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Interbike 2010: Manitou Introduces the Marvel and Tower

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While hoard of bike people were swarming over the new Hayes Prime brakes, Manitou Dorados in gun cases, and bling encrusted wheels from Sun Ringle, there were two brand new forks quietly hanging amongst the current offerings from Manitou. Both forks represent some interesting firsts from the venerable fork manufacturer including the first 29’r only fork from manitou (not offered in a 26″ version) and the first departure in a long time from the swoopy organic lines that Manitou has embraced for a long time going.

When it’s come to forks for the bigger wheels, Manitou has gone the route of most companies and simply adapted a current model to fit the larger wheel and generally shortened the travel. While designing the Tower however, Manitou started with the understanding that this fork was to be 29 only and designed it accordingly. The Marvel on the other hand, is currently 26 only and is slated to be an eventual replacement for the Minute.  Both models will be issued in pro models that are incredibly light, and should have the stiffness to match.

Full run down on both forks after the break!

The Tower's classic Manitou Reverse Arch

With up to 120mm travel, a tapered steerer tube, 20 mm thru axle options, and all under 4 pounds, the Tower is sure to be a 29’r crowd pleaser. In fact if it truly comes in at 3.74 pounds the Tower will be one of the lightest 29’r forks on the market. Three models will be offered, with a coil sprung Comp model and an Expert and Pro model, ACT Air and MARS Air respectively.

Preproduction specs are are pretty wild, with just about every option you could think of available in one way or another. Keep in mind, that even though an options is specified currently, it may not be available in the long run, with that said travel will be available in 80, 100, and 120mm with the 100mm model being internally adjustable. Steerers range from 1 1/8th steel and aluminum to 1.5 tapered aluminum depending on the model. Compression damping is handled by TPC Absolute + cartridges while rebound is the classic adjustable TPC. The legs will remain 32mm in diameter made of 7050 Butted AL on the Pro, Straight AL on the Expert, and drops to steel stanchions on the comp. Also all of the Tower models will be compatible with Manitou’s Milo push button Lockout lever.

Going back quite a few years, the aesthetics of Manitou forks haven’t really changed. Characterized by their unique reverse arch, the swoopy lines and organic looking crowns settled in and became Manitou’s brand image for better or for worse.

The Marvel is looking to change that.

Wanting change up the look of the Marvel, along with improve stiffness while also decreasing weight, the Marvel’s casting takes on an almost industrial look with trussed reinforcements and lightening cut outs galore.

However, the new Marvel is more than just futuristic looks and different for different’s sake. At 3.3 pounds for the Pro model, a fork that is capable of 120mm travel with a QR15 and a tapered steerer, this may just be the next ultimate XC/Trail fork. To put that in perspective, that’s borderline SID weight, with a QR15.

Radical departure from the norm for Manitou

Obviously the pictures here show a 9mm quick release dropout, which is due to the QR15 still being in prototype stages. Rest assured, even though it is being considered a 2012 model, it will be available sooner rather than later. Also if you take a look at the illustration on the first page, you will see what the new dropouts will probably look like, also very different from what you are used to seeing from the Manitou Crew.

The new I beam crown along with the 7050 butted Al stanchion should keep the chassis nice and stiff, while TPC Absolute + compression damping and TPC rebound damping will keep things under control.

The new Marvel will also be compatible with the Milo lock out system, making it look like most of the new forks from Manitou will be compatible with remote lock outs.

Another first for Manitou, Air pressure charts on the legs!
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