Manitou’s new R7 forks and Mara shock are for XC racing and day-to-day shredding

Light and fast products for racers and weekend warriors alike

Manitou R7 mountain bike suspension forks

Manitou’s new R7 Pro and Expert forks, and its Mara rear shock, are aimed at a traditional but resurgent crowd: cross-country racers and riders.

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That is, people wanting to push hard on singletrack, pedal long distances, race occasionally at the weekend and generally get the most out of a modern lightweight setup.

Manitou R7 reincarnated

Manitou R7 mountain bike suspension fork
The R7 is stealthy-looking.
Hayes

The 2020 Manitou R7 fork harks back to earlier incarnations of the R7, generally popular forks that gained many fans and a four-star BikeRadar review in 2008.

Later versions of the fork weren’t as successful, but Manitou says the R7 is now back and, of course, better than ever. 

According to Manitou the new fork has been designed with light weight, stiffness, reliability and all-round usability in mind. The brand says it is a fork for “riders who look for components that allow them to race XC on Sunday, hit some flow trails on Wednesday, smash rock gardens and get tech on Friday, and do it all again the next week.”

There are two models available, the R7 Pro and R7 Expert, in both wheel sizes (27.5in and 29in), with internally adjustable travel between 80 to 100mm.

Manitou says the trademark Reverse Arch allows it to use 32mm stanchions, reducing the weight of the fork while retaining stiffness: “lower tire clearance behind the fork relative to the center of the axle allows for a shorter arch which yields 13% increased stiffness compared to a forward arch fork of the equivalent weight”.

2020 Manitou R7 Pro suspension fork details and specifications

Manitou R7 mountain bike suspension forks
The R7 fork has a range of adjustment and a full lockout mode.
Hayes

The R7 Pro uses Manitou’s new VTT Pro damper with two independent shim stacks to allow a “rock solid” lockout, with open and mid positions reportedly unaffected by the internal constraints of a full lockout.

Of this, Manitou says: “we can manipulate the characteristic of the damper to be locked out, digressive, or progressive to meet the demands of the rider and terrain”.

The Pro model also uses the existing Dorado Air spring that is found elsewhere in the brand’s ranges, including in the Mezzer fork we recently gave a rating of 4.5 stars.

Manitou’s Incremental Volume Adjust, a “self-contained volume reduction system” allows five-position setting selection that modifies the air volume in the positive chamber for ramp-up adjustment.

  • Price: £799.99 / $849.99 / €903 (including 19% VAT)
  • Weight: 1,648g (29in at 120mm)
  • Travel: 80 to 120mm
  • Offset: 37/44mm for 27.5in, 44/51mm for 29in
  • Spring: Dorado Air with IVA
  • Crown material: Forged aluminum, deep hollow bore
  • Leg material: 7000 series Aluminum
  • Damping: VTT Pro
  • Adjustments: Three-position Compression with Open Mode Adjust, Rebound, Air Pressure, IVA volume adjust
  • Leg diameter: 32mm
  • Wheel size: 27.5in, 29in
  • Brake: Post Mount 160mm
  • Axle: 15mm Hexlock2
  • Fender: Integrated fender mount

2020 Manitou R7 Expert suspension fork details and specifications

Manitou R7 mountain bike suspension forks
Hopefully the R7 will be as good as the Mezzer.
Hayes

R7 Expert internals are simplified with an Expert Air spring and VTT damper; on the outside, the Pro version’s legs comprise 7000 series Alu to the Expert’s 6000 series.

The Expert is slightly (164g) heavier and a reasonable amount cheaper for it.

  • Price: £699.99 / $699.99 / €744 (including 19% VAT)
  • Weight: 1,812g (29in at 120mm)
  • Travel: 80 to 120mm
  • Spring: Expert Air
  • Crown material: Forged aluminum, hollow bore
  • Leg material: 6000 series Aluminum
  • Damping: VTT
  • Adjustments: Three-position Compression, Rebound, Air Pressure
  • Leg diameter: 32mm
  • Wheel size: 27.5in, 29in
  • Brake: Post Mount 160mm
  • Axle: 15mm Hexlock
  • Fender: Integrated fender mount

2020 Manitou Mara rear shock details and specifications

Manitou Mara mountain bike rear shock
Manitou’s Mara rear shock is aimed at new-school XC riders and racers.
Hayes

The Mara is a new addition to Manitou’s range and is a “slimmed down and XC focused” version of the existing Mara Pro shock.

Manitou says the Mara’s SKF Internal Floating Piston helps to reduce initial breakaway friction through its “flexible membrane and lip seals instead of a rigid disc”.

Damper compression adjustment ranges from fully open to a firm platform setting with the help of two independent shim stacks: the preload stack is adjusted externally by the Incremental Platform Adjust knob; the second stack is reportedly aimed at improving small bump sensitivity and reducing harshness.

Manitou Mara mountain bike rear shock
The Mara is a slimmed down version of the Mara Pro we recently reviewed.
Hayes

Similarly, rebound is controlled through two separate circuits with adjustments primarily controlling low-speed damping through movement of the tapered needle within.

Of course, this also affects the entire damping range, but Manitou notes the second shim stack has been “carefully optimised to preserve the correct high-speed rebound as the needle is adjusted up or down”.

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  • Price: £399 / $424.99 / €452 (including 19% VAT)
  • Weight: 275g
  • External adjustments: Compression platform, rebound, air pressure
  • Mount styles: Trunnion and eyelet