Manitou's New Magnum Fork - Sea Otter 2015

Apr 16, 2015 at 19:38
by Mike Levy  

Manitou Magnum 27.5+ and 29+ Fork

Manitou says that their new Magnum fork has been designed from the ground up to work with 27.5+ and 29+ tires, and that includes an entirely new chassis, custom valved damping, and an air spring system that's been lifted from the Dorado downhill fork and tuned for this application - more on all the fork's tech below. Travel ranges between 80 to 140mm for the 27.5+ model, and 80 to 120mm for the 29+ fork, and there's enough clearance for riders to fit a massive 3.4'' wide tire. The Magnum is already shipping to bike shops, and it retails for $900 USD.

Manitou was at pains to make it clear that the Magnum is not just a 29er fork that's been widened out and spec'd with a 15 x 110mm axle, and that the purpose-built fork is actually 5 - 7mm lower from axle-to-crown than its competition for this very reason. It also sports the company's reverse arch design, a machined out hollow crown, and the 15mm x 110mm thru-axle is Manitou's own Hex Lock design.

The fork employs a very similar air spring as you'd find inside the Mattoc and Dorado, with the air valve at the bottom of the leg pressurizing both the positive and negative chambers simultaneously and to nearly the same pressure. This near-balancing between the positive and negative air springs is said to make for a responsive top end to the travel, and Manitou says that the fork's active early stroke is important as it takes away the high-volume front tire's tendency to act as an undamped air spring. In other words, less uncontrolled bounce that first time fat bikers often take notice of, and also more control.

Manitou Magnum

Manitou Magnum
The Magnum's Incremental Volume Adjust system allows riders to easily tune the amount of progression that the air spring provides.
Manitou Magnum
Repositioning the white air piston on the IVA system is as simple as moving around the four black spacers that are above and below it.

One of my few complaints with the Mattoc was its lack of volume adjustment, and while the fork's Hydraulic Bottom Out control helped in this regard, the ability to tune mid-stroke and bottom-out by changing the volume of the air spring is handy. Manitou listened and has come up with something they call Incremental Volume Adjust, a nifty tuning system that allows the volume of the air chamber to be changed by moving 10mm spacers above or below the air piston itself, a process that only requires releasing the fork's air pressure and opening up the top cap. There are four positions available, and the neat part is that all of the pieces are contained within the fork - there's no spacers floating around in the bottom of your tool box.

It works like this: release the fork's air pressure and then unscrew the top cap - the IVA assembly is attached to it and will come out with it. The plastic spacers that determine the height of the air piston can be pushed off of the rod by hand, allowing you to reposition the piston for more or less progression (higher for less, lower for more) and then reinstall the spacers accordingly. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes to make changes.

Manitou Magnum
The Magnum's MC2 compression assembly is housed at the top of the fork leg.
Manitou Magnum
Riders can adjust high- and low-speed compression, as well as bottom-out ramping, with dials at the top of the right leg.

The Magnum's damper employs all of the company's high-end, acronym-heavy damper technology that's laid out in their TPC system. TPC means 'Twin Piston Chamber', and it's exactly as it sounds: there's a rebound piston at the bottom and a compression piston at the top. The fork's MC² compression unit allows for both high- and low-speed adjustment, and the Hydraulic Bottom Out control dial at the center allows riders to tune how the fork ramps up in the last 25mm of its stroke. As its name suggests, HBO harnesses oil displacement to slow the fork down during compression in the later stages of its stroke, doing so by using a position sensitive valve on the bottom of the MC² compression damper. As the fork nears the end of its travel, a small extension on the end of the Magnum's rebound damper enters the hollow HBO unit, and since the confines are tight and the entire system is submersed in oil, the fork's compression action is slowed.

The Magnum is coming stock on the front of Trek's new Stache hardtail that we just reviewed, as well as Rocky Mountain's recently released Sherpa adventure-mobile.

Be sure to check out all of our Sea Otter Classic images in this gallery.

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 44 6
 As someone who uses a circus on my dirt jump bike and a dorado on my downhill bike, I wouldn't hesitate to buy another manitou fork. For the price they make some great stuff in my experiance
  • 13 6
 I completely agree. My 2012 Dorado, in my opinion, is so far the best deal crown I've ever ridden. I owned a boxxer world cup and have ridden a Fox 40.
  • 16 4
 But this fork is $900. The mattoc was $750. The new form is probably worth that much but it's no longer an awesome deal.
  • 7 2
 But if you remember the Mattoc was $900 when it was first released and has since stabilized in pricing. Still not convinced on the whole (+) thing for our bikes and was really hoping for Manitou to quietly release a 29er version of the Mattoc. I too am a lover of all things Hayes; run Answer bars, run Hayes brakes on my old 26er, have a Tower Pro on my 29er HT and just recently put a McLeod on my 29er Trail (FS) bike which is frickin tits compared to the POS FOX CTD boost valve. I know they keep saying that the 29er Mattoc is not out of the question but damnit people I want to be sporting ALL MANITOU!!! LOL
  • 41 5
 still looks backwards, and thats hard to get over

unless you ride 29+

wheel joke
  • 3 2
 i wasnt impressed with the circus
  • 2 0
 At least magura has both arches.
  • 2 0
 @gregnash - How do you like the McLeod shock? Is it worth it? I'm also a Manitou fan and plan on going full Manitou on the enduro bike exactly the same as on the dh bike. Smile
  • 1 0
 I'm riding the Tower Pro 29'er and its the best short travel single crown fork I've used after years of Fox and Rockshox

It simply works, very well, and feels very sturdy when pushed hard. It also has not started creaking (i.e. Fox) which is nice Smile

Would not hesitate to buy another Manitou fork.
  • 3 0
 I‘ve used seven manitou forks,manitou is the best fork in my mind,I'm a manitou fan
  • 1 0
 @hitarpotar I am in love with the McLeod. Platform in all settings seems amazing for the riding that I have done. Biggest thing for me is that fact that I had to run 180+psi in my Fox Float CTD to get proper sag on my bike, with the McLeod I have pretty much settled on 110psi. Platform between the settings is a good incremental increase for each and there is no harnesses to the ramp up while still being pretty linear (to me). Best example for me was that I was running in in all settings just to see how it felt for the first 3 or 4 rides. After that last ride I forgot to switch it from full Descend to lockout on my next ride. I am normally a seated climber but have a few sections where I will stand and mash. Happened to be one of those days and I started mashing. Something didnt quite feel right when I did but just kept going to the top of the climb (which was short and steep). When I looked down I realized I never swapped it over from the full open to lockout which is why I suddenly felt the pedal bob when I was mashing on the climb. But the thing was that it was not like my old FOX CTD where I would bob so badly in open that I would constantly lose traction. This was a situation where the shock minimized the bob enough to keep me in contact with the ground and NOT feel like I was losing tons of energy. I have done a full review over at MTBR in the Shock/Suspension forum.
  • 1 2
 I wrote off a set of brand new maguras within 2 weeks of purchase... Avoid at all costs
  • 19 1
 Manitou sucks, or at least that is what the world seems to believe. I have 9 bikes in the garage and the best suspension feel is on the two with Mantiou forks, a Marvel and a Mattoc.
  • 26 0
 only 9?
  • 3 0
 I love every mantiou fork I've bought since 2009. I'm up to 3 so far.
  • 4 6
  • 7 0
 It's N-1 recently. Thinned the herd a bit in the interest of marrital bliss. Wife 1.0 would have a fit if I bought a new tire. Wife 2.0 is much better, but there are also two motorcycles in the garage and I don't want to find her limit.
  • 9 0
 @carym girlfriend 1.0 hasn't been within 10kms of my garage. Life is good.
  • 1 1
 The world believes that, for the same reason they believed Rock Shox was shit for such a long time : until they were bought by Hayes/Answer Group & SRAM respectively, they WERE shit. Manitou was worse though, by far. leaky, prone to failure, replacement parts discontinued after a year or two. You have a better chance of finding parts for older Manitous now than you did a few years after they were built, believe it or not.
  • 14 2
 I don't understand what the problem is with the hex-loc axle. The one on my Mattoc is piece of cake.
  • 8 3
 And I was just getting over the Mattoc excitement!? I love the smaller companies that produce a high quality product!
  • 2 0
 I have had a Mattoc for 6 months now and am impressed, I had a Dorado before that and was equally impressed. However, you have to depressurise the fork and pump air back in after every 5 rides or so because it draws in negative air and reduces in travel. Two of my mates have the exact same fork and theirs behave the exact same way. It's pretty frustrating. I dropped to 140mm in a month.
  • 2 0
 Also feel I should add that my Dorado was exactly the same.
  • 7 2
 "Baby, I have a Magnum. Extra wide with plenty of travel! Want a ride?" Wink
  • 3 1
 haha,you are humorous
  • 2 0
 If you're going to have real estate between your axle and crown it might as well be useful travel. Haven't looked at the numbers but could you squeeze another 5-10 mm of travel into a bike(w/ aManitou) without weirding the geo out too much?
  • 4 0
 "Oh man, I am so excited to get my hands on a 27.5+ bike." - Everybody on Pinkbike.
  • 4 7
 No, 27,5+ sucks.
  • 1 0
 So dumb question but will the 120mm version with a 3" tire run like a normal fork at 140mm with a 2.25" tire? For me this means that if I want to put a Manitou trail-ish fork on my 29er FS I am either stuck with the 32mm stanchion Minute (same as Tower and from what friends have said, at 140mm for a 200lbs rider it is a bit noodly) or I have to build a new front wheel and tire for the Magnum and go with a 3" tire to boot?!
  • 4 1
 Love this new fork! Only one gripe... boost Frown Now if they made a new Minute with similar tech... XD
  • 6 1
 20mm is the way to go.
On another note. 29+? What's next 33's? Freeride Pennyfarthings?
  • 3 3
 I don't know why Manitou swears by the lowest Axle to Crown distance on the market when it comes to non-XC forks. People want to have it slack, 61-63 on a 120mm trail bike and for that they are prepared to buy fork from a company that offers 2cm higher ATC that competition Big Grin
  • 1 1
 There will soon be SOooo! many new standards that you won't be able to upgrade anything. New wheels sell. 26" wheel run for ever and no Manufacturer will put up with that. 26 inch dead, 29" inch have we figured how to make them strong enough for the lager riders that may benefit? 27.5 strong but heavier. 27.5 plus we will see.
29 plus. Put your answer here.
And when will bike manufactures see the fooly in press fit BB's
  • 3 1
 I miss my manitou setup... Might have to sell the fox on the genius LT and go back to the future...
  • 1 0
 I still don't understand why you would put a reversed arch in an area where clearance is critical? Someone help me out here...
  • 5 0
 Two reasons: 1) The arch can be lower on the back of the lowers because the wheel is offset forward. This mostly solves the problem of clearance and has the possibility to be a lighter solution at equivalent stiffness. 2) In theory, anything you do that moves weight closer to the CG of the bike is a good thing for responsiveness.
  • 4 2
 I love manitou. It was time for them to throw new products.
  • 1 0
 YES ,I especially love the spv forks
  • 2 0
 Is that air top cap compatible with mattocs?
  • 2 0
 Yes, Thats the one we've been waiting the last year for :-)
Same stanchion diameter and cool System:-)
  • 1 0
 Manitou: cheap, durable, reliable, look awesome, best performance, tunability, everyone else uses fox or RS (boring) etc...
  • 4 2
 I love it...
  • 2 0
 [deleted double]
  • 3 3
 Now I want a 27.5+ plus frame !
  • 2 1
  • 4 5
 Fool me once, shame on ... shame on you. Fool me... You can't get fooled again!
  • 1 0
 One of the great bushisms.
  • 1 0
 Make it 100mm already
  • 1 0
 fat tires rock.
  • 1 0
 I like the name...
  • 1 1
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