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.