Manitou hit the jump/dirt circuit last year with their Sherman fork but now they’ve produced a dedicated jump family – the Gold Label Series. The £325 Series 1 and £355 Series 2 are basically the same fork, but the cheaper Series 1 doesn’t have the steel grind bolt for street work, or the 20mm bolt through-axle option (£395) of the Series 2. It does use BMX style slanted dropouts though.
As you’d expect, this fork is a tough structure based around 32mm diameter legs, but it’s not excessively weighty so it would make a decent choice for heavy riders to run as a cross-country fork. It’s only available in 80 or 100mm travel versions though and Manitou are not joking when they call the coil spring extra firm. The damn thing needs to be slammed super hard to get even halfway through the travel, even with a big lad like Doddy on board, so most riders will probably need to swap the spring. The range of rebound adjustment is wide enough to cope with whatever spring you run or height you land from though.
We’ve only tested one production fork so far and that’s been fine but, again, the Gold Label Jump Series forks run the often temperamental Fluid Flow damping system. Hopefully, the reliability of it on this platform will be much better than others we’ve used but so far we can’t report either way.