When it came to building up my Bird Aeris finding the best fork for my needs was quite tricky.
I did plenty of research, looking at reviews and taking out tests bikes, comparing the competition and in the end I decided that the Manitou Mattoc Pro was the best fork for me.
What is it that makes this fork special? For me there were two main factors – price and adjust-ability. I’m a stickler for a bargain and with prices at around £400 the Mattoc came in well below the Rockshox Pike and the Fox 34s.
Manitou Mattoc Pro
The Mattoc Pro has a ridiculous amount of adjustments that can be made while on the trails and EVEN MORE back in the workshop! For example, you have:
- Compression Dampening
- Rebound Dampening
- High Speed Dampening
- Twin Position Chamber TPC
- Hydraulic Bottom Out Adjustment (HBO)
All that and then you can adjust the travel between 140, 150, 160 and 170 (for 26″ wheels) internally with spacers – I haven’t done it myself but everything I’ve read says that it’s pretty easy to do.
On top of all that is the weight – you’d think a 160mm travel fork that runs for under £400 would be pretty heavy, but it isn’t! In fact, it’s just 1877g that’s less than 20g more than the Pike! You really can’t complain with that.
The 15mm axle is surprisingly easy to use once you figure it out – it’s a quarter turn system that secures the wheel very tightly and I’ve yet to have a problem with it.
Manitou Mattoc Pro Review
So how does it ride? That’s the important question.
The answer is incredibly well, however it does take a lot of fiddling and a bit of bedding in until you get it exactly right. I did a little bit of searching and found Manitou’s setup guide which was pretty much spot on to what I needed and helps to explain exactly what each tuning aspect of the fork does.
I’ve now subjected the Mattoc Pro to over 500 miles of hard-going, muddy, Welsh riding with locations including Afan, Bike Park Wales and Cwmcarn – as well as more local trails and the fork works flawlessly.
Thanks to the huge amount of adjust-ability, it is incredibly easy to tailor the fork to what you’re planning on facing in the day. For example, my typical riding favours the All Mountain tuning seen in the diagram above, however an uplift day at Bike Park Wales sits between the Enduro and Flow settings turning the bike into a completely different beast.
You really notice how impressive the performance is at mid-stroke, as it reacts brilliantly to hit after hit soaking up everything in its path. It’s even better when it comes to the BIG hits, largely thanks to the HBO as I have yet to have any worrying bangs (as I’ve previously had with RS forks), or sharp stops when I run out of travel. There’s also no obvious dive when pedaling or braking hard, giving you one less thing to worry about when riding around.
The small bump sensitivity is good, but it isn’t quite as supple as the Pike although this isn’t something that’s massively noticeable with day to day riding. In fact, if it is something you’re worried about then it’s cheaper to simply buy some carbon handlebars than it is to fork out (get it?) for the Pike.
I’m extremely pleased with the decision to go for the Manitou Mattoc Pro and it perfectly suits my aggressive riding nature. It took about 50miles of riding to properly bed in, but even during that period it performed flawlessly. For a 160mm travel fork, it climbs surprisingly well and descends like an absolute animal. You can also get the Mattoc in Red, White or Black and there are plenty of places to get custom stickers for it as well, which is pretty cool for a custom build.
Looking for something that a little bit different? The reverse arch on the fork is always a conversation starter and gives a very unique look. I haven’t put a mud guard on it yet, but I’ve been told that the normal flexy plastic ones work as well on this arch as they do a conventional forward facing one.
Overall though, the performance and tune-ability of this fork are absolutely staggering. If you absolutely love fiddling with settings to get your suspension set up just right for you, then the Manitou Mattoc Pro is exactly what you need in your life.