Manitou 4 96 Front Shock

4.13/5 (60 Reviews)


Product Description

Manitou 4 96


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Reviews 1 - 15 (60 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by khaytsus a Cross Country Rider from Lexington, KY

Date Reviewed: February 19, 2012

Strengths:    Almost No Maintenance Required, Bombproof, Reliability, Good Looks

Weaknesses:    Travel (compared to 2012 shocks), Elastomers

Bottom Line:   
I purchased this shock in around 1996 to put on my '94 Cannondale M400 and it's been great ever since. In 1998 or so I swapped out the elastomers for Englund Total Air and instantly transformed it into a plush and better dampened experience. Maintenance was still nearly zero, only needed to top off the air in the air cartridges around once a week, maybe once a year a 30-45 minute take apart and relube.

The Total Air's lasted until around 2002 when I started having problems with them blowing out, and after replacing all of the o-rings and riding them a bit more, one side exploded, so back to elastomers. In 2011 the original elastomers were completely dead, so I replaced them and rode on. In early 2012 I've gotten a new bike and plan to convert the M400 into a work commute bike, slicks, maybe fenders etc. All in all I got around 8000-10000 miles on the shock, perhaps 30% of those on trails, and zero problems out of the shock. It still looks brand new today, with the exception of where brake cables have over time etched into the crown a bit. The stansions always had Lizard Skin boots on them and look new to this day, no scratches, original gold finish.

I expect that the MCU's will again give out in some time in the future but until that happens I expect the Manitou 4 will continue to rock on for me. Best investment I ever made, I can only hope my new bike with a Rock Shox Recon Silver is only close to as reliable as my Manitou 4 has been.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Hog Pen Trail in Cave Run

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Don't Remember

Similar Products Used:   Rock Shox Recon Silver TK/R

Bike Setup:   1994 Cannondale M400 Hardtail

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by oldschoolmtnbkr a Weekend Warrior from San Antonio, TX

Date Reviewed: March 4, 2010

Strengths:    Product it self. Light weight 2.7 lbs. Almost maintenance free.

Weaknesses:    none. However, not designed for heavy weight riders. 175lbs and below should get the best out of elastomer performance.

Bottom Line:   
Excellent fork for non-mechanic oriented mtn bikers. Did numerous races to include 2007 Chupacabaras 100km with a 13 yr old bike and fork. Basic maintenance (replace and lube elastomers). After 16 yrs fork is still going strong. Looks!! who cares. Travel?? who knows how much travel is realy used from current fork!!. this is more than enought
Strongly recomended if you can get your hands on one and don't mind looks or age. Worked at a bike shop for 3 yrs and this was by far the best product.

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Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   Sun City Bicycles

Similar Products Used:   rhx Judy. FOX.

Bike Setup:   Trek 9900 OCLV Pro Issue from 1992. With some updates.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by turbodog72 a Racer from mississippi

Date Reviewed: September 5, 2009

Strengths:    Light, reliable, easy to service.

Weaknesses:    Replacement parts.

Bottom Line:   
Bought used from a friend about 1994. It's 2009 and I'm rebuilding it for the first time. Love this fork. Found some new elastomers and suspensionforkparts.com
Yahoo! Looks great on vintage mid 90s bike.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   b'ham, al / oak mtn

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   friend

Similar Products Used:   judy, r/s duke, etc.

Bike Setup:   1993 Schwinn Sierra.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jason Smith a Weekend Warrior from Da Wood, GA

Date Reviewed: March 6, 2007

Strengths:    Beautiful CNCing. Late 90's graphics are rad! Siplicity rocks and it lasted the better part of a decade.

Weaknesses:    I never had a single problem with this shock until finally the elastomer wore out on me and i was getting zero travel. what can you expect after 10 years?

Bottom Line:   
Great fork in its day. Serious bling back in the late 90s. Now it just looks cool in my garage. The simplicity of this thing is what made it great. To bad today's forks are so complicated and unreliable. Like another review said, guess thats the cost of progress

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   oregon

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   Hand-me-down

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   Steel hardtail now running RS Tora up front.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John a Cross Country Rider from Cyprus

Date Reviewed: May 23, 2004

Strengths:    This is also a review for the UK made Smokestone Mudmonster
Fullsuspension. Got the Man.4 with this bike, and still these days, this is a masterpiece of bike.


Weaknesses:    Expensive

Bottom Line:   
This fork came as the then top-of-the-line fork with my UK made Smokestone Mudmonster. The Mud-Monster was the ultimate full suspension bike in the late 90's in Great-Britain. It had a very sad history, as the back suspension was a break-through in invention, and an US Company bought the rights to get it off the market for some strange competitive reasons. So only very few mudmonsters were sold, and they have more than cultstatus these days and are highly sought after collectors items as well. The frame was made of 6005 aluminium like a piece of art. Great perfection and what really was the eye-catcher was this utmost clever back-suspension, which was a true invention, and a typical example of british understatement in mastery.
Maybe this sounds like a rave-review, but it isn't, its just the truth! The bike is anyway not available anymore, I haven't even found it in search machines, that rare it is now. The last one I saw went in UK ebay for a stunning high sum, but.... as I said, this is now a collectors item.
I just felt the need to write something about this bike and the sad history surrounding it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   XC + Downhill in Cyprus hills

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   UK, Worthing

Similar Products Used:   GT-Timberline, Rotwild (Germany custom-made bike), Marin Bearvalley, and many others

Bike Setup:   XT-Shifters, XT-Brakes, XT-Hubs, Mavic SUP 121 ceramic, XTR derailleur and so on....

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Andrew a Cross Country Rider from Atlanta

Date Reviewed: January 23, 2004

Strengths:    I've had this fork for almost 10 years and it's still the sexiest beast around. I recently replaced the "original" elastomers with steroid-injected MCU's and now I have the toughest 2 inches of travel around. I'm not a downhill/extreme rider so this is all I need on my hardtail.

Weaknesses:    Short travel. Not for hard-core riding. You wouldn't take your Bentley four wheeling.

Bottom Line:   
The "Mona Lisa" of forks.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Outside

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Miami Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Many

Bike Setup:   Raleigh M400 frame. Avid Ultimate brake levers. Onza H.O. cantilever brakes. Kore Elite bar. Kooka XC stem. Ritchey Scuzzy Logic headset. Manitou 4 fork. Sun Rhyno Lite rims. XTR hub(F)/XThub(R). XT Crankset/F&R Derailleurs. Shimano 747 pedals. G.T. Ti Bottom bracket. Shimano 7 speed shifters and cassette. Bontrager Connection 1.95 tires. W.T.B. Rocket V saddle. Thomson Elite seatpost. Sette Ti skewers.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ryan a Weekend Warrior from Manchester, NH, US

Date Reviewed: March 7, 2003

Strengths:    strong lite very reliable

Weaknesses:    frezzes in below zero degree weather

Bottom Line:   
great for the money very durable good over all

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   came on bike

Similar Products Used:   super six, blacke elite


Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Marq101 from amsterdam, holland

Date Reviewed: July 21, 2002

Strengths:    Suspension is firm, materials, build quality

Weaknesses:    No pick up for a disc but hé, that's not its fault

Bottom Line:   
I realy can't say a lot about this fork. I just purchased the bike. It's all old school but i'm so well chuffed with it that I had to write something about the fork. It's all CNC machinery. A sort of CNC art. I know I will sound like an old fart when i say: "they don't make em like this these days". But in this category they don't. It hase become too expensive. Things come and go except for this fork. It has come but it'll never go.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Similar Products Used:   not yet

Bike Setup:   Balance AL550, everthing shimano LX and some dia comp components. Only done 500 miles

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Crazy Mike a Cross Country Rider from The Netherlands

Date Reviewed: April 4, 2002

Strengths:    A true classic. Beautiful CNC machining, inside and out. Lightweight, and very nice on an older hardtail that needs a fork that's not al tall as the current models. Extremely easy to service. This was a big reason why I got it in the first place. Not a Rock-Shox ;-)

Weaknesses:    A little flexy, seals really aren't good enough to keep the mud out, so need to keep the boots on when trail conditions are bad. Elastomers just don't cut it anymore these days.

Bottom Line:   
I dumped the original internals of this fork and put in Englunds (total air technology) instead. Removed the cable guide and polished the brace. Replaced the OEM steel steerer with the aluminum one from my EFC, and pressed some extra O-rings underneath the dustwipers to act as extra seals. The fork works beautifully and weighs in at 1275 grams - lighter than a SID. The fact that this fork is not as tall as most modern forks means it's perfect for my non-suspension corrected hardtail, a Miyata Elevation 5'000 that's still a mean beast after all these years. I would like to give it 5 chilies in both departments, but with the stock internals and those inadequate dustwipers, it gets no higher than 3 overall. I would give mine 4 because of the Englunds, still losing one due to the dustwiper problem. (But then again, if you leave the boots on, it should be fine).

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   Manitou EFC, RST 460, AMP F4-BLT, Suntour SR-72, Rond O24U, modified RST Aerosa AET.

Bike Setup:   1991 Miyata Elevation 5'000. All classic parts 1991-1996 except for the brakes which are vee's

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by A G a Cross Country Rider from San Diego

Date Reviewed: January 12, 2002

Strengths:    Fantastic on the small stuff, great on the medium stuff, OK on the large stuff (I'm not really concerned with big hits). Simplicity, ease of maitenance

Bottom Line:   
This fork is a true CLASSIC. Great for XC. Over the 5 yrs that I've had the fork my weight has fluctuated between 190-210, and I ride hard!!! I have replaced ever single component, including the frame. The fork stays!! I have replaced the elastomers once!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $350.00

Purchased At:   LBS


Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Nick a Cross Country Rider from Tempe, AZ

Date Reviewed: July 31, 2001

Strengths:    Decent durability- I rode mine for 4 years, and I wasn't even the original owner. Good damping. Mine was cheap, but I don't know anything about the original price.

Weaknesses:    Short travel, and heavy. Lots of flex.

Bottom Line:   
Mine took me all over the country- Utah, Illinois, Tennesee, Wisconsin, and I never had any problems using it for cross country. It has a good feel to it, little or no maintenance is required, and you aren't going to end up leaking oil all over the place and riding home on a bottomed-out fork. Plus there's a fun whooshing noise when it compresses. However, after all those years of riding, I went to do an 18" sidehop drop.. CRACK. I couldn't figure out what had cracked on my bike from looking at it, so I decided I might as well break it the rest of the way so it wouldn't happen when I wasn't expecting it. This time both fork stanchions snapped where they enter the crown. At least I was expecting it. 4 years seems to be a reasonable amount of life for a big (180#) guy like me, if you can stand the limited travel.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   Manitou Spdyer, Marzocchi Z4

Bike Setup:   Steel hardtail

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Matt N. a Cross Country Rider from Flemington, NJ

Date Reviewed: July 18, 2001

Strengths:    Simple, reliable design.

Weaknesses:    Heavy (for its time), flexy.

Bottom Line:   
Simple technology (elastomers) with major limitations of flexiness (too soft for riders over 160 lbs) and really stiff second half of travel.

I had far more problems with subsequent Manitous though than with this fork. The price of "progress," I guess.
Why is it that in recent years forks have gotten simultaneously much heavier, more expensive, and less reliable?
Three flames for not being any of these.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Tequepis, Santa Barbara

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   orig. equip. on Fisher Supercaliber

Similar Products Used:   Manitou III, Mach 5 SX, 2000 SXR, most Rock Shox

Bike Setup:   Fisher Supercaliber, SXR with Englund kit, King HS, Syncros stem, Bontrager Ti bar & barends, XTR drivetrain/levers/V-brake, White Industries/Syncros/DT Revolution/Rigida carbide rims, Mythos XC, Salsa Flip-Offs, Race Face cranks, World Class Ti BB, Easton CT2 post, Avocet 02r Kevlar, King cage.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by juan a Cross Country Rider from j

Date Reviewed: July 7, 2001

Strengths:    Reliable, easy to maintain, durable

Weaknesses:    Limited in adjustments, no rebound control. Over the years the fork has become very very flexy.

Bottom Line:   
The fork has been very good it takes punishment well and requires very little to keep it maintained. Unfortunately it is beginning to show a lot of flex especially at low speed in technical terrian. The brake pads begin to touch the rim in this type of riding.
I would probably keep riding it if it were not for the flex and the fact that it's getting harder to find elastomers.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   Wheel World

Bike Setup:   The fork came stock on a Balance AL 750 hardtail. Full XT except for the cranks (LX) and the shifters (gripshift).

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Peter Erdmann from Littleton, Colorado

Date Reviewed: September 21, 2000

Strengths:    Strength. Craftsmanship. Simplicity. Effectiveness.

Weaknesses:    Lonely. They need to make these again (something similar, anyway).

Bottom Line:   
They certainly don't make forks like this anymore. For good reason. No company could afford to! All CNC'd... this fork gives me wood. I'm going to get a bunch of em.

Oh yes, and it rides like a dream.
Hot diggity!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Matthew Winters

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $80.00

Purchased At:   MTBR!

Similar Products Used:   Everything under the sun.

Bike Setup:   Trimble #196, Original XTR, USE, FSA, & Salsa goodies, Mavic USTs. 20.5 lbs, & tough as nails.
This bike kicks my ass.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ryan M. a Weekend Warrior from St. Pete, FL

Date Reviewed: June 24, 2000

Strengths:    Price nowadays :)
easy to rebuild
Looks


Weaknesses:    None for how old the technology is

Bottom Line:   
This bike came with my used '95 stumpjumper comp. I guess it was my first suspension fork but compared to 2000 Rock Shock forks it's quite to contender for being 5 years old! Great beginner fork although i ride it with xtr/spin etc. stuff i should probably upgrade my fork now.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Santos

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   Judy and other Manitou

Bike Setup:   '95 specialized stumpjumper comp, manintou comp 4
xtr brakes/levers/shifters/r. der
flite ti saddle, spin wheels ceramic

Reviews 1 - 15 (60 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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


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