The Manitou Markhor is a new suspension fork that fits your old MTB

Revive that old MTB with Manitou's Markhor

Take a second, think about your garage, storage area, or wherever you keep the stuff that upsets your significant other. Is there a mountain bike in there that’s simply collecting dust? Maybe it was the bike that hooked you on mountain biking? Maybe it was your first “real” bike? Maybe it just reminds you of a really, freaking awesome time in your life? Whatever it is, you can’t get rid of it, but the thought of riding it with its worn-out suspension fork isn’t that great, either.

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It really wasn’t that long ago, less than a decade, that nearly every mountain bike had a straight 1 1/8in steerer and 9mm open dropouts. Up to 2009, the amount of travel, stanchion size, and dampers may have differed, but the two fitments that made a fork and bike compatible were more or less static. But roughly in 2010, tapered steerers came about and the industry never looked back.

Remember the good ol' days of quick release wheels?
Remember the good ol’ days of quick release wheels?
Russell Eich / Immediate Media

If your pre-2010 mountain bike’s suspension fork went pear shaped and available upgrades are few and far between due to incompatibility, Manitou’s Markhor is here to rescue your old best friend.

Manitou Markhor features

  • Wheel size: 26in, 27.5in, or 27.5+/29in
  • KwikToggle Damper with Lockout
  • 30mm Black Alloy Stanchions
  • Travel: 100mm, 120mm
  • Spring: TS Air
  • Adjustments: Air pressure, rebound, lockout
  • Steerer: 1 1/8in straight or 1.5in tapered
  • Dropout: 9mm QR or 15mm Boost
  • E-MTB certified
  • 26in offset: 38.1mm (1 1/8), 38.1mm (1.5 Taper)
  • 27.5in offset: 41mm (1 1/8), 44mm (1.5 Taper)
  • 29in offset: 51mm (1 1/8), 48mm (1.5 Taper) 
  • 41mm (1 1/8), 44mm (1.5 Taper) (27.5” 110mm Boost) 
  • 51mm (1 1/8), 48mm (1.5 Taper) (27.5+,29” 110mm Boost)

The revivalist fork

Even though it seems like an error, it’s not – the brand new Markhor is available for 26in wheels, and a straight steerer tube, and features the standard of a bygone era, 9mm open quick release dropouts the way God and Tullio Campagnolo intended. One thing it does not have is V-brake bosses; it’s set up for a post-mount caliper and a 160mm disc.

There are other forks from RockShox and X-Fusion that come close but are limited in their choices, whether it be wheel size, steerer diameter or dropouts. 

Have an old mountain bike with a blown out suspension fork? Meet Manitou's Markhor with a straight steerer and open 9mm dropouts
Have an old mountain bike with a blown out suspension fork? Meet Manitou’s Markhor with a straight steerer and open 9mm dropouts
Russell Eich / Immediate Media

There are also a bit more modern versions of the Markhor available with a 15mm Boost thru-axle and tapered steerer if you’re in need of a budget suspension fork. 

And, oh yeah, that brings up the pricing, which refreshingly starts at $250 (£193, AU$330) and slowly works up from there.

With that price structure, the adjustments are a bit slim compared to today’s highly tunable suspension bits. The Markhor includes air pressure, rebound, and a lockout.

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Manitou Markhor availability

The Markhor fork is available now, but a review of it will be coming after I spend some quality trail time on it. I’m looking forward to testing it back to back with the original Fox 32 fork my old Trek hardtail came with.