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Tune Your Own Suspension - Shockcraft Pick & Mix Self Tune Kits

Nov 12, 2023 at 18:37
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.


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

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.

Custom tuning is an overused and misunderstood term in the industry with many "custom tunes" matching the customer to one of only 3 or 4 possible tunes. Real custom tuning requires a lot of time and cost to match the result to the customer's exact needs.

Pick & Mix can deliver 80% of a real custom tune fit from a matrix of 7 fork or shock tunes. It gives a result over twice as accurate as other "custom tunes" without the cost, delay or having to post parts to us internationally.

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".

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 Need 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.

Why Did We Start with Manitou Suspension?

The Mezzer & new Mattoc forks are best in class forks featuring the best platforms for tuning to different riders. They have the best chassis stiffness/weight, the most tuneable air-springs and the best dampers, which require the fewest modifications (only piston machining and shims) to achieve amazing results. Other brands and models require a more involved and expensive parts kit to achieve the same performance. So we'll get to those at a later date. We chose the McLeod and Mara Inline shocks for the same reasons. They are light, tough, punch well above their weight and being inline shocks, have no fitment issues. They can be rebuilt at home and are the perfect air shocks for 90-95% of the mountainbike trails worldwide.

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.

It makes the already Best in Class forks phenomenal for all. 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 2023

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.

Customer Feedback

Rider feedback on the first Pick & Mix tune kits released for the Manitou Mezzer Pro & Mattoc Pro has been overwhelmingly positive. A small sampling:

bigquotesAs a lighter rider (60kg) I've had to choose between grip and support on previous forks; run it soft enough to generate traction on our slippery loose-over-hard surfaces and blow through the travel as soon as things get rowdy or dial in the support and deal with Bambi-on-ice lack of traction and rattling eyeballs in fast chunk.

Shockcraft's Pick-and-Mix tune did away with that for me and now I have traction AND support. Additional benefits include less hand fatigue and no more eyeball-rattle in fast chunder which has been amazing. The suggested settings got me 90% of the way to where I wanted to be and it was quick work to dial in the settings further. Turnaround was quick, communication was good and I have no hesitation recommending Shockcraft's work!
Galen, California, Riding Ready Mix Tuned Mattoc Pro 2023
This was the goldilocks moment for me. Same trails, even faster and got no hand pain. The way the fork was able to deal with chunk and remain composed was a highlight. The bike held a line whereas previously (on standard fork) I would get deflected and/or would have to manage my speed much more. The compression and rebound damping are now well matched and the fork was starting to disappear beneath me which allowed me to focus on looking ahead and picking lines. Braking into corners over sharp edge repeated hits, the fork is tracking better and is extending quickly enough in a controlled manner that grip is much improved too.

It really turns the Mezzer into something special. 100% noticeable positive improvement. Surprised me how much difference this has actually made!
Robert, Australia, Riding Pick & Mix Self Tuned Mezzer Pro
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 plus Ready Mix Tunes:
Visit Shockcraft

Author Info:
Dougal-SC avatar

Member since Aug 7, 2017
2 articles


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