After the popular Dorado upside-down fork, Manitou developed the Travis, a ‘right way up’ fork with slender looks. Initially, the Intrinsic Damping system seemed a little touch-and-go and the fork was far too linear for many, but the 2008 incarnation has had a few welcome adjustments.
We tested the 180mm (7in) travel version (203mm/8in is also available) which is ample for most downhill tracks. Externally, the 180mm travel fork has a 580mm axle to crown height, making it 17mm taller than the mighty Fox 40, which has 200mm travel. This makes for a slightly taller cockpit than some are running at the moment, although the integrated crown and stem keeps things manageable.
Manitou’s simple but very effective hexagonal axle interface makes for a stiff set-up, and the replaceable retaining nuts for the axle clamp will ensure this fork will outlast the ham-fisted.
The right leg (as you’re on the bike) houses the Intrinsic damping system, which offers rebound adjustment via the dial on the base of the leg, and compression via the dial on the top. You can also adjust the cartridge air internally. The left leg holds a medium spring, which will suit most riders around 12-14st.
Initially, we were surprised by the progressive feel the fork had – certainly far more so than previous Travis offerings.
After a few days’ riding, the fork started to ease in and felt a little more linear, but the Intrinsic damping feels better than last year’s fork.
We were able to get a good feel out of the fork and maintain a sensible ride height without excess diving but it suffered on the small stuff. The initial part of the stroke is a little harsh, but the mid-stroke surprised us once bedded in and set-up – it offers a better ride out the box than the 2007 model.
Through the big stuff, the fork still has a linear feel, but wards off the bigger hits better than before, and the cartridge adjustments can help this ramp up.
Appearance-wise, we had mixed views. The ‘Grandma’s lipstick’ finish is classier than previous colourways, and with its 32mm stanchions on display thanks to the reverse arch, the fork looks a lot longer and more flexible than it is.
Steering rigidity is fine, but when fitted to a frame with a large head tube, there isn’t much in the way of steering lock.