Manitou’s entry-level triple-clamp fork is skinny looking, but smoother and more heavy duty than you might think. The 170mm stroke uses coil springs and Manitou’s well proven TPC damping to give reasonably consistent suspension. Rebound damping is external but you’ll have to fish around inside for compression control. It’s a fine line between getting the fork to stop diving too much under braking and big highspeed spikes too, but then it’s not an expensive fork.
The chromed steel legs and butted steel steerer certainly make it tougher than looks suggest, and a 20mm bolt-through axle means it steers OK too. It’s a very narrow fork though, which means restricted steering. All that steel means it weighs an absolute ton (well, nearly 3.5kg) too.
The post-style brake mounts make set-up easy, but they’ll only take 8in plus rotors. Plus, while the fork is smooth and eager straight from the box, we’ve seen a couple of leaky ones, and occasionally you can blow a seal head clean out. Small steerer size and QR axle versions (£350) are also available.