Manitou Drake fork review£250.00

Bargain bounce

BikeRadar score4/5

We’ve ridden the Drake on a few bikes this year and we’ve been consistently impressed by its performance for the price.

The air spring is similarly linear to the one found in Manitou's R7, which means you have to get the pressure right to stop it diving or chattering over small bumps, but it’s noticeably smoother than most sub-£300 air forks.

It’s got the same Absolute+ damper as the R7, which offers external rebound damping and internal high-speed damping. The 32mm stanchions and reversed arch have a narrow stance but they steer and track well enough.

There’s a 20mm Hexlock axle version for stiffening them up further, but the ‘five Allen bolt’ dance to get it undone if you puncture is a pain. The machined and anodised damping adjusters give a nice quality feel and, despite the heavy steel steerer, the hollow crown keeps weight at a reasonable level.

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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