MRP Bartlett – $1,289
The newest crop of long-travel all-mountain bikes are so capable that there’s almost no reason to own a full-on downhill bike unless you’re racing DH. Nearly everyone I know has traded in their DH sled because bikes like the Slash, Slayer, Enduro and Wreckoning (among others) have closed the gap in downhill performance so much so that there’s almost nowhere you can’t bring them. MRP’s new fork, the Bartlett, aims to close that gap even further by bringing dual-crown stiffness and steering response to the category.
The Bartlett is suited for all-mountain bikes in two main ways: Its travel range is 170-190 millimeters (internally adjustable), and it sports a Boost 110×15-millimeter axle instead of the 20-millimeter axle standard used on other dual crown, downhill-specific forks. The Bartlett can be run on proper DH bikes too, but at 190 millimeters, it’s 10-millimeters fewer than your average DH fork.
Featurewise, the Bartlett is just like the Ribbon, with 35-millimeter stanchions, separate positive and negative air springs, low-speed compression and rebound knobs, pressure relief valves, and Ramp Control.
The Ramp Control unit is a little different though. It has volume spacers that thread onto the bottom of the cartridge. Isn’t Ramp Control supposed to replace volume spacers? Yes, but it’s more than an externally adjustable volume spacer. Ramp Control changes the volume of the spring depending on shaft speed--it’s essentially an air damper. Adjusting Ramp control doesn’t actually change the air spring volume, it changes the pressure it takes to get air to move through the Ramp Control cartridge. If the fork is compressed slowly, air flows freely through the valve but when compressed quickly, air gets bottlenecked at the base of the cartridge, effectively reducing the volume. Volume spacers allow an independent adjustment from this.
The Bartlett might be filling a niche market, but at the moment it’s all alone in a new category. We’re looking forward to seeing how people wind up using the Bartlett, and to discovering its possibilities for ourselves.
MRP Hazzard – $650-$800 depending on spring
The Hazzard is MRP’s enduro shock, featuring high- and low-speed compression adjustment and a 2-position open/firm lever, and a single rebound adjuster. MRP makes the Hazzard in four standard sizes, four metric sizes and three trunnion sizes, offering bearing-style eyelets as well.
It’s available without a spring for $650, with a normal steel spring for $690, a lightweight steel spring for $780 or MRP’s brand new Progressive Spring for $800.
That’s right, finally someone’s making a progressive spring. It’s the perfect solution if you have a bike with kinematics designed specifically for air shocks, but want that sensitivity only coils can offer. The progressive spring ramps up by 20 percent at the end of its stroke.
Between Ramp Control’s increased tuning, the Bartlett’s dual-crowned foray into all-mountain, and the new Progressive Spring, MRP is definitely carving out a name for itself in suspension innovation and fresh thinking.