Manitou Swinger 4 Way shock review£270.00

A great suspension control cure for older bikes

BikeRadar score4/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

Manitou’s Swinger has been around for a long old time. Its licensed SPV version of Curnutt’s platform technology makes it a great cure for older/simpler bikes. It’s good solid value, too.

In short, it's a highly adjustable, high-control fix for bobby, soggy or bottom-out prone bikes. However, it's not light, and its hard to extract full travel from it. That's still worth putting up with if you need to improve pedalling manners or bottom-out performance on a long-travel bike.

Manitou is under new ownership, but wisely Hayes has concentrated its revamp emphasis on Manitou’s proven products, rather than trying to push new stuff. This means the Swinger shock – one of the strongest products in the previous line-up – has been largely left alone.

The Swinger still uses SPV low-speed compression damping that relies on user-adjustable air pressure on the far side of the damping circuit to kill any excess pedal bob. It also gives an extremely accurate ‘catch’ of bigger hits, compared with the over-travel felt on some shocks.

The piggyback chamber can be screwed down in volume to increase bottom-out resistance, making it a great choice for bikes which otherwise tend to sag in the middle or blow through the end stroke. The longer lengths available suit bigger-hit bikes, too, where the hefty weight is also less likely to be an issue.

The downsides are that the shock is less sensitive to small bumps even at minimum pressure (there’s no option to run no pressure, as it kills the shock in minutes). We also struggled to get full travel on various bikes, however soft we ran the Swinger or however much we backed off the bottom-out chamber. The new for ’08 separate lockout lever seems superfluous on a platform shock, too.

However, even once you add the separately sold bushing kits, the Manitou is still a well priced shock, with a good reliability reputation.

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
Back to top