a Cross Country Rider
from Salt Lake City, UT
Date Reviewed: February 3, 2012
Strengths: Reasonably light, seems pretty tough so far. Great damping tuning for sucking up small bumps, but still seems to respond well when you need to push off to launch or something. Good lateral stiffness, not as noodley as a lot of forks (eg my Fox Float). Pretty easy adjustment. Damping is easily adjusted on the fly and is an effective lockout when turned all the way. Seems to get a pretty good amount of the travel in when properly adjusted and preloaded with air. I weigh about 180, it rides about as smooth as my Fox Float, but gets better travel and costs about half as much new.
Weaknesses: I have a 20mm through-axle version and the Manitou axle and release system is not very fast to change tires. That said, it is also the most stiff of those I've seen and seems super robust and is efficient with weight concerns. I guess if you want quick on and off, you should probably consider something besides a 20mm axle anyway.
Very satisfied with this fork. Light, stiff, sucks up bumps like it is supposed to but is still a good platform for launching. Prob not as smooth as Fox for short-travel bumps, but great for the bigger stuff. Robust design and pretty easy adjustment.
Seems like Manitou has really improved since their failed attempts at doing OEM and all the previous problems with manufacture at overseas places (Too bad for Marz- they were always my faves before they ran into problems going to Taiwan). I think Manitou will continue to pump out good forks since their acquisition by Hayes (Just like Rock Shox has since their buyout).
I really like this fork so far. I like that I can customize it to the way I ride. You can adjust it for low speed compression with the dial on top (even completely lock it out in the max position), adjust the shim stack inside the fork for high speed compression, add or remove air to adjust for you weight and riding style, and of course it has rebound adjustment on the bottom. I don't have this fork broken in yet, but already it feels really plush over rough terrain, and very stiff in the corners. Buy this fork if you want the best fork for the money. This fork is fairly light, but weight conscious buyers may want to opt for the pro version or the R7.
Similar Products Used: Manitou Skareb, Girven Cross-link
Bike Setup: Giant NRS 2 w/ many upgrades
a Cross Country Rider
from Liberty, Missouri, USA
Date Reviewed: March 11, 2011
Strengths: Cost, Tunability, This the best fork Manitou has that has rim brake mounts
Weaknesses: Weight: If you are a gram counter. Me, I weigh 240lbs, so instead of spending big $$ to lose a pound off the bike, I'll skip a few cheeseburgers, and lose 10lbs off me.
I chose Manitou, because my old fork was a Manitou, and if you trade in a Manitou they will send you a brand spanking new fork for over 30% of MSRP. This one went for $350, and I got it for $210 plus freight (to and from, about $40). Your dealer calls Manitou and handles it all. You give the dealer your fork, they call Manitou and orders your new fork and gets an RMA for the old one. Manitou sends the new fork when they get the old fork. I looked and could not find a deal anywhere on a fork this good, let alone a 2011.
I got this particular fork because I prefer rim brake’s simplicity, reliability, sturdiness, weight and feel, to the raw power of disks, and this was the best fork Manitou made that has rim brake mounts. It has full internal tuning (shim stack, oil height and weight), it has air to set the sag, an external rebound clicker, and an external preload/compression clicker. It is not a flyweight fork, but neither am I. It is burly for a cross country fork (80mm travel), and I appreciate that, as I am a big guy, and I have a bomber attitude. I tend to break stuff.
As for performance, it feels great so far. All I can really say is that I don’t even know it is there, which I think is the best compliment I could give it. The old Mach 5 it replaced definitely showed its age, and I for sure knew it was there. This one just does its job and lets me ride. It is very smooth, and bumps that were there with the old fork, are simply not there with this one.
I rated it high because it gives me near-top-shelf performance at a smoking price.