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  1. #1
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    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.

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  2. #2
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    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.

  3. #3
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    Seems like an interesting option, please post more details.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the review. I wonder how these will work on a dw linked bike, which tend to like lightly damped shocks.
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  5. #5
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    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.

  6. #6
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    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?

  7. #7
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    "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.

  8. #8
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    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.

  9. #9
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    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.

  10. #10
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    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!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 300hp View Post
    ...............

    The new manitou stuff uses STANDARD HARDWARE! so, your fox, rockshox, ect will swap right over. No need to spend $30 on new stuff.
    ...........
    old thread revival...

    soo wait,.. I've been looking at getting the Radium to replace my current shock (Risse Racing Custom, which is sweet, but has issues with changing weather temps here in New England)

    I've had 3 Rock Shox's and a Fox all on this frame (well 2 frames but same model bike) and honestly haven't been impressed with any of them. The best balanced bike I ever rode between pedal bounce and and actual trail bumps was my old 2005 K2 Apache which had the basic Radium on it.. thing was just awesome.

    anyway,, to the point. I've been holding off replacing my current shock as the $$$ for the fork and then adding new hardware was just a bit pricy.. (was adding almost 50 bucks with shipping and all, and kinda hard to find)

    but you're saying I can use my current Rock Shox mounts to run this shock? if so that would be the sweet final to get me to jump on buying one next week...
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomllama View Post
    but you're saying I can use my current Rock Shox mounts to run this shock? if so that would be the sweet final to get me to jump on buying one next week...
    '11+ Manitou shock uses standard (as in... 1/2", i.e what other brands use, RS, FOX...) mounting hardware so yeah - should be a direct fit with your RS hardware.

  13. #13
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    Are there different tunes available for this shock?

    How are parts availability for simple stuff like air can seals?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by half_man_half_scab View Post
    Are there different tunes available for this shock?

    How are parts availability for simple stuff like air can seals?
    No different tunes, but they are user tuneable with the IFP adapter like Monarch shocks. Seals are usually available from PricePoint or through a local shop.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mullen119 View Post
    No different tunes, but they are user tuneable with the IFP adapter like Monarch shocks. Seals are usually available from PricePoint or through a local shop.
    I also wonder if a place like suspension experts could mod it to work on a dw linked bike. It is just a basic shim stack, which should make it easy to tune for them. Thinking of buying one and sending it to them. The fox stuff just lacks any mid-stroke and just feels like poo.
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  16. #16
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    I havent seen the insides of the current-day Radiums, so I cannot comment on the tunability of the compression circuit.
    I have a very old version (2002), and it's clearly very limited. No shimmed rebound, and you cannot open the shimmed piston. I'm curious whether the current day versions are much different. Has anyone cracked one open?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by two-one View Post
    I havent seen the insides of the current-day Radiums, so I cannot comment on the tunability of the compression circuit.
    I have a very old version (2002), and it's clearly very limited. No shimmed rebound, and you cannot open the shimmed piston. I'm curious whether the current day versions are much different. Has anyone cracked one open?
    The recent ones are shimmed and supposed to be easy to work on.
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  18. #18
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    I took mine apart to try and mod the shimstack....I'll put up a picture but its pretty limited and much harder to work on than I anticipated. You need some OEM business to get stuff apart.

    The shock was still great for riding hard, soft off the top but impossible to bottom out. I dropped the ifp pressure to 300psi and was able to get most of the travel out of the bike.

    Now that I;ve gone and tried other options, there are better choices out there. I'd still take the radium over the stock RL though. The low tune monarch plus was very nice on my nickel. the medium tune was very harsh on the high speed circuit.

    I'm on a avalanche build dhx air right now, so I've gotten a pretty full spectrum.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mullen119 View Post
    No different tunes, but they are user tuneable with the IFP adapter like Monarch shocks. Seals are usually available from PricePoint or through a local shop.
    Does the new Revox Pro need a nitro charge (over 250psi)? I could've been looking in the wrong place, didn't find service manuals for newer 2013 products.
    ...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deerhill View Post
    Does the new Revox Pro need a nitro charge (over 250psi)? I could've been looking in the wrong place, didn't find service manuals for newer 2013 products.
    Schrader valve with a range of 120-200psi. You can use use it help tune bottom out progressiveness. I dont see an obvious bleed port for a damper service though. I checked the IFP and it doesnt have one and neither bodes the bridge. Not sure how they get all the air out when servicing them. (havent had to touch mine yet)

  21. #21
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    New question here.

    Hey guys,

    Getting this thread resurrected once more....

    My question is two-fold.

    I'm new to the science of rear suspension so please bare with me while I sound ignorant

    HV (high volume) air can was mentioned above as a potential mod - what exactly is the advantage of a HV can?

    Secondly, I found this on CRC (click me...) and was wondering... what do all the sizes available in the option (32...40...44...70mm) represent? Is this the width of the can or its height?).
    It may sound like a dumb question but I don't know this stuff too well yet....
    If the size is for the diameter of the can, could this mean that replacing the current stock Radium Expert can (which is 43mm ID) with a larger one (50mm/70mm) would by a viable high-volume can mod?

    I wont bother if HV doesn't offer any real advantages but if so, for 18$ I'd give it a try.

    Not sure what HV does vs stock volume yet, hopefully you guys can shed some light on this....

    I have a Radium Expert 2013 and weight 175lbs if that changes anything.

    Cheers!

  22. #22
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    HV cans give an air shock a more linear feel over the stock cans, which can be more progressive due to the smaller air volume.

    The sizes listed look to be for different stroke lengths on the shocks.
    I don't crash, I just have slightly uncontrolled dismounts!

  23. #23
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    so I finally got around to ordering one... lucked out as Competitive Cycles has it for $154 but Tree Fort Bikes will price match AND it get's free shipping with them, saving even more.

    I'm hoping it'll help my bike ride better,.. I've had Rock Shox (original monarch 4.3 and the newer version 3.X something), a Fox something and currently running a custom Risse Racing Astro .. which is by far the best riding shock yet on the bike. But, the Risse is kinda weather temperamental when it comes to the regularly changing temps here in New England. That and now the upper bushing is a bit worn out so there is some slop up and down


    anyway, the best riding bike I've ever owned was my old K2 Apache 5.0 which had a radium rear and a R7 front. I'm hoping that the new radium on this bike will make it ride smoother like the old K2 did.
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  24. #24
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    Gonna resurrect this as I would like to hear what your guys thoughts are on the shock after some months of use. Just ordered myself a HH Thumper and HATE Fox stuff, so going to be putting a Manitou Radium on it. Manitou has earned my support with the stuff they have done for me in the past and the help they have given. Since this is going on a 29er trail/xc bike it will (hopefully) be coupled with a Manitou Tower Pro or Minute Pro 120mm 15QR.

  25. #25
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    Hey 300hp (or anyone else), any long term updates, good or bad? I'm thinking about a Manitou Radium Expert for my 100mm 2013 Jamis XCR as the stock RS RL failed and is at RS for warranty work.

    It's either the Manitou Radium Expert or a 2015 RS R as I never use any type of lockout front or rear. Both are priced about the same.

  26. #26
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    Well my radium has by far out performed just about anything. The Risse being the only thing close to equal and it was far less reliable and very weather tempered. The Radium has been reliable, easy to adjust and rides better than either of the Rock Shox's or any Fox I've ever ridden. It's not the lightest or highest tech shock, but it's probably the best.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomllama View Post
    Well my radium has by far out performed just about anything. The Risse being the only thing close to equal and it was far less reliable and very weather tempered. The Radium has been reliable, easy to adjust and rides better than either of the Rock Shox's or any Fox I've ever ridden. It's not the lightest or highest tech shock, but it's probably the best.
    Thanks for the reply. I'm torn between the Radium and 2015 RS R. My riding buddy says the difference from his older Monarch to his new 2015 Monarch is night and day, and he loves it. That being said, the Radium sounds right up my alley as I am 6' 205lbs and the OP's report of the Radium being a little stiffer damped has me very interested.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Bone View Post
    Thanks for the reply. I'm torn between the Radium and 2015 RS R. My riding buddy says the difference from his older Monarch to his new 2015 Monarch is night and day, and he loves it. That being said, the Radium sounds right up my alley as I am 6' 205lbs and the OP's report of the Radium being a little stiffer damped has me very interested.
    The new Monarchs are very good, I would personally lean that way.

    As for the OP saying the Radium having a little stiffer damping, that will depend on frame you put it on. The Radiums only come in one tune, so how it performs and how stiff if feels is dependent on the frames leverage ratio. If you have a very high or very low ratio, it will perform poorly. This can be tuned of course with the right tools and knowledge(on both shocks), or sent out to be tuned.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by mullen119 View Post
    The new Monarchs are very good, I would personally lean that way.

    As for the OP saying the Radium having a little stiffer damping, that will depend on frame you put it on. The Radiums only come in one tune, so how it performs and how stiff if feels is dependent on the frames leverage ratio. If you have a very high or very low ratio, it will perform poorly. This can be tuned of course with the right tools and knowledge(on both shocks), or sent out to be tuned.
    Good info and thanks. My bike is a 100mm travel, 2013 Jamis Dakar XCR. Jamis says it is a "low leverage 2.63:1" design. I asked them about the 2015 Monarch R, which is only available in M/M tune, and they said it would be "perfect" for my bike. They didn't have any knowledge or comment regarding the Radium however........... What do you say knowing the bikes spec?

    Attachment 949961Attachment 949962

  30. #30
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    2.63:1 is not a low leverage ratio. A medium tune monarch will be perfect and the stock tune of a radium should fit pretty well to. The radium will probably not have the stiffer damping the op felt, but more of a standard tune feel.

    You will be happy either way, but manitou is a better company to deal with, so I would go that route if it was me.

  31. #31
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    Right on, thanks for the help!

  32. #32
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    "stiffer" is NOT good for heavier people even though it sounds right,.. issue is that though it's stiffer, they are 80% designed for lighter weight people... when you set sag properly for a heavier person (over 180-190 range basically) on the stiffer tuned shocks you basically over step what they are set to do and you get little of no small bump compliance. Rock Shox and Fox both tune/set/rate their shocks for the lighter weight/average person.. not for larger/heavier people like us. I have used them both on multiple frames and 3-4 different suspension designs and the Monarch's have all failed meseriably. The Monarch is by far a much worse built,poorer quality product for your use than the Manutou Radium. Believe me.. I'm 190ish.. have had 5 Monarchs now and every single one except the last one I got under war and sold without mounting has been a POS, and this is also over the course of a number of years and different models with different tunings.. it's not like it was just a "batch" they are just not setup or designed to handle the higher pressures/weight class of people above the 180ish scale. The Radium is much more compliant and no matter what the pressure setting/sag/weight support has an even and smooth motion.
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  33. #33
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    Do you know if my current Monarch RL (2012-2013?) hardware will mount into the Radium?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Bone View Post
    Do you know if my current Monarch RL (2012-2013?) hardware will mount into the Radium?
    yup.. as long as you get a 2010 model or newer Manitou uses the same mounting now
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomllama View Post
    yup.. as long as you get a 2010 model or newer Manitou uses the same mounting now
    Sweet! Thanks for your help.

  36. #36
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    Just to put an end to my story for anyone who searches, I ended up buying a 2015 Monarch R M/M and it is light years better than the 2012 RL that it replaced. Much better small bump compliance.

    Thanks to everyone for their help, it was very much appreciated.

  37. #37
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    So, I figured I'd wrap up my experience with the radium. Despite what I was told when I purchased the shock, when I finally opened it up to mod the shimstack for less overall ramp up (my frame has very progressive leverage at the end of the stroke) I found a proprietary shim setup, lots of plastic, and a stack I could not service without special tooling. For the tinkerer, the monarch family is, IMHO, a better option.

    That said, if you can snag one for cheap, it was a functional shock that lends itself to xc riding, or will do great on a frame that "blows through its travel". I've had a Remedy and a Prophet in the past, and this would have been a great option to counteract some of the issues inherit to those frames. If you have a VPP/DW bike, this shock is not going to play well.

    I've since moved back to the rockshox family. The new monarchs (rapid recovery, debonair) are total shredders and the best off the shelf air shocks I've used. From a riding standpoint, the custom Avalanche DHX air was the best *riding* shock, but it never stayed running for a full season, and now-a-days I just want to grab the bike and go, not try and keep it going.

    So, overall, not bad for a discounted price and a nice choice for older frames with regressive leverage ratios, but if you can save a little more, there are way better options.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by 300hp View Post
    So, I figured I'd wrap up my experience with the radium. Despite what I was told when I purchased the shock, when I finally opened it up to mod the shimstack for less overall ramp up (my frame has very progressive leverage at the end of the stroke) I found a proprietary shim setup, lots of plastic, and a stack I could not service without special tooling. For the tinkerer, the monarch family is, IMHO, a better option.

    That said, if you can snag one for cheap, it was a functional shock that lends itself to xc riding, or will do great on a frame that "blows through its travel". I've had a Remedy and a Prophet in the past, and this would have been a great option to counteract some of the issues inherit to those frames. If you have a VPP/DW bike, this shock is not going to play well.

    I've since moved back to the rockshox family. The new monarchs (rapid recovery, debonair) are total shredders and the best off the shelf air shocks I've used. From a riding standpoint, the custom Avalanche DHX air was the best *riding* shock, but it never stayed running for a full season, and now-a-days I just want to grab the bike and go, not try and keep it going.

    So, overall, not bad for a discounted price and a nice choice for older frames with regressive leverage ratios, but if you can save a little more, there are way better options.
    Did you happen to take any pics of the damper when you had it apart? Im a Monarch guy myself, but love to see whats going on inside other shocks damper bodies.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomllama View Post
    yup.. as long as you get a 2010 model or newer Manitou uses the same mounting now
    So I should ignore the description that says 15mm hardware?

    15mm Mounting hardware sets sold separately (2 mount sets required per shock: 1 for each eyelet)
    Both of the links show the 2012+ graphics and are brand new, so one would assume that this is a 2012+ shock with the 1/2" hardware?

    I need a shock to replace the crappy CTD Evo that is on my wife's Santa Cruz Juliana. It is a 2.63:1 leverage ratio, high single pivot (same as a Superlight). The stock CTD that came with the bike has a Medium tune.

    She doesn't use the 3 position CTD function and moving to a properly shimmed damper like the Radium should be a nice change. I think she would appreciate a simple lock-out lever... I can tell her to flip the switch on fire road and smooth climbs and leave it open for everything else.

    I like that is a $162!

    Manitou Radium Expert Air Shock in Tree Fort Bikes Rear Shock (cat371)

    Manitou Radium Expert Air Shock
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  40. #40
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    They both appear to be the same as the Manitou Radium Expert that is on PricePoint:

    Manitou Radium Expert Lock-Out Shock | Manitou

    EDIT: Tree Fort's website shows a 30-day return policy, so I guess I could pull the trigger and see when it gets here.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  41. #41
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    tree fort would be my 1st choice.. decent people, price matching, free shipping (over 125 which that is)
    Going to try and bring Trail Tire TV back. go take a look... http://trailtiretv.blogspot.com/

  42. #42
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    Thanks. I've been reading your reviews and comments about the Radium and I think I'm about to pull the trigger.

    Quote Originally Posted by thomllama View Post
    tree fort would be my 1st choice.. decent people, price matching, free shipping (over 125 which that is)
    Think the comment about 15mm hardware is a typo?
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    Think the comment about 15mm hardware is a typo?
    honestly, i have no idea.. thing has been on my bike so long now I've forgotten what was what then. Just know when i did mine I was thinking I needed mounts and Manitou told me "no, we use the same standard mountings as Rock Shox and Fox now" did a custom roller bearing mount few years back and so now it's all diff anyway... Call tree fort.. they will help with the info and make sure you get what you need.
    Going to try and bring Trail Tire TV back. go take a look... http://trailtiretv.blogspot.com/

  44. #44
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    Thanks. They have to order from the distributor, so hopefully it's a typo.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  45. #45
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    As a follow up, the 'new style' Fox 5 piece bushings worked great in the 2011+ Manitou Radium Expert that I just got yesterday.

    The stock bushings are actually a pretty nice teflon/polymer (instead of the red DU material that Fox and Rockshox used to use). They pressed out just fine using a vice and sockets.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by 300hp View Post
    I am running 70 psi less on this to get the same sag I do on a fox float rp3.
    Thanks for posting this. I installed a Manitou Radium RL on my wife's SC Juliana and had to drop the pressure to 56-58 psi to get the right sag. I was worried that something was wrong with her shock.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  47. #47
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    Does anyone know where to get the service manual for the Radium Pro RL DC? Can't find it on Manitou's support site, only older stuff. Thanks in advance.

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