This right here–the new Manitou Mattoc–is the Chinese Democracy of the suspension fork world: a project so long in the making that plenty of people thought it would never actually see the light of day. Manitou has produced some great long-travel, single-crown forks (the Sherman comes to mind), but it’s been years since they’ve truly been a player in this niche. RockShox has the Lyrik (and now Pike). Fox has the 36. Heck, Marzocchi has the 55.
Manitou? Until recently they’ve kind of offered up the Minute in longer-travel iterations, but with its lightweight chassis and skinny stanchions, it wasn’t really a contender in the all-mountain arena. There has, in other words, been a massive, gaping, lonely-as-hell hole in Manitou’s product line.
Well, at least that was the case until a week or so ago.
The Mattoc debuted at Eurobike to a whole lot of buzz. In a nutshell, the new fork promises to take some of the key internal features of the excellent Dorado fork and package it into a 4.1-pound (Pro model) package.
Here are the basics:
The Mattoc comes in 140, 150 and 160-millimeter travel versions for both 26 anbd 27.5 wheel sizes. There’s also a 26er-compatible iteration that’ll squeeze out 170 millimeters of cush. Sorry, there are no 29er versions of the Mattoc…yet.
CHASSIS–THAT MIDDLE-GROUND OPTION
Suspension manufacturers are clearly scratching their heads in an attempt to figure out how burly they actually need to make a “burly” fork. Fox’s 36 has, no surprise, 36 millimeters and a hefty crown, but lately that model has been replaced as original equipment on all-mountain bikes with the svelter “34” Fox sibling. RockShox’s Lyrik and Pike both have 35 millimeter stanchions. Manitou, however, outfitted the Mattoc with 34-millimeter stanchions and a 15-mm through axle, which puts it on the skinnier side of the all-mountain spectrum.
Of course, stanchion size alone does not control how well a fork fends off noodley sensations (the size and shape of both the fork crown and lowers also play an important role), but it’s an interesting choice all the same.
The Mattoc sports several features that first appeared in Manitou’s supremely plush and controlled Dorado DH fork. The fork floats on Manitou’s Dorado dual-chamber, large volume, low-pressure air spring (actually a Manitou mainstay that goes way back to the old X-Vert Air forks of the late ’90s). To control bottom-out (which could be a problem for agressive riders, given that low-pressure air spring), the Mattoc sports (just like the Dorado) a hydraulic, bottom-out adjuster that lets you dial in a bit more progressivity to the fork’s end stroke. The Mattoc also features independent oil and dust seals, which Manitou claims improves the fork’s long-term durability.
KNOBS AND SUCH
People like to fiddle with knobs. It’s hard not to–they’re shiny. To that end, Manitou equipped the Mattoc with separate high and low-speed compression dampers, the latter of which should prove a boon to anyone lacking a gondola or chairlift at their trailhead. The low-speed adjuster is also remote compatible, using Manitou’s MILO remote system.
AVAILABILITY & PRICING
Manitou predicts that the Mattoc should hit shops around December. Pricing should be very competitive–$850 is what is being bandied about as the retail price for the top tier Pro model. There are also two less expensive (and heavier) Expert and Comp versions, for which pricing has yet to be finalized.