Relic is an all-new family for Manitou this year, but it shares all their trademark features for a workable if not outstanding performance. Coil springs make it a relatively heavy unit, but the skinny 30mm diameter legs also have a relatively narrow stance, which means they don't resist steering twist well. The coil springs are relatively stiff, and while the fork does bed in, it never feels totally plush - even with minimum preload. We never got more than 113mm travel out of them either, despite an alleged 130mm max. Different spring rate kits are available, but it makes them more awkward and expensive to adjust than air forks. There's noticeable top out clunk at the start of the stroke too, which is irritating.
On the bright side, the rebound damping and compression damping work fi ne with the lockout, which is useful for road climbs. Metal knobs add a quality feel, too. Overall control is pretty consistent, and we've had no signs of oil leaks or other problems from the Evil Genius seals. Despite its looks, the tyre-hugging reverse arch brace will take large tyres, too. 100mm and V brake versions are also available if you prefer.