This year we offer two Black Elites, both are coil sprung but neither is necessarily any better then the other…they’re just different. The Black Elite 100 has preset travel and our heralded TPC Lockout damping system, while the Rapid Travel Wind Down (RTWD) version has Fluid Flow damping and our new geared travel adjust system for anywhere between 90 and 120mm of travel, on the fly, without a change spring rate. It’s your choice.
Similar Products Used: Rock Shox Jett XC, Marzzochi Bomber Freeride SL, Manitou SX
Bike Setup: Terk 6000, Manitou Balck Elite RTWD, Mavic Crossrides, Raceface Evolve XC, Avid Speed Dial 7's, Deore
a Cross Country Rider
from johnson, vermont
Date Reviewed: June 21, 2006
Strengths: cheap, looks cool, good rebound and smooth compression
Weaknesses: third day i had it, the bolt that hold on the brakes stpipped right out of the housings after a hard stop, i just replaced the bolts with some longer ones and i have not had any problems since.
thist is a great value trail riding fork. i would recomend it to anyone new to the sport or someone who is looking for a quality fork without spending too much. No complaints here.
a Weekend Warrior
from Knoxville, TN, USA
Date Reviewed: April 17, 2006
Strengths: Adjustable Travel - 90-120mm. Adjustable rebound. Very plush and smooth.
Weaknesses: Sprung too light, bottoms out without any effort for all but the lightest of riders. Needs constant maintenance despite only occasional riding. Weeps oil.
The bottom line is this: This is a good fork for a very light rider who doesn't climb often and wants a very soft ride and adjustable travel. Heavier, hillier, hairier riders will be all but disappointed with the spongey softness of this fork and the subsequent uncomfortable bonk of the fork bottoming out. The RTWD function works perfectly - one can choose to smoothly travel from 90mm upto 120mm before hitting bottom!
The firm and extra-firm spring upgrades can be tough to come by - it seems that Manitou doesn't have these widely available, despite their popularity as an upgrade. There is also considerable confusion thanks to their naming two forks exactly the same with vastly different internals. (hint - extra firm springs are available for the non-RTWD) Expect to wait months on backorder for an upgrade. I contacted several shops about obtaining an extra-firm kit and got the same story from all of them - 4 month backorder. I got the impression bike shops weren't very well supported by Manitou in the distribution channel.
This could be a very good performer, if only the parts were available to adapt it to the more realisticly weighted XC weekend warrior. I give it 3 chilis for value, because they are rather inexpensive, but 2 for an overall because of Manitou's poor customer service, parts availability and channel support.
Bike Setup: '04 Cannondale Jekyll, Fox Float RL rear suspension.
a Cross Country Rider
from Austin, Texas
Date Reviewed: February 27, 2006
Strengths: Adjustable travel is nice. That's about it.
Weaknesses: I purchased my last Manitou product ever after owning this fork. In less than 100 miles of off-roading, the rebound assembly has blown apart 3 times. Also, it's way too heavy and bulky. The threads that hold the brake strip-out too easily. I have had to install helicoils. I do tend to overtighten, but it really didn't take anything at all with this fork.
Manitou is notorious for filling their forks with cheap, plastic parts. Spend a little extra on a Fox or even the same money on Marzocchi.
Similar Products Used: Manitou MARS (Also junk), Cannondale Headshock (Best lockout ever designed), and Rock Shox Duke
Bike Setup: Steel hard-tail. XTR, Race Face, Thompson, Chris King, and Mavic Cross Max SL's.
a Cross Country Rider
from Lehi, Utah, USA
Date Reviewed: June 15, 2005
Strengths: Tuneability, plush ride, cheap price, online support. Responds well to tweaking.
Weaknesses: Comes set up poorly. There are many variations, so ordering parts can be tricky. Those not familiar with fork tuning can get frustrated.
These have great potential, you just have to find it. I am submitting this review primarily to share what I have learned about this fork. In stock trim, the spring will be too soft for almost everybody over 140 lbs. (I'm 190)Get the firm ride kit. MAKE SURE that your dealer (they will not sell direct) orders the right spring as they differ between forks with wind down and those without. You should plan on disassembling the forks. You can also purchase the rebound adjustment assembly and the compression/lockout assembly if your forks didn't come with it. The compression/lockout assembly is where I found some issues. The adjustment knob allows about 2/3 of a turn. The manual says to place it in such a way that it stops turning in the clockwise (locked out) direcction just before the tab makes it stop. I did this and had some harshness when the thing was open. I cut off the tab so I could spin the adjuster open as far as possible and the harshness was gone. That, combined with the firm ride spring makes for a super plush ride with wind down and lockout on the side for special occasions. So the rating would be a meager three chilis stock, and five with the modifications I have done. So I averaged it to four.
Weaknesses: stock spring is very soft, replaced it with the firm, rebound control sucked until i replaced the oil with a blend of 10 and 20 weight
it took a little work to get it running the way i wanted it to. servicing it is pretty simple too. VERY easy to replace the spring and oil! any monkey could do it, manitou has the service manual on the website if you havent figured it out already that will help if you havent done it before, makes a slight mess if you dont know what your doing. otherwise its worth the money
a Weekend Warrior
from Huntington Beach, CA
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2004
Strengths: Long Travel - 90-120mm, adjustable
Weaknesses: Too soft, not enough features (no preload, no rebound)
Came with bike. Springs and replacement stiff spring are way too soft for the heavy rider (240lbs). Bottom out with stock spring, not with stiff, but stiff spring still carries too much sag and not rebound to slow the travel down. Makes it a linear travel fork.
Wouldn't buy this fork for the price offered ($300). Can find other Manitou products with slightly less travel and loads more features for much less than $200.
Fork is good for the weekend warrier XC girlyman rider or a chick. Will not survive freerides.
Weaknesses: No lockout, stickers, little soft for coming on large bike
Great fork. love the adjustable travel. very smooth. very plush for street and trails but had to add compression dampening/lockout for jumps and pedaling uphill. Stickers aren't very good, just keep em on to protect the paint.
Weaknesses: Decals on the fork are kinda weak. I have heard of problems with the reverse arch design (Answer says 2004 models have been fixed.
Way better than the other shocks I've ridden. The RS Jett was garbage, and the Skareb Comp was too flimsy for me (Lots of flex, mine failed within the 1st 75 miles.The RTWD is a nice feature...provides some versatility for the all-around rider. Absorbs the bumps and keeps the wheel on the ground nicely.
Mine has the stiff spring (Me = 250#). I am a commuter, and a Weekend Warrior. This fork satisfies all my needs. I shall ride it until it breaks.
a Weekend Warrior
from Greensboro USA
Date Reviewed: February 27, 2004
Strengths: Very smooth, adjustable travel and keeps spring rate, reverse arch keeps things stiff,
Weaknesses: Stock springs way too soft, you have to get off the bike to adjust the travel(not that big of a deal), rebound and preload not adjustable, wish it had SPV
Overall, this is a very well made and well working fork. I have to take a chili away though because the stock springs are truly WAY too soft. If you are buying this fork or a VT 3 for that matter and weigh any more than 120lbs., make sure that you've got the proper springs for your weight and/or the springs that you want. But other than that, you're buying a good quality products from one of the leading suspension manufacturers in the world and most of you trail riders should be descently satisfied with this fork.
Similar Products Used: Manitou Sherman Breakout Plus SPV and Slider Plus SPV, Manitou Skareb SPV and Comp, Manitou Minute 3, Marzocchi Dirt Jumper II, Marzocchi Z150 FR ETA, Fox TALAS RL, Fox Vanilla R, Fox Terra-Logic, Fox Float 80RLT
Bike Setup: Stock VT3 except LX front derailleur and Specialized Roll-X Pro tires (stock Hutchison's SUCK)
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: January 22, 2004
Strengths: For the price, these forks are the bomb. Super smooth, nicely damped travel in both 90mm setting and 130mm. Amazingly stiff for an S.C. fork. Has the Manitou /Hayes post mount. Looks fantastic!
Weaknesses: When rebound damping is wound down, it really is fast.
Great forks, decent looks, super stiff. Bit too quick.
I need suggestions for what to do with my Black Elite fork. I have a 2004 Black Elite 90/120 RTWD fork. I purchased, what I thought was, the correct xtra-firm spring upgrade (answer part no. 85-5855). When I go to install it, the spring sticks out of the top of the fork about an inch. In order ... Read More »
i posted a couple days ago with no reply... giving it one more shot.... I need to replace the stock spring with the firm one. i have it in hand, but im not completely sure how to go about it. i have the manual downloaded off the manitou site, but its not as much of a help as i would like it to be. ... Read More »
I was wonderng if you can get an aftermarket kit to add TPC+/lockout to replace the FFD damper on a 2004 Manitou Black Elite RTWD fork?
If so, anyone know how much/where to get/how easy it is?
ChrisRead More »
i've noticed after every ride that the rebound damper on the bottom right of my fork gets covered with oil. not a whole lot, but enough to cover the whole blue cap, adjuster. is this normal? does something need to be fixed? would it be pretty simple to do it myself? i've had the fork for three to fo ... Read More »