Manitou Mattoc Pro Review - Dirt

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Manitou Mattoc Pro Review

Manitou Mattoc Pro – the review

Words/Images: S Jones

It can sometimes be challenging accessing the 160mm club when it’s guarded so menacingly by monsieur Fox 36 and RS Pike, two of the most well documented bouncers. It’s true they are powerful and they can fend off as well as take a few slaps in their stride. But they can still be hit and miss on some matters, and all bouncers have a bad day, all need a touch of love, a bit of lube from inside the house. The Fox demands a high entry price for its alleged exclusivity, and the latter’s dancing can often be a touch weak.

Front of house the Manitou Mattoc Pro has the physical presence of a well built fork, slightly more wiry than some 160mm forks with its 34mm stanchions, but at sub 2kg puts it very much head to head and in Fox 36 and Rockshox Pike territory. Reverse arch crowns sit low to keep the stiffness in check whilst wheel access is a breeze with the 6mm Hexlock axle that eliminates rotation around the axle and has now replaced the quick release lever on earlier versions. Tapered steerer, 180mm post-mount brake boss and evil genius seals complete the picture.

The Manitou Mattoc comes as part of a range from 140mm through to 170mm at ten mm increments and two offset availabilities in 41mm and 44mm and in red, black or white aftermarket colours. Internally we can talk about Dorado air, HBO and MC squared or in fact any of the the piston stuff within these legs until we’re blue in the face but ultimately, just like good wine, it all comes down to “do you like it or not?” So do we?

PERFORMANCE

Some people talk of the Manitou Mattoc as having a great coil like feel but its ages since I rode a 160mm coil fork but I can report that the progressivity was bang on. On the charge the Mattoc allowed for good chassis balance never over-using its travel, the fork holding its shape, and therefore the bike’s stability, exceptionally well. It didn’t quite have the sensitivity in the initial part of the travel as a Pike, which is often over-eager to please, but what it did do was take the harder impacts without any feedback, and we’d take that, as grip was never an issue.

Being of 34mm stanchions compared to 35mm and 36mm on Fox and Rockshox, we expected a bit more flex on the fork but the reality was a fork that muscled up to the occasion exceptionally well and on no occasion did we the fork feel underpowered or afraid to take on the challenge.

 

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In terms of adjustment it did take a while to decipher the information in the manual and in some ways it was easier to work it out for ourselves. The bottom line is that it’s a very simple fork on high and low speed compression – 4 clicks each, and the hydraulic bottom out, although the dial was a touch fiddly to access with cold fingers. Rebound has ten. Some riders might be after something a bit more ‘tuneable’ as they put it, with a ton more clicks but I think many other riders will find a happy compromise with what’s on offer going for price and simplicity over clicks that are often forgotten after a few weeks.

VERDICT

The big question then, does the Manitou Mattoc hold its ground over other 160mm forks? We took a hard charging Orange Alpine with some carbon wheels and carbon Renthal bars – a tough and some might say overly stiff set up on the front of the bike and hit the uplift. And therein lies the key to any testing. Its all about wheel, bar, tyre and pressure combinations and the ground conditions you subject the fork to. It’s fair to say its had to withstand a fair few knocks but that its come up very positively.

With no overrated external travel adjust and no volume reducing spacers to worry about it the Mattoc scores from the outset. With good progressivity and accuracy, at £549 its a fork that’s inexpensive to start, but which in reality is available for under £400. This is a lot of fork for that money.

Performance-wise, the flex/stiffness balance is about right and the effect this has on chassis control is excellent. In terms of damping there is no bounce, no harsh feedback on rock impacts. Overall it’s a very well-rounded fork, one that takes the collisions, stands its ground in an arm wrestle with forks twice the price but not offering twice the punch.

Bottom line, does it stay on our bike? Absolutely.

£549.99

www.manitoumtb.com

 

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YT Tues CF Pro 2016 – Bike Test

 

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