The Hayes, Answer/Manitou booth is always worth a visit at Sea Otter. Not only do the staff there always have great Wisconsin bratwursts on offer for lunch, but they generally have a great selection of new products.
One thing that Manitou does well is to know that it doesn’t quite have the clout of the big two suspension companies and so it tries to make sure that it looks around to see corners of the bike world that perhaps aren’t very well covered. Or to see what a new and emerging trend might be where it can steal a march on things. This was one of the reasons that the Manitou Magnum was basically the only 29+ suspension fork out there for a couple of years.
2017/2018 is no different and Manitou has gazed at the cycling world before it and gone ‘Right, two things: a) there’s a demand for longer travel fat bikes and b) there are still a bunch of folks out there running non-Boost, non-tapered steerer tubed and possibly even non-thru-axle bikes who need a decent air-sprung suspension fork.
The Manitou Mastodon offers fat bike riders a great compatibility – taking tyres up to 26in x 5.15in or 27.5in x 4.5in. As well as just fitting big tyres, though, the Mastodon has been designed to work well in sub-zero temperatures, with cold weather compatible seals and fluids, so you know that if you run into some chilly weather, everything’s not going to turn into viscous sludge.
With some companies (Foes and Salsa for example) offering trail-ready full suspension fat bikes, there’s a small demand for longer travel fat forks, so the Mastodon comes with 34mm stanchions and travel available from 80mm all the way up to 140mm (and we heard 150mm, but that might have been the grilled sausages talking…)
Manitou also showed the Markhor fork. This is a fork aimed at folk who have a well-loved bike in the shed, probably even their main or only bike, who are finding it harder and harder to get working parts for. Perhaps you have a non-tapered steerer, or quick release Chris King hubs that have plenty of life left – or you even have a 26in wheel! Well, the Markhor fork has been designed to give you an air sprung alternative and new lease of life.
The forks features an air spring and comes in tons of options – QR or thru-axle, 26in, or 27.5 or 29in, straight steerer or tapered. Weight is 2.4kg, which isn’t light, but hey, it’s a fork that could breathe new life into a loved old machine… Price will be US$250-$300 depending on options.