Manitou’s Travis forks have pushed single-crown travel to a whole new level with their 180 and 200mm options. Barspin and X-up convenience comes courtesy of the huge 1.5in steerer tube. This is stiffer than even the thickest wall 1 1/8in steerer tubes but no heavier. The only downside is the need for a bike with an oversized 1.5in head tube. Conventional 1 1/8in steerer versions are available, but only with 150mm of travel and TPC damping. The 34mm legs are usefully stiff and the broad arch lowers handle up to 2.7in tyres. The new QRThru20 Hexlock axle makes whipping wheels in and out easy too (a standard 20mm through-axle is £650).
The other big feature is the brand new Intrinsic damping circuit. This uses a spring-controlled platform that starts open (rather than shut like previous SPV damping) for fluid small bump/traction reactions. The speed-sensitive damping then increases rapidly mid stroke, catching the impact quickly without spiking. The bottom-out damping can then be externally adjusted to start from 60-80 per cent of the stroke depth. The separate rebound damping is also externally adjustable. We’ve only ridden a couple of sets but we’ve been really impressed with the excellent absorption and controlled return of bigger impacts and drops, and creamy small bump response. Reliability is still an unknown though, and it’s not light.