Manitou R7 MRD suspension fork review£500.00

Light and cost-effective race fork

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The Manitou R7 has been one of the lightest, most cost-effective race fork families for years but it’s short on travel, and steering isn’t hugely accurate. Reliability has been good on long-term sets though.

The narrow stance rear brace structure with 30mm stanchions plugged into a steep shouldered crown creates a light fork for the money (the 80mm version is 40g lighter than the 1,412g 100mm version tested here).

However, the R7 twists more than any other fork we've tested this year, both on the trail and on our bender rig. There’s also lots of flex under braking, which makes steering and line choice approximate rather than accurate and creates an uneasy front end in technical sections.

Although it binds and chokes if you’re turning or anchoring hard, the stroke is reasonably smooth over small to mid-size bumps. The ABS+ damping spikes on higher shaft speed/square-edged impacts though, and it ramps up noticeably at 85mm. We didn’t get more than 90mm out of the 100mm stroke.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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