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  1. #1
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    Replacing Manitou Axel Elite 100mm fork from 2004 Spec'd FSRxc Pro - suggestions?

    So it's an older bike but I enjoy it a lot and have put on some good upgrades. Blew out the fork today and am tired of screwing with it. I'm not particularly familiar with fork upgrades so I'm looking for suggestions.

    Budget - unsure... $250-450?
    Travel - current fork is 100mm, I don't want to mess up the geometry so I assume I need to stay at 100mm+
    Wheels - I have new wheels (Stan's 3.30 hubs) with traditional QRs, 26"
    Headset - 1 1/8" not tapered

    XC/trail riding, I'm not a weight weenie but I'm "weight aware", I weight about 190 myself and am not real hard on gear.

    Thanks for ideas, links, etc!
    2004 Specialized FSR Pro
    2011 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp 29er
    Civilian Luddite 29er SS

  2. #2
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    Manitou Circus Expert Forks 2012 | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com


    Hands down one of the best spring & damper combo's I have used over the years (many RS, Fox, Marz. forks used). The Coil / air hybrid offers an excellent / adjustable spring curve. The damper has a nice range of adjustment and can be user tuned for advanced riders. Since you have a Stans 3.30 buy the 20mm end caps for a major improvement on a fork upgrade.

  3. #3
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    Replacing Manitou Axel Elite 100mm fork from 2004 Spec'd FSRxc Pro - suggestions?

    Circus is a dirt jump fork. I would get a minute pro from ebay. Uses the Manitou shim stack damper that can be tuned. The Minute is an older fork, but the Damper has been updated over the years and is as good, if not better than any other companies tip of the line damper.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDMC View Post
    Circus is a dirt jump fork. I would get a minute pro from ebay. Uses the Manitou shim stack damper that can be tuned. The Minute is an older fork, but the Damper has been updated over the years and is as good, if not better than any other companies tip of the line damper.
    The Circus is a jump fork - stout w/ Jump stack damper tune but imo. the Pro's MAR'S Air spring is a weak point. I find the MARS AIR is just too linear. There are a lot of posts on trying to get the proper tune out of springs, air pressure and damper control - seems like it all ends in a compromise. I prefer the Manitou's expert line then run thru axle lowers.

  5. #5
    rebmem rbtm
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    $252: Manitou Minute Expert Rim/Disc QR Fork 2012 at Price Point
    * They only have 80mm forks in stock but a 20mm spacer is the only difference between a 80mm fork and a 100mm fork, if you remove a 20mm spacer from the 80mm fork it becomes a 100mm fork.
    Last edited by cobba; 02-16-2013 at 10:18 PM.

  6. #6
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    Replacing Manitou Axel Elite 100mm fork from 2004 Spec'd FSRxc Pro - suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by keen View Post
    The Circus is a jump fork - stout w/ Jump stack damper tune but imo. the Pro's MAR'S Air spring is a weak point. I find the MARS AIR is just too linear. There are a lot of posts on trying to get the proper tune out of springs, air pressure and damper control - seems like it all ends in a compromise. I prefer the Manitou's expert line then run thru axle lowers.
    Had the same problem when I started with my Marvel Pro. The nice tech at manitou explained increase the pressure and back off the compression. Worked perfectly went from it being too linear to great small bump compliance without blowing through the travel. In addition, I am 225 pounds so at the weight limit of the Marvel and if it was to linear, would be bottoming it all the time.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  7. #7
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    The MARS system is definitely more tricky to dial in than the others, but once it's dialed the performance is pretty amazing. My Minute Pro started off with good small to medium bump performance but like CDMC I was going through the travel too easily despite weighing only 150 pounds. Ended up adding a bit more oil to the air chamber and cranking up the pressure to a bit over 100psi, then adjusting the rebound & compression damping to match. It now works better through the entire range than before. I've also re-shimmed the compression piston but that's just me being picky and wanting less platform with the fork locked out along with a slightly different damping curve.

    Personally I think all of Manitou's spring systems work well, MARS can be crapshoot out of the box depending on the rider but with some (ok, make that lots) time & work it eventually becomes the best performing system. If you want a fork that's quick & easy to dial in and ride, get a Marvel or Minute Expert. If you don't mind spending a month or two to get everything dialed in, get the Minute Pro.

  8. #8
    Kick Start My Heart
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    Re: Replacing Manitou Axel Elite 100mm fork from 2004 Spec'd FSRxc Pro - suggestions?

    I had an Axel on my 04 Fuel 70. Tora 318 Solo Air is affordable and a pretty decent fork. Definitely an upgrade, and easy to maintain.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  9. #9
    What?
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    Quote Originally Posted by davez26 View Post
    I had an Axel on my 04 Fuel 70. Tora 318 Solo Air is affordable and a pretty decent fork. Definitely an upgrade, and easy to maintain.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
    But they dont make it anymore.

    OP, A Minute Expert would be a great choice. Easy spring system to set up and work on, great damper, great price. You really cant go wrong with it.

    Also, a Circus expert and a Minute expert are almost identical forks. The only differences are the circus has a stiffer shim stack tune and dual bottom out bumpers. The Circus also comes with the firm spring rather then a medium(good note for a clyde who doesnt want to buy a coil) Other then those very subtle(and easily changed) differences, they are the same fork.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mullen119 View Post
    But they dont make it anymore.

    OP, A Minute Expert would be a great choice. Easy spring system to set up and work on, great damper, great price. You really cant go wrong with it.

    Also, a Circus expert and a Minute expert are almost identical forks. The only differences are the circus has a stiffer shim stack tune and dual bottom out bumpers. The Circus also comes with the firm spring rather then a medium(good note for a clyde who doesnt want to buy a coil) Other then those very subtle(and easily changed) differences, they are the same fork.
    I suggested the Circus primarily because it has a 20mm axle. I just rode a freinds 29er w/ the same fork I run (his has a QR axle) and was surprised that I could really feel a difference just putting down the trail. He also said he has to verify QR tightness before every ride - don't think I ever check my five 20mm bolts save for tire changes.

  11. #11
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    Manitou needs to fire their marketing people.. circus, jeez. I really hope they dont still ship out with the red clown nose!

    The minute comes with a 20mm axle too, its very much not the same fork as the circus. The circus is a smaller chassis, and its heavier/stiffer. At 190lb, you might appreciate the stiffness from the circus. The minute isnt a noodle or anything, but its not the stiffest fork ever made.

  12. #12
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    Wow thanks for the replies. I'm surprised at how many are recommending Manitou's in general. Good to know. I've got a Reba on my Stumpy and it seems really good. I have been considering this: Rock Shox Reba RL Solo Air Forks 2013. Wouldn't mind having two similar forks to make my life a little easier in terms of servicing, etc.
    2004 Specialized FSR Pro
    2011 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp 29er
    Civilian Luddite 29er SS

  13. #13
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    In terms of service, manitous are really really similar to RS forks. Basically the same procedure. I wouldnt let that be a factor in your decision, it wont be any harder or easier with a manitou on one of your bikes.

    The minute or circus has a MUCH better rebound damper than the reba, the comp damper is also nicer but the rebound really makes a difference on the trail.

  14. #14
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    Had an Axel Platinum air also. There are some good deals on 26" forks out there due to the insurgence of 29er and 650b. I picked up a Rock Shox Recon Gold for $250. Great fork, def lighter and stiffer than that axel. You may even be able to swing a Reba at the budget if you keep your eyes open for deals.

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpringsRubicon View Post
    Wow thanks for the replies. I'm surprised at how many are recommending Manitou's in general.
    Yeah I'm suprised at that too, considering how terrible the Axels' are. + i've never heard praise for Manitou forks other than the uber expensive tower pro, which are DH forks anyway.

    I am in the same boat as you needing to replace some Axel Elite forks with something fit for purpose - however I want to go up to 120mm travel but am really struggling as I need a 1 1/8 straight steerer and all new forks with more than 100mm seem to have tapered steerers these days I really can't afford a new bike as well. So any suggestions would be welcome... or else it's just a question of biding my time waiting for the right second hand fork at the right price, and god knows how long that will take.

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