Bottom Line:   
I weigh 185 and it is just to soft for me. Bottoms out to easily no matter how it's set up. Would be fine for lighter and less agressive riders. I've had no problems with it but it's tops on my list of upgrades.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lebanon Hills Eagan, Mn.

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Purchased At:   REI

Bike Setup:   Bone stock Novara Ponderosa HT

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by speed demon lady a Cross Country Rider from Arizona

Date Reviewed: August 21, 2005

Strengths:    Uhh...if your slow and like to walk down the hills it's a good beginner fork for you.

Weaknesses:    Going up to 30 mph over a rock garden is not the Ideal fork. This fork doesn't absorb poo. I do have to say, it's good for someone wanting to try out mountain bike racing.

Bottom Line:   
If you want to feel more confident with downhill descents, choose or upgrade your fork. Since this fork only has 100mm, choose a fork with more absorbsion.

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Favorite Trail:   anything fast and scary

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Came with my Gary Fisher

Similar Products Used:   Marzocchi Z1 Drop-off 1 and the Psylo Rock shox XC with a extremly different bike set-up.

Bike Setup:   Gary Fisher Tassajara GS with a Marzocchi Z1 Drop-off 1, and a ghetto set of disk brakes. Easton Carbon Lite Flat bar, and Panaracer XC Fire Pro tires.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by mark a Cross Country Rider from chilterns UK

Date Reviewed: July 28, 2005

Strengths:    Good travel, easy to use preload, microlube ports are excelent.

Weaknesses:    rebound adjustment is poor, but rebound is OK so not a problem. Forks lock up if ridden in very wet conditions.

Bottom Line:   
Good set of XC forks, have ridden about 1500 miles on them and they have locked up twice. This free's up after adding some grease to microlube ports and riding for 30 mins. If I lube forks before going out in very wet weather there is not a problem. Fork bottoms out off 3ft dropouts, but then is an XC fork, what do you expect? They are a good set of cheep XC forks.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   came with rockhopper disc

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   Giant NRS1 with rockhopper disc parts.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ryan McNeel a Weekend Warrior from Anchorage,Alaska,USA

Date Reviewed: June 19, 2005

Strengths:    Smooth riding

Weaknesses:    May bottom out but I have not had any problems.It seems like it may not be stiff enough for aggressive riding..But for a casual trail rider and comuter it has not been a problem

Bottom Line:   
Satisfied customer so far! But I have very little to compare with. As a novice I have noticed very little problems. But I notice that I could have paid much more for a fork than I did with this one that came stock.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Kinkaid park

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   Novara Ponderosa HT

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jason Biber a Cross Country Rider from West Chester, PA

Date Reviewed: June 15, 2005

Strengths:    Very adjustable and slick looking. I weigh over 200 lbs and have not bottomed out yet except riding over a 3 1/2 foot log jump without any speed...I was scared. Really took my rim out of true, but the fork still works great. This came with my bike and I love it so far. Not sure if I have 80mm or 100mm of travel, but who really cares!

Weaknesses:    A little notchy, but it is still semi new. Paint is easily chipped and scratched but I don't think anymore than any other fork.

Bottom Line:   
I am a true novice (getting better all the time). The guys I ride with have been doing it a while and they are impresseed with my progress. This fork is great for someone like me. I'm sure as I get better and want to try some bigger stuff, I will need a slightly stiffer and deeper fork.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   WCU South Campus

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $50.00

Purchased At:   Exton Bicycles

Similar Products Used:   First Fork

Bike Setup:   Specialized FSR XC Pro Stock Large

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Tim Krasin a Cross Country Rider from Houston

Date Reviewed: June 8, 2005

Strengths:    Simple, cheap, 100mm, rebound adjustment

Weaknesses:    Flexible, stiction

Bottom Line:   
This shock provides good travel, but seems to suffer from a bit of stiction - it doesn't operate nearly as smooth as the Lefty $$$ (with roller bearings) or my wife's RS Psylo XC (may have to secretly swap forks with her). A good fork for the money though - see them going for ~$75 online now.

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Favorite Trail:   Huntsville State Park

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   came with bike - Bike Line

Similar Products Used:   Headshock, Rock Shox Psylo XC, Lefty (demo)

Bike Setup:   Basic Jekyll with Avid disc brakes.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Tim Barker a Weekend Warrior from Saskatoon,Sask. Canada

Date Reviewed: March 1, 2005

Strengths:    rebound adgustment

Weaknesses:    little soft

Bottom Line:   
not bad but at 165lb. I can easly bottom them out even with them stiffend right up. may help if i change the springs. good as a starter fork for a lighter person but don't try anything bigger than a 4 foot drop. they are reliable and havent had any problems yet.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Bike Setup:   Jamis kommoto fx 14in. frame

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John Horrigan a Cross Country Rider from Beverly, MA

Date Reviewed: February 19, 2005

Strengths:    plush travel, solid construction, set up for disk and V brake.

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
If you are looking for an inexpensive fork to replace the rigid frok on a single speed or hardtail you can't go wrong with this fork. The 80mm of travel is good enough for a cross counrty rider or a weekend rider trail riding. My favorite XC fork has always been a Rockshox Judy, but so far I like this fork better. It moves a little smoother (with less stiction) and seems to have less lateral flex.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $109.00

Purchased At:   Cambria Bike

Similar Products Used:   Rockshox Judy, Rockshox Indy

Bike Setup:   Redline Monocog single speed with avid disk fronnt brake.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Paul a Cross Country Rider from Missoula, Mt, USA

Date Reviewed: November 18, 2004

Strengths:    I like its rebound adjustments. It has plenty of travel for what I do. I weigh 200 lbs and it doesnt seem too soft for me. In fact I ride this fork with the stiffness adjustment all the way down.

Weaknesses:    Have not had any yet.

Bottom Line:   
This shock is leaps and bounds better than the weak Rock Shox Judy TT. If you ride cross country with some moderate downhill action this shock is perfect even for someone at 200 lbs.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   ?

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Bike Setup:   Specialized Rockhopper Comp no changes to manufactured specs.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by k3n!f3 a Cross Country Rider from Hobart, Tas, Aus

Date Reviewed: October 11, 2004

Bottom Line:   
Hooray! After loosing my noble steed for three whole weeks its back. Manitou didn't fix the fork under warranty, but changed the whole top section for free! Yay, kinda wierd but I'm not complaining. They said it was due to misuse, and I got charged freight and a service but they changed the stanchtions (spelling???) and didn't charge for them =) I think I'll be riding Manitou for some time hooray!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Cory Emmett a Cross Country Rider from Grass Valley, CA USA

Date Reviewed: October 8, 2004

Strengths:    Nice and soft, adjustable rebound dampening, adjustable travel, it's cool.

Weaknesses:    Might be a little soft for some people, but for me (100 lbs) it's just fine.

Bottom Line:   
It's a great fork for lighter weight riders (if it's stock, it's easily changeable to a stiffer spring) and it's pretty soft, just the way I like it. Rebound adjustment and travel wind-down are pluses.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $770.00

Purchased At:   Bicycle Bannannas

Similar Products Used:   Marzocchi Drop-off comps, Marzocchi MZ Comp, Manitou Mars Super.

Bike Setup:   2004 Jamis Exile, avid disc brakes, Deore LX derailleurs, etc.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Jason a Cross Country Rider from Lakeville, MN

Date Reviewed: September 28, 2004

Strengths:    decent fork for the $$, adjustable rebound, adjustable travel

Weaknesses:    heavy, sloppy, where's the lockout?

Bottom Line:   
This is a great fork for the value, sepcially that it has adjustable travel & rebound. I have found it is fairly good at eating most bumps and drops, albeit is a rather "soft" fork. However, it seems pretty sloppy for me, especially while cornering or hitting up a log run.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Similar Products Used:   rigids

Bike Setup:   '04 r'hopper comp, spd, ritchey, 100mm setup

Reviews 1 - 15 (22 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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


Replacing Manitou Axel Elite 100mm fork from 2004 Spec'd FSRxc Pro - suggestions?

So it's an older bike but I enjoy it a lot and have put on some good upgrades. Blew out the fork today and am tired of screwing with it. I'm not particularly familiar with fork upgrades so I'm looking for suggestions. Budget - unsure... $250-450? Travel - current fork is 100mm, I don't want to m ... Read More »

Spring kits for an '04 Manitou Axel Elite fork? Part #85-4828

I picked up an 04 Rockhpper PRO yesterday and it has the original fork which is far too soft for my 200lb ass. Anyone know where I can get the "Firm" spring kit for this fork still as its 6 years old now? eBay was no help and couldnt find anything with google. I need this: Manitou Firm ride kit ... Read More »

Axel Elite any Good? (For steel hardtail)

I'm looking for a fork for my 12 yr. old steel hardtail, which was originally spec'd w/ a 67mm but which has spent most of it's life w/ an 80mm Manitou SX-R. The SX-R is wearing out, after thousands of miles and multiple rebuilds. Parts are no longer available. I notice the Axel has V-brake bosse ... Read More »

Need info on Manitou Axel Elite w/TPC lockout

The fork came on my 06 Piranha, so I am assuming it is also an 06 model. Is that correct? I know it is listed as having 100mm of travel and has magnesium lowers. I have searched the internet for info on this shock and come up empty. I have tinkered with it and figured out that the drive side has ... Read More »

manitou axel elite rebuild, what do i need?

i bought a 2006 gary fisher piranha used and i want to rebuild the fork. fork is working ok but i want to get some more plushness out of it. the fork has compression damping and tpc lockout. i was thinking of getting new wipers/seals, regreasing, changing the damper oil and maybe bushings. any tips ... Read More »

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