We were lucky to get a European exclusive first test of Manitou’s new, downhill-influenced Mattoc. If its initial performance lasts, it looks set to be a cost effective, high control winner.
The 34mm-legged, reverse arch chassis is slightly heavy and its narrow stance means it’s adequately rather than dramatically stiff. The push in, quarter turn, cam close Hexlock 15mm axle is potentially the fastest around, but there’s a real knack to working it.
The dual-chamber air spring technology comes straight from Manitou’s Dorado DH fork and offers a great mix of supple start and supportive mid stroke that gives great traction without obvious dive. The end stroke gets separate hydraulic bottom-out adjustment and a rubber bumper to control the final few millimetres.
Advanced fork fettlers will love the separate high- and low-speed compression damping adjustment, though the subtle changes make tuning patience a virtue. The low-speed adjustment stops short of full lockout, but that means you don’t sacrifice any small bump traction. As the Mattoc is new, reliability is unproven, but Dorados have a good reputation and so far it’s an outstanding fork for the money.