New Manitou Radium RL: So Far, So awesome
Full write up to come, but for now, suffice to say I'm really really impressed with this little damper, particularly for the price. It is a simple, reliable, shim-based system with no bells and whistles. I am running 70 psi less on this to get the same sag I do on a fox float rp3. The shock is very smooth and firm without being harsh. If you want mid-stroke out of a non piggyback shock, this is a great option. It does NOT have a special needle filler thing for the IFP, so a good shop can work on these and fix them, a huge plus. Manitou has detailed instructions posted on the process, and a seal kit is somewhere in the 20-30 dollar range, very reasonable.
On my progressive end of stroke bike (APP Santa Cruz Nickel) the shock has quite a bit of ramp up in the last 20% of the stroke. While I felt this in the parking lot bounce test, I never noticed it on the trail. There is a wide range of rebound adjustment as well.
This shock does NOT have SPV. Manitou has some former showa engineers re-working their components, and it shows. There are no dead spots in the travel. With the air can removed, cycling the damper side by side with a M tune fox float, it is instantly obvious how much more compression dampening the manitou has. On the trail, it never comes across as harsh, instead sucking up the terrain and keeping the bike planted, without blowing thru the travel going over a roller. You certainly feel more of the trail, but the bike tracks better because it rides higher in the travel while maintaining excellent traction.
The new manitou stuff uses STANDARD HARDWARE! so, your fox, rockshox, ect will swap right over. No need to spend $30 on new stuff.
The shock weighs 260g in the 7.87x2.25 size. Currently, a extra high volume can is not available, but manitou tells me that the swinger pro (aka isx-6) high volume can will be a direct fit and available soon.
The shock does not use a negative air spring, instead relying on a top-out bumper to slow things down.
The bottom out bumper, while small, is an actual bumper, unlike the mini o ring fox and RS use.
I'm extremely pleased in my few rides so far, even though the cold weather (20deg) usually makes shocks ride like crap.
The best part was the price. They are like, 179 on pricepoint right now. When I got mine, they were 14x. So awesome for the price.
Coming from someone who is super picky about suspension, I'll take this over any of the current generation RP series shocks. Personally, I never mess with propedal, I think it makes the shocks pack up and ride like garbage, so I run them in the low propedal setting, at most. For an XC/trail bike, this has everything I need for the time being. Simple, reliable parts and a shim based system that should be pretty easy to make adjustments to. With the use of the IFP adaptor, a good shop or end user can make adjustments to the internals if need be in a way one cannot do on other systems (fox, x-fusion). I'm running a worked-over van 36 on the front of my rig (added shim for more LSC, piston planed flat so the shims actually seat and the dampening does something, redline fluids, skf seals) and the little rear shock kept up just fine. More to come as I get more time on it.
Good write up. Manitou stuff is underrated. I feel they should switch to a self regulating negative air system like Fox and Rock Shox because a one size fits all negative spring doesnt work well for riders that are light or heavy. Still a great product though and a great write up.
Seems like an interesting option, please post more details.
"Three balls at once...who knew?" - Cotton McKnight
Thanks for the review. I wonder how these will work on a dw linked bike, which tend to like lightly damped shocks.
On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.
In its current form, or rather, the one I have, would work well for a rider who wants a firmer, more controlled ride, but I don't think it would be for everyone on a VPP bike.
Mine is on an APP bike. I like it because I can run the sag I want (30-33%) and the increased compression keeps me from blowing thru the remaining travel.
With the high volume can (aka more linear) it might be a better choice, but as is, the shock has a good amount of compression dampening across the range. Its similar to an "M3" tune on a rockshox, if that gives you any indication. If your bike came with an L tune fox, this would be a world different.
However, given the ease of service on these, I suspect a shade-tree tuner could make one of these hum on a VPP bike.
Thanks for the review. Been looking at that one to replace my RL.
You replaced your RP23? My RL on my Nickel is very stiff. Even with my 210 lbs it takes too much to get through the travel. Great for XC, not so much on the rougher trails.
Would you say it was stiffer than the RP23? What's your weight?
"stiff" isn't the right word. Lemme see if I can explain.
The RL was the biggest turd of turd I've had on a bike. It feels like its stuffed with wool. Its sluggish, damp and sucks the life out of the bike. The RL has propedal built in....at all times (even open) there is some level of platform on that shock.
The radium has a much different feel. It is very smooth, without a platform. Since it has more compression dampening, you can run it with more (appropriate) sag, and not bottom the bike out going off a curb like with the RL. So, while there is more comp dampening, it feels less stiff, because you run the right amount of sag and much less air pressure to get the bike to ride decent. The reason teh fox feels "stiff" to me is because you ahve to run quite a bit of air pressure to keep if from bottoming out and it becomes harsh.
Excellent. Even with the Propedal RL the Nickel frame is quite harsh in the beginning of the stroke. No me gusta. I had an RPL on my Trek Fuel EX7 and it was quite plush even on Propedal. Open was awesome.
I feel the Nickel can get away with a more linear shock and still perform like I want. I'll give the Manitou a try. Thanks.
yeah, I'm not out to win a race or get somewhere really fast, so I take ride quality over pedalling every time. I'd rather have a bike that handles rough trails and stays planted instead of one that skips around because it pedals well. I know there are really good compromises between both (dw link/vpp ect). The nickel in spite of all the hype is a linkage driven single pivot with a progressive end of stroke (the farther in to the end of the stroke, the more difficult it becomes to compress the shock). If you are not already, consider running a 7.87x2.25 on your nickel like I, and others, am. It gives you 145mm of travel with no clearance issues. The leverage curve continues to get more progressive with the longer stroke, so it works out like having a 5" bike with a good oh **** margin built in. I didn't notice a decrease in pedaling performance with the longer stroke. I'm running a 145mm fork up front and it feels balanced and awesome.
Completely off topic of the Radium, but I thought I would chime in on the Revox pro that I put on my bike a few months back. I have been very impressed with it during my limited time using it. I have found all the adjustments(HSC, LSC, Rebound, IFP volume , IFP pressure) all make noticeable difference on the ride characteristics. Performance has been much better then the the Vanilla RC that it replaced and I have been very impressed with it. I cant wait for spring to get it dialed and get some real seat time in on it.
I do have two complaints with it though. The damper shaft is rather large, displacing a lot of oil(actually a good thing), but because of this,the shock is very noisy. I dont mind, but I can see people complaining about it.
The other complaint is that it is very hard to feel the indents when turning the compression dials. This makes it very difficult to return to a previous setting after making changes.
Overall, I have been very impressed. Fix the indent problem on the dials and it would be a top notch shock. I have been a huge fan of Manitou forks for a few years, but I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Manitou in shocks as well. Very nice products for very reasonable prices. Great customer services too!