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  1. #1
    Nemophilist
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    Manitou Tower Pro Fork for Clydesdales - Techical

    Hey All;

    I thought I would post regarding this product and the efforts I have been making to dial it in for my out-of-the-norm needs. Further, I wanted to add more than the review platform offers, and get it out there in the main forum so that everyone might see it. You can reference my review here;

    Manitou Tower Pro 29er Forks Reviews

    (Edit: TM's Tower tuning guide link http://www.jonesparkchronicles.com/ManitouTowerPro.html )

    As things stand now, I am still working to get this fork to function well for someone my size (6'5"/240), riding the terrain that I do, without much success to date. The bottom line on most suspension products is that they simply do not offer a spring stiff enough for someone my size. Spring rate is the basis on which all other suspension function operates, and if it is not ideal, then nothing else will work right either. In fact, every other fork I have ever had has offered the same problem. In some cases, like my old Manitou Minute 1 or Fox Vanilla RLC, the combination of adjustments offered coupled with the bike in question allowed me to "work around" this basic deficiency and come up with a nice plush ride that was not burdened by excessive dive. This has not been the case with my new Niner RIP9 with the Tower Pro fork.

    The Extra-firm spring is still far too soft. Adding air pressure never quite gets the job done, and offers a fairly non-linear progression from one extreme to the other; a plush ride but not enough dive control to far too stiff and harsh in the mid travel, with very little in between. Going from 100psi to 10-20psi more throws it over that threshold; solving the dive problem at the expense of the plush ride. I've exhausted all the adjustment and tuning parts that were generally available. What to do?

    Well, on the advice of a review comment, I contacted Manitou by e-mail. At the risk of flooding them with all sorts of e-mails, the result has been that I got a direct response from and have been corresponding for the last month or so with the Chief Engineer of the suspension division. The Big Cheese at Manitou has taken a personal interest in my plight, and has been INCREDIBLY generous with technical information and advice. In a time when it is so very hard to get support for many of the things we do with the products we buy, and in an age of small companies getting gobbled up and folded into larger groups, I find this personal touch and interest quite amazing, and very heartening.

    What I can tell you right now is that Manitou LISTENS to us. They were aware of my less than perfect review already, and wanted to help. They have products in the pipeline that are going to address my specific issue, and others that will help we users with an incredible array of technical information, and a superbly complete tuning kit to optimize the damping circuits. These guys are serious about us on the user end!

    As of now, it is going to be a few months before the heavier-yet spring kit is available. In the interim, we had discussed adding some preload to the spring to fully activate it sooner in the suspension stroke. I installed a thick washer under the existing spring perch washer/bolt on the lower spring spacer rod, which increased its effective length by 4mm. I had previously settled on 120psi in the air chamber (10psi over the max suggestion!), but set the pressure at 90psi for this test ride. I seemed to notice a subtle change.

    There seemed to be "more there." The ride was plush, but it seemed as though the fork was a little less prone to diving or blowing through all of its travel as it had before. I was also riding with a click or two less compression damping, and all of this suggests to me that the preload increase improved the situation, and that further, we are on the right track with the heavier spring due out soon.

    I got a very gracious care package in the mail the other day that, among other things, contained a longer drive rod (goes between the spring and air piston, inside the fork stanchion) that will increase spring preload to 6.8mm as a means of offering some more suspension rate and dive control. I am very eager to test this increased preload and see if it confirms the subtle effect I thought I felt with only 4mm of preload from my previous mod. I also got some nice fork and semi bath oil, and some damping shims. Another idea is to increase the amount of semi bath oil from 5cc to 10cc, which will give a bit more firmness to the air piston motion. Beyond that, if the spring theory holds true, I am hoping the damping "shim stack" as supplied will then work as it supposed to. If not, I am going to have to decipher the incredible amount of technical information in print that was e-mailed to me. Pages and pages of shim stack variations with supporting dyno graphs to show the effect relative to other arrangements. This gets TECHNICAL!

    I hope this treatise proves useful to others out there. Look for further updates along the way as I twiddle with it. Quite frankly, I have been very disappointed that I have not been able to fall in love with this new bike of mine. Through this post I also want to give a shout out to a company (Manitou) through an employee ("anonymous," for now) that have gone out of their way to help me to enjoy my new bike the way I had hoped to. I truly feel this is a good product at a great price, and getting this kind of support to tailor it for my needs is really B-itchin!!

    As I signed one of my e-mails;

    John Hajny
    Manitou Field Test Engineer
    Clydesdale Components Group

    (For the record, I have no connection to the company, other than owning their product)
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  2. #2
    the mountian is within
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    Very true-they are there for ya! On the expert model-the xtra-firm is well,XTRA FIRM...we got one in for a fork...too stiff for a 250lb rider with no air. They sent a firm-no cost to set it up. It works great-20lb air and the firm spring. The Pro is different-but when you get dialed-it will amaze you! Such nice forks for the money. They are my shops go to fork for builds and upgrades.
    i own a bikeshop in WV thetruewheelwv.com

  3. #3
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    I would ask Manitou to swap the internals from an Expert model & run the stiffest coil then add air for preload. I weigh 50lb. less than you and hate single fill air forks.

  4. #4
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    Please keep us updated when you get the new spring. I'm 260 # and will be in the market for a new fork after Christmas. I have nothing but good things to say about my current Minute fork, so the Tower is on my short list. Glad to hear Manitou is treating you as a valued customer

  5. #5
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    I ran into similar problems with my Tower Pro. I'm not quite as heavy as you are though and the extra-firm spring kit is working well for me...I'm weighing about 210 pounds though.

  6. #6
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    I had the X-firm spring and ~100 psi in the chamber, and my Minute/Tower fork would still dive like crazy with my 185 lbs. I also had four forks in a row, sent directly from Manitou, all with bad CSAs that would start to make horrible noises in a matter of months.

    By the second fork, I didn't even have to pay to ship it out to them. Their CS is good, but it can't make up for a bad product.

    The latest, brand-new Tower fork they sent me is currently for sale.

  7. #7
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    http://www.manitoumtb.com/assets/Ser...e%20Manual.pdf

    Here's a link to the 2011 Service Manual.

  8. #8
    beautiful jackass
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    Does anyone know where an illustrated walkthrough is for changing the springs on these forks? I ordered a firm kit a long time ago, but I've been too nervous to install it.

  9. #9
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    Been on my Tower Pro since March '11 with no issues. Swap to X-Firm spring was easy peasy and only took like 10 min. I weigh 200 to 210 depending on the day and am running an 80mm Pro version. This is easily one of the best forks I have owned....and almost prefer it due to the simplicity and quality of the damping. Between the XFirm and ABS+.....I can get to settings that work.

    Hopefully you guys can get your issues worked out......good luck.

  10. #10
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    Donkey: I found a thread on here somewhere that went through the spring swap. I can seem to find it now....but there was a post that really helped me. Truth is that this fork is super easy to work on because the spring is not swimming in oil. There is a certain amount of oil in the same leg as the spring but if you took the advice(like I did) from the guy in the post, it will save you the trouble of having to deal with replacing said oil.

    Look for the Tower Pro manual on the Manitou site. You will see how to remove the lowers to access spring. But, before you pull the bolts out of the bottoms of the lowers, invert the fork enough (easier if you have a repair stand) so that the oil runs back down toward the crown. Then, replace the bolts with tapered rubber stoppers(I picked up some in the drawers at Home Depot) and reinvert the fork to normal position and let it sit long enough for the oil to run back into lowers. With the rubber plugs snug enough, the oil will not leak out the hole at the bottom of each leg. Remove the lowers, rods, and spring. Make your swap, and reinstall rods, then just reinstall the lowers making sure the oil doesn't have a chance to leak out, by flipping the fork accordingly. Once the seals are back over the stachions, you can again invert the fork so it's easier to reinstall the bolts on eace leg. Presto, no need to measure any bit of oil. (It's a minimal amout of oil anyway, just for lubrication purposes) All the damping oil is in a separate chamber in the upper portion of the opposite leg.

    Took me all of 15 minutes or so. Hope this helps.

  11. #11
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    I have been running the Minute Pro 140mm (yes, I still run 26" wheels so please don;t flame me) on my trail bike and after making some tuning mods to the damper the performance was night and day! That combined with the X-firm spring has the fork tuned perfectly for my style of riding. I live in Vancouver, BC and we deal with a lot of steep terrain and big rocks and roots.

    Trail Maker, I have found that for bigger guys and aggressive riding that the linear tunes are the way to go. You get a nice ramp up at the end of the stroke without getting the spiking from having to run too much platform. I went for the most aggressive linear tune (eliminates the platform and makes the damper more like TPC) that gives the highest ending stroke damping level from the tunes offered. I have not missed the platform setting at all since i can just max the damper to reduce bobbing while pedaling.

    Let me know what you think if you try it.

    Good luck!

  12. #12
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    Bottom line suspension forks are designed around a 170lb rider. X-firm spring kits usually max out @ a rider weight of about 220lb. Only forks that I know of that handled heavier riders, w/ some degree of proper operation, were older dual coil Marz. forks w/ dual coils and air assist. The only 29er fork I can think of that might be Clyde friendly would be a Reba Dual Air.

  13. #13
    JB
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    I'm around 215 geared up, and I run the firm spring with only 50 psi air and find it perfect! Not sure why your fork is so far off mark?

  14. #14
    dru
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    I just put a Tower Expert on my Salsa. I'm loving it so far and it's not even broken in yet. The fork, like the Pro is super easy to work on so don't be intimidated. Since I'm paranoid I decided to check the semi bath oil levels on mine (6 hours riding time) since there really is next to nothing to start with. I'd guess there was a little more than half of what should have been there. Looks like the factory skimped out a bit.

    If you take yours apart have a look at the quantity and condition of the semi bath oil instead of trying to use stoppers and such to prevent the 16cc from leaking out of each leg. Clean the dust wipers and the foam rings, if dirty. Clean out the lower legs if you need to. When you refill, soak the be-jesus out of the foam rings, drain out the excess and then add the 16 cc to each side before pushing the lowers fully on. A quart of full synthetic 5w-40 costs ~$10 and will provide you about 1 million semi-bath changes.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  15. #15
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    Tower Pro on my Niner, it's got an X-firm spring kit and I currently weigh around 225. It's worked pretty well for me at this point, but I do wish it was firmer. I'm really interested in a stiffer spring. I'll be following this one.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by keen View Post
    Bottom line suspension forks are designed around a 170lb rider. X-firm spring kits usually max out @ a rider weight of about 220lb. Only forks that I know of that handled heavier riders, w/ some degree of proper operation, were older dual coil Marz. forks w/ dual coils and air assist. The only 29er fork I can think of that might be Clyde friendly would be a Reba Dual Air.
    I've been riding a 2010 Reba Team since April. At 255 lbs, it always feels soft and divey. I actually preferred the RS Tora 318 I had on my old bike.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    I've been riding a 2010 Reba Team since April. At 255 lbs, it always feels soft and divey. I actually preferred the RS Tora 318 I had on my old bike.
    I currently have a 2010 Reba and weigh 200lb. My buddy weighs 235lb w/ the same fork. In order to combat a "soft divey" condition you need to run the positive @ least 15psi higher than the negative. Tuning for equal pressures might work for your average weight rider.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by keen View Post
    I currently have a 2010 Reba and weigh 200lb. My buddy weighs 235lb w/ the same fork. In order to combat a "soft divey" condition you need to run the positive @ least 15psi higher than the negative. Tuning for equal pressures might work for your average weight rider.
    Tried that. Helped some. Guess I just like a super-firm travel. I got some advice on another thread regarding setting the positive pressure, emptying the negative, then airing up the negative in stages. I'll try that. Also going to increase the bath oil levels. However, I also got one of the Rebas with the offsett lowers from fleabay. I had the wheel dished to compensate, but sooner or later I'm buying a new fork. Messing with suspension tuning is not particularly fun for me. If I can't find an acceptable clyde fork, I'm going rigid. Awaiting news from this post, and to hear what Manitou might have coming in the future.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    Tried that. Helped some. Guess I just like a super-firm travel. I got some advice on another thread regarding setting the positive pressure, emptying the negative, then airing up the negative in stages. I'll try that. Also going to increase the bath oil levels. However, I also got one of the Rebas with the offsett lowers from fleabay. I had the wheel dished to compensate, but sooner or later I'm buying a new fork. Messing with suspension tuning is not particularly fun for me. If I can't find an acceptable clyde fork, I'm going rigid. Awaiting news from this post, and to hear what Manitou might have coming in the future.
    You should be able to easily firm the fork up by running higher positive pressures & lower neg. You can't adjust the damper oil level it isn't an open bath fork - it will just hydra lock.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by one incredible donkey View Post
    Does anyone know where an illustrated walkthrough is for changing the springs on these forks? I ordered a firm kit a long time ago, but I've been too nervous to install it.
    It's really simple, take a look at Manitou's service section on the site. There are step by step directions on there. I haven't been able to find any video's.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by keen View Post
    You should be able to easily firm the fork up by running higher positive pressures & lower neg. You can't adjust the damper oil level it isn't an open bath fork - it will just hydra lock.
    Thanks. I'll keep working towards a solution.

  22. #22
    Short-Change-Hero
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    Trailmaker - Glad that Manitou has been so responsive with you. Like I said before, I was able to get a quick reply from them and even recently got a call from the engineer that helped me out asking if I had changed the spring in mine (which I actually just did to the firm) and how I was like it. Talked with him quickly on the phone and he was saying that he rides the Tower Pro 100mm as well with the firm spring and is a bit lighter than me but runs around 40psi in his. I have found that if I run around 70psi I can leave the fork completely unlocked and get no bob when standing to climb on my HT. But when descending I feel that somewhere between 40 and 50psi is what gives the least amount of trail chatter/feedback. All in all I am completely satisfied with my purchase of the Tower Pro and will look into Hayes other products (the parent company of Manitou) for other things such as brakes, bars, etc.

    Seriously, since building my bike and asking LOTS of questions of different companies there have only been two that have followed up by phone; GEAX and Manitou. Both calls were from engineers to follow up on questions I had asked previously and received some sort of email response from already. That is what I call customer service.

  23. #23
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    I might be one of the larger riders on the Manitou Expert at 290#, but I have had good luck with the firm spring kit offered by Manitou. I spoke with a rep prior to purchasing the fork, and it was suggested I purchase the Expert because it utilizes a spring w/ air assist, whereas the Pro is Air w/ spring assist.

    I have honestly not had a chance to play with psi, preload, or shim stack setups as when I have the chance to ride.....I gotta get out and ride. But I do plan on playing around with it more as time goes on.

    I will say that I do have a lot of pedal bob when climbing, and purchased a lock-out to combat that problem, which has worked great!! I will not say the pedal bob is 100% the forks problem, as I am sure I don't have very good climbing technique. I also get a fair amount of brake dive, but I have a 203mm rotor on front w/ xtr's. Some riders may consider the 203mm overkill for the typical xc rider, but that is because they are not trying to bring a schoolbus to a stop in short order.

    I do think there would be a decent market segment for equipment for the larger rider. But there needs to be better support regarding setups and guidelines for those who need it. There are 10k different threads that apply to 90% of the riders, but the larger guys are kinda s.o.l. when it comes to anything outside the normal weight range.

    Manitou was the only solution that I found for someone my size, so as long as they have their foot in the door, they should devote everything they can for the larger rider. Seeing as how they should have a larger budget (being owned by a larger company) they should be able to throw some $$ to r&d.

    DO IT!!!

  24. #24
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    I am 250lbs, most likely 260lbs geared up. I run a firm and around 100psi with 3 to 4 clicks of compression and have been very happy with my fork. I have the same setup up on my SS and Fully. Fully is 100mm of travel, and then SS is 80mm of travel.

    That being said, when I got the firm spring I did not know they made an extra firm spring. Something to think about, and drop the air pressure.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Manitou Tower Pro Fork for Clydesdales - Techical-imag0083-3.jpg  


  25. #25
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    It was some time ago that I had to deal with Manitou over a fork issue. I too can say that I was treated with the best customer service that one could hope for! My mid-priced TPC spring/elastomer fork cracked at the brake-arch/outer leg junction. I sent it back after talking with a very respectful sales associate and was "given" a brand new fork with better internals than the one that broke...AND it was "Mango", a hot color option back in the day!

    The Manitou people treated me very good and I'm glad to see they're still backing their customers. Just because of their customer service I will buy one of their forks over the others,(not that I've had problems with anyone else).

    I'm putting together a 29er KMonkey and if I don't like "rigid" I'll be buying a Manitou...any suggestions?
    Only if I got paid to hang out in my garage and tweak on my bikes...

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badassbassangler View Post
    It was some time ago that I had to deal with Manitou over a fork issue. I too can say that I was treated with the best customer service that one could hope for! My mid-priced TPC spring/elastomer fork cracked at the brake-arch/outer leg junction. I sent it back after talking with a very respectful sales associate and was "given" a brand new fork with better internals than the one that broke...AND it was "Mango", a hot color option back in the day!

    The Manitou people treated me very good and I'm glad to see they're still backing their customers. Just because of their customer service I will buy one of their forks over the others,(not that I've had problems with anyone else).

    I'm putting together a 29er KMonkey and if I don't like "rigid" I'll be buying a Manitou...any suggestions?
    I like the Tower Pro 80mm travel on my SS. Might be the way to go for you, seeing as you are considering a rigid setup. The 80mm fork will keep the front end lower, and closer to you rigid setup if you like the way the rigid handles, but just want to smooth the ride out.

  27. #27
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    Yeah they have been seriously a great company to deal with and I am in love with my Tower Pro. Was thinking about building a full suspension bike in a year or so and figure when I do it will be loaded up with Hayes,Manitou, Answer, and SRAM stuff.

  28. #28
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    WOW;

    BIG GUYS ROOL! Great response fellas. Every component manufacturer needs to see the interest this thread has provoked. There are enough of us out there that it should interest them.

    I can report from my test rides with 6.8mm of preload on my X-firm spring that it DOES indeed make a difference, and it makes me double excited about the even stiffer spring coming out soon. I am able to ride with 10-20psi less air - which is always the best for ride quality - and yet I am using slightly less travel. I also do not notice it diving as badly, which I believe is the result of there being better support through the mid range of the travel. I am also using 1-2 clicks less compression damping.

    Let me copy in all of my notes so far, hopefully to help others with their efforts;

    Manitou Tower Pro tuning Notes
    by TrailMaker


    MOD - Added stiff spring. 100+/-psi air pressure. 2-3 clicks from locked on compression.
    Result - Still too soft. Blowing through too much travel too easily. Too much dive. Dive is very sudden. The fork feels bottomless and I never feel a bottom out, but I use most of the travel very easily. The bike is endo happy like this, and gets caught on obstacles easily. Same old same old like all my other forks

    MOD - Added Extra Stiff spring. Generally running at 100-120psi air pressure. 2-3 clicks from max on compression.
    Result - No real difference in the attitude of the bike. Maybe a little better but still way too soft in the front with too much dive. Definite air spring "spike" feel in the mid-range travel, making the ride harsh and non-resilient. Lower pressure eliminates this, but the dive returns. The damping is not very linear. Nothing much happens until you near max and then it ramps quickly. The lockout platform level and blow off point is good. I have used it on steep downhills to try and keep the front up. It accomplishes this without being too harsh to give a bit, and blows off nicely when needed.
    __________________________________________________ ________________________
    Note: Air pressure level has a very sharp break point in effectiveness. Up to a point it does not adversely affect the ride, but 5-10 psi more spikes it sharply and ruins the ride quality. The break point seems to be at about 95psi for me. I would assume I would like the air level to be far lower to achieve the well-controlled plushness I desire. Good small bump compliance with more mid-range ramp up. More coil, less air seems to be what I want.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    MOD - Added 4mm washer under existing spring perch washer/bolt on alloy spacer rod to shim spring preload. 90psi air pressure. 3 clicks from locked.
    Result - Seemed to notice a slight improvement in spring and travel linearity. Still blowing through travel, but seemed to have more mid-range resistance to doing so even with lower air pressure. Also was able to ride 3-4 clicks from locked on compression (1 less). Overall seemed to have more firmness in the mid-range of the travel, with less pronounced dive. Very subtle but noticeable. Also dialed in a bit more rebound and hit the sweet spot where the front ride "went quiet."

    MOD - Added Manitou long drive rod, increasing spring preload by another 2.8mm (6.8mm total). Started at 90psi air pressure.
    Result - Definitely reinforced the feeling of and increased the improvement from the last preload increase. Not using as much of the travel as easily. It now takes a pretty deep dip to reach the same travel limit as before. Was able to ride at lower compression (3-4< max) along with the lower air pressure. Now noticed an obvious top out clunk on long cadence climbs. I’m assuming this is the result of the increased spring preload blowing off the rebound shim more easily. Tried 100psi air pressure, but it ruined the plushness. Tried 95 and it was less harsh but not as resilient as I would like. Definitely preferred 90psi, but it was a little too soft in terms of travel used. Kept increasing rebound until it was at about 80% slow. The front is now “quiet.” Overall a very worthwhile improvement. This does not solve the issue, as the spring still allows too much travel used too easily, but the improvement tells me I am on the right course. No amount of preload will cure things for this spring. The latest heavy spring will hopefully FIX this problem for good.

    The overall impression of this ride was that I spent more time noticing what the rear felt like than the front. We’re getting there!

  29. #29
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    I'm saving this post! Thanks for all of the Tower-Pro advice!
    Only if I got paid to hang out in my garage and tweak on my bikes...

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by one incredible donkey View Post
    Does anyone know where an illustrated walkthrough is for changing the springs on these forks? I ordered a firm kit a long time ago, but I've been too nervous to install it.
    Hey;

    It is exceptionally simple to do. I can do it in about 15 minutes, and that includes removing the fork from the bike! I have the manual, but I find it a bit obscure in spots, and not completely representative of some aspects of the Tower. Some of the info is for earlier and/or different models, and can be off-putting.

    I put the fork in my bench vise, angled slightly downward from the top so no oil drains out.

    -12mm wrench and take off the spring shaft keeper bolt on the bottom of the left leg, R/H thread.
    - 2mm Allen wrench takes off the rebound knob screw, right leg. R/H thread.
    - I don't remember the size (8mm?) Allen wrench runs the threaded end of the rebound keeper out of the bottom of the right fork leg. LEFT HAND THREAD.
    - Slide the legs down, and then a slight tug to pull the wiper seals off the stanchions. Keep the leg housing pointed slightly down and set aside that way so oil does not drain out.
    - 22mm wrench to remove the spring housing nut from the bottom of the left fork stanchion. The alloy spring shaft/rubber spacers/large plastic nut can be set aside. Above that is the spring. Pull the spring out, get the new one, grease it up, and slide it in. Make sure it slides over the spring/piston rod end.
    - Tighten the plastic nut to specified torque. Push the legs back onto the stanchions until you feel it engage the shafts. Look inside each bolt hole at the bottom of the legs and line up the rods (small screw driver) to get the fasteners back in. Thread in the keeper bolt in the right leg. Insert your Allen wrench, push up lightly on the legs, and screw the rebound shaft back down into the bottom of the left fork leg. Install the rebound knob, and you're done!

    I do not remove the top of the left spring leg (air cap) so there is no oil to spill there. 5cc of bath oil for the MARS system if you spill. it is just a lubricant. I didn't have any, so I used Mobil 1 10x30 which he says is fine. I was told by the engineer that 10cc will make it a little firmer.

    I plan to do a REAL accurate and detailed photo essay of this procedure, which I might send to Manitou for their use.

    PLEASE do not hesitate to PM me when you are ready to go. I'd be glad to walk you though it!

    Cheers - TM
    Last edited by TrailMaker; 11-23-2011 at 07:07 AM.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by NVman View Post
    Trail Maker, I have found that for bigger guys and aggressive riding that the linear tunes are the way to go. You get a nice ramp up at the end of the stroke without getting the spiking from having to run too much platform. I went for the most aggressive linear tune (eliminates the platform and makes the damper more like TPC) that gives the highest ending stroke damping level from the tunes offered. I have not missed the platform setting at all since i can just max the damper to reduce bobbing while pedaling.

    Let me know what you think if you try it.

    Good luck!
    This is AWESOME feedback;

    The amount of cadence climbing I do is squat, so platform is of little interest to me. I'm all about small bump compliance, good linear/progressive ramp up of compression damping, and bottomless travel. The Tower Pro has the bottomless for sure, but not the others for me so much. I have a document from Manitou that shows ALL of their damping dyno charts and shim stacks for all three series (XC [big platform], Trail [some platform], Linear [little platform]).

    Thanks a bunch for the tip!

  32. #32
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    Wow... ok I might have to look into the shim stacking for some more fine tuning of my fork. I feel like it is just about dialed but that there is something slightly missing. Unfortunately, with the weather changing here I have had less and less time to ride and thus cannot test as easily. I do have a small course (~3 mile loop with climbs, step downs, small drops, flow, small rock gardens, and one jump) though that I can test things like this on. Now just need the time to get out there, take a note pad and some small tools with me and make the adjustments, ride, adjust, ride, rinse and repeat.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by S:Drive View Post
    I like the Tower Pro 80mm travel on my SS. Might be the way to go for you, seeing as you are considering a rigid setup. The 80mm fork will keep the front end lower, and closer to you rigid setup if you like the way the rigid handles, but just want to smooth the ride out.
    +1, have the Tower Pro 80mm on my Mary SS for half a year now, performs flawlessly on any parameter.

    Just wiping off dirt and lubing stachions after each ride and that is it.

  34. #34
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    OK;

    Here's the schematic for the spring side.

    - Remove bolt #1, Right Leg, 12mm wrench.
    - Remove the small screw and rebound knob in the same place on the other leg. Pull off the lower leg casting.
    - #2 is the large 22mm plastic nut that holds the spring drive rod #3 in. All of #3 comes out as an assembly.
    - The spring #4 will slide out.
    - What I call the spring to air piston spacer rod #5 (blue plastic) will slide out after that.

    I placed my 4mm washer under the washer that is under the bolt #6 in the end of the drive rod. The part I received from Manitou was a longer spacer rod #5.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Manitou Tower Pro Fork for Clydesdales - Techical-manitoutowerprospringsidediagramlabled.jpg  


  35. #35
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    Hey;

    Here are the torque specs for the fork bits.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  36. #36
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    And...

    The machine in question, for those that like pics. I did my own custom graphics.



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    Any update on the resolution? I have similar issues.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by snajper69 View Post
    Any update on the resolution? I have similar issues.
    Hey;

    All I can offer right now is that my contact (the Chief Engineer) is travelling to Taiwan this week to visit their factory. He said he would check on the progress of the heavier spring while he was there.

    You know... the more I think about this, the more I like what NVman had to say. I don't really give a hoot about platform, as I do so little cadence peddling anywhere that I ride. I'm all about small bump smoothness transitioning seamlessly to enough ramp up in damping to handle those big hits on ganarly downhills.

    I rode tonight on some monstrously root infested trails - which is a "real hoot" at night I might add! - with a couple of fairly fast, undulating, steep downhills, and I must say that the fork is acting very nicely now. It still is a little too soft in the spring to be ideal for me, but the resistance to blowing through the travel so quickly is much improved. For anyone riding smoother and/or flatter terrain, or not quite as heavy as I am, you might consider this preload upgrade I've done. It might tune you in just right.

    I mentioned in our last e-mail that now that I could see the light at the end of my fork tuning tunnel, I would like to then turn my (our) attention to the rear shock. The RP23 suffers from the same problem as the fork, but it does not offer any real user tuning options. The only thing you can really do is send it to Push and hope they pick a tune that works. I think I will swing my business toward the Hayes Group and select one of their Manitou shocks for my Niner instead. They've earned the business with me!

  39. #39
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    I’m not sure but I believe the M Tower is similar to my M Minute??? I too have had trouble dialing my fork in for my Clyde Ride. I first started riding my MM last Feb where I experienced excessive pedal bob on the climbs and severe brake dive. I contacted Manitou where they promptly provided a part number for the heavier spring which helped with the pedal bob. After conducting a little research and reading the thread below I made the following adjustment which resulted in zero pedal bob, no brake dive and when the fork is locked out it rides like a ridged fork until I experience a hard hit where I’ll get the audible click of the ABS+ blowing off:

    Installed recommended heavier spring (can’t find details because it’s been over six months)
    Changed oil to 15wt
    Adjusted shim stack to one velocity shim and four blow-off shims.

    My riding weight is currently down to 300lbs and I’m running the fork at 120psi. My M Minute 29 is performing better than any fork I have ever ridden.

    How to guide: Reshim your ABS+ HSC shim stack

  40. #40
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    Wow...

    300? And I've got size issues? Keep peddling brother! I'd say this new stiffer spring they are working on would be great for you. It would allow you to run less air, which is always a good idea if you can do it. Air tends to be very "spikey" in its action in the midrange, not linear like a spring. The fork can be too soft, so you add and add and then all of a sudden it gets really harsh. The spring preload I have added, and the very positive effect it has had, strongly suggests that this new stiffer spring will be just the ticket.

    There is some good info in that link. I plan on carefully documenting my shim work when I get there.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailMaker View Post
    I plan on carefully documenting my shim work when I get there.
    Dialing in the shims was the single most important improvement I made...it was night and day after discovering the right combination...

    Manitou's Marvel Pro and Real Custom Tuning - Eurobike 2011 - Pinkbike.com

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenkem View Post
    Dialing in the shims was the single most important improvement I made...it was night and day after discovering the right combination...

    Manitou's Marvel Pro and Real Custom Tuning - Eurobike 2011 - Pinkbike.com
    Hey;

    Another good link. That Tuning Kit pictured will be a real Godsend to those of us who need the revised damping. It is really great that Manitou is gong to make it available to end users. I have a .pdf of the booklet pictured. It has a wide variety of shim stacks depicted, along with dyno charts to illustrate its effect on fork action. If the spring change does not solve all my fork issues, I will be getting into this booklet in earnest!

    Along with the new parts available, Manitou sees the need for improved documentation, which I have discussed with my contact. I took the liberty of re-writing and embellishing some of the text in the booklet. The information was very in depth, but not necessarily well written. Look for some improvements to the text in their next reprint. I will also be submitting my tuning guide to Manitou in case they may find it useful for future publication.

  43. #43
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    I heard about that Tuning Kit somewhere but wondering if it was a figment of my imagination. Cant wait for that so I can really get in there and tune my fork!!!

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash View Post
    I heard about that Tuning Kit somewhere but wondering if it was a figment of my imagination. Cant wait for that so I can really get in there and tune my fork!!!
    I just seen this at Chainreaction...no pic's though:

    Manitou Absolute + Tuning Kit
    Manitou Absolute + Tuning Kit | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com

  45. #45
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    Hey;

    I would say that based on the pics, that kit is a bit overdone for the average end user. That would even be overkill for most dealers, who rarely even do this stuff. It is probably based on what the factory might take to a race. I would think that something a bit less exhaustive would be more in line with people's budgets and needs. Something with a good selection of shims, seals, o-rings, any vulnerable pieces that like to break/fail, and maybe a few of those pesky detent springs/balls that like to jump away from you. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $50.

  46. #46
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    All you really need are the shims unless you mess up an o-ring during disassembly. As per the other Thread here's a good source for the shims:

    MX-Tech.com - MX-Tech Suspensions &ndash; Catalog

  47. #47
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    Yeah Trailmaker, I agree that a much smaller "tuning" kit would be nice. But then again if you fall in love with the fork and plan on keeping it for a while it would be nice to have the full kit that has EVERYTHING in it should you ever need random repairs or whatever.

  48. #48
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    Any more on this Trailmaker? I know that it is winter and all but we have been seeing an unseasonably dry one (still no snow in Tahoe). Finally getting a chance to get out after all the family goings on. Looks like it may be lunch rides for a while for me.

  49. #49
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    Hey;

    Yeh, Things are all over the map this time of year. I have not followed up since the Mr. Manitou went to the factory in Taiwan a couple of weeks back. I will get that ball rolling again after the New Year. I have been getting rides in here in Southern Upstate NY as we have had little snow and fairly mild temps for the most part. The fork's performance is noticeably improved with the increased spring preload. Still, the spring is FAR too soft for my needs, which are moderate in terms of riding style but not in terms of weight. I took it down a VERY steep grade the other day that is loose and leaf covered and requires a lot of brake application and control of same. The spring just squashed flat, and the front dived so deep I had to lean back, hook the seat into my stomach to keep from endoing, and skid all the way down. Very tacky performance, and not a controlled decent by any means.

    Keep prodding this thread as it is important to quite a few folks. I'll get back and report as I get more info.


  50. #50
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    "Keep prodding this thread as it is important to quite a few folks. I'll get back and report as I get more info."

    YES INDEED! Thanks for keeping this thread alive!
    Only if I got paid to hang out in my garage and tweak on my bikes...

  51. #51
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    Ok since I have put in the new spring I noticed one thing. Seems like my small bump compliance is gone, I get A LOT of trail chatter if I am going fast through a bumpy area. I have it set at its fastest as is right now so it should not be doing this? I am going for a ride at lunch so I will play with it then but anyone have thoughts.

    Guess I will have to look at the shim stack tuning too as I wan this thing DIALED by May next year (first race).

  52. #52
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    Hey;

    I'm unsure of what fork you have, and the spring you have now, but two things.

    1) If you are not getting all the spring travel, especially with the damping "off" (which is the perfect state to test for this), then that spring is too stiff. If you are getting all of the travel available, or nearly that, then the spring is proper for your weight and riding style. If, like me, you blow through the travel far too easily, the spring is too soft. After all of that is decided, it comes down to damping. I doubt you are too stiff with your damping, as most of the forks come standard with a fairly limited ramp up in the compression rate.

    2) Pay very close attention to the motion, particularly in terms of travel. If you ARE getting some travel motion on small bump, then you might want to visit your rebound damping. A stiffer spring will require more rebound damping, which is obvious if you think about it. What you feel as lack of compliance may only be the extraneous noise of suspension that is cycling too rapidly. A little more rebound added may make the ride go deliciously "quiet" like we all want it to be.

  53. #53
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    Figured it out!!! unfortunately either my fork didnt come with a rebound adjustment sticker or it came off as some point. I have been running it as the LBS set it up and it was set as the ABSOLUTE slowest rebound, which was why I was feeling all the chatter. Cranked it back out and sure enough it is much more compliant on the small stuff now... just have to fine tune it...

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash View Post
    Figured it out!!! unfortunately either my fork didnt come with a rebound adjustment sticker or it came off as some point. I have been running it as the LBS set it up and it was set as the ABSOLUTE slowest rebound, which was why I was feeling all the chatter. Cranked it back out and sure enough it is much more compliant on the small stuff now... just have to fine tune it...
    DOINK!

    Well, if they did it, so much for your LBS! NOBODY sets rebound full slow. Usual rule of thumb is around 20% from full fast and tune to suit from there. I don't remember either of my Manitou forks having any indicators of rebound range whatsoever. Beyond the traditionally mushy control feel, that is also kinda dumb. I always scribe a line in the leg at either end of the rebound range so I know where the heck I am.

    The thing that puzzles me is how it worked at all well for you with the other spring?

  55. #55
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    Other spring was setup from the factory and I played with it. Once I had the LBS swap the springs for me I did not play with the rebound thinking that they had set it up properly (plus I havent ridden all the much since then). I did not know if it was just the feel of the new spring or not so more DOINK on me than them. Probably heard them say fast when they actually said it was set to slowest and then said I needed to adjust. Who knows, I am happy now though.

  56. #56
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    29er tower pro

    Hi I weigh about 250 and I called a bike shop to ask wether I needed the firm or extra firm spring. The guy at the bike shop said from what he has seen I would not really get full compression with the Xfirm and suggested the Firm. Manitou suggested the Xfirm. I ordered a Firm but now Im not sure if I need to order the X firm. ANy thoughts. is there any literature with specs on the springs.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevejill91 View Post
    Hi I weigh about 250 and I called a bike shop to ask wether I needed the firm or extra firm spring. The guy at the bike shop said from what he has seen I would not really get full compression with the Xfirm and suggested the Firm. Manitou suggested the Xfirm. I ordered a Firm but now Im not sure if I need to order the X firm. ANy thoughts. is there any literature with specs on the springs.
    Hey;

    It depends on how and what you ride. If you are predominantly riding smooth, groomed, rolling terrain, then a softer spring will be sufficient. If you ride anything nearly technical in nature, rough, rocky, rooty, steep downhills, creekbeds, logpiles, etc., then you need to go firmer. I blow though most of my travel just on the entry trails getting into the parks here. The MARS Air system forks (like the Tower) are predominantly sprung by air, with a coil spring in conjunction acting on the air piston in support. The spring needs to be firmer in these forks. As someone mentioned earlier in this thread, the spring with air assist family of forks offer spring rates that will be stiff enough to control your weight for rough terrain.

    If you have a MARS Air system fork and ride rougher terrain, the x-firm is still too soft for anything remotely technical, but it is your only option right now. The super firm spring has not hit the pipeline yet. I am still in contact with them and am encouraging the to bring it along ASAP.

    Until then, Jeopardy music...

  58. #58
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    I ride them all. I am not heavy on the bike and predominantly keep all my weight at the middle to back half of the bike. My friends are heavy on the front. Im not sure if I picked up that habbit from road riding or downhilling. Anyhow I purchased both and I will start with which ever ride kit comes in first. I ride a Suntour XCR with lockout now and it works fine for me I just dont like the lack of smooth action and sticktion. I felt a rockshock recon silver TK and it felt fine to me and I believe its all air spring but I dont know if it is naturally stiffer by design. Reading coparisons people like the Manitou over the recon .

  59. #59
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    You will find this suspension to be much better. Be warned though that there is some tuning that will need to be done to get it to YOUR spot on performance. I have been riding mine with the Firm spring (I am 185-190 on a given day) and finding that I still love this fork. It is responsive, plush, and just a joy to ride. I am sure that there is something better out there but at the cost of an extra $300+. For the money you cannot really go wrong, and with their customer service (along with Hayes and Sun Ringle) you have to love supporting the little guy and helping them have a better product.

  60. #60
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    Ok I got my 29er pro on and it feels great. From what I understand the new 29ers will come with a firm spring kit. Even being 250 it feels fine so far for me with 105 lb air in it. I think the XX firms will be available in a few months as well. I ordered an X firm spring just in case i need one but for now the firm might do. I even contacted a bike shop with experience with these forks and they also stated and even with my weight (we all ride diff) the Xfirm might be too much. I will be riding tomorrow on a rvery rough and rocky trail with lots of fast steep up/down on it and I will update my experience. I have pic on my album of my bike but I have not posted enough to attach a photo yet.

  61. #61
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    Hey;

    Of course do let us know how it goes. Here is a good measure of whether you have enough spring; ride the steepest loosest hill you are likely ever nuts enough to try. If you can do it and not skid the rear wheel too much, you have enough spring for your riding. I cannot do this. I rode an incredibly steep and loose downhill last week that on my other bikes I can do with great control. I was quite out of control with the Tower Pro as it is right now. I had no rear brake control whatsoever, which shows much too much weight transfer forward, with nothing pushing back on this weight to stabilize the chassis and offer me any rear grip. It was pretty hairy. Fortunately, it is fairly short, and I made it without a bailout There is only one trail around here that I lower my seat for on my other bikes. With the front dive on this bike, the trail turns from gnarly fun into frightening!

  62. #62
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    Ok took the bike out on single track, lots of ups/ downs, loose, rocky, wet, muddy. I will be lookig for any feed back from any of you guys.

    Anyhow the fork with firm spring never bottomed out and I weigh 250-260. What took me by surprise is the feel. It felt squirly. I kept reading that it was very rigid and it may be but it felt wierd. It felt so diff. from the Suntour XCR spring with lockout. It seemed as though the bike wanted to track everywere and not just role. I'm not sure it the rake (caster) is diff or if this feel is normal. Otherwise it felt pretty normal normal. I just did not expect such a diff. feel to the front end. Ill probubly get used to it but still.
    Any thoughts out there. I'll wait for replys while I ice my ankle (biffed it once) LOL

  63. #63
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    finally, 10 posts.

  64. #64
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    Well;

    A bit tricky to discern from your description, honestly. Don't be so overly technical! If you've got more travel than before (front end raised), then the head tube angle is probably slacker now. That will make it more wandery at slower speeds but more stable and confidence inspiring on fast downhill terrain. To some extent, this my also happen if the stiffer spring has you riding higher in the same travel.

    What will happen most definitely is that the stiffer spring will overcome the previous rebound setting you had. You likely will need more rebound damping to counter the increased spring pressure trying to extend the fork faster. Faster rebound makes the front end feel busy and "noisy." It will definitely not track as well because it reacts too much to every little pebble. When you hit the right rebound setting, the front end will just go completely "quiet" and the ride will be almost unremarkable. THAT is where you want it to be. Nothing to remark on other than it is just freakin BUTTER.

    As with every new or revised suspension component, you need to familiarize yourself with the limits of each adjustment. Start by taking ALL the adjustments out of it, setting them at zero. Ride and observe. What is the ride like in all aspects? Pick one adjustment and max it. Ride and observe. Then, zero that one, pick another, and max it. Ride and observe. You will now know what each adjustment does and what the range is, and you will get a better idea of what you need to do to solve a particular problem.

    I never feel my fork bottom at all, but my tell tale (zip tie on the leg) shows that I am using ALL of the travel even on moderate terrain. The real problem is that I am using it far too easily. You only want it to max when it really counts; on the real rough stuff.

  65. #65
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    Well that makes sence. My fork is the same 100mm.I did not really add any rebound and I have the fork set to the stiffer side of adjustment. It makes sense that If the rebound is too quick that the front end might be very busy. I came from the old rockshocks with elastimer bumpers that you could swap so this is my firs real quality fork.
    I like the setting it has now though my sag is about 40mm instead of 15-20 though. I will have to add the X firm ride kit when it gets in, I will then have to change the dampening as well. My previouse cheaper fork, though not the quality probubly by default took alot of the guess work out of the ride.

    I cant wait till I do get it dialed in and hope your patient with me on any advise you can give.
    Steve

  66. #66
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    Pish & Tosh;

    You keep asking and we'll keep blathering. You are correct that more capability means more work. However it is worth it when everything falls into place. For me, the sag adjustment is a waste of time. Stiction keeps it high but then when I ride it mushes out. The preload I added has only made the situation bearable. It has not corrected it. Winter snow riding has meant that it is far less of an issue, but when the pace picks up again in the Spring/Summer, I'll be wanting that new (?????sometime????) XXFirm boinger for sure. It aint ready yet, though!

    "Not as fast as I had hoped" was what Mr. Manitou told me.

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    I spoke with the head engineer with Hayes and he said a couple months. He told to contact him again via the email he sent me in a couple of months for a kit. I'll keep you informed on what happends

  68. #68
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    XXXXXXXXX firm

    I am 6.5 and 230 and have these on a 5 inch FS 29er. They are shocking for clydes and are sh*tting me to tears. I have changed the spring to extra firm with minimal difference. Tried different weight oil (heavier) - just lost rebound damping range. I have to run 110- 120 psi to try and get them to stop diving and that is with the ABS lever around 3/4 on (a few clicks from firmest). The additional compression dampening causes the fork to fell notchy and loose suppleness and smoothness of travel. I cant get sag and ride these forks without diving and cant get sag with all the air pressure required to hold up the front end. This is the third set of Manitous I have had over the years and have never got any of them to perform. I have spoken to Manitou here in OZ and they say for a big bloke this is the sacrifice you need to make - heaps of air pressure and heaps of compression (and it rides like a brick). Now with Fox forks I require some aftermarket tuning to get performance but then they are great. Rock Shox are infinately adjustable (+ and -) as are Marzocchi but they suffer from other issues. I will be getting some White Brothers Loops soon to try. I have found a place that will do a custom spring to replace the x frim but this is just nuts.
    Please Manitou if there is something you can do to assist anyone over 95 kgs - let us know. These are heading for the bin - seriously I cant ride them and have not enjoyed a ride for the past 4 months (would rather ride my roadie or sit in front of the TV). I havent had the money to upgrade - so stuck with them.
    HELP

  69. #69
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    Easy John;

    THEY HEAR US. I just got a response from my contact and he said the delay stems from them doing a lot of parallel re-engineering of other aspects of the system. The bottom line will be FAR more pieces available to tailor the fork to suit more wide ranging needs. The downside is that it will take a little longer. At least for us in the northern hemisphere, that means by Spring we should have some new bits. Sorry for those down under....

    If you've got the dough to buy 2-3-4 forks, go for it. As it is, the bike is not unrideable, just not ideal. You adapt and overcome and ride on. That's all. In the mean time, you should do my preload modification. It really did help.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
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  70. #70
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    Trailmaker - So they are doing a full update to the fork it sounds like? I have to say that mine still is performing wonderfully and as I am losing more weight I am finding it more and more compliant. Guess they just built them initially for the lower weight race rider?!

  71. #71
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    [quote=gregnash;8992545 i have to say that mine still is performing wonderfully and as i am losing more weight i am finding it more and more compliant. [/quote]

    +2...



    Notice O-ring...this is average travel for my Clyde Ride on rocky, rooty, sandy, muddy Single Track and some asphalt in between...see previous posts…
    Last edited by zenkem; 02-10-2012 at 04:51 PM.

  72. #72
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    Well...

    We can't complain we are not getting full travel like some other brands! I'm "patiently" waiting for this upgrade. Then I will have to do the same to the rear, as the RP23 is no better, as previously mentioned.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailMaker View Post
    Well...

    We can't complain we are not getting full travel like some other brands! I'm "patiently" waiting for this upgrade. Then I will have to do the same to the rear, as the RP23 is no better, as previously mentioned.
    As skills increase and my riding weight comes down, the rider to maintenance ratio is working more and more in my favor so I find myself wanting that new squishy to reward myself for all that Trail time…maybe one day when the right deal comes along!?!

    BTW, anybody know when Manitou is going to have the taper steer tube on the market??? Can’t seem to find one…

  74. #74
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    get it off my chest

    Quote Originally Posted by TrailMaker View Post
    Easy John;

    THEY HEAR US. I just got a response from my contact and he said the delay stems from them doing a lot of parallel re-engineering of other aspects of the system. The bottom line will be FAR more pieces available to tailor the fork to suit more wide ranging needs. The downside is that it will take a little longer. At least for us in the northern hemisphere, that means by Spring we should have some new bits. Sorry for those down under....

    If you've got the dough to buy 2-3-4 forks, go for it. As it is, the bike is not unrideable, just not ideal. You adapt and overcome and ride on. That's all. In the mean time, you should do my preload modification. It really did help.
    Needed to get that out - thanks. Still I wont be waiting around for the necessary upgrades to make there way down under. They are the worst forks i have ever owned.

  75. #75
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    Think that is about the same amount of travel I am getting. Seems like slight adjustments (individual PSI) can make quite a difference as last time I rode I went from 55psi to what looked like 58psi and it felt quite different.

    I will have to post up a pic of my Inbred with the Tower... got to love it.

  76. #76
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    Hey;

    I agree. The air pressure is not very linear. You can add, and add, and add, and still have to much dive, and then in a very short window, the fork response gets very spiky and harsh. I have noticed this same thing, and I think this is another aspect of the spring being too soft. Again, it is the spring's job to hold up the rider weight, and if you have to rely too much on the air to compensate, you are outside the sweet spot for that spring. I've just taken to riding mine soft and dealing with it. Some things I cant ride right now because of that, but I'll make do until the heavier spring is available.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  77. #77
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    FANFARE PLEASE!!!!!!!

    Ring out the bells, the springs are here! Well, They're coming. I got an email this afternoon that told me the new springs are winging their way across the pacific as I type this and I may have one in my grubby little hands by next week. I know I should have just kept my mouth shut and waited till I actually had it in hand, on bike, and trail tested... but I just couldn't help it!!!!



    Of course a full report will show up here just as soon as I can get it installed and tested. I'm hoping this is the puzzle piece that makes this into the excellent fork that I think it can be!
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  78. #78
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    SAWEET!!!! Just in time for riding season to really start getting underway! I am hoping that my crap respiratory garbage is gone by this time next week so I can ride next weekend (wife wont let it happen this weekend with a bronchial infection )

  79. #79
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    Hey;

    I got the spring late last week, along with a bottle of fork oil, and very explicit instructions on how to set it for different conditions, likely based on the dyno measurements that Mr. Manitou took from it before he sent it to me. I have not had time to fool with it yet, but I will definitely update when I have the full scoop.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  80. #80
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    I've got a 2012 Manitou Tower on my Banshee and I think the fork is great. It's the first QR15 fork I've tried and feels as stiff as my Minute 29 with 20mm. through axle. Manitou tells me that the 2012 ships with firm spring fitted.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Manitou Tower Pro Fork for Clydesdales - Techical-img_1579.jpg  

    Manitou Tower Pro Fork for Clydesdales - Techical-img_1499.jpg  

    The trouble with having an open mind is that people will insist on trying to put things in it.

  81. #81
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    Love that they are making the Pro in Black as well now. If I had the option when I bought mine (and had my wheels built) I would have gone thru-axle for the front, not that the regular QR is not stiff just feel that it would be good for future proofing myself. So cant wait to get my bike out for a ride now that I have my new GEAX Gato on the front (have to go grab some tubes tomorrow).

    Untitled by renofizz, on Flickr

  82. #82
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    OK;

    To repeat, I have really been quite disappointed that I was not able to enjoy my RIP9 as much as I wanted to because this fork was not working well for me. That it was not was because of my size and the terrain I like to ride, and is not a reflection on the fork for most anyone else. I still think it is a great product and a great value. They just did not have the goods for big guys like me, and they knew it!

    However, I could not be more impressed with my dealings with Manitou regarding this issue. The person who I have referred to as Mr. Manitou, the light at the end of my suspension tunnel for all these months, is actually Ed Kwaterski, who is the Chief Engineer for the Manitou Suspension Division of the Hayes Group. This is a guy who right off the bat took the time to personally involve himself in my situation, and has spent COUNTLESS hours sending technical e-mails, encouragement, status updates, diagrams & charts, parts & pieces, and sharing his knowledge with me so that I can better utilize this product. Just this afternoon we spent considerable time Share-Screening on Skype so that he could explain a very new and "secret" dyno chart (it is promised to a major magazine for upcoming publication, so I can't share it... yet) that shows the air pressures, oil levels, and damping curves for the super-new spring I am testing right now; what he has been referring to as the Clydesdale Coil.

    I still have a hard time believing that someone placed so highly at a big company like this would take the time to do all of this. Yet, as he said this afternoon, you make customers one at a time, and lose them in droves. This guy backs that up! I hope the Hayes Group people see this. You've got a great asset there in Mr. Kwaterski!!!

    I have finally installed the spring. Unfortunately, I do not possess a graduated cylinder to properly measure the air piston oil level, and that is a rather critical part of tuning the action of the fork. The secret graph that he sent me plots out the various rates for the Clydesdale Coil; lines for different air pressures, and the effect of differing oil levels on each one as well. They have tested and done damping curve graphs for pressure up to 190psi (110 is the published max for the Pro with the stock Firm spring). The results are very interesting and in some ways very counter intuitive. While they have not done any durability testing at the higher pressures (I guess I will be doing that!), they do indeed know how to tune for them. When I get the graduated cylinders that I've ordered, I will be testing different oil levels and will report back.

    So, I have the new Clydesdale Coil installed with who knows what oil level. I have removed the longer preload rod that Mr. Manitou sent me, and also the thicker spring base washer I added for further preload on the X-firm spring (10mm total extra preload). I am back to a stock setup (excepting the oil level). I can report that my first ride was spent not really thinking about the fork at all, and that is likely the best thing that can be said. I did not attempt any really gnarly terrain because frankly I am in atrocious shape! However, it is clear that the spring is a vast improvement. I was riding with the Compression at half mast, which is where you would ideally like to have it, instead of nearly locked as I had it previously. While I am still using most of the travel, the rate is much more progressive and I am not getting pitched forward constantly because "there is nothing there."

    Conversely, I find it very interesting that I have far surpassed air pressures that previously would have spiked the fork action to rock hard. One thing I have learned is that the spring rates need to be balanced, so the stiffer coil requires a commensurate rise in air pressure to counter it in this "series" type of spring arrangement. What this suggests is that since the old X-firm was anything but for my size, the air levels required to keep the front end up messed up the entire relationship. With this new spring, I very quickly shot past my old denture rattling max of 100psi and finally decided to give 130 a go. Not bad, but I can see that there is more room yet, and that it may indeed improve for me further with more air. What will be critical at this stage is to be able to tune those oil levels properly, and they are just as important a part of the symbiotic spring relationship as anything else.

    So, great divides spanned, but more tuning yet to come. In the end us big guys will be able to save the $300 we'd spend with that Big Company, give our business to Manitou - a company that really brings it - and get a great riding fork!

    Stay tuned.........................
    Last edited by TrailMaker; 05-06-2012 at 12:55 PM.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  83. #83
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    Hey;

    Just a quick report to say that I rode my same favored rough techy terrain today with 140psi in the fork. No other changes. The forks action is really coming into range for me with 140 in it. I noticed a definite firming of the action, but it never felt harsh at all. In fact, I really didn't even notice it, even less than last time at 130. I find it a little interesting that my tell-tale says that I am still using most of the fork's travel, and yet it does not bottom (never has, that I could feel) and still feels bottomless. The action is still very smooth; with a slight increase in resistance to compressing, yet no harshness or spikey nature at all. I may want to give it just a tad more rebound control to keep it from getting "springy", but otherwise I think I am very close.

    The entire time I have been creeping up on the perfect fork setup, I have been concerned with the rear. The Fox RP23 shock is little better than the stock Tower fork for my size, for all the same reasons, and I was anticipating it getting even worse as the fork firmed up and came into the groove. Quite interestingly, I'm not sure my fears are playing out that way. The shock seemed to be doing pretty good, as if the added firmness in the front was taking pressure off the rear somehow. I anticipated the reverse of that. We'll see.

    I will try 150 and above in the fork next time out. I'm in such atrocious shape that I find it hard just to keep moving on my favored rough rooty rocky terrain, let alone have the brain power to think about tuning this thing. Thanks again, Manitou!

    Stay tuned...
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  84. #84
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    So I finally got the bike out this weekend for more than a gravel path ride.. Took the wife up yesterday on my normal trail (her first ever single track ride) and the fork did great. However, I seem to have developed a slight clunk on the lower end of the right leg when the fork is compressed. It almost sounded as though the spring was shifting a bit inside the leg.

    Anyone experiencing this? I will check again tonight to make sure I am not imagining things, could have just been a weird setting too where I was inbetween clicks on the lockout.

  85. #85
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    Hey;

    If it is a Tower, the spring is in the left leg (as you sit on the seat). The damping is on the right. I'd be surprised if the spring would shift or touch anything much, since it is held by the plastic extension rod on top and the alloy extension rod on the bottom. Might be time to pull it apart and have a look. Mine has been flawless in that regard.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash View Post
    However, I seem to have developed a slight clunk on the lower end of the right leg when the fork is compressed. It almost sounded as though the spring was shifting a bit inside the leg.

    Anyone experiencing this?
    What your hearing is what's refered to as the audible click. It's the ABS+ shims bypassing excess fluid/pressure...happens most every ride for me, so much so that I don't even hear it anymore...

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenkem View Post
    What your hearing is what's refered to as the audible click. It's the ABS+ shims bypassing excess fluid/pressure...happens most every ride for me, so much so that I don't even hear it anymore...
    See now I have heard the "whoosh-click" sound when I get some serious compression on the fork but this was different.. At first I thought my stem had come loose because it sounded like the shifting noise you get in the stem/headset/fork when it is not tightened properly but was not able to replicate the sound when moving the fork independent of the frame.

    I got to play with it when I get home today... thankfully it is a short day because waterheater is getting replaced!

  88. #88
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    Trailmaker,
    I agree with your statement about the Hayes group. Ed Waterski knows what customer care is. He contacted me 3 months after a promise to send out an XX film spring and sure enough he did. It was unexpected for sure. Their whole team rocks as far as I am concerned. If by chance he checks up on posts like these ( thank Ed for standing behind your product and caring for the customer even though it was behind what most would do).
    Anyhow I've played a little with the spring and like was mentions I will have to make adjustments to the air pressure.
    If it would ever stop raining so they can open up the trails to ride.

  89. #89
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    Hey;

    He DOES read this stuff. He knew of my review of the fork, and I made him aware of this thread. I think he knows he is doing a good job. It's his superiors that need to know that!

    I'm off this morning to try even more air in the fork. I am very interested to see where the upper limit of pressure is for my size, and how it effects the action of the fork when I get there.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  90. #90
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    Let us know how things go Trailmaker... I am off tomorrow morning to get some saddle time in. First race is next weekend and the only real saddle time I have had is commuting back and forth to work on my Kona Jake (6 miles round trip) plus whatever errands I run on it. It will be nice to get on the dirt again and think I am going to stuff a few things in my camelbak (no bladder) and play with some settings while I am up there. My weight has stabilized right around 187# (starting at 235# almost two years ago) so I know I need to make some adjustments to the fork before the race. Right now I believe I am running it about 55psi with the Firm Spring and debating if I want to stick here and play with it a bit, do a shim stack tune, jump up to the X-Firm spring, or some combination.

    All-in-all I have been very impressed with my dealings with different techs through Hayes/Manitou and will use them with my next bike build (thinking a Titus Rockstar 29er, Manitou Tower Pro 100mm, Manitou Swinger, Sun Ringle Black Flag Expert in gold, Hayes Stroker Trails, and the rest from Answer where I can).

    Ed, if you are reading this, you got another loyal customer and I highly recommend your company to a lot of people.

  91. #91
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    Update;

    I think I have found my limit. I tried 150 this morning, and it was slightly too firm for my liking. I must point out that it did NOT make the fork harsh at all, but was just a tad less compliant and "noisy" than I would like. The action of the fork was still smooth and well damped. I put in a little more rebound but that did not mitigate it... if I went the right way. I marked my rebound range on the bottom of the fork leg with a scratch awl, but did not mark it for which direction +/- is. I need to confirm I went the right way, I guess.

    In any event, I went back to 140 and liked it better. If I were doing more severe downhill action, I would probably like the 150 just fine, but for normal cruising it was a bit firm and made rough terrain (rocks, roots, creek crossings) more pronounced than I would have liked. Once I confirm my rebound settings and make sure that more rebound does not smooth out the 150psi setting, I'll go back to 140 and then reset the air piston oil levels and begin the process of tuning that.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  92. #92
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    Well went out for an actual trail ride this morning and now I remember why I love this fork so much. I added some air (bumped from 60 to 75psi) and while the fork is firm it was still incredibly compliant and smooth feeling. This fork coupled with my tire setup (GEAX Gato f and Saguaro r) made for an almost ride on rails feeling. The Gato clung to the ground like there was no tomorrow and under braking I felt absolutely no brake dive.

    Since this was my first outting in a while I decide that I would just let the bike do the work and trust where I was pointing it and I was not disappointed. Tracking was incredible and rebound over rocks and everything was incredibly smooth. Finally hit the final "jump" at the end of the trail with some serious speed behind me and the fork just ate up the landing making it feel like there was an infinite amount of travel.

    I am seriously excited to race this coming weekend with this fork and hope there are some opportunities for me to really push the fork. I have developed a slight "clunk" somewhere in either the fork or the headset, I have a furlough day on Tuesday and plan to ride that morning in hopes to determine where it is coming from (think my headset may be a little loose).

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    Hi guys,Thank-you for doing this post. I have been reading this post for about 5 weeks now and I think I have had my 2012 Tower Pro for about four weeks now. it's the 100mm with the taperd steer and 15mm QR. I have this fork on my 2012 Salsa Spearfish 1.

    I had read this post before I got my fork and read the part where someone said that Manitou was going to change to a stiffer spring for the stock Tower fork,so I bought one. when I put on my bike I checked the psi in the fork it was set at 100psi with-out even riding I set the rebound at the 10% from full fast and pushed down on the fork and my first thought was wow this fork is not going to be stiff enough for me,but I did try it at that setting and I did not like it so I put it up to 110psi and found that I like the ABS set at about 3 o'clock I think that was two (2) clicks from full lock-out and that is about as sweet as it's going to get for now but it's not my sweet spot.

    I'm only 170lbs with my gear on. I live in Northern MN. and it's rooty and rocky up here I want this fork to be a little stiffer, I have four rides on this fork so far. I do 24 hour racing and I like the remote lock-out so I have one ride on the MILO remote L/O but when I put the L/O on I just went about 2 or 3 clicks from full open on the ABS.

    TrailMaker, I am thinking about trying to go a few more clicks towards lock-out. also I feel that if I could ramp the psi up to 120 to 130 it would be right on, do you think I should not go over the 110psi and just get a firmer spring. If I incress the psi in the fork than that is the easy way but than what are the chances of damaging the fork and what would it damage? and as I'm wrighting this I'm thinking I should call Manitou becuse I'll be using it for 24hr racing and it might have more heat.

    +1 to the C/S over at Manitou.

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by idinomac View Post
    Hi guys,Thank-you for doing this post. I have been reading this post for about 5 weeks now and I think I have had my 2012 Tower Pro for about four weeks now. it's the 100mm with the taperd steer and 15mm QR. I have this fork on my 2012 Salsa Spearfish 1.

    I had read this post before I got my fork and read the part where someone said that Manitou was going to change to a stiffer spring for the stock Tower fork,so I bought one. when I put on my bike I checked the psi in the fork it was set at 100psi with-out even riding I set the rebound at the 10% from full fast and pushed down on the fork and my first thought was wow this fork is not going to be stiff enough for me,but I did try it at that setting and I did not like it so I put it up to 110psi and found that I like the ABS set at about 3 o'clock I think that was two (2) clicks from full lock-out and that is about as sweet as it's going to get for now but it's not my sweet spot.

    I'm only 170lbs with my gear on. I live in Northern MN. and it's rooty and rocky up here I want this fork to be a little stiffer, I have four rides on this fork so far. I do 24 hour racing and I like the remote lock-out so I have one ride on the MILO remote L/O but when I put the L/O on I just went about 2 or 3 clicks from full open on the ABS.

    TrailMaker, I am thinking about trying to go a few more clicks towards lock-out. also I feel that if I could ramp the psi up to 120 to 130 it would be right on, do you think I should not go over the 110psi and just get a firmer spring. If I incress the psi in the fork than that is the easy way but than what are the chances of damaging the fork and what would it damage? and as I'm wrighting this I'm thinking I should call Manitou becuse I'll be using it for 24hr racing and it might have more heat.

    +1 to the C/S over at Manitou.
    I was told by Manitou tech. that my 2012 Tower Pro (120mm.) came with a firm spring. I also have a 2010 Minute 29 (also 120mm.) At that time all forks were shipped with a medium spring. My LBS ordered the fork for me and I asked for a firm spring to be sent out with the fork. I weigh about 220lbs. and called Manitou for their recommendation on the spring. The answer was a firm. I am a little surprised that at 170lbs. you are unable to get the specified sag within the pressure limit of the fork. With the firm spring in both my forks I need no more than 100 to 110psi. Remember I'm 220lbs. I get full travel and I barely bottom out. It may be that your 100mm. fork has a medium spring. Call Manitou and ask. The springs are color coded and you may prefer a firm.

    I also wanted to comment that the published pressure limit in my Minute 29 manual is 150psi. In 2011 the Minute 29 became known as a Tower and they reduced the pressure limit to 110psi. Probably to encourage riders to use the correct spring with less ramp up due to higher pressure and therefore a better feeling, more linear fork. I have compared the parts list of the 2010 Minute and 2011 Tower and they are identical. Also the 2012 Tower is essentially the same fork except for the obvious changes (QR15, tapered steerer and redesigned casting) so I doubt upping the pressure will damage the fork. However, I certainly think the fork feels better with the correct spring.
    The trouble with having an open mind is that people will insist on trying to put things in it.

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    Yeah I have to agree that the correct spring will make a great change. I run about 185# out of the shower and the medium spring was OK with about 100-120psi in it. After upping to the FIRM spring I am now right at 75psi and feel that this is a good pressure with about 15% sag and rebound. I hit a pretty major jump today in the last leg of the ride and the fork just ate up the landing, I thought that I would get squirrely or something. Over the course of the ride I hit some baby heads, some 12" steps, a couple of rock shoots, and then that jump, overall it performed stellar.

    Idinomac - I would keep playing with the pressure. If you are 170#s you should be within the range of the medium spring. However, when I talked to the techs they said that basically you could up the spring rate and then you would just compensate with lowering the pressure. I think having my LBS rebuild the fork with the firm spring cost me about $100 with the purchase of the spring and only that much because they had to run around town to find motorcycle oil to fill the fork.

    Oh and from what I have read, the Tower Pro comes with the Firm Spring for the 2013 models, the 2011 (what I have) and 2012 models have the Medium Spring.

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash View Post
    Oh and from what I have read, the Tower Pro comes with the Firm Spring for the 2013 models, the 2011 (what I have) and 2012 models have the Medium Spring.
    2013 models! Is there such a thing at this point. I got my Tower Pro maybe a month ago and it has a firm spring. I assume it's a 2012.
    The trouble with having an open mind is that people will insist on trying to put things in it.

  97. #97
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    Yeah,it's so close to where I want it. I like a stiffer platform most of the time,I don't have big down hills here. The way it is set now I like on the short 20 mile rides, I feel that all I need is another 10 to 20 psi and I'll be good to go. I will try it tomorrow and get back to guys,thanks. also I love the way this bike rides with this TST and 15mm QR the bike stays on track through the ruff stuff I can motor through it compared to the HT 29er with SST and 9mm QR Rock Shox Reba Race set at 100mm

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
    2013 models! Is there such a thing at this point. I got my Tower Pro maybe a month ago and it has a firm spring. I assume it's a 2012.
    Yeah the ones they are starting to sell now I believe they consider the '13 models, the '12 models were released at Interbike in '11. Think of it like buying a new car, if it is close to the end of the year then it is considered the next model year.

  99. #99
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    Hey;

    What you're really seeing is Manitou playing catch up. They've been a bit behind the curve on features and performance, so they are pushing product out early in an attempt to get up to speed. That's my guess. Whatever the reason, it is great to see them blasting out some great bits. I'd sure love to have that 15QR. I've not flatted yet in over a year of riding this Niner, but when I do the 20TA will be a pain to deal with out in the woods.

    In terms of springing, you have to first know which platform you have. I do not remember the names, but one of them has air and coil in parallel (air & coil together in the same chamber) and one is in series (air & coil separated as two distinct chambers in the same housing - MARS Air?). The two react very differently in many respects.

    In the case of the Tower, the springs are in series, working in conjunction and also against each other. As such, it is important to have a relative balance between the two in terms of rate. As far as I can remember, I had the medium spring at first, and it was ridiculous. I got the firm through my LBS, neither of us being aware of the X-firm version at the time. I subsequently found out about the X-firm and got it. None of these were stiff enough. I had to add a lot of air to try and compensate, but the ride got extremely rough. With Ed's guidance I have learned how this Coil/Air-in-Series system works together, and now I understand why it performed the way it did.

    If you look at the dyno graphs of the XX-Firm spring you can really see various levels of air and oil in action. It's a great tool for wrapping your head around this. You are riding on the coil for the first portion of the travel to get that nice cush feel on small bump compliance. The graph lines start up at about 35-40* angle depending on the air pressure, and then at about 30% of the travel, the lines level off a bit. This is the point where the coil spring begins to overcome the air pressure and truly activate the air piston. The resistance and rate then levels off because the two springs in series are softer than either by itself. The coil spring has done most of its work in the first half of the travel, and as you pass 50% travel and near full compression, the air takes a progressively more prominent roll and ramps up the rate, considerably in the last 20% of the travel.

    If the coil is too soft, and you compensate with more air, you get a harsher ride because air does not compress in a linear fashion. This explains the very spikey nature of my fork with the softer coils. I would blow through the coil very quickly, and then hit the air which would make the rate rise far too quickly, making the graph very very non-linear. Once you get to where the coil and air are working in a balanced state (the XX-firm for me), then you can tune the rate further with oil levels in the air piston chamber.

    Although I was told they have done no durability testing at the higher pressures, you will not hurt the fork over 110psi. They have graphed the Clydesdale Coil up to 190. The fact that I am getting real happy at "only" 140 tells me that it should work just fine for a long time. I can say that the limit for the X-firm for me was about 105. The fork just got really rude above that level. If you need that much air with your softer coil spring (more accurately, if your air spring rate is far higher than your coil spring rate), you probably need the next stiffer coil because the coil/air rates are not in balance with each other and the ride will suffer.

    I find it interesting that with the x-firm I was running about 100psi. If I went just 5 pounds more, it got really rough and non resilient when I would blow through the coil and the air "spring" was activated. Yet, with the XX-firm, I was liking 140 quite a lot, but a jump all the way to 150 - while making it noticeably firmer - did not produce this huge spike. I take that to mean I have the right coil that will balance the right pressure for my size and style while maintaining some linearity in the curve. If you get that big spike with only a small pressure change, this might be the ultimate signal that you need the next firmer spring.

    As mentioned, my next area of discovery is with air piston oil level. I have no clue what is there now, as I just winged it (spilled it on my shoes and just dumped a little Mobil 1 in there!). I now have a graduated cylinder and Ed sent me some real Manitou oil. I am going to go back to the stock oil level of 7cc (ML). I have the graphs for up to 15cc of oil, and it is interesting to see the effect of the oil on the overall travel. Essentially, if you need a little bit more mid travel compression damping, and/or end of travel ramp up in bottoming resistance, add more oil instead of air. The oil will maintain a more linear reaction, where air will be exponential and you will likely lose compliance.

    This is neat stuff.
    Last edited by TrailMaker; 05-14-2012 at 09:56 AM.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
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    LOL... we never realized we were going to get a physics lesson when we purchased a mtb'ing fork now did we!! It is interesting because I have first hand experience with the spike in compliance that TrailMaker is talking about. Something as slight as the 5psi in the medium spring could result in a tooth-jarring ride with little to no compliance over small trail chatter. Yet now that I have jumped up to the Firm spring (remember I am avg 185# out of the shower and I dont ride with a water pack, just two bottles so probably 190ish with gear) I was able to run 75psi yesterday and feel what seemed to be a great balance between responsiveness, compliance over small trail chatter, yet still have the head to eat up big hits like it was nothing.

    I am going out again tomorrow morning (yeah for furlough days) and I will see about taking the GoPro with me and maybe setup something for that end jump. While it is nothing big, you do drop down before you hit the top of the jump and there is a large enough area that you can gain a good amount of speed prior to hitting it. I will see if I can rate my "feeling" of the forks compliance on the hit at 55psi, 65psi, and 75psi (and if there is enough time I will try 5psi increments).

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