First Ride: Manitou's New Dorado

Jul 12, 2021
by Dan Roberts  



The Manitou Dorado has been around for an astonishing two decades. So long that maybe a big proportion of riders out there have dreamed about owning one at some point in their riding life. I sure did, glued to the screen watching the freeride films of the early 2000s.

In that time, it has also gained quite a cult of keen admirers out there for its touted on-trail performance, something easily visible in the comments when any other dual crown fork is mentioned in an article.

For 2021, Manitou sought to continue that heritage, primarily by keeping the inverted design, but they were keen to point out that this is about where the similarities end, with the new fork in all three of its guises seeing a bewildering number of updates, changes and improvements across the chassis, springs and dampers.

The new Dorado is available in Pro, Expert and Comp models, with that Pro model seeing the return of a carbon fiber chassis.

Having just spent a bunch of time on a fair selection of the current crop of right side up DH forks, we jumped at the chance to get hold of the Pro and Expert models to dive into all the changes, and acronyms, for the new generation of Dorado as well as see how this icon of upside down compares on the trail.





While upside down forks might be much more popular in other two wheeled sports, they're not so prevalent in the MTB world. So perhaps the first point to attack is, why upside down?

According to Manitou, going with an inverted design allowed them to create a fork with a blend of increased fore-aft stiffness and increased torsional compliance. That's something they say allows the riders to have a better steering accuracy while reducing rider fatigue.

Diving deeper into that stiffness topic, torsional stiffness is something that inverted forks have always battled. Their fore-aft stiffness is much greater than a conventional design, but when things get twisted up the inverted design yields much lower stiffness figures when pitted against a conventional fork, with its additional bridge between the lowers tying everything together.

Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
The Dorado's inverted design uses 6000 series aluminium lower legs.
Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
The dropouts are 20mm diameter and 110mm wide, using a floating axle system and double pinch bolts on each dropout.

While many a brand has attempted to test an inverted design for DH, Manitou has stuck to their guns and sought to refine the Dorado boosting its stiffness, both fore-aft and torsionally, compared to the previous model.

Moving on from stiffness, the inverted design of the Dorado is said to keep the fork running with a smooth feel thanks to the more constant lubrication of the bushings and seals. The un-sprung mass compared to a conventional fork is also claimed to be lower, along with an increased sprung weight, which would translate to a fork more sensitive and able to track the terrain in front of it.

Manitou also states that the bushing overlap on an inverted design is greater than a conventional fork, thanks to the increase in space due to the long upper tubes compared to a conventional fork’s bushings in the lower legs.

Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
The Hex Lock axle system uses the hexagon shape to tie the axle to the non-disc dropout and help boost stiffness.
Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
Both lower legs are protected by the bolt on guards. A fender kit is also available that uses the same bolt on points on the dropouts.

The Dorado range is split into the Pro, Expert and Comp, with many shared features between the three. All Dorado models can fit both a 29" and 27.5" wheel into the same chassis with markings on the upper tubes acting as a guide for the minimum crown height for each wheel size.

They all also have the same crown options. The drop crown, more intended for the 29" wheels, has a 57mm offset. Whereas the flat crown, more intended for the 27.5" wheels, has a 47mm offset. It is possible to mix the crowns with the different wheel sizes, but to run the flat and shorter offset crown with 29" wheels means you have to have a total headtube and head set length shorter than 124mm, which many current DH bikes do have.

All forks use the same 37mm diameter lower leg, which is up 1mm from the previous Dorado and allowed Manitou to find their ideal balance of stiffness, weight savings and seal surface area to reduce friction, after testing many different diameters all the way up to 41mm. Those lower legs are protected with bolt-on plastic guards and there's also an optional one-piece fender kit that uses the same bolt-on design in place of the two lower leg guards.

Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
Two crown options are available for the Dorado. The drop and 57mm offset, shown, is aimed for the 29" setup while the flat and 47mm offset is aimed at the 27.5" setup. But, depending on your bike's head tube length, you can mix and match.
Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
The inverted design is claimed to offer a more consistent lubrication of the bushings and seals. The small rubber dimples are a neat touch that stop the lower leg guards rattling against the uppers.

Axle to crown measurements for the Dorado are 582mm in 27.5" setup and 602mm in 29". The brake mount is 203mm without adapters and can handle up to a 223mm rotor.

Recommended service intervals are every 50 hours for changing the bath oil and a re-grease of the air pistons and leg seals, then every 200 hours for a full service to replace all the fluids and seals. Extreme riding and harsh conditions may require you to service a little more frequently.

In the box along with the fork legs, crowns, lower leg guards and axle also comes a sag guide with integrated crown spreading tool. In the centre of the plastic injected tool includes the brake hose guide and two spacers and screws to fine tune the guide position. Also included is a stealth decal kit and boost hub spacer kit for anyone wanting to run a non-boost DH hub in the Dorado. The Dorado is available to buy through Manitou's distributor and dealer network as well as in their online store, which ships to the USA and Canada.





Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot

Dorado Pro

The top tier Dorado Pro sees the return of a carbon fiber composite chassis. The carbon fiber upper tubes save a claimed weight of 238g over the aluminum ones found on the Expert and Comp. Those legs are also completely carbon fiber, with only small aluminum sleeves top and bottom to thread the top caps and push the seals into the uppers.

The 6000 series aluminum lower legs use Manitou's Hex Lock axle system, which uses a hexagon shape to key the axle into the non-disc leg and resist the forces trying to spin the dropouts around the axle.
Dorado Pro Details
• Dual chamber air spring
• IRT air spring adjuster
• Sealed TPC+ damper
• Hydraulic bottom out
• External LSC, HSC & LSR adjustments
• Carbon fibre upper tubes
• TSR relief buttons
• Adjustable between 180, 190 and 203mm
• 2970g (claimed)
• €1,499.99 / $1,799.99 USD

The disc-side dropout also floats on the axle to find its perfect alignments, before being pinched down onto the axle. Compared to the previous Dorado, the new Pro is claimed to be 27% stiffer fore-aft and 22% stiffer torsionally.

The Pro model features the TSR, or Trail Side Relief, buttons to purge any excess built up air in the uppers, similar to what Fox has implemented on the 40, 38 and 36 forks.

The Pro uses Manitou's TPC+, or Twin Piston Cartridge, which is a fully sealed cartridge and builds on the damper design of the previous Dorado. TPC+ is a velocity and position dependent damping design. The velocity dependent part is the most common format of damping and gives the fork its high and low-speed damping, with high and low-speed compression and low speed rebound externally adjustable.

Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
The Dorado Pro uses carbon fiber composite legs, with only small aluminium sleeves top and bottom to allow the top caps to be screwed in and the seals to be pressed into the uppers. They also save a chunk of weight and add a touch more stiffness.
Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
TSR buttons allow any excess air, built up in the uppers, to be released and so have less impact on the fork's performance.

The position-sensitive damping part means that the fork is lighter on the damping when it is higher in its travel. As it gets deeper in there, the secondary TPC+ circuit engages and ups the damping force to give increased support and bottom out resistance. In the final 30mm of travel, an independent hydraulic bottom out circuit further increases the damping forces to deal with bottom out events on the trail.

Rebound is adjustable at the top of the fork, and opposed to other manufacturers, is blue. High and low-speed compression are at the bottom of the fork, with the low-speed dial coloured red. So don't go changing your red dial thinking that it's rebound.

The TPC+ damper uses a spring backed IFP, or Internal Floating Piston, that pressurises the oil in the cartridge, helping avoid cavitation while allowing room for expansion as the damper rod makes its way into the damper. Manitou say they used a coil backed IFP for more consistency on long DH runs when compared to a gas backed IFP.

Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
The TPC+ dampers have high and low speed compression externally adjustable at the bottom of the fork. The high-speed adjuster, in black, surrounds the low-speed adjuster, in red. Rebound is adjustable at the top of the fork.
Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
The Infinite Rate Tune adjuster uses a secondary positive air chamber, filled at the bottom of the fork, to tune the feel of the fork's air spring in the middle and end portions of travel.

The Dorado Pro air spring uses a twin chamber, positive and negative, design but with no dimple inside the fork leg to equalize pressure during the stroke. Instead, the balancing occurs when you inflate or deflate the fork with air with a small valve balancing the two chambers.

The IRT, or Infinite Rate Tune, adjuster adds further spring tuning options by having a secondary positive chamber that helps to control the middle and end of the fork's stroke, and is accessed under an air cap at the bottom of the fork. The IRT system is compatible with the Dorado Expert and is available as an aftermarket upgrade.

Any air sprung Dorado is adjustable in travel between 180mm, 190mm and 203mm, with all parts needed to do the travel adjustment being inside the fork and just need re-assembling in a different arrangement to make the travel changes.

The Dorado Pro retails for €1,499.99 or $1,799.99 USD and will be available in early Fall. Euro prices quoted are without VAT.





Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot

Dorado Expert

The Dorado Expert uses 6000 series aluminum lower and upper legs and is claimed to be 20% stiffer both fore-aft and torsionally compared to the previous Dorado.

The Expert has the TSR feature, but uses a small screw to allow the excess pressure to be purged instead of a button. The Dorado Expert is also e-bike approved.

A "half TPC+ damper" is found in the Expert model and uses a non-sealed cartridge design. This updated version of the damper sees redesigned architecture to reduce pressure losses during the rebound stroke by separating the check valve from the compression pistons.
Dorado Expert Details
• Dual chamber air spring
• IVA volume adjuster
• TPC+ damper
• Hydraulic bottom out
• External LSC, HSC & LSR adjustments
• 6000 series aluminum upper tubes
• TSR bolts
• Adjustable between 180, 190 and 203mm travel
• 3120g (claimed)
• €1,193.28 / $1,449.99 USD

A single, high-flow check valve is used to increase the oil flow for a claimed improvement in small bump absorption and increased damping consistency. The hydraulic bottom out circuit now resides inside the damping cartridge to be fully submerged in the damping fluid to further improve consistency.

Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
The Dorado Expert, and Comp, use the same 6000 series aluminium upper tubes and come with the OK for e-bike use.
Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
Instead of buttons, the Expert and Comp use TSR screws to release any built up air in the uppers.

All the adjuster and detent designs have changed to give a better fine tuning of the adjustment range, and like the Pro, the rebound is adjustable at the top of the fork with high and low-speed compression adjustable at the bottom.

The Dorado Expert uses a dual air chamber spring design with the same balancing valve that equalizes the pressure in the chambers when you fill the fork. But in the Expert, there is an IVA, or Incremental Volume Adjuster, tuning option that gives three settings for air volume inside the fork to change the progressivity, much like tokens do in other forks.

The Dorado Expert retails for €1,193.28 or $1,449.99 USD and is available right now. Euro prices quoted are without VAT.





Manitou Dorado Comp

Dorado Comp

Last but not least is the Dorado Comp, which uses the same 6000 series aluminum chassis as the Expert model giving it the same stiffness gains compared to the previous Dorado. It also uses the same TSR screws and is e-bike approved.

The Comp uses a coil spring design with six different steel spring rates from 25lb/in up to 50lb/in in 5lb/in increments with coil spring preload adjustable externally. Travel for the Comp is fixed at 203mm.

The coil spring system can be fitted to the Pro and Expert models in place of their air spring.
Dorado Comp Details
• Coil spring
• IRT volume adjuster
• ABS+ damper
• Hydraulic bottom out
• External LSC & LSR adjustments
• 6000 series aluminum upper legs
• TSR bolts
• Fixed 203mm travel
• 3565g (claimed, medium spring)
• €1,008.40 / $1,224.99 USD

But once that conversion is done it’s irreversible due to the potential for the coil spring to mark the inside of the tubes and lead to sealing issues if you change back to an air spring.

The Comp uses Manitou’s ABS+ damper, which has been with Manitou for almost as long as the Dorado itself, although with many refinements over the years. The damper has reliable and easy tuning and features externally adjustable low-speed compression and rebound.

The Dorado Comp retails for €1,008.40 or $1,224.99 USD and is available right now. Euro prices quoted are without VAT.





Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot

Installation, Setup & Ride Impressions

Having only ever touched conventional forks, this was the first time handling an inverted design, something that literally hit me by surprise when I pulled the fork out of the box without the crowns and got smashed in the shins by one of the legs as it swung round on the axle. Some mistakes in life you have to experience once to make sure you'll never make them again.

That non-conventional theme has carried on through a little with getting used to the day-to-day use of the Dorado and its inverted design. Crown assembly in the bike is a regular affair however, although I had to add 5mm of spacers under the top drop crown to avoid it hitting the frame of the Trek Session, even with the bumpers in a good position.

The markings on the upper legs make it easy to get the right leg position for the different wheel sizes, and for the testing so far I've been using 29" wheels. It's good to point out, though, to align the small rubber bumpers with the fork guards to quieten any rattling.

Wheel assembly can be a bit fiddlier on the Dorado than a conventional fork, with the two dropouts able to move relative to each other. But it's not a headache, unless you have a front hub that needs a finger sticking in it to align the tube spacer between the hub bearings. The axle design uses a covered end that houses the bolt to preload the axle, so a lot of wiggling and jiggling is needed with those hubs. A normal hub, with a tube spacer that stays in place, is much easier to assemble.

Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
Upper tube markings make it easy to see the minimum crown position for the different wheel sizes. Each Dorado can fit both 29" and 27.5" wheels in the same chassis.
Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot
Brake hose routing take a little longer path than a conventional fork, but the Dorado's hose guide on the crown can be adjusted in angle and height to make sure the hose slides through without a problem.

All crown and axle bolts use a 5mm Allen key, meaning it's super easy to whip through the whole fork and tighten everything up. And the whole fork only really comes together and rigid once all the bolts are done up tight. Those torque values needed to be a bit higher than the crown and axle bolts on a lot of the conventional forks out there.

Since I run my front brake on the right side, I needed to change to a longer hose to account for the Dorado's longer hose path up the legs and through the hose guide. Once that was done I was good to go and the adjustable angle and height of the hose guide makes it possible to get the routing just right and allow the hose to slide freely though as the fork goes into its travel.

Our Dorado Pro came in at 3,003g with the long offset drop crowns, uncut steerer, axle and fork bumpers. The Expert came in at 3,213g for the same setup. That puts both forks a fair bit heavier than the Öhlins DH38 m.1 (2,822g), Fox 40 (2,770g) and RockShox Boxxer (2,588g) we tested earlier this year.

The Dorado setup guides are incredibly informative and comprehensive. There are multiple setup range suggestions for standard, DH race and park riding preferences, along with clear explanations of what each adjustment does and recommendations for what to adjust for specific riding situations, problems or preferences. And using them as the starting point has had the forks in a very good place straight out of the box. I started the Dorado Expert at 69psi, IVA setting 2, 11 clicks of rebound, 6 of low-speed compression and 9 of high-speed compression. I started the Pro at 60psi in the main chamber and 91psi in the IRT chamber, 11 clicks of rebound, 6 of low-speed compression and 9 of high-speed compression.

Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot

The Dorado Expert was the first to arrive, and as such, I've had just over 13 days total on it so far. While its weight is noticeable, especially when lifting the front end, those initial settings from Manitou have made the fork really easy to just get on and ride hard. It's soft and supple when you need it to be, hard and supportive when you need that, while maintaining a good ride height and usage of travel. Put simply, the way the fork goes in and out of its travel is proving to be quite impressive so far in all terrains and speeds that I've ridden. I haven't yet felt the need to fix any problems in the way the fork rides with air pressure, progressivity or big changes in damping.

Our little area of the Alps has been having one of the wettest summers in recent memory, and as such it has rendered the pucker factor pretty high on a lot of the trails in Châtel, Morgins and Champéry, where the forks have been ridden so far. Perhaps owing to this it's been hard to decisively pass judgement on the Dorado's stiffness traits as yet, compared to a conventional design.

But perhaps its comfortable right out of the box performance might be owing to just this in these wet and slippery conditions. In root or rock infested trails there certainly isn't a sense of the front wheel pinging around off line, and it's easy to hold lines and cambers with the Dorado up front. It's also given no sense of loading up and suddenly springing back so far, not even in the tightest and most aggressive turns. But in just those turns, where you are really grabbing the bull by the horns, there is a sense of a touch more hand movement at the bars. It doesn't translate to vagueness, but there's a different feeling to the Dorado compared to a conventional fork design.

One of the biggest shows of the Dorado's torsional flex is when you grab the front wheel between your legs and twist the bars. There is an alarming amount of movement in there and to the point that it will leave the front wheel and bars pointing in different directions. While it might be a good party trick when not riding, it's going to be one of the biggest points to test with the Dorado and its conventional design competitors, who yield a much more rigid feeling under the same basic test. Something that many back-to-back runs, switching forks repeatedly is going to give a clearer picture of if this torsional flex is a positive or negative, or both, depending on the trail and conditions.

Manitou Dorado Photo Ga tan Rey Shaperideshoot

The Dorado Pro arrived more recently, and after a solid two days of giving it hell in the bike parks of Châtel and Morgins, its performance has been mirroring that of the Expert, in the way it goes in and out of its travel over everything from the big jump trails, through the steep and technical to fast and demanding being impressive. Again, it was a cinch to set up with Manitou's guide and so far is exhibiting the same suppleness that builds into nice support deeper in the travel. All combined with good control and usage of travel that allows you to just forget a little bit more about your bike, lift your eye line and focus on the trail. Its reduced weight, some 210g, is also noticeable. It's not front and centre but it's a chunk of weight less to pull up every time you need to.

We'll be putting the Dorado Pro and Expert through their paces in the coming weeks to not only compare them to one another with all their individual features, but I'm also really looking forward to putting the Dorado's inverted design back-to-back against the likes of its conventional competitors, the Öhlins DH38, Fox 40 and RockShox Boxxer, to come back with a more conclusive answer to the inverted versus conventional design question. All I need now is a fork stiffness test machine...

For more information on the Dorado head to manitou.com.







312 Comments

  • 345 1
 The first picture is brilliant.
  • 55 2
 It is, I didn't even notice it until I saw your comment.
  • 4 1
 upsidedownception
  • 5 0
 It was clever of them.
  • 8 0
 It was a good five seconds of "... Something isn't right here..."
  • 78 1
 It gave me the shivers
  • 4 0
 Where's my SC variant?
  • 1 1
 @fartymarty: I see what you did there
  • 1 9
flag andrewfrauenglass (Jul 12, 2021 at 18:35) (Below Threshold)
 Wishful thinking that this fork is "turning the cycling world upside down". More like just twisting in the trail a little bit...
  • 3 0
 It's like a Cannondale Lefty... and Righty!!
  • 2 0
 @andrewfrauenglass: But without needle bearings and square tubes.
  • 190 6
 I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but best looking dual crown out there imo.
  • 31 11
 That’s the majority, not minority and there’s also no others
  • 19 2
 It does look really nice. If they find success with this, I wonder if they'll "flip" the rest of their forks to make moto-style single and dual crown forks this way. It'd be a bold strategy, but I've said it before, and I'll say it again.. Just because something works, doesn't mean it can't be improved upon. If it works better than the rest of the industry, good for them. They made an improvement on suspension technology, and I'd be willing to run one.
  • 18 5
 @danielfloyd: companies including Manitou have done inverted single crowns in the past. They're never torsionally stiff enough. As much as I want to see another Dorado SC I don't think it's feasible.
  • 118 11
 So whats it going to take to resurrect DH riding? I long for the good ole days when the buy/sell had more dual crowns than single crowns for sale. When we didn't care about weight or dropper post length. When trails were built to be as hard to ride as possible, not as easy to ride as possible to ride. When jumps were gaps and tables were where you spread out the parts of your broken derailleur as you tried to reassemble it.
  • 7 0
 @seraph: Crconception Fore SC.
  • 20 4
 @hamncheez: holy shit. Give this man a beer.
  • 18 1
 @hamncheez: too scary. The IMBA will not allow it
  • 40 0
 @hamncheez: Maybe you need to come live over here mate. DH in this slice of the Alps is anything but dead.
  • 34 3
 @dan-roberts: Nah, I hear it "rains" in Europe (something that hasn't happened in the Western US for a few decades) and I wouldn't know what to do with it.
  • 6 4
 @dan-roberts: if I didn’t have 10yrs in a good market specific career here, I’d join you in a heart beat.
  • 2 0
 @faul: I have one of his dampers&coil conversions in a pike, nothing rides like it, not even close.
  • 5 0
 100%.....I remember I owned the original and bought the clear stanchion guards for it and never put the decals on. LOOKED BAD ASS. Loved it. Now I want another!
  • 1 0
 @faul: Serious question, how does it ride?
The fork is always in the back of my head
  • 3 1
 @seraph: what I don't get is that NOBODY complains about the torsional stiffness of the Lefty, so why can't this be adapted to a dual crown or even single crown USD fork?
  • 6 1
 @salespunk: Lefty has some internal wizardy that none of the others have (square internal stanchions)
  • 25 0
 @salespunk: nobody who actually rides a dorado complains about the torsional stiffness. Like Dan says, it's just punters in the lift line putting the wheel between their legs and twisting that freak out about it.
The small amount of give makes it track off camber better. It's a feature, not a defect!
  • 4 0
 @salespunk: the lefty has spring and damper in the same tube which is apparently very tricky to fit.

The lefty should have superior stiffness to normal forks and smoothness due to the pin bearings and it being USD however whenever it has been on a bike they review it barely gets a mention.

My conclusion is that the damper and spring together must be worse then other brands because of the compromises they made to make it fit in the chassis.

If the damper plus spring was better, then I'd think they'd be proclaiming it the best fork ever ridden when reviewing it.

That's what I suspect though as I have no proof.
  • 2 1
 Would it be totally inappropriate to put it on my XC carbon hardtail frame?
  • 5 0
 @danielfloyd: While inverted single crown forks look awesome the design doesn't work that well. They need dual crowns and long travel be be viable. That's why every company that's made a single crown inverted fork has given up on it pretty quickly. Manitou Dorado SC, Marzocchi RAC, Rockshox RS1 (201Cool , Xfusion etc.

That said. If Manitou make another single crown Dorado I'll buy one for my collection.
  • 3 0
 I had a Dorado on my Banshee legend in 2011ish. Did two full summers in Whistler on it. Always loved the suppleness it had and minimal servicing. And the tortional stiffness never bothered me. Great fork for a rider who does a bit of a racing. @JamesR2026:
  • 9 0
 I'm not sure how many people on this comment section have actually ridden a single crown inverted fork. I have, my Xfusion Revel has been on my main bike for about 9 months now. I can confidently say it is GOOD. Not brilliant, not terrible, very similar in torsional stiffness to every other standard fork I've ever ridden. The keyed stantions must help with that a lot.

Way too many misinformed people have an all or nothing view of these forks. They are either the absolute best possible thing and why would you run anything else, or they are the wettest noodle of a fork around and you'd be silly to buy one. What about if they are simply just GOOD?
  • 3 0
 @freeriderayward: how the hell did you get your hands on one?
  • 2 1
 Yup@hamncheez:
  • 2 1
 Hamcheez for Prez @nvranka:
  • 1 1
 @salespunk: lefty is an xc fork dude.. do you have an idea how much sid sl flexes? Ill tell you it is ALOT
  • 2 0
 @toaster29: The Australian dealer had some stock. I was keen on them for a few years until I could finally get one. Xfusion aren't the best at getting forks to the people that want them it seems.. I hope you can find it if you are after one!
  • 2 0
 @GZMS: Lefty used to come in 160 if I remember correctly and there were zero complaints about flex. I know a few people that tried them and they all said it was as stiff or stiffer than their regular Fox/RS stuff.

Sid SL is a different story. I never claimed that was stiff.
  • 1 0
 @freeriderayward: I read that the keys in the Revel develop play, and they tend to bind under torsional stress, which is why it was never broadly released. Thoughts?
  • 6 0
 @salespunk: The longest lefty was a 650b 160mm travel, yes. I rode it.

Since the lefty uses a square upper stanchion (triangle now in the single crown version) its limited in how much travel it can have, and frankly I'm impressed they got 160mm out of it.

The struggle with the Lefty wasn't the design. The chassis is brilliant, and I think its the best of any front suspension ever. The issue is in their manufacturing process/QC and the design of their damper. The damper was crap and couldn't compete. The shock itself was still really good if you got a good one, but there were so many lemons. Most people didnt' get a "good" one. The tolerances are probably pretty tough, and C'Dale just couldn't get them consistent.

I am thinking about experimenting- buying a 650b lefty, cutting off the crowns and machining my own to allow 160mm 29er, and putting a Boxxer damper in there with a coil-over (probably from a Boxxer too)
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: I’ve always secretly lusted after a lefty, I was a bit disappointed when they cut them back to just being xc race forks. Unconventional designs always need extra QA or any reliability issues will sink them in the long run. I’m surprised cannondale didn’t implement this, they’ve been doing wild different stuff forever.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: You do that and report back. Would love to see how that turns out.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: or an avy cart that combines coil and damper together, that would be the top you can go as far chassis and damer wise!
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: A few years ago, they hired a RockShox engineer who spearheaded the new Ocho (single crown XC/gravel forks) design. By all accounts that shock is as good as anything out there. He said they discontinued the normal lefty because "they actually want to sell bikes", meaning that the Lefty didn't sell well Frown
  • 1 0
 @adespotoskyli: Just looked it up- brilliant. Only issue is that IDK how much oil volume there would be in the lower of a lefty since its inverted, and the Avy designs are all open bath. Plus the spring rate is intended to be paired with the air spring in the other leg; the Lefty has no other leg!
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: damned it, you could use a stronger spring or figure out something, I'm pretty convinced that the lefty is a great chassis but always lacked in the damping department, mostly because crackendale goes a long way with proprietary shit instead of using solid well worked out solutions
  • 3 0
 @adespotoskyli: couldn't agree more.

I just finished my custom designed ti bike (but made for 170mm 29er; I wonder if I can eek out another 10mm out of that 650b 160mm lefty ) but I'm working on a steel framed ebike next. Maybe after that I'll have some time for a franken-lefty

www.pinkbike.com/photo/20805694
  • 3 0
 @salespunk: Yeah I had an older Lefty 140 and it was definitely the stiffest trail fork (strut?!) I've ridden. Subjective, but I'd probably reckon it was at as stiff as my Boxxer DH forks. Only 4.1 lbs too. There's some high-G berms at my local trail centre and it's the only non-DH/FR fork that I couldn't feel twisting in them.

Shame it was let down by poor damping, as others have said. Doesn't count for much if it tracks well but then beats hell our of you the moment things get rough.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: I haven't felt any kind of binding forces going on, I ride some double black trails and drops but not really huge stuff. Also I'm quite light (75kgs with gear) so I may not really be testing the limits of the fork. So maybe it's not recommended for big fast riders or really crazy trails.
  • 109 7
 The new Manitou stuff is better than Fox and Rockshox. There. I said it.
  • 30 1
 For real. Have a Mezzer Pro and the thing is insane! Just eats up everything with no compromises.
  • 15 0
 @skierdud89: I have the new R7 Pro and Mara IL shock on my Spur. Even for such short stroke suspension, I feel that they're far better than their direct competitors and even those one step above in size.
  • 38 3
 The old Dorado was already better than anything out there..
  • 11 2
 Yup mate. From here, all the way down to the Markhor, they nock it out of the park. The real underdog of the sus world. There. I said it.
  • 8 1
 Depend where u live and depend on spare part availability and dealers and service providers;
  • 5 12
flag nvranka (Jul 12, 2021 at 9:02) (Below Threshold)
 Lol. To each their own I guess.
  • 11 0
 @nickmalysh: absolutely, over here in the UK its hotlines - known as "doesn't give AF" Frown
  • 2 2
 they have the cool air spring ohlins has, and high speed rebound is stupid, so yeah I'd say its better. plus its stylish af!!!
  • 22 0
 @DAN-ROCKS: *Ohlins has a similar air spring to what Manitou developed 12 years ago.
  • 1 6
flag jomacba (Jul 12, 2021 at 14:09) (Below Threshold)
 Better than is a bold statement... Just as good?? 100% agree
  • 10 0
 “Each Dorado can fit both 29" and 27.5" wheels in the same chassis.”

This seems like a big deal for anyone wanting the option to upsize/downsize/mulletify in future. The resale value should hold up better than a 27.5 boxxer/40 too.
  • 4 0
 @wcr: I've been running a Markhor on my shitsngiggles bike and now on my partner's first mtb. It's such a good fork for the money.
  • 11 2
 I think that a lot of underdog brands make better forks than fox and RS. SR Suntour and DVO just to name two. I've been on Sr Suntour forks for a few years now and every time I get on a bike with a RS, I can't wait to get an SR on it.
  • 2 11
flag nvranka (Jul 12, 2021 at 16:46) (Below Threshold)
  • 6 0
 100% agree my mattoc pro is everything I could ever want and need its even clyde friendly go manitou!!!
  • 1 0
 @Jakesmith32: Good to hear mate!
Got it on my gravel/old scool geo rig, can't say enough good things bout it.
  • 15 0
 yep. I've ridden RS, DVO, Fox, XFusion, and Manitou.

Top to bottom, manitou is the best overall...their high end mattoc / mezzer is as good or better than the competition BUT what really sets them apart is the overall (high end AND low end)....you can get a low end manitou that is excellent. So, what's nice is that if your fork says manitou, you can bet its good.

Most companies performance drops off substantially on low end / cost stuff...
  • 2 0
 @copylatte: Exactly mate, they don't cut anything quality/performance wise on the cheaper stuff.
Unlike all the other companies, they follow the path of cheaper-simpler. And for a rider like me, I actually perfer this approach. Don't need every setting/adjustment under the sun.
  • 1 0
 Why is this reply not at the top ??
  • 4 0
 @copylatte: my brother rides a mattoc comp and its amazing as well can be setup for 250+ easy. If it says manitou it will last my dad just blew up his old minute after 17 years
  • 2 0
 @copylatte: Some companies even had performance drop off for years on their high priced stuff (*COUGH* Fox CTD *COUGH*)...
  • 4 0
 @Mac1987: and is you are patient you can get them at a very reasonable price. My brother paid 275 shipped on the mattoc comp I paid 459 for my pro both last year's model on sale. And user serviceable manitou are the only fork or rear shock I will buy from now on
  • 1 0
 @Cspringsrider: Exactly. No need to send away, no wait, no big $ to fix. Just diy in one afternoon (if your mechanically inclined that tis).
In my eyes, that's what sets them, and Suntour, apart; User serviceability.
  • 82 0
 "the Alps has been having one of the wettest summers in recent memory"

Everyone in the Western US is trying not to cry right now
  • 85 0
 I tried to cry but the heat made my tears evaporate instantly.
  • 37 0
 @skierdud89: I'm re-reading Dune by Frank Herbert, and its like I'm there on Arrakis. Every drop of moisture is precious.
  • 7 1
 I will happily send some rain your way.
  • 24 0
 @hamncheez: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

― Frank Herbert, Dune
  • 7 1
 @fartymarty: Its rained ( cold grey pissed it down) everyday since the start of June. Shit summer all round.
  • 1 0
 @ilovedust: www.fireweatheravalanche.org/fire

You love dust? I have a mountain of it for you here!
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez What...rain almost every afternoon here in WY...
  • 5 0
 @hamncheez: oooww maybe we should look at bringing out a mtb stillsuit
  • 2 0
 @ADGproductions: I was in j-hole on July 5, and it rained really hard.

When I rode Lithium just a few days before, it was moondust with craters everywhere, so I hope its better now (was with the wife and kids, so minimal riding)
  • 5 0
 @CantQuitCartel: Then we can end this silly debate about waterbottle mounts!
  • 2 0
 @CantQuitCartel: camelback out of fashion, they sold us all the things we could put on a bottle mount on a frame... You're probably on to something.
  • 5 0
 While we're making dune references, if you're into metal go look up DVNE and be glad. Scottish spacey progy sludgy metal inspired, I initially, by Dune.
  • 1 0
 Denver has actually been extremely wet this year
  • 2 0
 @Glenngineer: as long as I put ‘Enduro’ in front of it and remove all the vowels from the press release I think it’s a winner
  • 75 2
 "started the Expert at 69psi, 6 clicks of low-speed compression and 9 of high-speed" nice
  • 18 0
 I'd upvote, but you're sitting at 69 right now, so I'm gonna leave it.
  • 52 1
 I prefer Cool Ranch Dorados
  • 5 2
 I'm a spicy sweet chilli guy myself
  • 6 4
 Nacho what you're talking about
  • 6 2
 Manitou Dorito coming soon.
  • 32 5
 "All I need now is a fork stiffness test machine" Please don't, "blindtest ride" back to back with other fork yes, but don't put it in a machine.
  • 15 2
 double this, humans ride the bikes, not machines (at least now)
  • 26 0
 We've never gone for the tyranny of bench tests, but I think the data can be an interesting component of testing. First empirical ride testing, then bench testing to better understand the ride testing. If fork A is wildly stiffer than fork B, but you can't tell the difference on trail, then it's not a criticism of fork B as much as a data-point about fork A.
  • 9 0
 @brianpark: would you bench test stiffness of the new double crown suntour (or ohlins or whatever)? I get everybody's looking at this particular point for usd fork, but I'm afraid anybody would only remember numbers even if Gwinn himself says he doesn't feel any difference. That said, I can't wait for the full review.
  • 8 0
 @fracasnoxteam: ideally yes. We are working on some stuff to get access to much better bench testing facilities. More on that in the coming days.

It's worth keeping in mind that all 155lb of Kaz definitely noticed a lack of stiffness from the last USD fork he reviewed (Intend). I don't think it's crazy to investigate certain attributes more based on the design.

And for the record, I love USD forks.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: thx for the answers.
  • 13 3
 @brianpark: The issue with lab testing or paying too much attention to the numbers is it can influence an opinion of something that otherwise might not have been there. Classic example is EnduroMag who always wrote any bike off without the latest trendiest geo numbers, and then did a timed runs review and found the smaller bikes were quicker etc. Please leave the obsession with data to the Germans
  • 1 1
 @ctd07: link? Sounds like an interesting test!
  • 5 0
 @ctd07: interesting read that. Does it show shorter bikes are quicker, or rather bikes with short chainstays and long front ends suffer. A uncentered weight distribution is what I always suspect is an issue which seems to be what they found with the large Meta
  • 2 0
 @TomSalmon13: yeah it's hard to draw a conclusion really. Would be good to see a test with a more variable bike in multiple sizes to better pick out certain variables.

I also think it would be interesting to have riders of varying abilities in the test, like a relative amateur, someone who is midpack senior at national enduro races, as well as someone at expert/elite. I can imagine the amateur rider preferring the bigger more stable bike on a track they find challenging, compared to an elite for whom the track is not difficult, they are just trying to find milliseconds.
  • 1 0
 Is 'Fork stiffness test machine' a name they gave to DH pro racers? If so, then yes.
  • 2 0
 @ctd07: write and publish the review first and do the bench test a week later. Problem fixed.
  • 27 3
 Nah, I’ll wait for the single crown version…
; )
  • 5 0
 Agreed, still have a Shiver SC, wish it fit bigger wheels.
  • 4 0
 @Duderz7: It does
  • 1 3
 Yeah; single crown, 120-130 travel, is where that game is at baby...
Wink
  • 1 0
 @Duderz7: Don't ever sell it Dann! And if you do, sell it to me please! Smile
  • 1 0
 @n8dawg82: deal, sad thing is it's on my daughter's bike. I don't think she has any idea how awesome it is. I'll never sell it, and if I ever build a dj bike I'll repo it.
  • 20 0
 As an ex motorcycle racer, I’m always surprised to hear about flex in an upside down mountain bike fork!
When MX bikes went to upside down forks many years ago, they were so stiff people didn’t want to ride them. Some pros were installing right side up forks for racing!
The Honda XR650, a big, off road race/play bike stuck with right side up forks (and a steel frame) for years just to be more compliant.
I don’t think you can find a race bike without USD forks anymore. Road, MX, trail, it’s a given. Efforts have been made to give them more flex for some applications.
???
  • 11 0
 Fore-aft stiffness is much higher in USD forks, noone is arguing about that. But how do motorbike USD forks achieve good steering stiffnes? Is it the larger axle-diameter or the wider leg-stance?
  • 13 0
 It WAS the weight to make USD forks stiff.. You don’t count grams on a moto. Clearly they got the weight thing I figured out! What a good time to ride mountain bikes!
  • 19 16
 MTB tech is so behind moto-tech that MTB companies are just now discovering progressive springs and coil shock manufacturers still try to use a needlessly complicated hydraulic top out adjustment instead of using the old tried and true replaceable rubber bump stops.
  • 2 0
 The same holds for street motorcycles, especially high end race bikes. No one races on a conventional right side up fork. It's likely that motorcycles can get away with heavier USD designs that mitigate all the flex the MTB design has to live with to keep it competitive weight-wise.
  • 3 0
 I imagine there’s a point at which tube size eliminates any amount of flex and on an MX that size and weight is ok since you have an engine but on a DH bike isn’t very feasible. I’m sure am engineer could shed insight.
  • 1 1
 @Ttimer: I think that dirt bikes have a lower weight limit on them. If you go below that limit, you can't race. That's to keep the playing field from being dominated by people who can afford super-expensive lightweight bikes. It also means that a USD fork can have a lot more weight put into it in certain places to shore it up; one way to do that is by using heavier materials. I believe that fork inner legs on dirt bikes are always steel, and a big diameter steel tube is going to be stiff for sure.
  • 15 1
 MX right side up forks don't have a bridge, so that's not really an apples to apples comparison with MTB forks on stiffness. Also, MX forks went upside down to reduce unsprung weight and improve ground clearance, neither of which are an issue on a comparatively light and small MTB fork.
  • 4 0
 @Ttimer: I remember the first time I rode an upside down fork (USD) on an MX track. It would cut a line through anything, and try to rip you hands off the bars doing it!
USD forks and aluminum frames changed the face of motorcycles. Turned a lot of play riders off in the process.
One claim I remember from the transition period is that the big fork tube is much stiffer than the stanchions. Hence having them in the triple clamp instead of the stancion was inherently stiffer. And yes, the tube overlap was always more with USD.
In fact, I think Showa or Kayaba went to small diameter forks for the Japanese MX bikes because they were just too stiff. Like Yamaha’s original aluminum MX bike frames.
Maybe the leg stance was wider, I don’t remember.. But yes the axle clamp was as much an issue in Moto as it is in Mtb. And these forks use the same system as Moto!
  • 9 3
 @Almazing: it's not "behind" or "just now discovering", it's a matter of both weight and making it precise enough to work well with almost half the total system weight (200+ lbs moto and 200ish* rider with gear at 400+ lbs vs 35ish lbs mtb and 180ish* rider with gear at 215ish lbs), and somewhere around 1/6th the bike weight. (200+ vs 35ish).

*(not saying moto riders are bigger/fatter, but that they generally wear more and heavier protective gear)
  • 16 0
 @justinfoil: If someone from Öhlins is watching, please chime in and set us straight about this flex thing.
You guys make forks for everything from Mtb’s to MotoGP machines!
  • 11 1
 @Almazing: Don't know why you are being downvoted for this. Progressive springs were introduced as a revelation in MTB suspension a couple of years ago - but has been used in cars and motorcycles for decades!
  • 8 3
 Trials motorcycles are not inverted. And I'd argue that trials bike's requirement for low weight and similar amounts of travel (to dh bikes) make them a better comparison to mtbs than motocross or enduro motorcycles.
  • 2 0
 @ryetoast: Dont most have a bolt on bridge where the fender attaches, i seem to remember my DR350 having it.
  • 4 0
 @kcy4130: yes but when I was shopping for a trials dirt bike, the explanation for the RSU forks was to prevent damage to the lower stantions.
  • 1 2
 @Afterschoolsports: Hum, that is a plus to rsu. I hadn't thought of that. You'd think the guys that race hard enduro moto events (which have very trialsish sections) would also prefer rsu for that reason.
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: as far as I've seen, the fender mounts to the triple clamp on both upside down and right side up MX/Enduro forks.
  • 2 0
 @kcy4130: I’m betting it doesn’t matter to sponsored riders, and most enduro dirt bikes spend most of their time riding general trails and dirt roads. Or maybe it’s the economies of scale prevailing in their specification on enduro bikes. I got a KTM (300 exc) instead of the trials bike, but nearly got a Suzuki that had RSU forks. My farm bike has RSU forks for similar protection I presume.
  • 3 0
 @Afterschoolsports: Oh crap! I forgot all about that..
Damage to the lower stanchions has been a factor ever since MX went inverted. I ran without “roost guards” on my old MX bike once.My own roost off the front tire did real damage to the tubes!
Don’t know if this has been touched on, but unsprung weight was said to be lighter going inverted. Stanchions lighter than sliders- makes sense.
I think the unsprung weight issue was also addressed with the advent of cartridge rod forks in the 1980’s. I believe it moved the rebound adjustment into the fork cap, which freed it up from the bottom cap. Then came the twin chamber forks, where the damping was in a separate chamber from the fork bushing oil.
My 2006 Yamaha YZ250F didn’t have a separate damper chamber. Now all Mtn bike forks do!
  • 2 0
 @kcy4130: Most hard enduros also have fast rough trails where you'd want the benefits of normal forks, otherwise people would just race them on trials bikes. Also, trials forks don't have to deal with high-speed cornering (or high-speed anything, really), so they don't have much to lose by being torsionally floppy... unlike DH forks.
  • 8 0
 @justinfoil: See you say that but I'm here looking at the Honda RN-01 and pondering how it won the first year it entered competition and then also the following year. This DH bike has the most moto tech and its results don't lie. While everyone else was churning out hideous DH bikes that looked like they were made in the 70s and 80s, Honda comes in from straight from the future. I imagine that if Honda and the RN-01 stuck around a lot longer, the evolutionary path of ALL mountain bikes would have been very, very different from what we know today.
  • 1 0
 @ryetoast: Oops total brain fart. It is my cruiser and sport bike that has it there. The DR is to the triple. NeEd MoRe CoFfEe.
  • 1 0
 @ryetoast: I always wonder about the unsprung weight factor on a Mtn bike. There are those that claim a transmission taking the place of a derailleur/cassette on a Mtn bike makes a real difference for rear suspension action, as there is no longer a rear cassette/derailleur. “Bullshit” was my first thought, but I haven’t run the numbers..
The bridge is an interesting point.. Wonder is the torsional stiffness question is now answered..?
Forgot about the improved ground clearance from inverted forks on dirt bikes. That really helped in some awful off road riding. As did wrap around lower fork protectors.
  • 10 1
 The mountain bike world is not ready for enginered compliance and flex. Just stiffness. Make it stiff. That will sell.
  • 7 0
 @Sshredder: If the MTB whales spent just as much money on R&D as they do on marketing, the sport would be at least half a decade ahead by now.
  • 2 0
 @ExMxEr: interesting. I will have to keep an eye on my ktm forks. There’s lots of pea gravel on my trails. I have about 5000km on my dorado and they’ve got no damage on the inners. There’s a knick on one of the upper tubes from an unscheduled hug with a tree but that’s it. I’m pretty hard on my gear, being oversized and enthusiastic without as much riding skill as I would like. If something is to survive me, it has to be tough as hell.
  • 2 0
 @Ttimer: They weigh about 12lbs
  • 2 0
 @Almazing: Amen to that!
  • 1 0
 @gabriel-mission9: I wish. I think each leg of my 2016 YZ250's forks is like 20lbs.

@ExMxEr: I'd love to see some hard numbers for unsprung weight too. Probably tough to test though... Coast down a rough piece of trail a few times with one accelerometer on the axle and one on the front triangle, pull off the mech and cassette, repeat, see what changes? I have a hard time believing it would be significant.

On the subject of damage to upside down forks, I have never, despite being one of the most technically incompetent riders ever to contest my local (moto) enduro series, managed to damage a lower fork tube. I have damaged one of the seals, though, resulting in all the oil draining out of one leg. If the silly little plastic guards had extended an inch higher, it probably wouldn't have happened.
  • 2 0
 @Sshredder: This is why I got away from carbon rims! Never again, IDC how much flex is designed into the “new” carbon rims.
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: I broke my factory guards, so I just took them off since I was riding alone. The damage was the front of the tubes, rather than the back. Apparently I was riding into my own roost..
I sent them to Pro Circuit for a revalve and they used some light grinder on the tubes to knock down displaced material, and told me good luck..
They didn’t leak, and didn’t seem to destroy the seals. I got lucky..
  • 1 0
 @ryetoast: I was thinking more about the math of total bike weight with rider, vs rear wheel travel, vs leverage ratio, vs chainstay length, vs total travel vs… Maybe someday I’ll pull my cassette and derailleur and point down some known hill.
I lived in the Rocky Mountains most of my life, and got stopped dead on a tight trail by jamming my lower fork leg into a boulder once. That left a mark…
  • 6 0
 @ExMxEr: unsprung weight on an usd fork is often higher than the standard one. Aluminium is denser than magnesium.
Lowers are in the 700g range, each tube of an inverted fork, without the dropouts, would be around 350g each. So "lower unsprung weight" is a nonsense.
  • 3 0
 @faul: was about to mention that. though it's a popular phrase to parrot (and may be well true for motos), i'm skeptical that the USD alu tubes + internals + stantion guards end up notably lighter than current mag lowers.
  • 6 1
 Go out to your garage, pinch your dirtbike’s front tire between your knees, and twist your handlebars side to side. If you have an inverted fork, you’ll notice it flexes quite bit, regardless of how big or heavy the tubes are.

This is not a bug, it’s a feature.
  • 4 0
 Would love to hear Steve @vorsprung's opinion of the Dorado?
  • 1 0
 I had early Dorados and they were very flexy. Swapped them out for Monster T's after less than a year, which was a vast improvement in every way (even weight; they were on my Scream and having it heavier at the back than the front was just bizarre)
  • 4 0
 @ExMxEr: Unsprung weight in DH is mostly tyres+inserts+wheels. Potential weight savings in drivetrain components and fork lowers are comparatively small.
If unsprung weight really was an issue, you wouldn't see the MTB community salivating at the thought of sticking 250g inserts into their 1500g tyres.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: rotating unsprung weight is actually good. The gyroscopic effect aids stability and handling. That said I’m not an insert user, because I run pretty high pressures, don’t own exxy carbon rims, and don’t damage my rims much. FR560’s are another on my list of after school sports approved products. Smile
  • 1 0
 @faul: I’ve been out of it for too long.. That all sounds right.
I guess that’s the “Ex” part of my handle.

Thanks man!
  • 1 0
 @ExMxEr: that’s a really odd way to damage some forks! Good thing they survived. That brings up another point, the coatings they use on sliding parts like forks are super tough in general. Materials science has come a really long way since hard anodising made non ferrous metals usable for sliding components.
  • 2 0
 @Sshredder: the thing with engineered stiffness on an mtb is, for what weight do you optimize it. For the 70 kg or the 120kg rider. (you have to convert these units to your preferred units (stones, lbs, whale babys...) by yourself).
On a motorcycle the riders weight varies the same (or even more) but the motorcycle itself is heavier than the mtb (at least till so far)
  • 1 0
 @ryetoast: Fun fact, in the earlier days of road racing a lot of bikes used bolt-on bridges to increase the torsional stiffness of their RSU forks. Nowadays a lot of the torsional stiffness on streetbike USD forks comes from the relatively wide crown spacing. Approximately double that which you see on a mountain bike!
  • 3 0
 @Almazing: Funny thing is that MTB companies that do well on suspension (like Manitou) actually incorporate MX tech (like IRT). The head engineer of Manitou actually worked for a motorcycle suspension company before he started working for Manitou (I believe that company was Showa).
  • 1 0
 @Mac1987: Who in moto does an IRT? Besides just changing oil height, because in that case Fox brought that over from the start: back before self-equalizing negative air springs, there were no volume spacers, you just put more Float Fluid in the spring chamber if you wanted more ramp-up from the spring.
  • 18 0
 I'd be curious to see a huck to flat high speed comparison between this and a fox 40. The bushing overlap on this is much longer and so I'd expect it to be much smoother on impact. Also they're dual crown so the bending at the headset should be less visible. I think it'd be interesting.
  • 19 0
 don't care that it's heavier and more expensive than the competition. still want
  • 12 0
 Is it more expensive? For a carbon fork with more adjustments, I thought it should be priced higher tbh. Seems right there with a 40, boxxer ultimate, and Ohlins.
  • 2 1
 9 pounds for one model
  • 2 0
 @Tacodip420: yeah I guess you're right. these forks are expensive! even more reason to want the dorado
  • 8 1
 lol, pro is cheaper than fox 38, let alone 40, expert is cheaper than 36 ffs. Significantly cheaper than ohlins 38 as well of course.
  • 1 0
 @Mondbiker: in the us 38 is cheaper by a lot. 40 is comparable to the pro in price.
  • 1 0
 @Mondbiker: European Fox pricing is ridiculous. Manitou pricing seems more even between countries (but Europe is still more expensive...)
  • 10 1
 I loved my old dorados but the biggest downside by far was the lack of a quality mudguard solution, shame they didn't elaborate on the 'optional one-piece fender kit'. You can see the mud splatter all over the back of cockpit a little lower down..
  • 3 0
 Mud isn’t really an issue for me, on my current dorrie but I would get a fender if they offered one for it.
  • 1 1
 Pretty sure you can still mount a marshgaurd or muckynutz fender on no problem...
  • 2 0
 Me too. What a fork, I think it would hold its own today
  • 5 0
 any chance you guys know this thing called google? They have been offering mud guards for 2 or 3 years.
  • 10 1
 @Mondbiker: we're talking about the 2002 dorado, you no-good whippersnapper. Back when google was a glint in a man-robot's eye
  • 5 0
 @blackpudding: One would guess 2009 is old enough to be called old by anyone standards but I´m wrong obviously.
  • 2 0
 @leviatanouroboro: And what would you attach it too?
  • 3 0
 The fender kit is a one-piece molding that extends the stanchion guards up into a fender. I've got one for my (old) Dorado Pro, and they're available, but Manitou doesn't really seem to advertise them.
  • 1 0
 @mammal: I bought one for my wives dorado but damn this thing is noisy as hell might try a couple rubber dots like this new one has to keep from rattling, kinda worried about using rubber in case it catches the fender when its traveling up and down.
  • 1 0
 @Aem221: I know, I've only used mine a couple times. I was going to see if I could do anything to shut it up this season. Definitely not ideal, but better than not seeing.
  • 1 0
 I agree. I bought the old one-piece mudguard, little short but it works. The problem is they used a really hard plastic for it that rattles a lot over bumps. Hopefully, the new one is better and fits my old dorado
  • 2 0
 @Aem221: Yeah, I have one and it is super noisey. I added some velcro tape to the uppers where the impact was happening and it's quietened it down a lot.
  • 1 0
 @JamesR2026: Must try that, was thinking attaching a mudhugger to the standard guard to see if it would stay quiet. It would look terrible but if I don't get facefulls of mud in winter it would be worth it
  • 1 0
 @JamesR2026: can you show a pic of your noise-deleting solution? Smile
  • 1 0
 There is a guard with integrated fender for both wheel sizes. I used one for my old dorado. www.pinkbike.com/photo/18061243
Hopefully this will be available for the new fork as well.
  • 1 0
 @jezso: yes, that’s what we’re discussing here - the fender. I’ve got 1 as well, a 27.5 version on a 27.5 Dorado. It is a little noisy.
  • 1 0
 @hitarpotar: I used a thin rubberized tape on them, that made it silent.
  • 1 0
 @jezso: can you show a pic or something? Looking for such a solution for myself! Smile
  • 1 0
 @hitarpotar: unfortuantely I don't have any image. Was just some random adhesive tape i fixed just above where the seal sits ot he outer? leg. Not sure what the non moving aluminium tube is called for these forks.
Might be a piece of velcro would work too.
  • 1 0
 @hitarpotar: The soft side of velcro is actually a really good idea, out of all the materials to soften that rattling contact, velcro would still like to slide well with that periodic contact. I was thinking of using Mastic tape, but I think velcro would wear slower than Mastic.
  • 1 0
 Do any of you guys remember the Toby Henderson mx style fenders that plugged into the bottom of the steerer? They were pretty cool. Something like that would be sweet. I might fire up solidworks to see if I can make one practical.
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: I hated those. They were so close to the rider and so huge, they blocked visual contact with the tire. For me, it felt like I was completely disconnected with what my contact patch was doing. I currently have a Proguard for most of my bikes, which is massive, but since it hugs the profile of the tire and also allows you to see the front of the tire, it just feels natural when riding.
  • 1 0
 @mammal: I can see that being an issue. The current design small simple mud guards are really neat. I forgot that I had one on my trail bike until I bought another and went to install it recently.
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: I had that too with the Dorado aroun '14 and '15. It was quite a brittle and thin plastic guard mounted on a massive aluminum carrier, and was heavy for what it is. I also manage to loose it once as the expanding rubber nut got loose inside the headtube due to water seeping in. Overall I did not really like that product.
  • 9 0
 Things I like Coil springs 20 mm axles Axles using pinch bolts Open bath dampers. The cheapest Durado has all these exelent qualities. I have rode a earlier Durado and a Shiver . Love UD forks. UD forks track better. I don't know why but they do.
  • 10 0
 How have we glossed over this?
COIL is available! Buy the top fork to get the damper, buy the coils. Or buy the Comp and upgrade the damper from the Pro and you have a COIL fork.
  • 1 0
 I believe the Pro damper is only available as an upgrade for the Expert model. The Comp models usually have thicker straight wall stanchions and a different thread.
  • 2 0
 @Mac1987: Legs are the same fitment. All internals interchangeable between models.
  • 8 0
 I’m a big guy and the dorado is the only fork for me. I run it on my canyon torque. Flex around the yaw axis is absolutely no issue. It’s far stiffer than the 38’s it came with, which had to be replaced twice for creaky csu. The only fork I will replace it with is another dorado, the boxxer and 40’s don’t even come close to it.
  • 3 0
 Big guy too, thx for posting I’ll check ‘em out. Manitou was my first for in ‘93(?) so I’d be full circle.
  • 5 0
 @Blownoutrides: you really won’t be disappointed. Manitou suspension is amazing. It’s easy to work on too. I replace the oil and grease the rest twice a year but apart from that, they do their job really well and need no attention. I do about 2000km a year on the bike with them.
  • 2 0
 That sounds like a proper RIG. I want the new dorado pro for my tiny wheeled slayer, the small wheel one got 180 all round!
  • 2 0
 @dirtyburger: ooh that’s sick. The slayer was going to be the one I bought but the torque in ultra violet was just too sick to pass up, oh and was in stock haha. You will love the dorrie, it’s such a sick fork. I just wish we had a proper distributor down here. I got mine “2nd hand” in singapore. It had been on a trophy bike for a few months and traded in, so I got it for $800!!!
  • 2 0
 @dirtyburger: stay safe over there. When travel opens up you’ll have to come over to ride my farm. I am just working on a new jump line when I can borrow my mates bobcat or backhoe. It’s a work in progress, hopefully will be done by summer.
  • 10 0
 As great as this fork appears to be, I doubt anyone will be using it for trials.
  • 1 0
 Lol, keen eyed Beer
  • 12 5
 The carbon version is not ebike compatible, which is fine, but I'm hung up on how 10lbs of extra bike weight pushes it over the top? What about 40lbs or even 80lbs of extra-human weight? Will it still work? and how is that different than bike weight?
  • 12 0
 They clearly haven’t gone through whatever certification process for the carbon version.
  • 7 0
 Considering they didn't tell us what "e-bike certifcation" even means (Who certified it and to what standard?), it really means nothing. Even if they did tell us, it still means nothing, because as you said, rider weights vary much more than the extra weight of an e-bike. Since there is no mention of a rider weight limit on any of the forks, I would assume all of them can handle the extra 10lbs of e-bike just fine.
  • 2 8
flag Mondbiker (Jul 12, 2021 at 9:21) (Below Threshold)
 @justinfoil: Ever heard of legislation? Look it up, might make thing a bit more clear.
  • 2 1
 Perhaps because the extra human weight could be applied along with the extra bike weight, so the total weight range goes higher on ebikes?
  • 7 0
 @justinfoil: All parts/bikes have an ISO/EN standard they have to meet. Its why kids MTBs cant be lighter because the ISO test is the same as for an adult bike.

As for E applications they consider the bike weight, speed, motor power and estimated rider weight.
  • 1 0
 Its sop dumb. Hell my Kona 153 weighs 40 lbs... should I be putting "ebike" parts only on it now?
  • 1 0
 @Deep-Friar: Talk to ISO
  • 5 0
 It's not E-bike certified. Which means they haven't bothered to put it through the certification.

Raise your hand if you think a DH fork gives a damn about a 10kg heavier frame and faster uphill times?
  • 3 0
 E-bike riders are usually also a lot heavier than regular MTB riders, so it adds up! (Yes I'm kidding, don't shoot me!)
  • 7 0
 I loved my last gen Dorado. The whole "oh wow look at it flex while I stand here and torque it" was a much larger factor in that moment than it ever was on the trail during it's real life application. It was smooth as butter, and was a real set it and forget it situation. I'm sure this one will be awesome. Love the TPC+ damper, btw, I think it's underrated.
  • 3 0
 I found the twist of these types of forks can be forgiving in the rough and a little easier to stay on your line in the rough. But i found if you come of your line it was very hard to correct it due to less precise steering.
  • 2 0
 @themouse77: That's a fair assessment.
  • 4 0
 @themouse77: I found that the small amount of flex helped keep grip in fast turns. Stiffer forks tend to let the front end lose grip and slide. The Dorado and DVO Emerald are my favorite forks ever. Nothing rock sux has produced has ever come close.
  • 2 0
 Yep, always in the parking lot with the forks fully extended. But when you're riding the bike the fork is sagged with the lower legs further up the outer tubes which increases the torsional stiffness. And the further up they go the more it increases, almost like the bigger the hit the stiffer they get, huh...
I'd sacrifice a little torsional stiffness for increased fore/aft stiffness and increased lateral stiffness any day.
  • 11 0
 ah, the perfect fork for the folks Down Under
  • 4 0
 I feel like the problem with inverted forks is that they are difficult to market. I ride an inverted for on my DH bike (DVO Emerald) and I don't notice any issues due to a lack of torsional stiffness. Its a great fork. With that said I'm just a recreational rider who's not putting any where near the stress on my forks as a high level rider would. I have read quite a bit that pro riders find the USD forks too flexy which makes sense considering the way they ride.

But that's always going to ne a problem for companies trying to market these things. Even if they offer superior performance for all but high level riders, if they can't put it under a top pro, many will always see it as an inferior product.
  • 1 0
 the emerald does not have as much of an issue with the twisting or lfex due to the leg guards have an arch on them to help.
  • 7 0
 @themouse77: except they were proven to do f*ck all other than look cool.
  • 4 0
 Just going to throw this out here, judging by the current success of the bike industry all the new Dorado's are probably pre-sold out for the next years:

I'm raffling off my custom Manitou Dorado RRT, you can win it for only £3!

raffall.com/244971/enter-raffle-to-win-manitou-dorado-rrt-fork-hosted-by-paul-aston
  • 3 0
 Pinkbike stepped up the game with performance data. Scrolled down for the here is my video of back to back runs of 40, Boxxer WC and Dorado Crown and.... here is my times over different track sections... .... must be in the next episode, teasers.
  • 4 0
 Dorado was the best DH fork I ever owned. And I had them all from all types of 888’s, Monster T, Keronite Boxxer,… you name it.
  • 2 0
 All I can say is: "About effing time..." I was asking for this fork years ago from our team rep.

I ran a first year Dorado 275 for a number of years on two frames. I have no real complaints about the fork. I still have it, since I still might install it on a DH bike.
  • 3 0
 Do any USD forks use octagonal (as found hidden inside a Cannondale Lefty) or perhaps elliptical (as found... nowhere?) stanchions? Seems that would almost completely eliminate any torsional flex.
  • 10 0
 Elliptical stanchions are my secret only exists in excel design calcs weapon for suspension and dropper applications. Getting a good surface finish and consistent bushings for elliptical sliders is expensive, bit I've got ideas for that, too. Full disclosure...ideas that are going nowhere.
  • 2 0
 The exterior of the fork can still be round but have the inside elliptical would seem to be an easier solution than oval outers?
  • 1 0
 Cannondale is the only company that has tried it to my knowledge. vintagecannondale.com/info/headshok

I had a Moto 120 back in the day, which was their first USD fork. Around that time, Foes, Manitou, Mountain Cycle, and White Brothers we’re making USD forks as well but all had round stanchions.
  • 1 0
 Didn't the xfusion single crown one have keyed stanchions?
  • 2 0
 Surprisingly less expensive than I would have guessed. I was expecting pricing akin to the contemporary linkage forks, but this looks to be priced very closer (albeit slightly higher?) than the Rockshox Boxxer and the Fox 40.
  • 1 0
 1500euros is cheaper than Boxxers and 40s, i think… Smile
  • 2 0
 @hitarpotar: I see $1700 for Boxxer Ultimate and $1800 for Fox 40 Grip 2. So ~$1500 for the Dorado Pro is quite a deal.
  • 4 2
 Easily the best looking fork hands down. It just really annoys me that they swapped the red and blue for compression and rebound?!? That's basically an industry standard colour scheme across all sports including off-road racing, moto, and mountain bikes. Makes no sense to me.

I used to have an old carbon Dorado way back in the day, hopefully I can ride one of these new ones one day as well
  • 9 0
 Manitou have been using the red and blue colour coding longer than other manufacturers, so since before it became a "standard" really. It is everyone else that switched it around. Maybe the others just thought blue at the top and red at the bottom.
  • 2 0
 @riderseventy7: Well, RED for "rebound" and BLUE for "Bump" does actually make sense for people to easily remember for people. The other way around does not.
  • 6 0
 @Helmchentuned: Luckily these forks aren't marketed to preschoolers then.
  • 2 0
 @riderseventy7: I own a mountainbike suspension shop, you would not believe how many customers are unable to distinguish between bump and rebound damping adjusters and this actually helps. I do not expect a dentist or a teacher to know shit about suspension, if they can work with alliterations of colors and functions, I am ok with that.
  • 1 0
 @riderseventy7: I don't think Manitou was doing this before all of the big offroad racing suspension was. Baja 1000 has been going since 1967. It's hard to find dates for that specifically, but I don't think it originated in MTB. More likely started with triple or quad bypass shocks for trophy trucks.
  • 3 1
 A torsional testing rig seems like something PB could come up with in the backyard very easily....some clamps, a long piece of iron channel stock, a meter stick (or yard stick, if you must) and a couple dumbells or garden bricks.

One trip to the hardware store and all this jabbering about flex would go away. It would be replaced with different jabbering about flex.
  • 1 0
 Would be awesome to hear more about the TPC+ sliding piston system. I'm surprised Manitou does not make a bigger deal out of it. Only fork with 3 types of dampening: speed (shims), position (hbo), AND energy (sliding piston).
  • 3 0
 They've been using TPC+ since 2000. It was really aggressive in the 2009-19 Dorado and let you jump off houses so I softened up a few of those forks significantly aftermarket modifications with exceptional results. The 2022 hasbeen softened up a lot, similar to my earlier modifications.

Yes I've been riding them.
  • 1 0
 I'm wondering why the 29" drop crown has a 57mm offset. I'm planning on buying one of these and putting it on a Transition Spire, which comes spec'd with 44 offset forks. Anyone more offset/trail/geo savvy than me see a good reason to not buy the 27.5 version in order to get the shorter 47mm offset? The HT length on my size Spire is 110, so it should work, right?
  • 1 0
 If your head-tube height works with the flat crowns, then you're good. There's a spec somewhere for head-tube height for each crown set.
  • 1 0
 You are all good. Max head tube length is 124mm per the spec sheet from Manitou. I have the same bike inbound and am thinking the same thing. Though debating on the axle situation as it would require a new hub up front.
  • 1 0
 @shakazulu12: Boost vs Non Boost hubs fit the same axle, only the disc spacing moves. Disc spacers to fit non-boost onto boost forks are no problem.
  • 1 0
 @Dougal-SC: I don’t have a 20mm hub on the front wheel currently. So would need a new hub or some kind of adapter.
  • 1 0
 Great to see the Dorado back and sticking to USD. But is it just me or is that the most dull and uninspiring decal/colour scheme of them all? IMHO you'd be hard pushed to better the aesthetic design of either the original, or the 2009-10 MRD Carbon - the gold and black one - that thing was stunning.
  • 4 0
 the top picture is messing with my brain
  • 2 0
 I wonder if there will be any available after the Sur Ron crowd scoop up every single one of these like they did with the last gen.
  • 1 0
 Lol, they should put a "NOT sur ron compatible" sticker on it
  • 2 0
 Even with carbon uppers, still pretty hefty. I want Manitou to succeed. Seems like they need a shock to pair with this and the Mezzer.
  • 3 0
 They have the Mara Pro which rips
  • 2 0
 The only time you will notice the torsional flex of inverted forks is right before your bars hit the ground. Meaning, you dun goofed.
  • 1 0
 They’re superior to the other Forks on the market ! I’ve been riding that Dorado and then a bos obsys for years ,any time I ride a bike with the fox 40 you get weight more fatigued ….. you’ll notice in one run
  • 3 2
 Current gen 40s are pretty damn amazing, but I no doubt you here people cult follow this fork...happy they are getting a shiny new version. Hope it rips
  • 3 0
 I don’t care what no one says I need this on my rig!!
  • 1 0
 Love it. I've only tried old TPC+ dampers and they were plain awesomeness. There was an Intrinsic too, god I miss that Travis fork.
  • 3 0
 So why does inverted work in the moto world but not DH?
  • 4 1
 weight, primarily.
  • 1 0
 @honda50r but as you can see by this example the fork is not that much heavier…
One big upside to USD forks is that the unsprung mass is less that ond a RSU fork, meaning it should feel much smoother and softer
  • 1 0
 @xy9ine: So moto can beef up the fork to prevent the flexing ?
  • 1 0
 @honda50r: pretty much. the meat powered mtb market is much more weight sensitive. you could certainly build an USD fork that is as torsionally stiff as regular, but the weight penalty would be too great for the general market. whether or not torsional stiffness is really *all that* may indeed be debatable, but most people still equate flex with *notagoodthing*, so even this (reasonably svelte) fork, which appears to be noticeably more noodly, AND a pound heavier than your garden variety boxxer, is a hard(er) sell.

not that i'm opposed to usd forks in general. i had a couple whitebros back when i was racing dh, that worked quite well. just don't think we'll ever see mainstream acceptance. though that's what i used to think about high pivot bikes (as an ex brooklyn owner) and look as us now!
  • 2 0
 Go after the surron market make the 41mm they are begging for a fork and will spend the money. Quick cash grab
  • 1 0
 Yeah they need to make something to compete with the Zeb R. Coil Dorado with that Kwik toggle damper.
  • 4 1
 Last time I has trail side relief....the police were called
  • 2 0
 Now can Evil make a modern geo remake of the Imperial HT frame to put these USD on. \m/
  • 1 0
 Badass. Too bad I'm not up to strapping on an extra ~1 kg to the front of the bike. Can't wait to see models that are in the mid-to-low 2000g area
  • 3 0
 It's called the Mezzer
  • 1 0
 Useless without a proper new mudguard. Only one available is the same crappy one that’s been around for years. Come on Manitou, sort it out
  • 2 0
 Thank you for the top photo.
  • 2 1
 I would have one on my Enduro. What happened to the DVO USD fork, and did they ever make a 29er? Is DVO still in business?
  • 3 0
 Yes they are still in business. They moved away from the inverted design though. I have the Emerald inverted fork on my DH bike, its great.
  • 4 0
 Onyx DC is their 29er dh fork but it’s not inverted like the Emerald 26/27.5 dh fork. And yes, very much still in business. They even answer the phone…!
  • 1 0
 1. Think they dont sell it anymore. 2. No they didnt. 3. Yes they are. Doing so well i had to fo woith a lyrik instead of Onyx.
  • 2 1
 The root beer coloured Emerald was the coolest fork I've ever seen.
  • 3 0
 Dorado sc please!!!!!!!
  • 2 0
 Insert Futurama, Fry meme here!
  • 2 0
 Please please please do a Single crown version. I need that in my life
  • 1 0
 Great article as usual. @dan-roberts when will we see the 3d scan geo comparison of the DH bikes?
  • 2 0
 Back to the good ole days
  • 1 0
 Too bad norbraten moved to rock shox from Manitou. He would have loved this fork!
  • 1 1
 Umm does the article basically say that if you torque the front wheel too hard the forks will stay twisted? That seems like an issue.
  • 1 3
 I had 2 inverted for dh mtb. A shiver and a dorado. The flex in steering was always a problem and is probably even worse now with 29 wheels. back then I was on 26. At one point I crashed and I swore it was the fault of the wheel steering itself on the side of a rock that got me down. I quitted inverted forever after that I couldnt sell my dorado cause at that point they had such a bad reputation because of the vagueness that no one was willing to give me more then 250$ candian for it a tenth of the initial value. They need to look at the lefty fork and see how they managed steering spiffness otherwise its a doom project. If the only stiffness they achieve is the one they tried to avoid in motorbike its deceiving.
  • 3 0
 You sound like you’ve used a 30/32mm Dorado (can’t remember the exact size), the first gen. Which was notoriously flexy. Have you tried the 36mm one? I’m on my second gen2 with 36mm and i’d only change it if i can get a gen3 37mm fork! Wink
  • 6 0
 @hitarpotar: Sounds like he hit a rock and crashed.
  • 2 0
 BFE....best fork everrrrrr !
  • 1 0
 Opinions on fitting a Dorado Pro on my Intense M16C Pro? Just one of the 3 major upgrades I'd like to do to my DH.
  • 9 9
 Looks like a Session. Sorry. I actually meant to say it looks like it's mounted ON a Session.
  • 7 2
 Long live session comments.
  • 2 0
 Upside downduro.
  • 2 0
 Love at first sight!!
  • 1 0
 Waiting for the lightweight 130mm version......
  • 1 0
 the bandit is king, no other
  • 1 0
 I think I have the best Dorado of them all, the RST Sigma...
  • 3 0
 I guess anyone can think whatever they want.
  • 1 0
 @Tacodip420: Anyone can guess whatever they want
  • 1 0
 I like that there are testing different options
  • 1 0
 I wouldn't mind having one of those.
  • 3 6
 I legitimately thought Manitou went under like 7 or 8 years ago.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2021. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.030890
Mobile Version of Website