Review: Can Manitou's Mezzer Pro Fork Compete With the Best?

Oct 2, 2019 at 20:00
by Mike Kazimer  
Manitou Mezzer review


For the past five years there's been a hole in Manitou's lineup, a space in between the Mattoc trail fork and the Dorado inverted DH fork. The recently released Mezzer is the missing puzzle piece, and with 37mm stanchions and up to 180mm of travel it's aimed at the enduro / big mountain riders out there.

Suspension tinkerers will be happy to see that the air-sprung fork has adjustable high- and low-speed compression damping, and also features Manitou's Infinite Rate Tune (IRT) design, which allows the fork's mid- and end-stroke feel to be adjusted separately from the beginning stroke.

Available with either 37 or 44mm of offset for 27.5" wheels, and 44 or 51mm of offset for 29" wheels, the Mezzer Pro is priced at $999 USD.

Manitou Mezzer Pro Details

• Air-sprung
• Wheel size: 29" or 27.5" options
• Adjustments: High- and low-speed compression, rebound, Infinite Rate Tune
• Travel: 160, 170, 180mm
• Offsets: 37mm, 44mm (27.5"); 44mm, 51mm (29")
• 37mm stanchions
• Weight: 2,030 grams (29", 160mm)
• Price: $999 USD
www.manitoumtb.com


Manitou Mezzer review


Chassis Details

According to Manitou, the Mezzer is 28% stiffer than the competition, thanks in part to those 37mm stanchions. Now, stiffer doesn't always mean better, but it's a bullet point that's worth mentioning. Manitou's signature reverse-arch is in place, a design that allows for weight savings due to the lower arch height compared to forks with the arch in the front, while also protecting the fork seals from the mud and grit that's flung up by the front tire. On the topic of flying mud, the Mezzer includes a bolt-on fender that attaches to the backside of the arch. I wouldn't mind if the plastic was a little less flexible to prevent any noise, but it does the trick.

Previously, the brake line routing on Manitou's reverse arch forks looked a little odd – the housing ran along the back of the fork, and added to the 'Your fork is on backward' aesthetic. That's been sorted out on the Mezzer, and there's a cable guide on the front that orients the brake housing in a more typical manner. However, if you really want to run the housing the old way, that's still an option.


Manitou Mezzer review
Manitou Mezzer review
High- and low-speed compression are adjusted on the top of the right leg, and the low-speed rebound is adjusted at the bottom.


Adjustments

The Mezzer uses the same air spring that's found in the Dorado downhill fork, along with Manitou's Infinite Rate Tune (IRT) system. IRT is a secondary air chamber that allows the fork's mid-stroke to be adjusted independently of the beginning stroke. It can take a little experimentation to find the right balance, but Manitou's setup guide is a good place to start. The IRT chamber air pressure is set first, and then the main air chamber is inflated via the valve at the bottom of the fork leg.

The Mezzer doesn't use a volume spacer system to adjust the amount of bottom-out resistance, but that can be tuned to some extent via the IRT chamber, and on top of that there's a hydraulic bottom-out feature, a separate damping circuit that controls that last bit of travel to prevent any harshness at the end of the stroke.

Compression and rebound duties are taken care of in the right side of the fork, where a bladder-style sealed cartridge damper resides. High- and low-speed compression are adjusted externally via dials on the top of the fork, and low-speed rebound damping is adjusted at the bottom of the fork by turning the blue knob. There are 11 clicks of LSC adjustment, 5 clicks of HSC, and 10 clicks of rebound.

Changing the travel of a Fox or RockShox fork typically requires purchasing a new air shaft, but that's not the case with the Mezzer. Instead, plastic spacers are added to the air shaft to reduce the travel. That does require disassembling the fork, but if you're careful it's a procedure that can be done without any oil loss.


Manitou Mezzer review


Setup

These days, the vast majority of bikes that arrive for review are equipped with RockShox or Fox suspension, and I've become adept at getting them dialed in within a ride or two. That process took a little longer with the Mezzer, and I tried multiple air pressure settings before deciding on 56 psi in the main chamber and 84 in the IRT chamber for my 160 lb weight. Those numbers are very close to what Manitou recommends; the only difference is that I ran a little more pressure in the main chamber in order to achieve the ride height I was looking for.

As far as compression settings go, I ran a fairly open setup, with LSC set at 8 clicks from closed (3 from open), and HSC 4 clicks from closed (1 from open). I found that the low-speed dial didn't have nearly as much of an affect as the high-speed compression dial, and while the difference between the HSC clicks is very noticeable, even at slower shaft speeds, the low-speed dial didn't make a drastic change in the ride feel no matter where it was set, at least in regards to the setup I was running. Adding more high-speed compression would have made it possible to have slightly more low speed compression available, but during testing I was typically looking for lighter, not firmer, compression settings.


Manitou Mezzer review
The Mezzer uses Manitou's Hexlock 15mm thru-axle.
Manitou Mezzer review
The integrated fender is a nice touch, but the plastic could be a bit stiffer to keep it from rattling on rougher trails.


Performance

I've found that back-to-back testing is one of the most effective ways to suss out a fork's strengths and weaknesses. Otherwise, you start to forget how the other fork felt, and are less likely to pick up on the differences. With the Mezzer, I chose to pit it against a 160mm RockShox Lyrik RC2 after I'd put in plenty of ride time on my home trails to find my base settings.

The Whistler Bike Park served as the testing ground, where I took laps on the Mezzer, switched over to the Lyrik, and then back to the Mezzer on multiple occasions. In the parking lot both forks feel nice and sensitive off the top, but on the trail the Lyrik felt more comfortable, with a more supple, ground-hugging feel, especially on the multiple root-choked sections of trails like Miss Fire and BC's. In addition, the Mezzer didn't seem to deliver as much grip, and it occasionally felt unsettled when I went through a chattery section of trail - say, a section of braking bumps on a moderately steep pitch. In that scenario it felt slightly harsh, and it wasn't able to make the bumps disappear in the same way that the Lyrik was.

Despite my best efforts, I just couldn't achieve a setup that gave me the floaty smoothness that I look for in a high-end fork. I experimented with different air pressures in the main and IRT chambers, and running the LSC and HSC all the way open, but no matter what I did the fork never felt like it was on the same level as a Lyrik or 36 when it comes to compliance and overall comfort, especially on rough, high speed sections of trail.

The Mezzer does deliver plenty of mid-stroke support, which comes in handy when there are multiple big impacts in a row, or in extra-steep terrain - in those instances it did a commendable job of staying in the sweet spot of its travel and not diving too deeply. The IRT feature is going to be especially useful for hard chargers or bigger riders who typically need to run higher pressures in their forks, since it allows for a softer beginning stroke than what would usually be possible with a single-chamber fork.

The hydraulic bottom-out feature worked as claimed, too, and there wasn't any harshness or disconcerting noises even when landing off of sizeable drops. As far as stiffness goes, I can't say I noticed a drastic difference between the Mezzer and a Lyrik, or a 36 for that matter, but I'm also not currently in the running for the World's Strongest Man title. All the same, it has a reassuringly stout feel, and there wasn't any unwanted twisting or vagueness in rough terrain or during hard cornering.


Issues

Partway through testing the Mezzer developed what I would call excessive bushing play. It wasn't always noticeable, but occasionally on sections of trail where the front end was partially unweighted I could feel unwanted vibrations. It's a sensation similar to riding with a loose headset – when it happens you instantly get the feeling that something's not quite right, and it's not something that should happen to a relatively new fork.


Pros

+ Adjustable mid-stroke feature allows for high level of customization
+ Hydraulic bottom out feature works well


Cons

- Bushing play
- Limited low-speed compression adjustment range
- Overall damper feel isn't quite at the same level as competitors'



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesI wholeheartedly wanted to see the Mezzer step into the ring and hold its own against the heavyweights, but unfortunately it's just not quite there yet. It's close, but with a price that's nearly identical to a Lyrik or a 36, it needs to deliver performance that's at least on par with those two benchmarks before I can give it two thumbs up.  Mike Kazimer







308 Comments

  • 176 2
 "I found that the low-speed dial didn't have nearly as much of an affect as the high-speed compression dial, and while the difference between the HSC clicks is very noticeable, even at slower shaft speeds, the low-speed dial didn't make a drastic change in the ride feel no matter where it was set."

Light shim stacks need to be stiffened (via HSC knob) in order to make the LSC adjuster to have an effect, otherwise you close the low speed circuit but the oil flows through the piston.
Manitou made a setup guide, you could have just followed it and this "issue" wouldn't have existed.
On the guide they raise both knobs proportionally for a good reason.

Bushing play isn't acceptable.
  • 25 0
 Here speaks a wise man.
  • 13 3
 Didn't Mike say he started with the setup guide and it was pretty close to his final adjustments?
  • 59 0
 @Rubberelli: "As far as compression settings go, I ran a fairly open setup, with LSC set at 8 clicks from closed (3 from open), and HSC 4 clicks from closed (1 from open)"

From this starting point, if you want more LSC you need to add HSC as well or it won't have effect.
He said that HSC had more effect than LSC even at low speed compressions, that's not because HSC control low speed (is not possible) but because previously added LSC clicks begin to work.
He used compression knobs like you do on a lyrik, this is not a lyrik.
  • 27 0
 Ditto bruh.

Came here to echo what Steve gave us in that Tuesday tune video that I still hear every time I start tinkering... “The more HSC you have, the more LSC you can get.”
  • 2 0
 @pharmkid85: came here to write this. Exactly. Thanks Steve.
  • 41 11
 @DavideBalbo, that line was included to alert other riders about how the fork works. I'd imagine that many riders are used to having a wider range of low speed compression settings than what the Mezzer offers.

As I mentioned, I followed the setup guide, and even my HSC / LSC settings are within the range that Manitou recommends for a DH-oriented setup. Despite that, the fork still felt harsher than I wanted - adding more compression wouldn't have helped that.
  • 15 0
 @mikekazimer: I suspect riding the main chamber at the recommended pressure, which you stated you went higher for support, and then running more compression, so the knobs could do their job better, would have yielded the same support but given you a slightly better small bump compliance.

It's likely your mindset is more familiar with the RS and Fox way of doing things and this fork requires a slight change in mindset to set it up.
  • 9 0
 @mikekazimer: Don't always assume more compression=more harsh. You can experience harshness from too little compression damping as well. You don't know until you try
  • 6 5
 @mikekazimer: or you could just own that you didn't quite follow the recommended set up guide. Wouldn't hurt.
  • 16 7
 @johnnyc and @SonofBovril, believe me, I tried multiple settings; what I listed are the numbers that I found worked best for me and the terrain I was riding after plenty of experimentation.

And @brappjuice, I did follow the set up guide, and then adjusted my settings ever so slightly. Recommended settings are just that - recommendations. A 2 psi difference in the main air chamber isn't going to radically change the overall feel.

Also, the bushing play was a bigger issue for me than any air or compression settings.
  • 7 4
 @mikekazimer: 2psi difference can make a world of change. Trust me.. That's what Loris told me and I believe him. Loris knows. Loris knows like winter snows.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: 2psi in Manitou with IRT is like 10 in RS fork.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Cool, good to hear
  • 5 1
 @mikekazimer: 2psi in the Mezzer is a considerable change, that was about a 3-4% difference in ride height in mine. 2 PSI in the IRT will be indistinguishable, but the main chamber is really sensitive to air pressure fluctuations.
  • 3 1
 @shinook: I dont think thats a good thing though. Your comment just sealed up that I wont be buying this fork I think
  • 4 3
 @mikekazimer: Manitou uses a setup where the oil goes through both the high speed shim stack and the low speed needle/ball bearing/whatever they use on the Mezzer.

There is a lot of adjustment crossover with this design. That isn't really the problem though. The problem is there is just too much high speed damping like my Magnum. There is a company in New Zealand that sells modified pistons with more holes to let more oil through the high speed shim stack. Oddly, Manitou still has not employed this as stock.

You can modify the shim stack and damping curve all you want- you can even use lighter weight oil- and it will still be too harsh. My SID WC is still way more forgiving than my Magnum. SIDs aren't very plush, so Manitou is still way out of the ball park on this front.

You could fix this problem with a Dremel...
  • 20 5
 @mikekazimer: Saying 2psi doesn't make a radical difference shows you didn't try very hard, or don't know how to set up a Manitou fork, because it actually does. I can tell just by looking at your final settings that you are over sprung and under damped. I also find it odd that you say the LSC adjustment does very little, the run it open because closing it "makes it harsh". Odd.

There is a review on bike radar that came out today, from a guy who took the time to set up the fork properly. People can check it out if they care enough.
  • 3 1
 @R-trailking-S:

The shockcraft piston that you are talking about for the mattoc/magnum series is a rebound piston, not a compression piston.
  • 33 25
 @mullen119, I think we have different definitions of the term 'radical.' I'm done debating my settings on this fork - I'm confident in my findings and stand by them.
  • 1 0
 @mullen119: they make both
  • 2 0
 @R-trailking-S: they only make one. Its the compression flow ports on the rebound piston.
  • 16 0
 @mikekazimer: I believe you tried to set the fork up as well as you could. It's a negative for this fork if experienced people like you can't find the optimal settings. This has always been a downside for most people with Manitou forks: they are a tinkerers' fork. Fine-tuning does result in great results usually though, and this does not seem to be the case here.

However, I don't believe the underwhelming performance can be (totally) attributed to setup though. I highly suspect that the fork was run dry from factory (as happens too often when reading riders feedback). If this is the case, it's absolutely Manitou's fault and it should be reflected in the ratings.
If you still have the fork at your disposal, would you be prepared to check the grease and oil levels and, if they aren't as they should be, do a short retest? This would be very useful for potential buyers and I would highly appreciate the effort!
  • 1 1
 @mullen119: 70/100psi for 75kg is properly setted fork? Smile
  • 3 0
 @nikolai: If 70/100 gives the rider the spring rate that makes them happy in beginning, mid, and ending stroke support....then yes. He seemed happy with the results, even though it took time to get there.
  • 1 0
 @mullen119: ask them and they will get you one/modify yours. Shockcrafts mtbr account said they do in the forums. It isn't listed anywhere.
  • 1 0
 @mirskeinereingefalln: Why is that a bad thing?

I don't really think it's good or bad, it just is what it is. If you are worried about temperature fluctuations, my experience so far has been that 20-30 degree (f) temp fluctuations don't impact the pressure in the main chamber considerably or any more than any other fork.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: Once again, a 2-3 psi shift in my main setting increased the ride height by about 4-5%. That's significant. Try changing the pressure in your Lyrik, or any other fork for that matter, so it runs 5% lower or higher and tell me it isn't a considerable difference in feel (it is).
  • 1 0
 OK, but what if you don't want a lot of high HSC? Also how do you know he didn't try a variety of settings? He even made clear that he started with manufacturers recommended set up.
  • 1 0
 @johnnyc: I'm going to have to disagree with you there. For me HSC = harsh every time.
  • 7 10
 @Mac1987:

First of all, Mike knows as much or more than the average PB user, so if he can't find the love then I suspect it would be the same for rest of us.

Second, is it reasonable to expect that a consumer will tear down a brand new $1000 USD fork? Does it make sense that Manitou sent a crap fork to be reviewed that wasn't ready for prime time?

So yeah, pretty much the fork sucks unless Manitou can make it right. It's not Mike's job to assess why a fork sucks.

Hey Mike, would you give the Messer a second shot if Manitou found the shock to be defective?
  • 24 4
 @nurseben: you are right, customers shouldn't need to tear down a fork and check oil, grease or have bushing play from new, that's something i can't accept. The fork must be reviewed as it is, because this condition applies to most amateurs.

You are not right about the fork, the Mezzer is an awesome suspension, i'm using it since june and still can't believe how good it is.
Someone could prefer the Lyrik behaviour and i'm not going to question that, or the Mezzer sent to PB could be bone dry (Manitou's fault anyway), this won't change my opinion. There are other reviews describing the mezzer as an awesome fork, i think personal preferences come in play in this situations.

I can't accept lack of basic suspension knowledge, hydraulics in this case, from someone who has the power to make or destroy the commercial success of a product.
  • 1 0
 @DavideBalbo: if Andrew Major said it was fantastic.. there should be something odd going on...
  • 4 1
 @DavideBalbo: +1 for that
"I can't accept lack of basic suspension knowledge, hydraulics in this case, from someone who has the power to make or destroy the commercial success of a product."
  • 1 2
 @mullen119:
So all those "you are oversprung and underdamped" is a lie then.
  • 2 2
 Regardless of how well it performs when tuned correctly, this is a huge miss for Manitou. We all wanted this fork to succeed, but it doesn't appear to. The real miss is the finicky tuning- bike brands won't want to spec this OEM if it requires such a sensitive setup. People would buy a bike with it on, not tune it right, get mediocre performance, and blame it on the bike instead of the setup of the front suspension. That is the real problem with this fork.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: You could say the same thing about DVO and the high end Fox products, all of which have similar adjustments. The setup for those forks isn't that much more complicated or is arguably very similar, although the tuning guide that DVO provides is a lot more intuitive for folks not familiar with suspension setup. Instead of providing a singular range, they provide a wider range of options for varying weights: the settings are graphed based on weight, then whether the rider wants a soft or firm feel.

They do the same thing with HSC, LSC, and LSR based on air pressure, rider weight, and desired feel. I think Manitou could do a better job here, particularly with the rebound settings, but I felt setup wasn't overly complicated compared to other high end forks I've had.
  • 1 0
 @shinook: I haven't ridden this fork, so I'm not commenting from experience. However, every single review I've read, both positive and negative, mention the increased difficulty of setting up this fork over the competition.
  • 4 1
 @nurseben: I would go a step further on this. If they dont bother to do a quality check on a fork they know is going out for review, then Im forced to expect that they wont do quality check on anything going out the door.
  • 7 0
 @mtmc99: Tell that to Fox when they delivered my Fox 34 with way too much grease in the negative chamber (ruining small bump compliance) and Rockshox when they delivered the Recon completely dry. There doesn't seem to be a single company out there that consistently delivers suspension with the proper amount of grease and oil and correct torque values on all fasteners. Unfortunately, we are therefore forced to do a quick checkup on brand new products.
Manitou isn't different in this, except that they aren't clever enough to triple check forks going to professional reviewers. Also, Fox would have sent an engineer to fix the fork and help achieve the optimal setup after receiving the preliminary results. Does that make the Fox fork we receive any better though? I accept that i have to check new products for grease and oil levels and can then buy a (subjectively) better fork for (usually) a lot less money. I've ridden Fox, Rockshox, X-Fusion and Manitou and my Mattoc with IRT is the best of the bunch. I haven't ridden a new 36 or Lyrik though.
  • 3 0
 @Mac1987: It is disappointing that any of the companies would do this. Especially with the amount of money we spend on these items. It was a bit unfair for me to single them out.
  • 3 0
 @mtmc99: It's surprising when a double checked/tuned bike or part is not sent for a public review in the press. Common bike tricks are swapping out 6 series components for 7 series but keeping the same graphics, saves weight, as does accidentally upgrading tyres or getting custom lighter saddles that look stock. Cables are also often upgraded from the basic OE spec. A sly product manager can save close to 1 kg on a full bike weight with invisible tuning. It's more common than you might think.
  • 2 1
 @Mac1987: You are assuming that there was improper grease/ oil in this fork. If there was, then when Mike called them to ask about what he was feeling in the fork, they could not offer a solution. So, what hope would there be for any consumer to know what to do with the fork?
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: alright alright-that's a very fair. Chapeau my good man
  • 3 0
 @Rubberelli: Check it yourself or take it to a proper mechanic. This sport is already expensive. Learn to do simple maintenance yourself and save a lot of money.
Also: just ask other riders for help on PB, MTBR, etc.
If you find this all to complex: buy a Yari RC with the basic damper and take it to the dealer ones a year.
  • 3 0
 @Mac1987: How many people and/or "proper mechanics" actually understand the complexities of a mechanical product better than the manufacturer of that product?
  • 2 0
 @Rubberelli: a lot of them
  • 5 0
 @Rubberelli: The engineers usually know better. The sales and support staff: it depends...
But you don't have to better understand a fork than the engineers that designed it to drop the lowers and check grease and oil.
I don't better understand my VW Golf than the German engineers that designed it, but I can check whether they filled the engine oil to the right level just fine.
  • 2 4
 Long and short of it is Mike wasn't able to find a damping setting to his liking despite spending time and being experienced. He also alerts us the the potential issue of bushing play, and gives a head to head comparison with a competitor, a thorough and valuable review in my book
  • 1 0
 @Elbandidoo: Agreed, but it would be even more valuable if it also showed how a good sample (no bushing play and properly greased) would perform. Now we know 2 things:
- There are bad samples (we already knew that, but thanks for the warning)
- Bad samples perform below good samples of competing brands (less valuable information)
  • 2 1
 @Mac1987: your VW has a dipstick indicating this is something that needs to be checked regularly (like chain lube). A more appropriate comparison would be your VW's differential or rear gearbox. Do you really take that apart when you buy a car new to see if it has proper oil because your Golf doesn't corner as well as your buddy's BMW? Or do you just assume that the BMW is a better handling car to begin with?
  • 3 2
 @Rubberelli: Dropping the lowers takes 5 minutes. Can you take apart a differential in less than 10 minutes?
Also, bad small bump compliance can easily be attributed to a dry fork. The same cannot be said of bad cornering and a dry differential. Sorry to say, but it's a bad comparison.
I agree it takes some basic knowledge of suspension forks. On the other hand: who should spend $1,000 on a fork with HSC+LSC+LSR+IRT when lacking basic suspension knowledge? They are better off with a fork with only LSC and LSR. You can't screw settings if they aren't there.
  • 8 1
 @mikekazimer: You say the fork felt harsher than you wanted. But you appear to have based your setup pressures solely on ride height!

This is weird. I weigh the same as you but run 20 and 30psi less pressure and more LSC damping. This lets the fork move quickly over rocks and roots while providing stability.

I suspect your bizarre setup is driven by your time on Lyrik RC2. The Lyrik has no usable LSC and little HSC so relies hugely on air pressure for support. So you setup a different fork the same way and got an underwhelming result.
  • 2 0
 @johnnyc: In this case he is running 20 and 30psi more air pressure than I run at the same weight. That's the cause of the harshness.

He should be running more LSC also.
  • 3 0
 @R-trailking-S: I'm that guy in NZ making high flow pistons. The Magnum you have was intended to be a plus fork and runs a firmer compression stack than the Mattoc. You can remove the extra shim (8mm ID large diameter, easy to find in the stack) and get back to stock Mattoc setup.

The Magnum with plus tyres was expected to run lower compression speeds due to the fatter and lower pressure tyres blunting more trail impacts. With lower speeds it needs more damping to get the same control and stop bouncing around. As plus sizing pretty much died and everyone installed normal size tyres the need for more damping disappeared.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: I'm also confident in my settings and they're the opposite of yours.

Next time you get on a Mezzer, run it at 35/55psi and close LSC. Then go hunt roots at speed.

Yes, seriously. The complete opposite of your review settings. Less spring, more damping.
  • 2 0
 @R-trailking-S: It's the same piston that works in mid-valve compression and rebound. The high-flow changes were on mid-valve compression.

But with a magnum you've gotta take out the extra compression shims if you're not on plus tyres. I need to do a write up on that.
  • 1 0
 @Mac1987: I would say most differentials are quite easy to open up, stick a finger in and check for oil. Much easier than some forks I've dropped the lowers on. And yes, since the differential controls the rotation of each rear wheel to increase cornering grip, a dry grinding one would have huge negative effect on cornering.
  • 1 0
 @Rubberelli: it's easy to check, but can you fix a dry differential in 5 minutes? You can with a dry fork.
Also, differentials aren't usually dry from factory. Bad cornering is therefore not usually attributed to a dry differential, even if in the unlikely event of a dry differential, the cornering would be screwed like you said.

Unfortunately, suspension companies all seem to screw up QA/QC and dry or overfilled and overgreased forks are to be expected.
Car companies that deliver their cars in the same way would go bankrupt within a year.
  • 1 1
 @Mac1987: perhaps suspension companies don't go bankrupt within a year because of consumers like you, who are willing to service their brand new fork out of the box, unlike car buyers. If it comes dry, return it. If Manitou doesn't make any money on these forks, perhaps they will start putting them together correctly in the first place (and remember, it is the Manitou defenders saying Manitou doesn't properly assemble their products, while Mike is saying the fork is properly assembled but just not as good as the new Lyrik and 36).
  • 2 0
 @Rubberelli: he said it has bushing play, he didn't say anything about assembly. Bushing play speaks for itself: bad assembly.
  • 7 0
 @DavideBalbo: bushing play isn't from bad assembly, its a manufacturing issue. In most cases, bushings get installed in castings that are machined slightly out of round. The bushings initially hold correct tolerance and end up passing inspection, but after a little ride time and side loads, they seat with the improper machining and the issue surfaces. This is the case for both tight and loose bushings, with the difference being how the slightly ovalized machining sits in the casting. The difference in correct bushing tolerance and knock/binding is around .02 - .03mm out of spec, so it doesn't take much of a machining error to cause an issue.

Not trying to defend Manitou on the issue, or any manufacturer. Just explaining what happens in most bushing issues
  • 1 0
 wise words man
  • 1 0
 @DavideBalbo: umm... that is exactly what I said. Mike said nothing about assembly of the fork. Manitou defenders are saying that they do not assemble them correctly and you must first give them a service yourself before riding.
  • 2 0
 @Rubberelli: You don't have to, but the described behavior is consistent with a lack of grease. This is unfortunately a real possibility, so it's worth checking. Mike is right in his judgment. However, to get a clear picture of the performance one can expect when the fork is functioning properly, it would be beneficial for us if Mike checked the fork and greased it.
The fact that Manitou didn't suggest this is their fault, but not checking the fork limits the use of the review for me.
  • 95 10
 This review is pretty my contrary to all of my experiences with this fork over the last two months. For comparison, I have pretty extensive experience in the last year and a half with forks from MRP, DVO, Cane Creek, and Fox (incl the GRIP2), having owned them for at least 3-4 months each.

Compared to the other forks I've tried, I've found the Mezzer to be more compliant and to track better than any of the others I've ridden recently, including the GRIP2. I was able to push into lines I otherwise hadn't tried or been able to because the fork helped my bike (Transition Sentinel, so I'm running it at 160) hold a line better and remain planted. I found both the GRIP2 and the Helm to have a somewhat similar feel to each other, that being fairly firmly damped as opposed to the Mezzer (and DVO for that matter). I definitely felt that the Mezzer provided more traction and a more planted feel compared to my time on the GRIP2, so I'm not sure where the discrepancy is there.

IMO the difference in feel will be based mainly on what you are looking for, if you wanted that firmer, racier feel then the GRIP2 is more likely to provide that (the damper adjustments on the GRIP2 seem to have a wider range, also), but if you want a more compliant ride then the Mezzer is a better option. The difference being that you can firm up the Mezzer to have that firmer feeling like the GRIP2, but you can't really adjust the GRIP2 to be as compliant as the Mezzer. I've put others on my bike who were on other forks (mainly the 36) and set the Mezzer up for them, they all noted the same impressions on the short rides they had.

Personally, I haven't been as blown away by the GRIP2 as the reviews I've read. It was a nice feeling fork for sure, but not as mind blowing as the experiences I've read about online.

I also found the pressures recommended by Manitou were off by a few PSI, but that could be written off as variations in shock pump readouts, as the main chamber is fairly sensitive to air pressure changes (2-3 psi can make a big difference in ride height). I ran ~2psi higher in the main and 5 higher in the IRT compared to what they recommended (215lb rider).

The bushing slop is, unfortunately, an issue. It seems to go away when the fork is compressed into the bushings slightly beyond top out, but it is there, although I can't say I've really felt it riding. I've had the same issues with some other forks, which doesn't excuse it, but it hasn't been an issue for me yet.

Another added benefit of the Mezzer for end users is the ability to rebuild it or work on it fairly easily as the end user and deal with Manitou customer support, which has been great for me so far. Compared to SRAM/RS, whose support for end users is non-existent, it's a lot easier to get help if you have an issue or question by calling Hayes/Manitou directly.
  • 21 2
 Great comments on this fork, I appreciate the detail.

However SRAM/RS publishes all their technical manuals? I love that level of support for the home mechanic. I'm confused as to why you think they don't offer the same level of support? Full rebuild kits can be purchased from different distributors as well.
  • 8 3
 @dpfeiff12: SRAM/RS want you to go to a dealer (bike shop) rather than deal with them directly.
  • 4 0
 Calling HBG directly was an option in Germany some years ago, but now you have to ask via Merida-Centurion here, and they are a PITA.
SRAM has all manuals and technical sheets online, FOX most of them. HBG Manitou...? Some stone old crap about Evolvers etc.
  • 4 2
 @dpfeiff12: I meant in terms of warranty and questions. You can’t call SRAM directly and warranty a product or ask questions, it has to go through a shop or dealer.

That could be a good thing or a bad thing, some shops are good and others aren’t. I’ve had shops say issues with suspension weren’t a problem despite them definitely being one and refuse warranty service. I prefer to cut out the middle man and deal with it myself.
  • 12 0
 Actually, as a follow-on.

@mikekazimer did you reach out to Manitou to ask about the bushing issues? Typically you have a response from the manufacturer when there is an issue that appears to be a defect, but that wasn't in this review, so I'm curious if something is being done to rectify it or if it was an issue with early runs of the fork.
  • 8 2
 Give the new 2020 lyrik ultimate a try. It's my favorite fork by a long shot.
  • 14 3
 Is it bushing play or negative spring slop? Enough oil in the lowers? Dry bushings or oil dependent? Did you try sizing them? What was the response, this is a worthless review. Every product has failures, but I want to know how the company handled it.
  • 3 0
 @kmg0: It's definitely bushing slop, if you put your fingers around the wiper seal and rock it back/forth, you can feel them move. It's not from the negative spring.

I've been meaning to call Hayes and ask what the plan is for addressing it, but it's been a non-issue riding it since it goes away within the first few mm of compression. I've had forks from Fox and DVO do the same thing, the tolerance on bushings is really narrow, too tight and the fork will bind and be harsh, too loose and you get slop. If they are really loose, they can also bind and create harshness, but it doesn't seem to be that bad on my fork.

I replace bath oil and grease air springs on every fork when I get them in, there was sufficient bath oil in the lowers of mine from the factory and I put the specified amount back in. I've also used thicker/stickier oils like Supergliss to lubricate them, same issue. I expect it's a defect in early forks and hope it'll be resolved, but it was disappointing to not see any info on whether or not Manitou was contacted and asked about the issue.
  • 20 1
 @kmg0 and @shinook, I contacted Manitou to let them know what I was experiencing in regards to the bushing play, but they didn't offer up a solution or a response to include in the review. I'll update the article if that changes.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: Right on. I look forward to hearing if they reply.
  • 8 1
 @mikekazimer: Well if that is true it sure does not speak well of whomever is in charge at Manitou. I sometimes wonder if the Mountain Bike industry is run by kids because customer service and dealing with messaging on the internet is so poorly handled, sometimes even by the big brands.
  • 2 0
 That’s a lot of words! And very helpful ones at that.
  • 2 1
 @Xorrox: So true. It’s like all the money goes into R&D and they don’t have any left over for management and customer service!!
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Wooord. Sorry that was a little harshly worded, ha ha, don't mean to be an internet dick.
  • 3 1
 @DirtbagMatt: Haha, this does not work like this, money never goes to R&D, money goes to CEOs, presidents, stakeholders, managers etc.
  • 3 1
 @lkubica: More like they usually are all in massive debt to operate and are running skeleton crews top to bottom. Hayes isn't in the greatest position but they have some key brands that probably are keeping them solvent.
  • 2 1
 @Xorrox: kids would actually be better than olds. Today's kids want to communicate. It's the established stuck-in-their-ways bike guys put on their blinders and ignore.
  • 1 0
 I get the feeling Mike received a lemon. Unfortunately, this seems to be the Achilles heel of Manitou: production consistency and or QA/QC. People that received a proper functioning fork seem to rave about it. Would be nice to know how a good sample would have performed, especially when properly tuned.
  • 1 0
 @shinook what do you mean by compliant? Is that a description of the dampening characteristics like how it handles successive square edge hits, small bump sensitivity, ride height, or bottom out resistance? What do you mean exactly? More traction and a planted feel can be achieved with tire choice, rear shock setup and many other variables. Can you elaborate?
  • 11 8
 Everyone just needs to take a breath here. @mikekazimer has ridden evry top fork on the market for weeks on end and you haven't. Manitou gave him the fork, so it is unlikely they didnt make sure it worked right before shipping. Mike talked directly to Manitou about how it was feeling and about the bushing play. Manitou did not make any recommendations that alleviated the shortcomings, nor did they recommend service or ship a replacement (a lemon). It is quite possible the fork you spent $1k on is not the very best on the market now. Or it is also possoble Mike rides a bike different than you do and you dont have the same takeaways. But, either way as Mike pointed out, you have bought yourself a fine fork so go enjoy it.
  • 5 2
 @Rubberelli: "has ridden evry top fork on the market for weeks on end and you haven't."

The dent in my bank account for the last year and half disagrees, but feel free to continue telling me what I have and haven't ridden.
  • 4 0
 @Jodaro: I have run the fork with the same tires I ran my previous 4 or 5 forks (I switched to WTB tires about 9 months ago), so everything else is the same for the most part.

By compliant I mean that it tracks very well, rather than the front end bouncing around or skipping through the trail, it absorbs the impacts as opposed to transmitting them to the rider or through the rest of the bike. I guess that one common way of saying this is that the small bump compliance is very good. There are sections of trail where I was able to line up for certain corners with much more ease and without the front of the bike bouncing around as much.

For faster riders or terrain, the difference may be more negligible, firmly damped forks like the GRIP2 and Helm will tend to skip over small features rather than absorb them, but I still feel like the Mezzer tracks better in these circumstances than the other forks I've run (the DVO Diamond is arguably a bit of a similar feel).

I noticed on sequential larger features (e.g. stairs, multiple roots) it has a similar effect, it's less of a harsh spiking feel as it compresses and reaches the end of the stroke.

Does that clarify it some?
  • 4 2
 @shinook: why in the world have you bought 7 (or so) enduro forks???
  • 7 0
 @Rubberelli: I have Ulnar nerve damage in my left hand and I'm constantly experimenting with new things to see if it helps, suspension and bars provide a lot of help in some cases and not so much in others. Being that I weigh 215-220 geared up, ride fairly chunky/rough terrain, and have this issue, it's a constant struggle to find suspension that is compliant enough to keep from beating up my hands while remaining suited for chunkier/steeper/tech riding, it's a tricky balance and I'm always looking for something that balances out well.

That's part of my excuse, anyway, the other part is that I like to fiddle with suspension and try new things, so if/when I find a good deal on something, I usually try it to get a feel for it and see if it helps.
  • 2 1
 @Rubberelli: well said
  • 1 1
 @shinook: man busted hand is why I freaking love my grip2. I’ve been testing something else and I’ve been very happy but my hand gets tired way faster and hurts for 2 days after rides. Grip2... none of that. It’s going on my new bike build.
  • 2 1
 @hardtailparty: agreed! I've never found a fork to be as good as the 2020 Lyrik!
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: if you have hand issues, I’d also suggest looking at the Flexx bars from Fasst, they helped me a lot.
  • 3 0
 @shinook: Will do. Been running carbon NextR bars. LOL.

Yeah I blew up my hand pretty good. Surgery. Pins.
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: Hand pain sucks, because it tends to hurt the most when you are on the best part of the ride, going downhill. It's a real buzzkill.

The Fasst bars were a big improvement for me, it didn't do away with the pain entirely, but they helped damp sharp impacts and small vibrations alike. I was a bit bummed that 2 of the 4 the elastomers, except for yellow and orange, were kindof useless because they were so soft, but the firmer two work well for me.

You have a 30 day return window if you don't like them or they don't help you. They didn't solve my issues (I wish the 12 degree sweep model was available when I bought them), but they helped a lot at giving me more endurance on downhill segments and allowing me to avoid stopping to let my hand chill out.

There is some room for improvement with them, but it's a step in the right direction. I wish the mtb industry would do more to aggressively solve some of the hand issues that seem to plague people that ride regularly, we do a lot of damage to our hands and it can be prohibitive for those with pre-existing issues.

As an aside related to my input on the Mezzer, I ran both standard rigid bars and the Fasst bars with the fork to get a feel for it.
  • 1 0
 @shinook: Hey, not sure if you have what I had, but the pain and numbness in my hands kept getting worse and almost made me quit riding for good. Then I tried the Ergon GS1 grips with the wide flat platform for the palms, and my hands have felt great ever since. Total lifesaver. Takes the pressure off the nerves in the palm area. Give it a try if you haven't!
  • 41 3
 Bushing play is not a “con”.. It’s a recall.
  • 4 0
 I also wonder if this was also causing the harshness described in the review, some sort of slip / stick bushing bind due to excessive movement, clearance issues or even mis-alignment.
  • 5 0
 Mine has the same bushing play but I’ve never experienced any harshness. Ran it at 160 on a 140 29er for 8 days in whistler and it’s maybe the most comfortable I’ve felt there. I threw basically everything I could at it and it was perfect
  • 37 5
 Why not get back to 20 mm axle please?? And those graphics are the real manitou before answer so yesss
  • 8 2
 i second this.
  • 17 0
 Remind me why we ever went to a 15mm axle? I stopped riding mtb when 20mm axles were a thing and came back to find there was 15mm.
  • 21 2
 @zyoungson: because Fox and Shimano combined to decide that 20x110 on a single crown fork would make people ride a 32mm float like a downhill fork. But making the axle 5mm smaller and 10mm narrower meant you wouldn’t.
  • 3 0
 Standards need to be lift alone for a while
  • 3 0
 @Jay186: What a perceptive bunch
  • 32 17
 Fox and Shimano came up with 15mm axles to simplify wheel removal. Quite a big portion of people who buy bicycles can barely remove a wheel with 9mm QR. 15mm Fox axle solved most of their head ache. You may feel “oh stupid people”, but your opinion is irrelevant. It’s their clients, it’s people who put food on their table. Also 15mm axle is lighter than 20mm axle. By irrelevant amount, but still, XCers like light stuff.

Now if you think Shimano/Fox conspiracy was evil... think of Sram and Trek
  • 8 0
 I have fox 36. All guts are new. Damper, air shaft. The uppers are new too. But the lowers are the old good 20mm axle Razz . Feels awesome Razz !
  • 9 0
 @WAKIdesigns: There is such a thing as 20mm QR. The weight saved on the 20mm axle, is added back converting the hub to 15mm. Fair enough putting it on XC, but FR/DH is nonsense.
  • 7 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 9, 2019 at 4:22) (Below Threshold)
 @LemonadeMoney: I know it sounds like
nonsense but companies prefer to have all forks in 15 andomly dh forks that nobody buys anyways in 20. And considering 35-38 uppers on most FR/DH forks, it does virtually nothing to handling
  • 1 0
 Maybe some of it as well, is to save production £$ on using the same lower casting for a series of forks?
  • 3 0
 @nojzilla: as far as I am aware, the 26" domain, lyrik and boxxer all used the same lower leg casting with 20mm axle!
  • 3 0
 @jaame: think boxxers are diferent but lyrik/domain are same.
  • 14 5
 The guys dropping 10m at Crankworx events seem fine with 15mm...so you need another 5mm why exactly?
  • 2 1
 @motard5: they are dropping on 100mm travel 26in forks, 9mm QR would be good enough for them.
  • 4 5
 @jaame: I hate to know this, I am an embarrassment to myself but... no... 26” Boxxers did no share lowers with 2007-2012 Lyrik and Domain
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: oh well
  • 5 0
 Instead we got 35mm bar clamps. Wtf bike industry.
  • 2 0
 @me2menow: 35 sounds a lot cooler than 31.8
  • 7 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I had a 20mm quick release axle on my older lyrik that functioned exactly the same as my 15mm axle does now, there was zero need to move to 15mm axle. EVER.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: It sounds cool until you realize your whistler rental bike gave you arthritis after 4 runs
  • 1 0
 @motard5: some of them are riding Fox 36 with 20mm axles. But yes I hear your point, sadly very few people can ride like them.
  • 1 0
 @me2menow: Yup, most stupid change for the sake of change ever. Actually made most bars too stiff and also makes it harder to design a compliant bar that is not also vulnerable to damage because the material wall thickness needs to be reduced.
  • 6 0
 @Xorrox: 35mm bars don't annoy me too much because there is still a host of 31.8s on the market. The murder of 20mm axles still annoys me to this day.
  • 1 0
 @goroncy: ouuuuu thanks for that info. Gotta try and find some old lowers
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Totally understand. I also am still rocking a 31.8 bar as well (although there is less choice now than when I got it a year and a half ago). I also could use a 20mm axle in my Fox 36: I've already changed out the stock semi quick release for a stronger One Up model but could still use more rigidity in the fork for my 225 lbs riding weight.
  • 1 0
 @goroncy: more of this please. Details....
  • 1 0
 @donpinpon29: I’m assuming they haven’t changed any of the diameters of seals or anything or any of the positions for shit so just find old lowers and swap.

Same as people used to do with argyles and pikes

Or various fox versions like the vanilla float or talas in 32 or 36 variants.
  • 1 0
 @Jay186: So they made all the forks 15mm? That makes cents...
  • 1 0
 Yes, i have a 20mm quick release on my Xfusion and it is brilliant!!
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: At that time I had a Psylo with Tullio 20mm axle. I didn't need any simplification, no one did.
If you couldn't work a 9mm QR you possibly struggled with working a pencil. They take the same amount of mechanical amplitude.
  • 2 0
 I lived to 20mm qr maxle on my totem. On the 36 I had the pinch bolt lowers, which were a pain in comparison.
  • 4 0
 @Jay186: Fox and Shimano invented 15mm because the Fox 32 didn't have enough axle offset to fit a 20mm axle. Fox would have needed new crowns as well as lower leg castings to fit a 20mm in.

It was possibly the worst idea to become a de-facto standard in the whole industry.
  • 2 0
 @Dougal-SC: Why do guys still ride 831 32s with a 20mm then? I still think it was a gimmick. I find the 15mm perfect replacement for the 9mm, but why did the 20mm get phased out? Fox 36s on 15mm axles is just wrong, or better put "That's whack. Playstation is whack. 'Sup with the whack Playstation, 'sup? Huh?" (Tribbiani 7/1)
  • 1 0
 @FrEeZa: where did you see 831 with 20mm axle? Maybe the first ever model. It had 15mm in 2011. And 32 chassis in general is quite unsuited for DJ no matter the axle.
  • 25 0
 This is the first bad review ive read on this fork.
  • 8 0
 same here, all say it superb in performace.... but it's tricky to set it up properly.
  • 16 6
 This isn't a bad review at all. Just because a fork isn't as good as the best products on the market, doesn't mean it's bad at all. Problem is that it's price is the same as the best. In fact, he says the bushing play is a con, rather than a deal breaker, so he is being pretty nice to it.
  • 6 0
 @Rubberelli: I don't mind if is/isn't bad. Just saying that from all rewievs i read, only this one said it not performing good.
  • 6 4
 When a reviewer feels the need to mention that he wanted to like the product and uses over the top terms like wholeheartedly, i tend to get very sceptical of that review.
  • 5 2
 I've had a quick look at some other reviews and none of them did back to back runs against another fork. And Mike didn't say the Manitou is bad. It's just not as good as the Lyrik ridden in comparison on the runs that he did. We all get told that bikes and components should be considered against where and how we ride. I think this review does a great job on giving us that context, and that fact seems to have been ignored by everyone who wants this fork to do well.
  • 21 1
 So mixed reviews, on some rewievs there are hands down better than Fox an RS. Here they are not good. But all say that LSC don't have much impact. I ride Mattoc 2 PRO with IRT and i find them perfect, but to set up them correctly you will need some time and nerves to make them perform exactly the way you like. IRT makes all the differece but so tricky to get correct pressure, 2 psi chage and fork works differetly.
  • 2 0
 Its weird as on my Mattoc, one click of LSC (which there are four positions) is instantly noticeable.
The HSC settings are way more subtle.
Also I've had bushing issues, too tight, warrantied, then too loose, warrantied, now just right finally.
  • 3 0
 @acali: yea, but looks like it's different damper and with fixed HBO. If it's not writen here i read it somwhere else. But that said my Mattoc is way better than my Gen1 Pike, when set right.
  • 27 23
 Paul Aston is an excellent rider, he'd be happy with almost anything as long as it doesn't blow up on him. Cannot be trusted. What you need is an engineer who can't ride. He'll test forks back to back, attach it to data acquisition, do graphs and sht.
  • 6 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Aston says much the same thing. Great mid stroke support, more suppleness in top stroke. He says it is equal to older Lyriks and 36s as he has not ridden the latest versions. But he doesn't mention bushing play.
  • 14 12
 @Rubberelli: oh come on, we all want a brand to come out of nowhere to bring a fork better than 36 or Lyrik and costing half of them. Who wouldn’t like such fairytale to come true. Like Guerilla-Gravity. People love fairy tales.
  • 7 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I would hardly say Manitou "came out of nowhere". Also my buddy (finally) got his new carbon GG and he thinks its the best bike hes ridden in the last ten years.
  • 10 0
 @hamncheez: came out of nowhere to the new crop of pink bikers, that's for sure..
  • 4 2
 And I can tell you the gg bikes ride okay at best @hamncheez:
  • 4 0
 @freeridejerk888: elaborate, please.

His megatrail weighs under 30 pounds, has dialed geometry, and the frame isn't overly stiff for his below average weight. The suspension curve is predictable, components are great for the price, with the exception of the DPX2 needing the rebound pretty much fully open for his weight. Whats just "ok" about it?
  • 2 0
 I rode a mega trail and it was just okay. Nothing special. It didn’t do it for me. Suspension was okay. Geo felt a bit too long for me (medium and I’m 5-9). I just didn’t fall in love with it. Rode both a superdeluxe air and coil. It riding okay to me has nothing to do with the fact that I love everything else about gg. They kick ass and are really cool. Everything is badass except the bike itself. .@hamncheez:
  • 1 0
 The weight of the frame or spec for the price doesn’t make me want to buy one of it doesn’t ride they way I like my bike to ride @hamncheez:
  • 1 1
 @freeridejerk888: I'm 5'9", and my personal bike has a reach of 480mm, which I feel is perfect, but I have a longer torso and shorter legs. If anything, I would want the Megatrail to be a little longer!

What bikes have you ridden that do amaze you? What kind of riding do you do?
  • 1 0
 My bronson is just about the perfect bike for me. I don’t want to be in Superman pose while going down a 3degree slope doesn’t work for me. @hamncheez:
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: yeah but Mr Aston is a planet saving vegan with a pet dog. How can we trust ANYTHING he says!?!
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns: ummm, you know Guerilla Gravity? Amazing, I’d be curious where you rode one ... oh, that’s right, you haven’t.

Maybe stick to things you actually know vs things you wish you knew or think you know.

But thanks for playing.
  • 2 2
 @nurseben: where did ai criticize GG? Umm I didn’t.
  • 2 0
 @jimoxbox: It's my girlfriend's dog
  • 16 1
 bushing play in a Manitou well i never
  • 11 0
 I think it might be really bigger news that it seems. The price is great. The tune of the damper may be adjusted after the feedback from reviews. Nevertheless I believe in them. I hope they succeed. I also hope that these forks will be good on the reliability scale.
  • 15 3
 @mikekazimer "This fork didn't live up to my expectations"

pinkbike: "@mike i love this thing i bought, did you try it with the wheel in? it sounds like you didn't have the wheel in. Have you ever ridden a bike?"
  • 13 0
 The bushing play is just part of the nostalgia to go along with the 1992 Manitou decals.
  • 12 0
 PB..MRP Bartlett test?..Ever?
  • 4 0
 That review goes more in depth for sure!
  • 6 0
 Yes, the standard deviation in these reviews seems to be rather high Wink

As many others have stated; I wonder if there wasn't some kind of issue with this particular fork. If I was working at Manitou, I would definitely be sending up a new fork or even offering to send someone up to work with Mike Kazimer. to get this fork set up to his satisfaction.
  • 2 0
 @Xorrox: its crazy that Manitou didn't send the cream of the crop to the worlds largest mtb website not the shittiest one.
  • 5 0
 @Xorrox: Bike Radar seems to explain the gaps for the setup/tweaking learning curve. That was a much better review for the grey area we all seem to be wondering about with this review. Mike's usually on point, but on this one I can't agree with him sticking to his numbers. It's like he's doubling down on not taking the time to mess with the trick air chambers.
  • 8 1
 I took a punt on this fork and was completely blown away at how good it is. For reference...
MRP Coil.....terrible. Loads of stiction and damper spiking. Horrible experience with this fork.
2019 Fox 36 Grip/Grip2/FIT4 with vorsprung fractive tuning/Smashpot in that order.....the FIT4 with all the vorsprung catalogue thrown at it was the best option out them all (surprisingly lol), the only real negative was the extra weight.
2020 Lyrik Select.....had to run max spacers to get some support as the damper side didn't give any. Damper very spiky...not nice. Needs damper mods or the HC97 to help.

The Mezzer on the first day beat all the above hands down. I've never had a standard fork perform so strongly out of the box. With further tuning (and it does take a little while getting the pressures to your preferred) it got even better. Such impressive control.

Also easier to work on than any other fork (not that any are difficult) but it's like it has designed for easy commonsense maintenance...no silly crush washers or teflon infused wanky oil.

Check out bikeradar for another review that seems to be more in line with how everyone else is finding this fork. Maybe you got a bad one Mike?
  • 12 3
 Reminds me of my old Mattoc. All the cons, all the pros. Bushing play! No way.

I´ll stick to my Lyrik RC Big Grin
  • 5 1
 Same, everything else is secondary. Having to wonder what in your front end is loose as you're dropping in is unnerving at best. Even after knowing it's just your garbage fork, it's impossible to feel confident ever again.
  • 4 1
 @SoDiezl350: The bushing play in my fork is only noticeable when the fork is at full extension, as soon as it compresses a few mm it goes away, so the only time you'd notice it is when the bike is unweighted. It has no noticeable effect otherwise and certainly doesn't feel like your front end is loose when you are dropping in.
  • 1 0
 @shinook: consider yourself lucky then. Mine was most noticeable in that it would bind on hard compressions and then give a reassuring clunk as it topped out. This was on a 2018 mattoc.

Pretty much identical to what was described in the pinkbike review from 2016: m.pinkbike.com/news/manitou-mattoc-pro-2-review-2016.html
  • 6 0
 My FOX 34 on a Trans Smuggler developed bushing play after 2 rides, too. Nothing particular with that, sometimes they just come loose. What was wack was Fox's terrible attempt to make me send my fork back in for service to "size their bushings" which they definitely don't do on mid-level stuff, and had to badger the guy for weeks to send me lowers while I repaired it myself.
  • 14 8
 As a very satisfied Mezzer owner, it is clear to me that Kazimer did not set up the fork correctly. I went with the recommended psi settings and found them to be wayyyy off from what ended up feeling perfect, in fact i weigh more than kazimer and run much less pressure. 185lbs, 35psi main/ 75 psi IRT in 180mm travel.

The abundant midstroke support he's talking about is going to be there from the IRT pressure, so he should have lowered the main pressure, even to a sag level that seems much too high, like 30-35%. Then you can speed up the rebound a little to keep it responsive, and the compression adjusters will do there job at that point. Think of the air spring like a 2 stage coil. He's running both coils too firm, and then complains about the compression?

Setup on the Manitou is night and day different than a Fox or RS so its not surprising he didn't get it. This review needs to be completely re-done. And the bushing slop? While completely extended the fork does have a small amount of play, but when riding it is unnoticeable, and the forks action is buttery smooth. Against a DVO diamond, CC helm coil, and fox 36 with Avalanche open bath cartridge and Push acs coil setup, this fork blows them all away by a longshot.
  • 14 12
 Incorrect. I've re-iterated it multiple times in the comments already, but I'm confident in my settings. Also, bushing play should not be an issue on a fork that costs $999.
  • 2 0
 Nice description with the two stage coil reference.
  • 10 0
 @mikekazimer: why are you so confident in the settings if you didn’t get it to feel right?

I’m not trying to be overly critical, but the fact you said a 2-3 psi difference wouldn’t effect feel (this is objectively false in a fork with IRT) and your experiences are so radically different that my own and other reviews leads me to believe something is amiss.

Agree on the bushing play, though. I’d like to get a response from Manitou on that. Did you experience it at any point outside of full extension? Mine knocks a bit when it’s fully extended, but that’s it.
  • 6 5
 @shinook, my response about the 2-3 psi pressure difference was intended to assuage the unfounded fears that I somehow didn't know what I was doing when I set up the fork by deviating by a couple pounds from Manitou's recommendations. Like you, I did this to bump up the ride height, which I mention in the review.

And I'm confident in my findings because I took the time to try multiple settings, and bracket tested to try the range of compression options.
  • 5 3
 @mikekazimer: Mike, we all
know you played around plenty around with the fork in an effort to make it ride decent. That’s the job, right?

That you didn’t find the love is more about the fork than it is about you.

Go have a beer on me, you deserve a break for going against the grain.
  • 8 1
 Reading this and reading the mini review from Aston and the review from Bike Radar its like Kazimer was on a totally different fork
  • 6 0
 Agreed. I have one of these, and i've been super psyched with it. I was able to set it up so it felt super firm under me, but then it swallows up trail chatter and big chunk. I've never ridden a RS/Fox product that i could set up as well. Had a custom xfusion fork that was as good, though. Reading this review felt like it was talking about a different product. I believe his experience, but it's so counter to mine that it's confusing.
  • 6 1
 "I found that the low-speed dial didn't have nearly as much of an affect as the high-speed compression dial, and while the difference between the HSC clicks is very noticeable, even at slower shaft speeds, the low-speed dial didn't make a drastic change in the ride feel no matter where it was set," No need to continue reading from this point for me.
  • 13 5
 Shouldn't compression have a blue knob, and rebound to have a red one..?
  • 4 0
 If you follow the big two: then yes. Otherwise: not by definition.
  • 7 2
 @Mac1987: Not by definition, but I would asume it is common enough for everybody to stick to it? At Manitou they said "Let's do it the other way around just to be di... fferent".
  • 8 0
 @i-am-lp: Well they have been doing it that way since the 1990s so it's not like they just decided to do it.
  • 19 0
 @i-am-lp: If you own a Manitou product, and you can't wrap your head around the color of the C/R knobs, good luck with the rest of life's inconsistencies.
  • 6 0
 Finally a bike part named after me lol! Shame about the reviews though Frown Hope they take the feedback and implement improvements...
  • 3 0
 I just wish I could afford the Helm fork with my namesake.
  • 8 1
 On one hand, he seems sincere. On the other, Kazimer is an idiot. This could go either way.
  • 5 3
 Can you review the old manitou sherman or the nixon against modern forks. The sherman was literaly the best fork i ever rode. crazy stiff and heavey but spv(?) plus upgraded xl spring,,,, baller, better then any float or pike i have ridden. old vs new review...2008 vs 2020...easy peezy
  • 5 1
 Looks like a great fork but the word Mezzer just sounds like some sort of Manchester slang to me
  • 2 0
 Reminds me of Messerschmitt, like the German airplane.
  • 2 0
 @Kramz: according to the launch video it means “knife” in German but it’s spelled wrong.
  • 3 0
 @bonfire: now if they had called it "Messer" it would have been more of a mess.

"Messer" is knife, "Metzger" is butcher - FYI
  • 6 0
 If you look at the top cap and other graphics, M3ZZER is a play on "37" as well. The E is a 3 and the Z has a break in it making a 7.
  • 2 1
 Question that remains unanswered: do they use the same annoying thinned walled socket to remove the lowers ? That is the main reason why I won't buy another Mattoc, despite it being the best fork I tried in this category (Pro version).
  • 5 0
 No it uses a nut now.
  • 4 0
 14mm nuts on the lower legs, one side uses an 8mm allen key to hold the leg shaft in place and the other uses a standard 8mm
  • 6 5
 This was not a good test. Could it be another dry fork? Several have opened their Mezzer and found it dry and the IRT with no grease? Play in the bushing could not be explained other then a production fault? Would have loved to see a better contender to the Fox36? There is so much positive tests of the Roch Shock but I have not found it to be a contender to the Fox 36. Needs to be something of weight of the rider, but I do not find the Rock Shock chassis any close to the rigid Fox 36?
  • 17 2
 That's not an excuse though, forks should be reviewed "as it is".
Production issues like low oil or irt and seal without grease (common on the mezzer) can't be justified and plays a role on how the fork works.
  • 5 0
 That could also explain the premature wear on the bushing if it was running dry the whole time of the review so I think it could be an explanation, would be interesting to knwo if Mike opened the fork at some point for lub refreshing and see what he found (if he opened it).
  • 6 0
 @DavideBalbo: Sure, but most of us know that if you want your fork to work properly you're better off opening them right out of the box to perform proper lubing. Rock Shox in particular was notorious for forgetting to put oil in their lower and I had several friends who destroyed some stanchions because of it and them not wanting to do a basic lowers lub out of the box.
  • 7 0
 Funny you mention stiffness because there are graphs floating around that clearly show that FOX 36's rigidity is inferior to Lyriks with Mezzer being the stiffest. Look here:
forums.mtbr.com/attachments/shocks-suspension/1250154d1557152619-manitou-mezzer-image001.png
  • 6 0
 @Balgaroth: i am a big manitou fan, but if i'm paying this kind of money i want the oil and i want the grease. Same words for every other brand
  • 8 0
 @DavideBalbo: if the price for OEM takeoffs will drop in the same way it did with the Mattoc, it wont take too long to be able to buy a Mezzer for 300-400 something. Then buy some spares, install new bushings, grease it and you have a cheap fork that is way better than a 300 € Yari Wink .
  • 2 0
 @cxfahrer: until Manitou has no money to develop awesome suspension anymore, that's not going to work
  • 3 0
 @DavideBalbo: I totally agree that parts should be usable/greased/good etc it of the box, but if I may, having never owned any of these forks I feel unbiased... Yes, all across the board that should be improved, but so long as other major offerings have that as a known problem, I don't think it should be made into a big deal for one specifically. In other words, compare them all dry/as is, compare them all in optimum condition, and dock and praise all equally accordingly, but other product reviews sing endless praises (of the Lyrik/36 eg)... after having put the product in optimum condition. Basically, reduce unnecessary hype and level the playing field. Smile
  • 2 0
 @DavideBalbo: it’s ok, Fox usually put in way too much grease.
  • 1 0
 @cxfahrer: How does a home mechanic install new bushings?
  • 2 0
 @DavideBalbo: on the one hand, I definitely agree and it should impact the rating. On the other hand: I'd love to now how it performs after a service. Dropping the lowers and doing a fast checkup takes 10 minutes and is always advisable with a new $1000 fork. All brands seem to sometimes deliver too little or too much grease (my Fox34 had too much in the negative chamber and I've read numerous stories about all kinds of forks that were dry out of the factory).
Without checking, this review might not be useful for people that do a quick checkup of their new forks.
  • 2 0
 @G1EXTStoria Trust me the RS Lyrik (at least with torque caps) has significantly less flex than the Fox 36 (I've had both in the last year and a half). However, the Fox damper is so much better than the Lyrik for a big rider like me. The Lyrik might win the small bump sensitivity test but it blows through its travel and is no where near as predictable when landing in rough terrain off jumps or dropping into super steep and rough terrain. I think that is why the Fox 36 feels 'burlier': it is because it has so much more control when it is really pushed hard.
  • 1 0
 @acali: look home improvement for that Wink - the new bushings for my mattoc are still uninstalled...but it should be possible to make a useful tool out of some tube or so...Big Grin
  • 2 0
 re: Fox and RockShox need to get with the program. Numerous offerings allow changing travel without buying airshafts.
Will Fox and RockShox offer travel change with requiring new airshafts?
  • 5 0
 Huh, Hayes must be behind on their advertising payments.
  • 2 0
 Brings back memories of old manitou shermans, one second they were buttery smooth & the best fork ever, next they felt like they were full of sand.
  • 3 1
 wish they would put their energy into a better axle design for the circus expert. worst and longest system ever while RS and Fox have maxle/qr
  • 1 1
 Spacers for travel reduction usually means a coil negative spring. Is that the case here? Coil negs are NFG for very light (fork doesn't extend all the way, but very supple OTT) and very heavy (stays high in travel around sag, and more breakaway force needed) riders.
  • 5 0
 no it isn´t coil negative.
  • 3 0
 Cane Creek Helm, MRP Ribbon, Manitou Mezzer all have air negatives and use spacers to reduce travel
  • 3 0
 If Pinkbike's test fork was anything like mine, it's possible a few lubrication steps got missed at the factory.
  • 1 1
 As I contemplate a new bike to replace my GG Pistola. The fork decision is weighing heavily, I really wanted this Mezzer to kick ass.
My 20mm Fox 36 Factory is going to be difficult to replace even though I am not in lust with the damping. Maybe the only answer is a MORC 36 with my 20mm lowers from Mojo Rising and a re-valve? I guess we all get too picky that virtually no MFG will address the flex issues on longer travel, slacker frames in a meaningful way(Bartlett excepted). You simply cannot convince me that a 15mm axle with no fork clamp on the lowers can equal the feel and security of a 20mm fully clamped down axle. Lightweight, dual crown forks are gonna be the answer. I ran dual crown shortened forks on my trail bikes 20 years ago. Going to larger single crown forks is going to require more mass in the crowns and eventually frame headtube changes for beefier bearings and 1.5" steerer tubes again. Dual crown distributes the loads much better and will allow sufficient assembly structures at 35/36mm stanchion dimensions.
Knock on wood. Who's with me?
  • 1 0
 Agreed. A long travel single crown fork should have a 20 mm axle. A 15 mm axle weighs less . The only reason forks went from 20 mm axles to 15 . Obviously it's not going to be as strong or stiff. But hey it's 20 grams less! I would prefer pinch bolts to a QR .
  • 2 0
 @Sshredder: Do any manufacturers offer 20mm single crown either than X-Fusion Metrix and SR Durolux?
  • 1 2
 @pav4: Fox 49 ,Boxxers , Durado my Durolux to name a few.
  • 2 0
 @pav4: only older Durolux forks used 20mm QR, from 2018 they are boost 15mm only. Metric seems to be the only one that is still 20mm, mostly because other than different anodising on stanchions thay haven´t changed since introduction.
  • 2 0
 At this point, when we have RS, Fox, DVO and others stuff with good reps, why would anyone experiment unless it was super cheap?
  • 1 0
 34mm suntour xcr on my hardtail. Total bike cost less than one fork. I seem to ride ok?
Yari on the squish bike. Does well with set sag and forget it.

Maybe I'm missing something.
  • 2 0
 "Overall damper feel isn't quite at the same level as competitors' "
Can also be positive, Manitou has another feel than a RS or FOX, i like it better...
  • 2 0
 --STUPID Question...
Whats the difference between the different fork offset's? Better Handling etc.? thx for helping
  • 7 1
 Offset of the fork alter the "trail value" of the bike.
shorter offset= longer trail
slacker head angle = longer trail
bigger wheels= longer trail.
longer trail makes for a "slower" steering feel.
Trail/wheelbase ratio is an huge factor when looking at bike's stability.
  • 1 1
 @faul: thx
  • 13 0
 Every read the Princess and the Pea where only the truly worthy can feel such a minute difference?

It’s like that.
  • 1 2
 @faul: Yes, but to add to that, longer trail gives you a more stable feel.
  • 4 0
 Mike Metzger
  • 5 2
 All this is why I ♡ pinkbike
  • 2 0
 doubt pinkbike gets any revenue from non-RS, non-Fox suspension companies after this debacle.
  • 1 0
 Lots of keyboard warriors out and people who think they are suspension wizards.Quick to go on the defensive when they don’t know all the facts and details.
  • 3 1
 Ahh the good old Manitou bushing play. MBP.
  • 3 1
 f*ck yeah it’s among the best if not the best considering the price
  • 3 1
 Were you faster or slower riding this fork vs the control fork?
  • 3 1
 Is it gravel bike compatible?
  • 2 3
 Haven’t even read the article yet and already have an answer. Noooo reverse arch bad, normal arch good.

That said heard nothing but good things about their forks sooo yeah probably fine.
  • 2 0
 You weren't kidding about rushing to the comments.
  • 1 3
 @scottzg: tbf it’s mostly cause I can’t get over the reverse arch look. Even if it’s amazing I’d still go fox or rockshox.

But again like I said heard a lot of good stuff about their forks.
  • 3 0
 @core-macneil-rider: got a manitou markor for my kids 24" Dh/J bike. Price was right.
Ever been smoked by a 9 year old?
He gives 0 sh*ts about rebound and small bump compliance. Just sends black trails. All day.
  • 1 0
 @fruitsd79: smoked by a 9 year old nah.

Also what is this small bump compliance you speak of? *continues to smoke the local Xc guys on my bmx*

I wish I had black trails local.
  • 2 0
 I still want one. I'll take the time to tinker.
  • 7 5
 Oh my fuck the Manitou Defense Force is in full assault mode
  • 1 0
 What could really be that you had bad luck with the damper and that it would have needed a bleed
  • 2 0
 Manitou is better than Rockshox. Change my mind
  • 1 2
 Can anyone in the UK buy Manitou forks any more? Been looking for a set of Circus DJ forks for a mate, like rocking horse poo
  • 4 0
 CRC?
  • 2 0
 Get your shop to contact Hotlines, they can special order in from Europe what they don't have in stock
  • 2 1
 @jaame: They dont have any in stock
  • 1 0
 @usmbc-co-uk: thanks Obama!
  • 1 1
 Man, like this fork on paper, it ticks all the boxes. "Hydraulic bottom out" is so hot right now..............Too bad.
  • 6 0
 Yup, same with me - this was on the top of my "next fork" list to replace my Fox 36 Grip 2. On paper and over at the MTBR forums it sounds like the perfect fork. Supposedly less flexy than the Fox 36, with the same or better mid stroke support and with better small bump compliance. The best of all worlds, the unicorn of forks.....and now this large dose of reality Frown

It will be interesting to see what NSMB has to say about it once they finish their long term review: they had a pretty positive first look article.
  • 3 0
 @Xorrox:
It is not not the obly fork or shock that had problems during a test. Let us hope that is not the normality.

Refering to the qualities. This is the only bsd review.
If you are interested have a look at the reviews on mtbmag, nsmb, bikeradar. They are veeeery positive and the same results as many users that really love those forks.
I am waiting to hopp an mine fir the first test
  • 2 4
 Maybe you're supposed to run the fork the other direction.
  • 3 6
 TLDR: Nope
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