Manitou’s suspension carries over unchanged in stock form for 2016, but their more recent (and exciting) models get several upgrade options. Hop up kits are now available for the Mattoc and Dorado forks and McLeod rear shock, letting you better tune their performance for your own ride.
Not visible on the models above, the Mattoc and Dorado get three different kits. Externally, there’s a new blow-off top cap that adds a relief valve that’ll release built up pressure on top of the air piston when ripping down long descents or changing a lot of altitude between the finish line and the lift-served start.
Directly underneath that is a new IVA (Infinite Volume Adjust) that eliminates spacers and steps to give you full control over the exact volume you want in the air spring chamber. Or, if you really want to dial in your fork’s top and mid stroke spring rate, the amazing new IRT kit gives you much better control over what is arguably the most important part to get right.
Drop in for internals, cutaways and much more…
The pressure relief valve is a simple button you push on the top of the air spring’s cap.
The red bit on the piston creates the seal at the top of the air chamber. To adjust air volume, just slide it up or down and lock it into place. It’s main purpose is to control the ramp and bottom end of the suspension’s feel.
If that’s not enough, Manitou’s all-new IRT (Infinite Rate Tuning) lets you independently tune the top end and the mid-stroke spring rates, which comes as close to creating the holy grail of supple small bump performance and mid-travel support for bigger hits as anything we’ve seen in an air spring.
IRT is exclusive from IVA as it replaces the volume adjust entirely. Instead, it adds a second air chamber to the fork that’s set before the main air chamber. You set the IRT to the firmness you want for the mid stroke, then set the main chamber to get the right amount of sag. Assuming you take advantage of the design and run lower air pressures (say, for 30-35% sag) in the main, that’ll let the fork react quickly and easily to small bumps. Then, as it compresses and its pressure equalizes with the IRT’s chamber, the two work in concert, effectively creating one larger air chamber to handle the bigger bumps and deeper compressions.
Both the Mattoc and Dorado use the Dorado Air System, which automatically sets the positive and negative at the same time via a single valve, and all that remains the same when adding the IRT. That secondary chamber will sit at top on Mattoc, on bottom for Dorado and is available aftermarket or for OEM only.
The IVA kit runs $49.99 for either fork, and the IRT kit runs $79.99 for the Mattoc and $99.99 for Dorado.
The McLeod rear shock gets a King Can large volume air sleeve. It replaces the standard sleeve and adds a secondary chamber on the outside and adds 54% more volume. It provides a more linear spring curve for longer travel bikes and improves top end sensitivity over little bumps. (Check out our suspension set up guide for a full technical breakdown on how air volume affects your suspension).
A two-position seal inside the sleeve separates the positive (top) and negative (bottom) chambers and can be set in a lower position to create an even larger positive chamber.
Nothing else new on the internals since the McLeod launched, but still cool to see cutaways.
While Manitou’s Hex Lock is among the quickest, easiest thru axle systems to use, there’s always room for lighter weight options. The new Hex Lock SL saves 42g over their quick release, but requires tools to remove. And see that silver nut on the leg that says “Do Not Remove”? You’ll need to remove that and replace it with the bolt that threads into the axle, flipping the action from the drive side lever to a non-drive side hex bolt to remove the wheel.
The new Red Mist Enduro collection replaces the semi-gloss red of last year with a more matte finish and additional items to complete the look.
That includes the new AME 3D forged 30mm stem, the shortest you can get without going to a direct mount design. Weight is 95g, and other sizes are 2D forged then machined, running in 10mm increments from 40 to 80.
The Enduro Glove was tested and refined by the Bergamont team and is a pull-on style with no padding and upper knuckle and fore-finger protective panels.
Not shown (because I forgot to photograph it) is a new camo anodizing that uses a milspec treatment that’s very durable. They’ll have one option for aftermarket sales, but other patterns were on display to show what they can do custom for OE customers or distributors (read: large volume orders).
Speaking of things for distributors, Hayes’ new pro suspension service tools are definitely aimed at the volume user. Any bike shops or riders that still perform suspension service in house are welcome to them, too, but Manitou’s distributors often serve as service centers, too, so these provide all of the tools to completely rebuild their forks and shocks.
Bearing presses, air can wrenches, bushing removal and install tools…it’s all here. They started explaining how each part works and whether it was the intricate detail or the cumulative effect of four hours’ sleep each night for a week, but my eyes and ears glazed over. Suffice to say, if you service Manitou suspension, these parts are all you need to do it right.
Their appearance, finish and heft all screamed quality.
They even have a gas charge tool to let anyone with a nitrogen tank to refill the IFP gas charge in a rear shock. You have one of those, right? Prices range from $29.99 to $599.99, or get the whole set for a cool $999.99.