James Vincent checks out the Manitou Mattoc Pro Boost fork – how does it stand up to the competition?
Another month, another set of suspension forks for review. No fancy linkages on these ones though, just standard telescoping tubes, stanchions, bushings and a not so standard reverse arch. But what’s so special about these Manitou Mattoc Pro Boost forks, and why should you choose to stick a pair of these in your headtube over a ubiquitous Rockshox Pike or Fox 34, or a more esoteric offering from Cane Creek, Ohlins or DT Swiss?
Well, for starters, Manitou has been around since mountain biking was in its infancy and the founder, Doug Bradbury, made his first set of forks way back in 1989. Things went a little quiet in the mid 2000’s, but with a recent release of some heavy hitting enduro forks, Manitou look to be back in a big way.
The Mattoc Pro is a very well featured fork, boasting a specification that puts it firmly in the top tier but without the associated price premium, retailing for £750. This puts it just above a Rockshox Revelation RCT3 (£675), but quite considerably below a Pike RCT3 (£929) or Fox 34 Performance Elite (£859).
- Trail/all mountain suspension fork
- 34mm diameter stanchions
- 27.5in (tested), 27.5+, 29 & 29+ sizes available
- 160mm travel (internally adjustable between 140-170mm)
- Dorado Air Spring
- Independent mid and end stroke control
- Hydraulic Bottom Out Control, Rubber Bumper
- 1.5” tapered steerer
- 44mm offset
- MC2 Compression Damping (high and low speed)
- TPC Rebound Damping
- Hexlock bolt through axle
- 180mm postmount, max rotor size 203mm
The Mattoc Pro chassis uses 34mm diameter stanchions, and Manitou’s patented rear facing arch. Several companies have used a reverse arch in the past, notably Pace and DT Swiss, although DT Swiss has mixed things up and decided to go with a forward arch on their latest fork, the F35. Aside from looking unique (and a little disconcerting to begin with), there is one benefit of a reverse arch, namely equivalent stiffness (to a forward facing arch) but with less weight. Manitou also claims that the reverse arch offers greater protection to seals, but with pretty much everyone running a mudguard these days, that claim doesn’t carry quite so much weight. Talking of which, around the rear of the arch is a huge bolt on mudguard with easily enough clearance for 2.8” tyres.
The wheel is held firmly in place using Manitou’s unique Hexlock bolt through axle design – once you get used to carrying the required 6mm hex key with you at all times, it’s a bomber system and I reckon it plays a large part in the high stiffness of the fork.
Onto the internals, and the Mattoc Pro borrows its air spring from the renowned Dorado DH fork, curiously filled from the bottom of the fork, rather than the usual top cap. The reason for this is the inclusion of the Infinite Rate Tune (IRT) cartridge that sits up top, and works in a similar way to removable tokens in other forks. Increase air pressure in the IRT, and the fork ramps up towards the end of its stroke. Conversely, reduce air pressure for a more linear feel. This comes with a couple of benefits – it’s adjustable out on the trail with no need to partially disassemble the air spring to change the volume, and as the name says, it’s infinitely adjustable.
As tested, the fork has 160mm of travel, but is internally adjustable (by a reasonably competent home mechanic) from 140mm to 170mm in 10mm increments by moving a couple of spacers around.
Moving over to the damping circuits, and being the top spec Pro model, the Mattoc gets adjustable rebound AND compression. Rebound is dialled in with a blue knob at the bottom of the right leg, while the compression knobs are found at the top of the right leg. The MC2 cartridge gives high and low speed compression control, and there’s an additional bonus adjustment in the form of the Hydraulic Bottom Out (HBO) control. This is a feature usually reserved for high end dampers, and really lets you dial in the feel of the last 30mm of travel.
On the Trail
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|Product:||Mattoc Pro 3 Boost|
|Tested:||by James Vincent for 6 months|