Skareb remains Manitou's best cross-country fork for '05, and the Elite remains the most economical way to get into a superlight fork on the market. Built on the same chassis as the Skareb Platinum, the Elite shares a hollow crown, 28.6mm anodized aluminum stanchions, and magnesium Reverse Arch casting with it's top-of-the-line brethren.
Weaknesses: A bet flexible, but it's a 4 inch compared to my previous 3 inch fork.
I very good fork. I set it and forget about it. You don't notice it when you ride, which is as it should be. Does it's job well and doesn't let you down. Very reliable, very tunable with compression, rebound, preload via air pressure, AND air volume which changes the spring rate. The most innovative and cool feature of the fork is it's bottom out spring. When the fork takes a big hit, it transitions from pure air spring to a coil/air combination which seamlessly ramps up the stiffness at the bottom of the travel. It is nearly impossible to bottom this fork out, even with low air pressure. One drawback is it's a little flexible, but i am comparing it to a 80 mm fork, and it is a 100 mm so that may not be fair. Overall, a kickass fork for XC racing or trail riding. I haven't taken it off any huge drops, but i wouldn't worry about the fork if I did.
Note: the previous use who complained about the fork after changing to a stiffer is NOT using a Manitou Skareb fork. All skareb forks are air sprung...you can't change a spring in an air fork.
Favorite Trail: Bradbury Mountain State park: Fox Run
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Purchased At: Ebay
Similar Products Used: Manitou SX-R, Marzocchi Z-3 Bomber, Rock Shox Judy SL long travel, Minatou Minute 2:00, Manitou 6, Rock ShoxJudy J4.
Bike Setup: Jamis Dakar Sport, Cane Creek AD 10, xt-lx drivetrain, Mavic crossmax, crossride wheels, xt v-brakes..you get the idea.
a Cross Country Rider
from T Wells, Kent, UK
Date Reviewed: October 21, 2006
Strengths: Light, Responsive, PLUSHHHH, Adjustable, Great seals
Weaknesses: None yet
Superb forks, now replaced by the R7 - If you see these going cheap on Ebay - GET THEM! They are without a doubt the best forks I have ever owned. Note - they are light XC forks so don't go thinking of doing massive hucks as they aren't made for it! They weigh 3 lbs ffs! Not a problem if you weigh 73kg like me :)
In terms of feel they are uber supple and the rebound adjustment is very good giving a big range from pogo stick style to shlurpy super slow and everywhere in between. You will also need an air pump to properly set these up for your weight - I prefer this to a spring shock as it's infinitely more adjustable. There has been no air loss which leads me on to...
The Evil Genius seals...they are superb - 3 months after buying the forks and with a LOT of wet muddy rides later the forks are still working like new. If they can stand up to our grimy UK conditions they can stand up to anything. Considering most other forks I have owned have locked up at the first sign of mud and water that's pretty impressive - You won't need boots with these - trust me.
All round they are everything I could ask for in a fork - loopy light, proper plush, super supple and minimal maintenance. Awesome job Manitou!
Similar Products Used: Manitou SX Ti, Rock Shox Quadra, Pace RC35, Manitou Splice Super and a few others
Bike Setup: XTC hardtail with XT/LX FSA XC300 hoops and Skarebs - cross country flier!!
a Cross Country Rider
from Roseville, CA
Date Reviewed: February 17, 2006
Strengths: Good light, dependable fork. I got the 100mm travel. I had a Marzzochi Bomber MX Pro, but it was awfully heavy, I found out. The Skareb Elite 05 was the lightest suspension fork made that year.
This fork is great - I didn't get lock out, really don't need it. Great light fork that does the job! Best fork that I have owned! I do a lot of technical cross country, including some 4' drops and it is fine. I will use it in the 24 Hours of Adrenalin Race in Monterey. I am confident it will do the job.
Similar Products Used: Rockshox Judy, Marzocchi MX Pro
Bike Setup: 2004 Trek Fuel 100, Full XTR
a Cross Country Rider
from Oildale, CA
Date Reviewed: November 12, 2005
Strengths: Low maintenance, light, stable
Weaknesses: bobs when standing
Smooth beyond my expectation of a lite 4" travel fork allowing me to grab the straightest line thru terrain. Aired it to 145lbs, I weigh 170lbs; 6 month check indicated no pressure loss. The 1st outing showed a little oil around the seals but no noticeable amount afterwards. Thought I'd be hitting bottom but on typical treks that hasn't occurred due to a really smooth transition to stiffer dampening and firmer springing toward the latter part of the forks' travel. My riding style is in order to ride down, I must 1st pedal up. I haven't (and won't) pushed the fork into a heavy downhill situation, yet on typical jaunts into the Sierras the forks track true with no noticeable flex. I can charge an abrupt 5" rock some 20 mph and the forks soak it up gently with no felt bottoming. The manual is another story, I wasn't sure what fork I had bought or what year according to the manual sent with it. Too many features with some varying one year's model from the next year. The online manual was an improvement. I needed to read every review on this site and reference that info in order to know how to set it up. I got lucky in getting just the simple light weight fork that I wanted. A downside of it's small bump sensitivity and no lock out is that it sags and bobs whenever one stands on the pedals. Not a great problem for myself but for those with the energy for hammertime, they may want to compare some other forks. The Skareb Elite forks are a perfect match up for my cloud 9 rear shocks.
Bike Setup: Schwinn Rocket2 w/ the Manitou Skareb Fork, Cane Creek Cloud 9 rear shock, Shimano clipless pedals
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 27, 2005
Strengths: Not too heavy
Weaknesses: Too much bob, I replaced the spring for a firm one as described in the manual and it had no effect! Riding on easy downhill section with ruts shock bottoms out easily. I weigh 95kg and am 6' 3" tall.
This shock came with the bike, I am going to try a heavier fork oil even though it is not reccomended, to hopefully give a reasonable level of dampening. It is obvious that the fork is really 'air' sprung that uses a spring at the last level like a bump stop in a car. Changing this spring has no real effect in dampening through normal movement! If you weigh over 70kg I would not reccomend this fork as its dampening is far too weak. A weak shock will bottom out throwing the riders weight forward and potentially over the front of the bike...
Strengths: Light, Good Feel. Importantly Manitou's Customer Service.
Weaknesses: Negative reviews for Skareb Comp 2003. I can't find review for Skareb Comp 04, and 05. Real weaknesses of the fork not found yet.
This fork was recommended by a LBS to me, Manitou never came to my mind prior to this. After touching the fork, I bought it on the spot without hesitation because it feel so good.
After returning home, first thing I did was to log on MTBR and see what the other riders say about this fork. I couldn't find any review on Skareb Comp 04 & 05, so I went to older model and found some reviews for Skareb Comp 03.
It was terrible. After reading the reviews, my heart almost dropped to the bottom. Most of the reviews were complaining about the weakness of the Reverse Arch that breaks easily, that¡¦s dangerous! I was worry and dare not fix the fork! After consideration, I decided to write to Manitou asking for clarification on the issues. They replied! They reply to a customer from Malaysia! They asked me to check if there is a ¡§04¡¨ letters marked in between the Disc Brake Posts. I checked my fork and I found the ¡§04¡¨ letters there. And the meaning of ¡§04¡¨ in between the Disc Brake Posts is that my fork has their best revised outer casting on it and should have no problems with it. So, if your fork has the same ¡§04¡¨ on it, you should not worry.
I fixed the fork and started to ride, so far so good, light, responsive. And I think it should be able to give me even better feel after it brakes in, I think it will takes around 20 riding hours. Compare to those I tried before, the Manitou Skareb Comp 80mm is good.
Weaknesses: Manitou expects you to go online and download the entire owners manual in PDF. A little bit of a pain, but no big deal. The other minor detail is that the seals don't hold lube that well, so if you ride a lot, you have to keep pouriong lube in to stop it from sounding kinda funky.
This a superb fork for all around XC riding and racing. Too bad it dosn't have lockout though. Such is life. Anyway, I love the fork, and would definatly repeat. At 85 psi (I only weigh 125#) the fork is uber plush, but still keeps the bob at a very reasonable level. The rebound adjust works way better than the ones on othher forks i've tried, with everything from suuupeeer slooooow to really really really fast, and everthing in between. My only complaint about the rebound adjust is that it dosn't have clicks, so it is a little hard to pinpoint where you are in the range. Oil is easy to change. Overall a superb fork.
Similar Products Used: Everything. SID (Every bit as stiff as an overcooked noodle), Fox Fx 100 (I couldn't overcome the inerta valve on the &*@#!*^* thing, no matter how hard I tried. Only went 40mm into the travel on a 18 mile ride)Marzocchi Marathon (Nice, but expensive), and a Fox Vanilla, which was really sweet.
a Weekend Warrior
from Rochester, NY
Date Reviewed: May 4, 2005
Strengths: Light, Easy to change rebound and air pressure, looks, stiffness, no elastomers/springs to replace (just add more air!), build quality, reputation
Weaknesses: Travel is quite soft even at 140 psi (I weigh 195 lbs), poor documentation, oil is expensive and can be difficult to find, you have to buy a $25 pump to monitor/maintain air pressure, no lockout.
I highly recommend the Manitou Skareb Elite for anyone who enjoys cross country trails. This fork has smooth travel action, is almost as light as rigid forks, looks great, absorbs even the smallest bumps, has precise steering, and is easy to tune. This fork is much stronger than the Rock Shox Quadra 21R it replaced. I could see the 21r’s fork legs flexing over even small bumps, but not on the Skareb. Unless you are a racer or you feel like you have to keep up with your friends, this fork should meet all of your needs. The best part about this fork is that you never have to replace springs or elastomers because it is an air shock. You don’t have to think to yourself, “Hmm…I wonder if my springs need replacing….” All you have to do is check the air pressure, and if it is a little low, add some more. I weigh 195 lbs and keep the air pressure at 140. With my setup, it sags about a half inch. I’m not sure how difficult it is to change the oil, but the required oil, Motorex 5W, is pretty expensive and is difficult to find online. The Manitou air shock pump was pretty expensive and difficult to find as well ($25). It would be nice if Manitou had an online shop to buy these items. Documentation is poor. The fork came with an instruction booklet that is not for my specific fork- it is supposed to cover all of Manitou’s forks. That would be ok of the booklet contained a lot of information, but 23 of the 25 pages are for other languages. Due to the fact that the book covers all forks, it is difficult to know which features your fork does or does not have unless you go to their website and read about it. I found myself reading how to use features that my fork did not even have because I was not sure if the Elite had them or not. It would also be nice if this fork had an on-the-fly lockout feature. Tip: Before you buy a current model, check around to see if you can find a better Manitou fork from last year; you could pay the same price but get a better fork. Don’t get me wrong; this fork rocks! But who wouldn’t want to get more fork for the same price, or get a year old model of the Skareb for $100 less.
Similar Products Used: Rock Shox Quadra 21R, and then after an upgrade to Mountain Speed Speed Springs.
Bike Setup: A totally rebuilt (in 2005) '95 GT Avalanche: LX HolloTech II crank, XT front and rear derailleurs, Sun Mach IV rims with XT hubs, LX 9 speed cassette, LX shifters, Easton EC70 carbon fibre handlebar and Easton EA70 stem, Ritchey Logic Scuzzy Logic Comp headset, XTR brake levers, CatEye Enduro computer, Magellan Explorist 200 GPS, WTB Velociraptor 2.1 tires, LX V-Brakes, Shimano M737 clipless pedals, Selle Italia Gel flow carbon fibre seat, Rock Shox suspension seatpost, '05 Skareb Elite fork
a Cross Country Rider
from Canberra, ACT, Australia
Date Reviewed: August 16, 2004
Strengths: Easy to adjust the air pressure and the rebound
Weaknesses: None yet
Have just ridden in a team of two for an 8 hour race. I had time to play with the settings and compare each time I went out for a lap...a really smooth fork that absorbs the bumps and can be adjusted for rebound. I really noticed the difference and less effort/work required to keep the bike on course whilst riding over roots and ruts. Great for cross country riders looking for a smooth ride. Not good for the downhill monster as it would be too light - after all it is on a cross-country bike!
I'm a newbee to the site but i've heard this is a good place to go for help. Also not an expert on bikes, just like to ride so bare with me...
Here's the deal, I've got a 2005 Gary Fisher Cake 3 Large with the Manitou Skareb Elite front fork. [URL="http://fisherbikes.com/bike/archivemodel/136"]http ... Read More »
I checked the oil level in my 2003 Manitou Skareb Elite, and it's lower than the manufacturer's recommendation. The manual calls for 5wt Shock Oil....is that simply a 5wt auto oil, or is there some special fluid I need to add?
The oil currently there is sort of a clear bluish color, not like the ... Read More »
I picked up a skareb elite in good condition except the rebound control on the bottom of the right leg. It is very stiff to turn. Feels like it is going to break in either direction. The previous owner did not know what year it was and so far I have been unable to tell by looking at the manuals o ... Read More »
I recently purchase an 05 (100mm) Skareb Elite Front Shock and tuned it as recommended, but when I went for a ride the rebound felt like a pogo stick and it was very annoying. SO I can home and tried to adjust the rebound and snapped the knob.
Now I can't adjust it at all, it is stuck in this po ... Read More »
I recently picked up a set of 04 Skareb Elites for my singlespeed with an eye to setting them up pretty firm, XC race style. They were a bit soft at first so i rebuilt them, new heavier oil, and started playing with air pressures.
i weigh about 65kg, which roughly = 150lbs. The manual recommends 75% ... Read More »