Shockcraft Announces Pick & Mix Self Tune Kits For Manitou Suspension

Nov 8, 2023 at 22:12
by Dougal  
McMara Pick Mix installed in Manitou Marra Inline on Knolly Warden.
New Shockcraft McMara Pick & Mix Self Tune kit installed in a Manitou Mara Inline.


Truly good suspension is so uncommon that few riders worldwide have had the experience. At Shockcraft we want to change that. With our custom in-house tuning we already are. But it's slower to do and more expensive. We want to reach more riders and make this easy for riders worldwide.

To do this we have developed the Pick & Mix framework. Pick & Mix is a unique self tuning system that enables technically minded riders and bike shops to install pre-configured Shockcraft designed and dyno tested damper tunes in MTB suspension with only normal suspension service tools.

Pick & Mix can be installed in compatible forks and shocks by advanced home mechanics, any good shop, or Shockcraft at purchase or service. It allows riders to Pick & Mix from a rack of 3 compression and rebound tunes calculated to fit their riding style, bike geometry and preferences. Each kit delivers a target tune for compression and rebound, but also optional softer/firmer compression tunes and stickier/poppier rebound tunes to Pick & Mix if they're feeling curious.

Pick & Mix kits installed by Shockcraft in brand new suspension or during service are named "Ready Mix Tunes".

bigquotesGood suspension should be stable and supportive while being planted, yet playful. It should follow the ground to maximise traction and comfort, while eating bumps at low and high speed. It needs to stay smooth, controlled and always predictable with no bad habits.Dougal, Shockcraft Engineer

Manitou Marra Inline on Shockcraft dyno.
All Pick & Mix damper tunes are engineered, designed and dyno tested by Shockcraft.
Manitou Mara Inline with Ready Mix Tune.
Manitou Mara Inline in the workshop for a McMara Ready Mix Tune. With Ready Mix we do the Picking, Mixing and Install for you.

Why You Might Benefit From a Pick & Mix Self Tune

Because even the best dampers are a compromise. They cannot give the whole range of bikes and riders the compression and rebound damping curves they require to stay stable, offer support and eat bumps.

If you are outside the weight, riding style and/or terrain the suspension is designed for, then your compromises are far bigger and your setup will involve forever trading off adjustments, riding style and fun. It means always changing spring and damper settings because you're on the edge of a working setup instead of being in the middle of the right setup.

Shockcraft Pick & Mix allows you to step right past these compromises and get a result that is 80% of the way towards a custom damper tune. You can also tweak it. It's not one tune, you get 3 compression and 3 rebound tunes to Pick & Mix. Our new McMara tune (details below) also gives you platform/lockout tuning options.

How Pick & Mix Works

Our easy to use physics calculator determines a target tune using rider weight, bike geometry and riding style. 5 grades are available utilising a total of 7 compression and rebound tunes. These grades cover the range from lightweight cruisers and low leverage bikes to heavy hitting bruisers and high leverage bikes; from kids to Dadzilla's.

Each rider is provided 3 compression and 3 rebound tuning options. Compression damping options are self explanatory and include Firm, Target or Soft damping. Rebound damping options include Sticky (digressive), Neutral or Poppy (progressive) rebound tunes.

Model specific hardware modifications (usually pistons) and shim kits are provided as bolt-in kits for your fork or shock damper. Colour-coded paper scale drawings allow you to lay out the shim stacks for each tune and shim sizes. Shim thicknesses have been chosen so you don't usually need to accurately measure them. Full digital pictorial instructions for stripping, re-valving and reassembling the fork or shock damper are provided along with tool, fluid and torque lists.

Pick Mix McMara Self Tune Kit.
Pick & Mix Self Tune Kits include colour-coded scale drawings to lay out shim stacks for the target tune plus softer/firmer & stickier/poppier tunes either side.
Pick Mix McMara Pistons.
Model specific hardware modifications, like these McMara pistons, are included with every Pick & Mix kit.

Pick & Mix for Manitou

Shockcraft s Pick Mix Self Tune Kits for Manitou Mara McLeod Mezzer Pro Mattoc Pro 2023

Our first Pick & Mix kits were launched in December 2022 for the Manitou Mezzer Pro forks. These kits also fit the recently released Manitou Mattoc Pro.

Now, in another industry first, we are releasing self-install rear shock tuning kits to the worldwide market. Our first release is "McMara" for the Manitou McLeod and Mara Inline shocks. The McMara Self Tune kits fit these shocks from 2014 to current in imperial, metric eyelet and trunnion sizes. The kits have been produced with the support of Hayes-Manitou, to feature genuine Manitou parts and Manitou approved logos on the decals. We greatly appreciate their support and cooperation.

Riders worldwide can now fully tune their own Manitou suspension on both ends of their bike, achieving support, balance, traction and comfort that were previously unattainable anywhere, at an excellent price with little downtime.

Mezzer/Mattoc Pick & Mix Self Tune Kits

Pick & Mix for the Mezzer and Mattoc straightens out rebound and gives you the right amount of compression & rebound damping, so you have both chassis control and fast recovery to cover rough ground at speed. No compromises. No matter what weight or aggression grade you are, the forks will stay planted while eating bumps at both low & high speed.

Manitou MC2 damper.
Each Mezzer/Mattoc Pro Self Tune kit includes a physics calculator, shim kit, Shockcraft High Flow V2 Piston, paper tuning drawings and digital pictorial instructions for stripping, re-valving, assembling and bleeding the Manitou MC2 damper.

Mezzer/Mattoc Pro Self Tune Kit Pricing:

• $345 NZD including NZ tax
• $300 NZD overseas customers (no tax)
• That's approx $175 USD
• Plus worldwide shipping
• Available now from Shockcraft
McMara Pick & Mix Self Tune Kits

Riding a Manitou Mara Inline with McMara Pick & Mix Self Tune you'll notice huge changes in feel, speed and confidence. You'll get the right combination of playfulness, poppiness and plantedness, with the shock stable, supportive and sucking up bumps. There is a further choice of Trail, Open or XC platform adjustment with every kit.

Manitou Mara Inline with Pick Mix Self Tune.

The McMara kits include our physics calculator, a shim kit, genuine Manitou piston, paper tuning drawings and digital pictorial instructions for stripping, re-valving, assembling and bleeding the shock.

McMara Self Tune Kit Pricing:

• $345 NZD including NZ tax
• $300 NZD overseas customers (no tax)
• That's approx $175 USD
• Plus worldwide shipping
• Available for order now from Shockcraft, first kits shipping 20th November

Ready Mix Tuned Manitou

For those who want the tuning done for them, we offer brand new Ready Mix tuned Manitou Mara Inline rear shocks and Mezzer Pro & Mattoc Pro forks or dampers. With Ready Mix, Shockcraft does the Picking, Mixing and Install of the tune kits for you.

Ready Mix tuned forks, fork dampers & shocks are ready to ride and we ship worldwide. If you already have a Mezzer, Mattoc Pro, Mara Inline or McLeod we can also install a tune kit with service.

Ready Mix Tuned Manitou Mattoc Pro 2023.
Pick & Mix Tuned Manitou Mezzer Pro.

About Shockcraft

Shockcraft has been providing suspension parts and tuning solutions to riders all over the world for 16 years. We're based in Alexandra, New Zealand, where the Central Otago mountains and schist are an excellent test of suspension and the harsh climate results in stunning scenery and world class riding terrain. Local trails host MTB tourists from around the world and even Crankworx races.

Matangi MTB Park, Alexandra, Central Otago, New Zealand. Photo credit: Ben Gibson.

For more information on Pick & Mix Kits & Ready Mix Tuned Suspension:
Visit Shockcraft

Author Info:
Dougal-SC avatar

Member since Aug 7, 2017
2 articles

  • 102 3
 How to put together a bike that outperforms your rich friend's next 4 bikes over the next 6 years?

Tune that suspension. Learn how to use a spoke tension meter. Get cranks that actually fit you. Perfect your stack height. Replace bearings every couple of suspension services.

If you get your ride truly dialed it won't matter if you spend 6k or 12k, it will ride fantastic.
  • 124 0
 Do some push-ups now and then.
  • 12 0
 @sfarnum: the true secret to speed
  • 35 8
 That's what we keep telling customers. More knobs doesn't get you better suspension. Forget the bling, get suspension that's tuneable, get it tuned and get an excellent set of brakes and tyres.
  • 5 1
 @Dougal-SC: Is it possible a kit for RS and Fox is coming?

Manitou is cool and all but not on most OE bikes, plus option for tuning DH shocks would be sweet.
  • 16 5
 @Roost66: We've got all sorts of things in the works but plans and deadlines always move so I don't spill the beans until they've finished cooking.
  • 3 0
 @sfarnum: Bike set up motivational speakers.

(notice: my bike is clapped lol )
  • 8 0
 @sfarnum: thank you! Push ups and squats, no need for factory suspension and Eagle drivetrains!
  • 4 0
 @Muckal: Elbows and knees are your primary suspension, so that checks out.
  • 4 0
 @sfarnum: Add some plank time to those push ups and it becomes next level riding fitness.
  • 10 0
 @Straight6Rocks: The beauty of a push up is that its also a plank.
  • 1 0
 @sfarnum: and balance that with pulling action like rows. Core strength is hugely beneficial as well. Probably should get some good cross training with a full body resistance program. It's a game changer!
  • 2 0
 @Dougal-SC: Good brakes just slow you down...
  • 3 1
 >Tune that suspension.

Totally, but the primary suspension that you should tune is the more important one, which is your arms and legs. The absolute best upgrade you can do is to get a dirt jumper and spend significant time at dirt jumps and pump tracks to build up strength and bike control.
  • 1 0
 @KickFlipABike: Amen pump tracks are the best training around. Helps coordinate those essential body movements for bike handling with precise timing.
  • 3 4
 @TerrapinBen: Yes, without them you may not die but there will be many times you think you're going to.
  • 2 0
 @TerrapinBen: Brake less. Smile more.
  • 1 0
 @RBalicious: Ok now you’re making it into a hobby on its own.
  • 45 0
 Anybody have any beta on that weird mechanical chain guide in the first picture? Looks like it's branded XT, but I didn't think Shimano made chainguides.
  • 17 0
 Wow that almost looks like some sort of two or maybe three position chain guide. I’m guessing there is a control on the handlebar somewhere?
  • 18 11
 It's a wonderful piece of history that the industry will decide to recycle and present as new in X number of years.
  • 4 1
 @mwvfu: More controls on the handlebar? Won't that just confuse people?
  • 10 6
 @boozed: Like a car with a manual gearbox. They're not for everyone.
  • 5 4
 @Dougal-SC: of course they will, because with those you can run smaller cassettes - they are lighter and decrease the un-suspended mass which improves your suspension performance

btw the rear mechs will be lighter and cheaper too
  • 10 8
 @vhdh666: Plus, more derailleur-ground clearance, greater gear range, better chainlines, simpler/lighter/cheaper cassettes etc etc etc. Maybe they'll call it a "range extender".
  • 2 0
 @Dougal-SC: I think you meant something like "Super range booster"
  • 2 2
 @Dougal-SC: Honestly, shifting up front needs to make a comeback, in the form of a 2 speed hub integrated into the bottom bracket. Would be fairly easy to do with a planetary gearset.
  • 2 3
 @KickFlipABike: Truvativ did that with the Hammerschmidt. Sounds like it could be done better now 1x chainring sizes have settled out.
  • 28 3
 Most people tune to balance climbing and descending, but only Dougal can tune for outright condescending dominance.
  • 8 0
 I got a previous generation Manitou Magnum Comp. Pretty basic fork but without much work a rider can add or remove shims out of the compression stack. Removing one shim out of that form made a world of difference for small bump sensitivity. It's nice that Manitou makes it easy and that Shcokcraft can give guys a good setup without fooling around and dropping shims in the dirt!
  • 11 5
 The 2016 Magnum Comp uses Manitou's ABS+ damper. Manitou publish shim tuning guides with dyno charts and have shim kits for for those. You can revalve them at home, the compression assembly just unscrews out the top.

It's an extraordinary damper that first arrived in 2011 and is still better than almost everything today.
  • 8 0
 While I understand the reasoning for choosing Manitou I also don't think it makes sense personally. All my Manitou products have felt amazing out of the box and required far less tweaking than the other two brands to find a good balance. Yes there's room for improvement but I don't think I could find myself spending money to upgrade them compared to the other stuff I've owned.
  • 9 8
 @skierdud89: We chose Manitou because they're the best out the box and needed the least changes to make them amazing and perform the way we want them to. The other brands need more complicated solutions with more custom parts to behave the same. I'm getting to those but they need a lot more time invested.
  • 11 4
 Gotta give props to Dougal and specifically the way he tunes. I've gone thru multiple tuners (including a US based specialist that most seem to rave about) and Dougal's thoughts on tuning and the feel on trail are on point. Every single item I have gotten tuned from him has done exactly what he said it was going to or has done what I've requested.

The pick and mix kit for the Mezzer turns it into a giant killer. Maybe Pinkbike could test one against the usual bunch of 38's....
  • 13 0
 Mezzers are 37mm. Unrideable without that extra mm!
  • 12 20
flag DougPoup (Nov 14, 2023 at 5:19) (Below Threshold)
 LOL. Another one of Dougal's fake accounts (known salesman technique)... next time you should try making it less obvious.
  • 6 0
 @Andykmn: Maybe Shockcraft can provide a fork wrap to give it that extra mm?
  • 2 0
 @Andykmn: That's what she said!!!
  • 3 0
 It's a giant-killer in stock form IMO. And thats from experience against a Zeb ultimate and a 36 with Grip 2
  • 17 9
 Hit me with any questions.
  • 2 1
 Will these tunes still work for anyone who does not think "short cranks really bring the suck"?
  • 9 5
 @nnowak: Yes they work on Ebikes too.
  • 28 2
 Should I buy bitcoin
  • 2 0
 What's the purpose of the fan in the dyno setup? I can't imagine a noctua can actually mimic trail speed air displacement. Can it?
  • 11 6
 @Mountain2Man: Surprisingly big difference from a small fan. It keeps temps more stable and it's a huge reduction in cool-down. Without it I would often need 10 minutes wait between dyno runs to keep temps at a sane level. With it by the time I've done my data entry it's ready to go again.
  • 9 0
 Do you see things upside down?
  • 12 5
 @29er1: Yes. Back in 2009.
  • 6 0
 Plans for a mara pro version?
  • 10 21
flag DougPoup (Nov 14, 2023 at 4:51) (Below Threshold)
 How much you had to pay Pinkbike to advertise your "tuning" products?
  • 1 0
 ok slightly unrelated but should I be setting air pressures every ride? the ideal gas law tells me yes I should but idk if its normal or what the temp delta that warrants a checking is.
  • 1 0
 What sort of improvement would this give me for a mezzer pro with me weighing 114kg. Does it just give me a more useful adjustment range or any other benefits? Just curious as my mezzer is such a huge improvement of the 36 it replaced
  • 7 7
 @mariomtblt: Every ride is un-necessary unless you've got a leak. Every 2-4 weeks would be more normal if you're riding lots.

@briain: More support on compression and a huge change in rebound. You'll have rebound settings that both track the ground, feel stable and feel playful.
  • 4 14
flag DougPoup (Nov 14, 2023 at 11:36) (Below Threshold)
 @briain: nothing.
  • 4 1
 @mariomtblt: keep in mind the T in PV=nRT is in kelvins (absolute temperature). So yes, it does have an effect but a change from 0C to 30C will only be a 10% different despite covering the vast majority of riding conditions
  • 1 0
 So whats the difference between a kit like this, and say, just changing the shim stacks on a RockShox rear shock to one of the pre-defined stacks according to their tuning guide?
  • 1 0
 @mtmc99: oh yeah good point!
  • 2 1
 @IsaacWislon82: I run very different tuning goals and curve shapes to Rockshox so the feel and ride is distinct.

The Pick & Mix tuning kits also have far more tunes. 7 different compression and rebound tunes (rider gets to pick from the 3 that fit best) plus this one has three different platform/lockout options.
  • 8 2
 Any plans of doing this for Fox or RS products?
  • 7 7
 Yes. We have all sorts of plans, but we don't like to spill the beans until they're ready to serve. Because plans continually change and we don't want people all prematurely excited.

We run the custom tuning and Matrix tuning products (unharsh etc) for those that aren't ready or aren't suitable for DIY tuning kits. Only problem with in house tuning is it's time consuming so we can't get as many out the door.
  • 6 20
flag DougPoup (Nov 14, 2023 at 5:22) (Below Threshold)
 @bikebasher , he is the only one in the all universe that can “tune” these products…
  • 17 5
 @DougPoup: there's a point where your posts got annoying. Spoiler: it was post no. 1
  • 6 0
 Shockcraft rules. Manitou is underrated.
  • 6 5
 I was shocked at the improvement of my shockcraft tuned charger 2.1.

Love to see Shockcraft getting more exposure. People spend too much time debating between what big OEMs make the better fork/splurging for the latest model year suspension when having damping actually setup for your weight and riding style makes all the difference.
  • 3 1
 I would love to get my McLeod tuned. I just don't think I have the know how or tools to do it. I'm guessing shipping it to New Zealand for service may cost so much that it may not make it worth it.
  • 6 6
 @richulr: They're surprisingly small and light to post. Hit up parcelmonkey for shipping quotes.
  • 3 0
 @Dougal-SC: can I pay a little extra and get a Super Rugby T-shirt added in the box?
  • 7 6
 @richulr: lol. Sure. Get one sent to us and we'll pack it in.
  • 2 2
 Is this similar to what Formula offers for their own suspension products where you just replace the damper cartridge or is there something unique to this product? Not sure whether the Formula cartridges allow you to change the rebound damping too. That said, I'm also not aware of anyone doing more to their rebound damping than just twisting the dials available.
  • 1 0
 I've never seen the Formula stuff in person, they don't really exist in NZ. But it appears they're changing out base-valve assemblies.

This is quite different.
On the forks we're changing out base-valve shim stack as as well as mid-valve pistons and compression/rebound shim stacks.
On the McMara shocks there's no base-valve, we're changing out mid-valve pistons and compression/rebound shim stacks.
  • 2 0
 This is awesome! Having run suspension tuned for me before the difference is night and day
  • 2 0
 I barely trust myself to change compression, this is way over my head. Glad it exists though.
  • 3 1
 Looks awesome! I love the idea of a drop in kit.
  • 2 0
 Do you work on Mastodon Comp V2's?
  • 6 6
 Yes we do. Nothing pre-packaged with Pick & Mix at this stage but we tune those too.
  • 11 13
 More imaginary friends! The cottage industry of useless upgrades never stops!

Buy a $1,000 fork, and then somehow somebody convinces you that you need to spend hundreds more to make it work!!!!!!

This one beats most: it basically sells you a set of shims and paper instructions (wow!) for $200!!!!!!!!!! Something you can buy on the web for dimes, and from Manitu for few dollars!!!!!!! Unbelievable.
  • 16 8
 @doduzzi: If you had the skills, knowledge and test equipment needed to do this yourself then you already would have.......... But no-one else has.

Our customers aren't paying for the raw materials. They're paying for the brain smoke (intellectual property) that creates the final product that performs the way it should.
  • 3 12
flag DougPoup (Nov 14, 2023 at 11:37) (Below Threshold)
 @Dougal-SC: LOL.
  • 3 11
flag DougPoup (Nov 14, 2023 at 11:38) (Below Threshold)
 Suckers don't die, they just changing…
  • 1 0
 Interesting that the kit includes a "high flow piston", what's the benefit vs just using smaller shims?
  • 2 1
 The Mezzer/Mattoc uses a high flow modified piston. The bigger ports reduce the uncontrolled quadratic damping you get from the ports and give more damping control to the shim stacks.
  • 1 0
 @Dougal-SC any plans to release a Pick & Mix kit for Mara Pro?
  • 1 1
 Not at the moment.
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