Review: Manitou Mezzer Expert Fork

Mar 16, 2021
by Mike Kazimer  
Manitou Mezzer Expert review

Manitou recently added the Mezzer Expert fork to their lineup, which has a slightly pared down list of features compared to the top of the line Pro model, and a price tag that's $250 less as a result.

The fork has 37mm stanchions, Manitou's signature reverse arch design, and can be set to have anywhere from 140 to 180mm of travel in 10mm increments. That puts it squarely in the enduro / all-mountain category, where it's designed to handle the type of punishments that accompany aggressive riding in challenging terrain.

There are 29” and 27.5” models available, with either 51 or 44mm of offset for the 29” version and 44 or 37mm of offset for the 27.5” option. MSRP is $750 USD, and my 29” fork weighed in at 2040 grams with the axle installed and a 190mm steerer. That's a smidge (10 grams) lighter than a 2021 Fox 36 Grip2 with a Kabolt thru axle.
Mezzer Expert Details
• 37mm stanchions
• Air sprung
• 140 - 180mm travel
• 29" and 27.5" versions
• Externally adjustable compression, rebound
• 15 x 110mm spacing
• Offset: 37 or 44mm (27.5"), 44 or 51mm (29")
• Weight: 2,040 grams (actual, 29")
• MSRP: $750 USD
hayesbicycle.com

Manitou Mezzer Expert review
Manitou Mezzer Expert review
The damper has six distinct different positions.


ADJUSTMENTS
An open bath damper is used to control the fork's compression and rebound properties. The damper has what Manitou calls “Variable Terrain Tune,” a six position dial that's used to easily adjust the amount of compression. According to Manitou, in the first two positions there's an open flow path through the compression damper. In positions 3-6, the adjustable shim stack comes into contact with the piston, increasing platform force.

Rebound is adjusted via a blue dial at the bottom of the right leg, with 10 clicks of adjustment.

I mentioned the 140-180mm travel options earlier, but it's worth noting that it's not necessary to purchase any extra parts to make that change – pulling out the air spring and removing or adding plastic spacers is all that's required.


Manitou Mezzer Expert review
Moving the position of the C-shaped plastic tokens affects the amount of end-stroke ramp up.

AIR SPRING
The Expert uses Manitou's Expert IVA air spring, which is inflated from the bottom of the left leg. Unlike the IRT air spring found on the Pro model, which has a secondary positive air spring that can be used to adjust the amount of mid-stroke support, on the Expert there's only one air valve, and the positive and negative air chambers self equalize. It's possible to upgrade the Expert with the air spring or damper from the Pro model, since they both share the same chassis.

The amount of end-stroke ramp up is adjusted by removing the air spring side top cap with a 24mm wrench, and then choosing from one of five position for the plastic puck. The further down the puck is positioned the more ramp up there will be, and vice versa.


CHASSIS
When the Mezzer first came out those 37mm aluminum stanchions were said to put it ahead of the other single crown forks on the market when it comes to stiffness, but in the months since the Fox 38 and RockShox Zeb have been released, both with 38mm stanchions.

The lowers have Manitou's signature arch, and a bolt on fender is included that attaches to the backside of that arch. Like I mentioned in my Mezzer Pro review, it'd be nice to see that constructed from a slightly less flexible plastic, but it does a decent job of keeping mud at bay.

The bolt-on axle design is slightly different from what you'd find on a Fox or RockShox fork. Instead of having the axle thread into the lowers, a captive bolt on the left side threads into the axle to secure it in place. Each end of the axle has a hexagonal shape, eliminating any chance of it rotating.



Manitou Mezzer Expert review


PERFORMANCE
It's no secret that I wasn't blown away by the Mezzer Pro fork I reviewed a couple years ago. The fork I had developed premature bushing play, and despite multiple rounds of testing I was never able to get its performance to match that of a Fox 36 or a RockShox Lyrik.

The good news is that it's a different story with the Mezzer Expert, so all the Manitou superfans out there can put those pitchforks away. I've had a 160mm Expert mounted on a Commencal Meta TR for the last few months, and I've been thoroughly impressed by its performance, especially considering its price.


ON THE TRAIL
After a few rides I settled on running 58 psi, with the IVA (Incremental Volume Adjuster) in the fourth position, one more than stock. Based on Manitou's setup chart, that air pressure is on the higher side for my 160 pound weight, but I found that at the recommended 49 psi the fork was much too soft and rode much deeper in its travel than I wanted.

For reference, when it comes to fork setup I'd consider my tastes to be fairly neutral – I'm not looking for a rock hard setup, and I also don't want an overly plush setup that dives deep during small impacts.

The 6 position VTT dial makes it easy to get things up and running on the Mezzer Expert. There may be fewer options to choose from compared to the Mezzer Pro's cartridge damper that has high- and low-speed compression adjustments, but each of the positions makes an immediately noticeable difference in how the fork feels.

In the most open two positions, which is when there's no preload on the secondary shim stack, the fork didn't have enough support for my liking, although I do appreciate the range of options. I'd rather have the ability to have too little or too much compression damping rather than being forced to run things all the way open. I settled on the third or fourth position depending on the conditions, running it more open for slower speed, slippery conditions, and closed off an additional click for more support on drier, faster trails. No matter which setting I used, the fork had an smooth initial stroke, with plenty of support during bigger and faster impacts. It does decently well at dealing with smaller, chattery sections of trail, although it's not mind-blowing in that regard - I'd call it very good, just shy of great.

Where the Mezzer Expert is great is during repeated hard hits – picture a bunch of curb-high roots in a row, or a steep section of trail with multiple stair-step like drop offs. In those scenarios it recovered quickly and predictably, and always felt like it was using the right amount of travel. Bigger single hits, like landing off a drop or jump, were handle well too, and I didn't have any harsh bottom outs once I had everything dialed in.


Manitou Mezzer Expert review
The Hexlock SL axle uses a slightly different design, but it doesn't take long to install or remove a wheel.


SERVICE
Manitou get a round of applause for having easy to follow service documents available on their web site. The Expert is even easier to fully service than the Pro model due to the open bath damper, and doesn't require any proprietary tools for disassembly.

The Mezzer Expert has air relief valves at the back of the fork legs, which are used to let out any air that may have gotten trapped in the lowers. Manitou calls it their 'Trail Side Relief' system, but I'd recommend waiting until you're at home or somewhere that dropping a bolt won't result in it being lost forever. There's also a bonus side to that feature - it's possible to inject 5-7cc of bath oil in after 25 hours of riding, a little mid-term top up that doesn't require removing the lowers before the recommended 50 hour service interval arrives.

HOW DOES IT COMPARE?
At this pricepoint, the Marzocchi Z1 is the competitor that immediately comes to mind. At $729 USD it's $21 less than the Mezzer, but it also weighs approximately 200 grams more. Another point in the Mezzer Expert's favor is the ability to change the travel by adding or removing spacers; on the Z1 that requires the purchase of a different air spring.

On the trail, both offer plenty of stiffness, and the range of adjustments should suit most riders. The Z1 does tend to ride a little lower in its travel, though, with a bit less mid-stroke support than the Mezzer. The Z1 has a plusher, fairly linear feel until its deeper in the travel, while the Mezzer has a more pronounced platform in the middle of the stroke that helps keep it from diving during big hits.


ISSUES
Part way through the test period I noticed a clicking noise that occurred when the fork was switching from compressing to rebounding. The performance didn't seem to be affected, but the noise was distracting. It turns out it was a washer at the bottom of the damper that was sticking and causing the issue. Manitou sent out a replacement damper, and after making the swap (which took all of five minutes) the noise was gone, and it hasn't returned since.



Pros

+ Wide range of usable adjustments
+ Good mid-stroke support
+ Adjusting travel doesn't require a different air spring

Cons

- Floppy fender
- Reverse arch looks can be polarizing




Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesThe Mezzer Expert is positioned as a more budget-friendly option in Manitou's lineup, but it's not lacking when it comes to performance. The adjustments are simple and effective, and the overall trail feel leaves little to be desired. Sure, you could always upgrade to the higher end damper or air spring found in the Pro model, but I have a feeling most riders will be totally happy with how the Expert feels right out of the box.  Mike Kazimer









257 Comments

  • 203 12
 Reverse arch is the correct orientation. Change my mind.
  • 556 19
 We live in 2021, if you like it from the back there's absolutely no problem
  • 19 63
flag conoat (Mar 16, 2021 at 8:17) (Below Threshold)
 how about you explain why you are making that proclaimation first?
  • 45 2
 I actually agree that it looks cooler or “more balanced” on most modern bikes with such slack head angles, with the arch tucked into the dead space between the wheel and downtube. But who cares either way, as long as the arch is doing its job you’ll forget what it looks like/where it’s positioned as soon as you start pedaling
  • 21 34
flag tacklingdummy (Mar 16, 2021 at 8:29) (Below Threshold)
 I'm sure it is a very good fork, but I have the hardest time with the reverse arch. Lol.
  • 17 77
flag PortTownsendTrailsFTW (Mar 16, 2021 at 8:29) (Below Threshold)
 Downtube clearance at bottom out.
  • 94 0
 @PortTownsendTrailsFTW: Gee, I bet these suspension engineers in one of the longest-standing suspension companies never thought about that...
  • 13 24
flag newbermuda (Mar 16, 2021 at 8:44) (Below Threshold)
 @tacklingdummy: agreed, i usually don't mind if the performance outweighs the looks, but reverse arch is just too wacky for me
  • 4 0
 @PortTownsendTrailsFTW: Only a problem with Trek. And they've finally seen the light with the newest Slash.
  • 6 6
 @Tacodip420: I've checked clearance on a number of bikes.
  • 89 4
 Just pick your fork arch orientation and be a dick about it.
  • 46 6
 I think MRP do it right. Forward arch with the material cut-outs facing forward to avoid filling up with sh!t.
  • 9 1
 @PortTownsendTrailsFTW: What did you find?
  • 11 21
flag usedbikestuff (Mar 16, 2021 at 9:11) (Below Threshold)
 False, reverse arch is half the way to linkage. The correct answer is linkage fork.
  • 7 1
 You'll probably find out in the next year or two, when the patent expires and nobody tries to implement reverse arch. patents.google.com/patent/US6607185B2/en

(or all of our forks will be obsolete in a few years)
  • 7 0
 @MTBrent: Surely you mean rear arch with forward facing cut outs... ;P
  • 34 7
 I used to be anti-reverse arch, because it made Manitous suspension have longer axle to crown than the competition. This is no longer the case.

The reverse arch is the superior design now- it keeps mud from building up between your arch and your stanchions. The only superior chassis design is the Lefty (superior design, not superior execution)
  • 5 3
 @hamncheez: reverse arch does make a mess of brake line routing.

Also, Adroit inverted single sided linkage fork does a better job than lefty. Change my mind.
  • 23 1
 Reverse arch FTW.
Reverse arch is a stiffer design at the same weight, since the arch is closer to the axle. (Or lower weight at the same stiffness).
Forward-facing cutouts for mud avoidance is a bonus.
Looks are subjective, but with a fender it's harder to spot the difference if you prefer the look of a forward arch.
  • 10 0
 @usedbikestuff: I see what you mean but Manitou did a fairly clean job of brake line routing this time.
If the fender wrapped forward around the stanchion and closed that gap, it would look cleaner and prevent that last bit of dirt/mud between the brake line and fender.
  • 10 0
 @usedbikestuff: I actually like the front brake routing on my Manitou. It looks really clean when you route it around the headtube and down the back side of the reverse arch. They provide the option for both on the Mezzer, but Mike chose the front routing option
When it's wrapped around the headtube, it follows a really clean arc from the lever and can be routed pretty gith around the headtube without a lot of excess hose bunched up in front of the bike
  • 2 2
 @usedbikestuff: I have never ridden a linkage fork (since 1995, anyways)
  • 4 0
 I’ve always wondered if, on certain frames, there’s a clearance issue at full compression. I.e. arch bashing into said frame. I’m sure they thought it out well and have never heard of that being an issue, just a passing thought.
I also like the bit of protection the arch gives the beloved stanchions.
Brake hose routing also seems easier.
  • 1 0
 See I just recently snapped out my double Arch fork. Best of both world really Big Grin
  • 4 0
 I think MRP has it right with the normal arch but the girdwork facing forward. I had one for a while and it did stay so much cleaner.
  • 2 0
 @ESKato: like the old Magura forks?
  • 5 0
 What are the lead times? I only care about lead times.
  • 3 1
 @joedave: on this guy's Trek it seems to be uncomfortably close.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlrkHZyWf8Y
  • 5 1
 @Justinbloomington: Yes, but Trek has moved away from that design. That design has such bad clearance they needed the stop block for all forks. Pretty much no one else has that issue.
  • 4 0
 I am happy if there is any arch on it ...orientation does not interest me.
  • 1 3
 Pretty sure oi read that the reverse arch needs to clear the down tube an therefore a longer axle to crown than a 'regular' forward arch fork?
  • 6 0
 @nojzilla: The Mezzer actually has a slightly shorter axle-to-crown height than a Zeb
  • 13 0
 @pensamtb: Arch rivals?
  • 1 0
 @showmethemountains: Taller stack height is welcome in most riding where descending is involved, but does make climbing a little more difficult.
  • 5 1
 Any while were at it, big fan of inverted forks like the Dorado
  • 2 1
 @conoat: increased rigidity due to shorter lowers.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: Yes, good point. But it is a small difference here... Mezzer and 38 appear to have about the same height, while the Zeb is about 2-3mm taller
  • 5 19
flag PauRexs (Mar 16, 2021 at 12:04) (Below Threshold)
 Why still holding so much racism on how bikes looks... It's like every judgement we repress on humans we put it on bikes... Come on!
  • 9 12
 @PauRexs: you sound dumb as hell man there are no races of bikes so you can't be racist to them lmao. People like you are ruining this world just shut up already.
  • 10 0
 @mhoshal: chill my dude
  • 6 1
 Weird for foot jams
  • 3 1
 @MTBrent: Fork companies should have a plastic cover for the arch, so it blocks dirt. Been one of my pet peeves for years.
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: or just do what MRP does
  • 1 0
 @jmusuperman: has anyone tried a Manitou with the Trek straight shot downtube, or is this just an educated guess? I can see the concern, but I haven’t heard of anyone who has actually looked into this.
  • 7 4
 @Baoas: I'll chill when people learn to use the word "racist" in proper text again.
  • 2 0
 @MB3: someone posted a video link above
  • 1 0
 @theoskar57: So looks from the back can be great nothing wrong with that. Is it better or better looking well that's all a question of feel and personal preference. to each there own inmo. I can get behind each i guess.
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez: Easier to clean, but still gets dirt in there. I have electric taped the arch before, but the tape comes off after pretty quickly. My latest hack is putting electrical tape over linkage bolts and crank bolt. Seems to hold well. Looks clean and keeps the dirt out.
  • 10 1
 If Fox came out with a reverse arch it’d be all the rage in fifteen minutes.
  • 2 4
 @Tacodip420: I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the fork design. It just doesn't work with a number of frames on the market, specifically any bike which requires a steering limiter because of limited downtube clearance. I would argue that it's stupid to build a frame that way, but a number of major manufacturers have mountain and e-bikes like that. Anyone installing a fork like this should check before riding.
  • 1 0
 @mhoshal: I thought he was taking the mick to be honest
  • 1 1
 @tacklingdummy: Are you aware of what MRP's design is?
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez: MRP flips the arch indentations so they are facing forward because of wheel rotation direction. However, I'd bet it will still get dirty if you ride in dry dusty conditions. Yeah, it may be easier to access to clean because it is in front, but still tough to clean the indentations. Better to have a plastic cover.
  • 4 0
 Magura's double arch is the way forward
  • 2 0
 @PortTownsendTrailsFTW: I was just curious what frames you found that don't work with it. You could just say Trek's haha. I have mine installed on a Remedy with the straight shot downtube and it's perfectly fine. I also put the same fork on my rail and again there are no clearance issues.
  • 3 1
 @tacklingdummy: My friend has one. In dusty conditions, dust gets in there, then comes back out. Its dust. Mud, however, cakes and dries in the voids of a traditional arch, and bakes rock hard. Mud does not get into the forward facing voids of the MRP. Its night and day.
  • 1 0
 @Tacodip420: Norco VLT e-bikes mainly, but some models/sizes of Trek too. Most Treks are actually fine, but it depends on the model and frame size.
  • 2 0
 @PortTownsendTrailsFTW: so when you posted "I've checked clearance on a number of bikes" you meant to say "I've checked clearance on a *relatively small* number of bikes."
  • 1 1
 @jmusuperman: Well, relative to all bikes out there, yeah. I tried it on all 2020 Trek and Norco models with steering limiters. I didn't bother to check bikes I was sure it would fit on.

Is this GG? JT here.
  • 2 3
 @hamncheez: If the dust always comes back out, then entire bikes/cars would never get dirty ever. LOL. Everyone's bike/car gets dirty with no mud. I ride in dry dusty conditions all the time and dust/dirt always get clogged up in those indentations and gets all over my bike in every crevice. Your friend must have super powers to keep dust and dirt off is bike.
  • 2 1
 @tacklingdummy: Do you have any idea what the difference between dust and mud is
  • 1 3
 @hamncheez: Nice trolling tactics. LOL.
  • 1 0
 @PortTownsendTrailsFTW: haha, I figured. I need to get up the Ham and ride with you. It's been too long.
  • 2 0
 @CustardCountry: Exactly. It actually was one of their last ones produced. Bit outdated and one could work on the small bump compliance. But given the 32mm stancions on a 150mm non-boost 29er that thing was suprisingly stiff. And light at 1650g!
  • 3 0
 Reverse arch is the better orientation because it keeps dirt off the stantions and seals. The only reason other companies don't do it is because Manitou has the patent for it. MRP's reversed face is smart because you don't get the mud buildup in the cutouts, but a reversed arch with inverted face, ala MRP/Manitou combo would be the best of all worlds.
  • 5 0
 @TucsonDon: Manitou's patent was filed in 2003. Should be fair game in 2023 (20 years from the date of filing)
patents.google.com/patent/US6607185B2/en

It will be interesting to see if other fork manufacturers will adopt the reverse arch in a few years. Fox/SRAM might avoid the reverse arch since a lot of MTB parts adoption is aesthetically driven, and folks are split on the looks of the reverse arch design.

@vw4ever got it right: "If Fox came out with a reverse arch it’d be all the rage in fifteen minutes."
  • 2 0
 @TucsonDon: The main benefit is that they can achieve the same level of stiffness at a lower weight. This is because the reverse arch uses less material as it doesn't have to extend up as far relative to the axle.
  • 2 0
 @riderseventy7: Stantions staying cleaner probably helps reduce stiction and small bump sensitivity also. Dirty forks don't feel as good. Either way, win-win, no downsides except that people are used to a front arch aesthetically and resist change. In terms of function, the front arch offers no benefits.
  • 1 0
 @TucsonDon: I remember my manitou stance 150 on my iron horse 7point busting internals after doing a manual, there is more to things than just the arch. I did like my manitou and absolutely loved my Hayes hfx-9’s. Biggest regret of my cycling career was selling those. Never once serviced. Always knew exactly when they’d save me from landing on my back in a manual. Modulation is for the unskilled.
  • 1 0
 @usedbikestuff: None of that has anything to do with the arch. We were only talking about the arch, not Manitou quality in general.
  • 1 0
 @TucsonDon: I Also snapped that arch. Their quality is better now
  • 102 1
 Floppy Fender..........sounds like something my wife would put on my cons list....
  • 7 0
 Oh ya and 10mm travel plus 38mm stantions
  • 1 0
 @stainerdome: Hung like a can'o'tuna.
  • 78 0
 Glad to see that pinkbike is reviewing more mid tiered or budget stuff, ie the stuff that most of us use.
  • 116 1
 You bet. There's a whole value-oriented Field Test on the way in a few weeks too.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer:

Thanks for looking out for us with mere average budgets Smile .

Are you going to be doing a value suspension lineup like you did last year as well? I'm curious how the Expert compares to like other slightly cheaper forks like the Lyrik Select, or Yari (but love that you compared it to the Z1, so thanks for that).
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: Came purely for the pitchfork statement, wasn't disappointed!
I'll grab some popcorn and stick around for the "I told you so" comments.


For the record - I'm still not converting from my Lyrik
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: Any SRSuntour on this value-oriented test?
  • 1 0
 @Getradbro: I'm interested to know which is better, a used F36 Grip, or a new Manitou Mezzer Comp
  • 55 4
 I think I just heard a low rumble. Maybe it was the sound of legions of mtbr suspension forum nerds creaming their pants in unison?
  • 15 1
 We've all agreed to send Kaz the dry cleaning bill(s).
  • 41 0
 I'm 45. I could use some ramp up at the end stroke.
  • 37 1
 Don't lie you're 46.
  • 3 1
 Isn't that a little too personal?
  • 18 0
 Your pinkbike name says you’re 475. You are surely very wise.
  • 2 0
 From 45 on all goes downhill, my friend Wink
  • 2 0
 @themountain: thank f man, cos this climb's a beatch
  • 1 0
 @themountain: I'd say we mostly flock around here because we all love going downhill...
  • 28 0
 This is a seriously interesting fork. Open bath, a simple air spring, and compression and rebound stacks that can be re-shimmed to achieve desired high and low speed characteristics.
  • 34 0
 Manitou/Hayes has a VTT tuning PDF on their website with info for three other compression damper tunes, the specific shim combos needed to make them, and a dyno chart comparing them with the factory tune. And I bet you could get other tuning recommendations from Zac Smith @ Manitou
  • 1 0
 @showmethemountains: Link please, can’t find it.
  • 1 0
 @showmethemountains: Very cool. Thanks for the heads up on that.
  • 25 2
 Are we really now entering the phase of MTB enlightenment...where we criticize the stiffness of the Fenders??
  • 22 0
 It's been scientifically proven that a LESS stiff fender offers better mud compliance AND longer zip tie life, only a moron would argue otherwise
  • 28 0
 I think "floppy fenders" is a less direct way of saying "this fork is really good and you shouldn't spend a penny more for anything higher-end"
  • 1 0
 @big-red: lol yeah, it just made me laugh
  • 1 0
 @big-red: dam right...if there is nothing else wrong with the fork it sounds like a very good tool!
  • 1 0
 As you see, fortunately there was nothing important to criticize. So you can put the details in the spotlight
  • 19 0
 good thing about the floppy fender is it doesn't break or crease when tightening down my Kuat bike rack clamp or when it gets thrown onto a poor shuttle rack design.
  • 3 0
 so does the arm on the rack rest against the fender then? was wondering about that.
  • 7 0
 @deez-nucks: My kuat's arm does, the fender conforms, then once released it bounces back to shape. It's quite a resilient little bugger. You can fold it into a burrito and it pops right back to shape.
  • 1 0
 @deez-nucks: as Taco said, the Kuat arm clamps down on the floppy fender with no ill effects. Unfortunately, with no arch to rest against, the side of the clamp contacts the stanchions. I've had no issues with that so far but it isn't ideal.
  • 1 0
 [wrong reply]
  • 1 0
 @Giddyhitch: turn your bars around so the arm touches the arch.
  • 1 0
 @SkullsRoad: interesting idea
  • 1 0
 @Giddyhitch: it looks weird but works on my Kuat. One benefit is it makes the bike fit really well in the rear wheel tray. It's not hanging off the end of the rack anymore.
  • 17 0
 I bought the LE Mezzer Pro for my '21 SJ Evo and it's a superior performing fork over the competitors. You literally have to spend 2x as much on the Era to surpass the Mezzer Pro fork's performance and even that is a marginal gain.
  • 1 0
 You tested the Era?
  • 13 0
 RockShox and Fox make really good products. But it’s good to see some viable alternatives that don’t cost thousands of dollars!!

Hope these forks prove to be a reliable alternative!!
  • 12 1
 I have never considered fender floppiness when purchasing a new fork.

Are you finding it is floppy and making contact with the tire as you are riding? Or was it flapping on the roof rack causing premature failure?

Would you feel an irt upgrade useful on this fork, or is the basic set-and-forget a happier place?
  • 15 0
 Seems like including a fender at all should be in the pros category? Other forks don’t include one.
  • 10 0
 @Tsmith1234: DVO includes a fender! But not many companies do, and I think it should be the norm
  • 2 0
 @Tsmith1234: You know why? Check for reverse arch fender. I do not know about any. They simply have to make their own
  • 3 0
 @bok-CZ: nah, I have a mudhugger shorty that's great on my RA fork.
  • 2 1
 @noone1223:
I bought an aftermarket Pike last year and it came with a fender
  • 5 0
 @noone1223: Sadly, DVO's fender is pretty much useless - it's way too short. Looks cool though.
  • 4 0
 @Zayphod: Agreed. I love my Diamond but I wish they'd applied the "by riders, for riders" mantra to that fender, as nobody who actually rides their bike would accept it as functional. I don't even think it looks that cool, it's an odd pointy shape.
  • 1 0
 @bok-CZ: you can make any fender reversw arch compatible by making extra holes for the zip tie
  • 14 0
 Phew.. glad my pitchfork can go back to moving copious amounts of hay. Thanks @mikekazimer
  • 4 0
 I had strapped an old dorado to a pole and was about to show up at Kaz’s place to show the unbeliever the USD glory up close....ah well
  • 17 3
 I'm Mezzer-merized by this review!
  • 7 2
 Fork looks good.... review wasn't so mezzerable either
  • 10 1
 It's Kazimerized
  • 7 0
 I love this fork! My only small gripe is that in warmer weather the rebound seems super fast--I have it 1 click from closed or fully closed (weather-dependent) to keep from Pogo-ing. With regard to the flimsy mud guard: I actually think it works great for allowing you to cinch down Thule rack on the front tire. I never notice it moving during a ride either.
  • 6 1
 you can use heavier weight oil
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: Yep...that's what I was thinking as well :-) Just need to call Manitou (Hayes) and see what their recommendations are.
  • 12 2
 Still installed it on wrong lol
  • 6 0
 I have a Manitou fork on my hardtail and it was absolutely awful when I first got it. So bad I sent a support request to Manitou complaining about it. They suggested I service it, which I did, and I found a huge glob of heavy grease in the damper from the factory. I cleaned it out and put fresh fluid in and it was much better after that. I'd check the fluid if you get a Manitou that doesn't feel great.
  • 6 0
 Disappointed not to see a comparison to recent Fox/RS forks.

How does the stiffness compare to the Lyric/36 and the Zeb/38? I know it's not quite the same price bracket, but the gap isn't really that big. What does that extra $250 get me?
  • 1 0
 The chassis is the same as the Mezzer Pro. And the Mezzer pro is apparently 28% stiffer than a Lyrik which was a little stiffer than a 36. The Zeb is 21% stiffer than the Lyrik according to SRAM. So I would suspect the Mezzer is ever-so-slightly stiffer than the Zeb, but I don't know how stiff the 38 is relative to the 36.
  • 4 0
 True story, I had a Manitou Tower fork. The plastic cam in the QR lever of the axle cracked in half. I emailed Manitou Europe an asked if I could get another cam. They sent me a whole new axle! Over Warrenty Without question.. Great customer service
  • 5 1
 Based on my experience with a Mattoc pro, it will be a solid fork. Difficult to get the lower and upper airspring pressures dialed. But when you do it works well. DO NOT OVERTORQUE CALIPER BOLTS. ENSURE PLENTY OF THREAD ENGAGEMENT. Turns out I needed longer bolts than the Shimano ones as the low magnesium is softer than fox/rs. Had to helicoil a brand new fork. Yes I was using the prescribed torque.
  • 4 2
 Torque wrenches are deceptive. Almost every fastener I've snapped/stripped has been while using a Torque wrench. Magnesium is so soft you probably didn't even feel it strip at first.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: Don’t tempt the bike industry to make us all use bolt stretch gauges next...
  • 4 0
 The Pro is a great fork, but the fender is the weakest link. The first fender I had broke at the center bolt mount. They sent me a replacement for free, and that broke after a little time. The customer service has been great, but I feel bad asking for another fender that will break again. I am interested in the Mudguard fender kit, but not enough to buy it. I have been running it without a fender, and loving it. Warranty is great! They sent me the updated chassis even though I bought the fork used. I took a chance on a used fork, but it ended up being a great experience.
  • 5 1
 I rode with a guy who broke a shifter, it was replaced for free. Broke it again that week, replaced for free. Broke#3 a couple weeks later and made the call. He was sent a box full of shifters with a note that said "hope this gets you through the season".

A plastic fender costs almost nothing to make, it more expensive to answer the call. They will spend more on packing tape than the fender.
  • 4 0
 More and more I think the Expert is probably the better fork for most riders. Limiting the number of variables makes it more likely the end user will get a good riding setup, as the vast majority of riders put some air in, possibly play with the rebound, and maybe twirl the compression to see what it does. Even for those spending some time and wanting to get it right, the combination of two air pressures, high and low speed compression, and rebound can be overwhelming. For the 2% of us that really want a specific feel and are willing to spend the time to dial in the fork to feel the way we want and having the option to reshim, the Pro is worth it.

The expert is also easier to service for those starting out.
  • 2 0
 So true. While having more tunability can be nice, it also gives many more ways to screw it up. Even the most glowing review of the Pro model note it is difficult to get set up.
  • 8 2
 You can get an entry-level Zeb for $700 USD. With a normal arch. Would be nice to know how that compares too.
  • 8 7
 Why would you do that ?? Its a RS for crist sake Big Grin
  • 4 0
 I thought about the same thing. You can make the same case for Mezzer vs. Lyrik Select ($749) or Zeb Select ($799).
  • 4 0
 The arch on the manitou is is normal too. It arches between the legs
  • 2 0
 @yoondaman: Add a few others in that price range like the DVO Diamond/Onyx and Fox 36 Performance and that would be a review that many would appreciate seeing. I'm not sure if anyone online has done that yet... a mid range fork review.
  • 1 0
 You mean the one with no compression adjustments?

Why is normal arch a banefit?
  • 2 0
 @themountain: if we forget the brand’s love, why would you buy a Zeb? In order to have another 200g at the front end of the bike? ????
  • 3 0
 I love seeing "budget" forks perform this well. Given that 99.9% of people out there barely even know what to do with the fancy setup capable stuff, it's more effective to get something "lower end" that is easier to play with for the casual tinkerer.
  • 1 0
 bah stuff's ridiculous sometimes. i suspect the previous owner put a too thin oil in the shock i ride but if it's not fully closed on the rebound it WILL buck you to oblivion when you smash stuff fast
  • 3 0
 Every time a brand comes with something different that's proven to be better, there are always people hiding in the shadows, waiting their time to come out and give their shitty point of view based on nothing but "aesthetics", The reality is, they're just acostumed to what they've been buying and are so narrow minded they reject progress in favour of something that just seems familiar....
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer
Can you explain more about the 6 position damper settings? Details are really vague on manitou website and I’d like to know more about each setting. I’ve been looking at this fork and a Z1 coil.
  • 3 0
 1. Wide open 2. Open still with a smaller flow path 3. Compression stack touches the piston, flow path closed, preload is light 4-6. From here out preload increases each turn making it harder for oil to flow
  • 1 0
 @buttsnstuff420: thanks
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: So I was pretty surprised back when you reviewed the mezzer pro a while ago. Wasn't it new at that point, I'm wondering if maybe they hadn't worked out all the kinks yet. Any plan to possibly give it another go around? Or maybe the simpler design of the expert is just superior? That's been a fork I've been considering, I love all the little tuning options but your review was a bit off putting. Love the honesty, no complaints there. Thank you!
  • 10 7
 Nah. He couldn’t set it up properly and they sent a duff fork as well.
  • 2 0
 If my memory serves right, someone explained that the Mezzer Pro mr. Kazimer reviewed and wasn’t happy about, was of the first batches that had something wrong with the shimstacks, not the best sizes or softness or something. Which was promptly corrected by Manitou and these issues are long gone. And all customers/riders are crazy in love with their Mezzers ever since! Smile
  • 1 0
 @hitarpotar: yeah seems like everyone I've talked to says it's an amazing fork. I've got a midgrade fork currently and want to upgrade. Just so many damn options. Hard to decide between the "safer" options like fox 36/RS lyric, or try something different like the mezzer. All the tuning possibilities are really enticing on the mezzer. If I went fox I'd want to get that dsd runt for the dual air chamber thing so probably makes more sense going with something that already has it. Funny to complain about too many good options haha.
  • 2 0
 I have read a lot about Manitou bushing issues in the past. I had been holding off for many years until recenly that I bit the bullet and bought a 3rd gen Mattoc Pro for my 27.5er. Fabulous fork, except... it's developed the dreaded bushing play almost from new. I still love it and will ride it till it dies. My Grip2 36 is waiting in the garage for its chance.
  • 1 0
 i think manitou is a viable option and i'd pick it over a Z1. now i just have to get the thought that brands other than the big 3 (RS, Fox, Marzocchi) aren't as good as them because it's not true and it's what is holding them back; the performance can be great but if no one is buying it they can't progress.

Ohlins has already won me over at least for DH, push industries has hands down the best coil, i think DVO is pretty good too and manitou is getting back in the game. i still have apprehension when it comes to formula or suntour though. as for cane creek, i really don't know what to think
  • 6 1
 Mezzmerizing
  • 5 1
 That fender looks like it's gonna make a mezz
  • 4 1
 @mikekazimer

Over the last two years did Manitou address or
update the Pro to fix your issues?
  • 5 1
 He didn't keep the fork, he gave it back after the initial review. There were issues with bushing play in the first run, but after that, the Mezzer appears to be very well received from what I've heard.
  • 5 0
 FWIW... I've been running the Mezzer in 170 29 for over a year and have not had that problem. I ran the Mattoc in a 170 26 for 5 years and never had the problem either, which i believe was also a comment on their original Mattoc review.
  • 9 0
 @glates, I sent that fork back to Manitou, but it sounds like they made a change to correct the bushing play issues that were present in the initial run of that fork.
  • 4 0
 The bushing issues were resolved about 7 or 8 months after the initial release. They also made some minor updates to the damper, I'm not sure of the details aside from additional bleed ports, although I've heard some indicate there were shim changes.
  • 1 0
 @shinook: No changes to the shim stack on Mezzer
  • 1 0
 @mancub420: There has been a small change to rebound shim stack (new stack is a small bit faster, can do it at home by removing one shim). Compression stack has stayed the same.
  • 4 0
 Review the pro again or there will be no redemption.
  • 4 0
 Mike Kazimer - thats not an open bath damper mate. Semi bath...
  • 3 0
 It must be a hell of a fork when the only downsides are a floppy fender and some objective aesthetics.
  • 2 0
 Manitou USED to make the best looking forks out there - the Sherman's in the camo print, now its like someone said "How can we make the most boring for possible"
  • 1 0
 My grip2 damper is making the same sound during the switch from compression to rebound, only when fully open for some reason. Could it be the same probem?
  • 1 0
 @MTBKyan sounds like it's time to send it back for rebuild...
  • 3 1
 I wanted to buy a Mezzer last year but lack of UK servicing/ support was a deciding factor, ended up with a Lyrik
  • 4 0
 Any suspension place can service manitou. In fact only the mezzer pro has a bladder iirc.
  • 2 0
 How's that reverse arch work with a bike rack when you need to press the arm against the crown?
  • 2 0
 For w/ my J-hooked rack (Yakima Dr Tray) I always needed to put the hook right up against my forks. This is b/c the trays are too short, which makes the bike's rear wheel drops off a bit, rocking bike back.

For my mezzer on that rack, I had to secure my front wheel to the tray w/ a velcro strap, to keep the bike from rocking back and pushing the J arm into the stanchion.

I changed racks.
  • 2 0
 I turn my wheel 180 in the rack (kuat). Seems to work fine and no thing touching the stanchion.
  • 2 0
 Comparing to Z1 I'd really point out the possibility of upgrade to grip 2 damper and coil spring
  • 1 0
 You can also upgrade the spring and damper in the Mezzer Expert. Just not to coil.
  • 4 0
 You can upgrade mezzer to IRT spring and mc2 damper. I have both a z1 coil and a mezzer pro, i don't think the mezzer gives up anything plushness wise
  • 2 2
 @Civicowner: surely not how can a frictionless coil not be more plush than an air spring
  • 2 0
 @gillyske: Because the spring isn't the only component in a fork. The air spring friction makes up a small portion of total friction. if air spring static friction is 350 grams, and total fork friction is 2-3kg. Go figure (or measure if you like)
  • 1 0
 @gillyske: oh and additionally: the z1 coil still has 1/2 seals from the air spring
  • 1 0
 @gillyske: I'll say that it's as plush as a Ribbon Coil, but with far better damping.
  • 2 0
 @gillyske: Where did you get the idea that a coil fork is frictionless?
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer
How would you compare the Expert to the Pro (minus the bushing play)? Is the Pro worth the extra $250 for the fancy damper and IRT?
  • 5 0
 I've been on the Exp for about 6 months now, and the IRT is a pretty worthwhile upgrade. Makes it a way more tunable fork, and much simpler to change than the token system. The compression damping is pretty stout feeling, so for me the aftermarket damper isn't necessarily a worthwhile investment.
  • 7 0
 Buy the expert and install the IRT chamber for $50. Great price/functionality compromise. I did exactly that and it performs amazingly well.
  • 1 0
 @ddspaz: How is the upgrade labor wise? I've been on the Expert for a couple of rides and really like it so far, but at some point I'll probably want to squeeze some more horsepower out of it.
  • 1 0
 @4thflowkage: It's a very easy fork to work on. The upgrade installations should be no problem for any home mechanic.
  • 1 0
 @4thflowkage: As he said, couldn't be easier. I didn't do the damper swap, but like the air spring it's a simple operation.
  • 1 0
 @ddspaz: rando question about the expert. What decals does it come with? Most pictures around online seem to show same decals as the pro, but I’ve also seen a few like the ones in this review - no silver stripe at the top of the lowers and a black sticker at the bottom.
  • 1 0
 @jonerays: Mine came with the standard black and silver lettering, just like the pro.
  • 1 0
 @Mbarsoski: cheers, My expert is coming in on Monday so we will see. Just thought the different images were a bit confusing.
  • 1 0
 @jonerays: The EXP doesn't have that silver decal up towards the top of the lowers like the PRO does, otherwise they're pretty similar. Generally the EXP is more lowkey and understated.
  • 2 0
 with the shortage of components this year, Manitou might actuall make some sales lol
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer - with 37mm uppers being between size models of Fox/RS, would you say this fork feels more like a lyrik/36 or a zeb/38 in terms of stiffness?
  • 4 0
 The Mezzer is definitely stiffer than the Lyric Ultimate I originally had, which was much stiffer than my previous Fox 36. I haven't ridden a Zeb or 38 but have read that they are slightly stiffer.
  • 4 0
 Its zeb and 38 level stiff.
  • 4 0
 I’ve owned and ridden the Zeb ultimate, 38 performance elite and am now on the Mezzer Pro Le. I’m not a big guy but I ride pretty hard. Zeb felt the stiffest (I was using torque caps, honestly too stiff unless I was going full out at the bike park), then 38 was just slightly behind that. I don’t have enough time pushing the Mezzer hard yet but it feels very similar to the 38 so far. All of these are noticeable stiffer than my 2020 lyrik ultimate, but I don’t have any time on the 2021 36 to compare to that.
  • 4 0
 Mezzer is stiffer than a Zeb. My new bike came with zeb’s and I really tried to like them but even after a rebuild by the local suspension gurus, it still wasn’t anywhere near as nice as my mezzer. I wouldn’t call the zeb noodly, but it was noticeably more flexible than a mezzer. - me, a genuine Clydesdale who likes to crash through rough terrain.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the responses my doods. Just bought a Pro LE and now I’m even more stoked.
  • 1 2
 The stanction seals seem more exposed to dirt and grime with the brake arch on the back. I remember seeing a cracked arch when Manitou did this with their short travel forks in the late 90s. Right where it attached to the lowers.
  • 1 0
 The arch protects the stanchions from any muck thrown up by the wheel on Manitou.
  • 1 0
 I typically ride in wet and muddy conditions that this has not been any sort of issue for my Mezzer.
  • 1 0
 If I see correct, the mezzer expert damper, in contrast to the mattoc expert und mezzer pro damper, lacks the fixed hbo. Or do they have another system to achieve that?
  • 2 0
 Manitou, Hayes, Answer,Sun Ringle this tree has deep roots. They are a big part of the innovation of whatever you ride.
  • 1 2
 Pace forks of yester year had the arch at the rear.. nothing new...just companies looking at old tech and trying to say it's new..I've a flip chip on a 1997 GT STS DH too ????
  • 3 0
 manitou have had reverse arch since around 02 ish i think
  • 1 0
 My brother and I both got these forks and manitou have been great hisnitou have been fine too
  • 2 0
 What about the Mara shock? Any plans for a review?
  • 4 0
 Yes, @mikekazimer, is there such a plan for a Mara Pro review? Smile
  • 2 0
 I can say it is a really grwat shock. But after a tuner cha ged the spring to a self equalizing design and a shim Tune, it is the best air shock I know and even kicks some coil shocks out of the water
  • 1 0
 @bansaiman: more details, please! What exactly did the tuner do? And who was he?
  • 2 0
 Holy crap pinkbike did it!
  • 2 1
 Is that tire rub on the Meta TR downtube???
  • 5 0
 No, that's some shuttle rub from a really wet and muddy day. Oops.
  • 2 0
 that fork is a mezz
  • 3 0
 you mean mezzmerizing...
  • 1 0
 Special Manitou Air Release Technology?
  • 1 0
 What a storied past Manitou has, be nice to see them keep rising up.
  • 1 0
 Are Manitou the only one who still offers OC (open bath) forks?
  • 1 0
 Avalanche does as an aftermarket But I believe from the factory, you are correct
  • 1 0
 I dont think manitou currently makes any open bath forks either.

The expert still uses separate bath oil and damper oil (so not open bath). Just instead of a bladder, uses those foam volume compensators/emulsion style which should work pretty well still.
  • 3 0
 It is semi open bath. The compression damper is not situated in a cartridge but directly in the stanchions. Thus it uses more oil volume and is easy to get out for fast shimming or service. We do not know yet if the rebound damper uses as tlwell the stanchions and has a large same sized piston as in the mattoc expert or has a smaller rebound rod, which is screwed into the stanchions
  • 3 0
 @unusual-bread:
The damper basically is the structure of the mattoc pro, just without external hsc and with more lsc clicks than the mattoc. Besides the rebound piston has an updated design which for the mattoc pro was available as an aftermarket tuning from nz suspension. Thus function shoukd be above mattoc pro. ButI can not say how the function from the mezzer pro to the expert piston differ.
But I am pretty sure the expert with an IRT makes a pretty good fork.
And this thing is definitely not compareable to a grip 1,let alone a yari or lyrik select, with the same damper design as the yari... Only in a cartridge.

Thus when one can get a mezzer expert on sale or in the bike market from someone who removed it from his bike new for a good bargain, get it
  • 2 0
 @bansaiman: what do you mean by “not comparable to a grip 1 (???), yari or a lyrik”? You mean the Expert is far superior?
  • 2 0
 @bansaiman: rebound on Mezzer Expert has the smaller rebound piston and tube screwed into the stanchion (kind of a half-cartridge), so it's similar to Mattoc Pro. No HBO for Mezzer Expert.
  • 2 0
 @hitarpotar:

Yari has something yoi csn not really call a compression piston and no proper lsc adjustment aa tgere is only a plate thst is turned and closes the drilled holes, bit no shims.
I said Lyrik SELECT. It basically has the yari damper that isput in a cartridge with ifp instead of a bladder.

Grip I can compare because I had a regular mattoc pro vs the grip. That is the explanatio for my opinion
  • 1 0
 The real question I have is this fork or the Durolux EQ???
  • 1 0
 Well this fork has a great axle and clamp, unlike every Suntour single crown.
  • 1 0
 This fork destroys the durplux.
  • 1 0
 @nouseforaname: the Durolux has an awesome axle
  • 1 0
 That's a tough choice. I'm sure both are great products.
  • 1 0
 can I put mudhugger on this?
  • 1 0
 These are hard to find in the 44 offset
  • 1 0
 Is it true the are coming out with a larger fork?
  • 1 0
 Nice
  • 1 2
 I know it's a RS standard, but can the industry please agree to all use the same colored knobs for rebound and compression?
  • 1 0
 Bought!
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