Infinite Adjustability with the Manitou Mezzer Professional Fork [Review]
There are just a few avenues suspension designers can comply with to make a mountain bike fork distinctive. They will give attention to the oil, seals, and stanchion precision to cut back friction and stiction. They could additionally add heft or a novel form to the chassis to offer the physique rigidity in a single or many instructions. They will tack on cool options like bolt-on fenders, distinctive through-axle bolts, extra exterior changes, or a reversed crown. Then, on the within, they sometimes disguise a cluster of distinctive devices with cool names and cooler performance.
Manitou took almost all of those steps to separate their lengthy journey Mezzer Pro fork type the herd, and nearly all of them returned optimistic advantages. The fork comes with house for 27.5″ or 29″ tires with 37, 44, or 51mm offsets. For $999.99 patrons can modify the journey between between 140 and 180mm in 10mm increments by swapping in a set of spacers.
With three air chambers, and the entire different exterior changes we’ve come to count on, this fork will be dialed to fulfill even essentially the most finicky suspension tinkerer’s wishes. I lately ran the Mezzer Professional by means of just a few thousand cycles on a sturdy metal hardtail. The total particulars and experience impressions comply with.
When Manitou launched the Mezzer Professional in Could of 2019 it was the primary single crown fork with 37mm stanchions. Whereas I’ve but to check the brand new Fox 38 or RockShox Zeb with their mini-DH 38mm higher tubes, I can say that the Mezzer supplies an extra of stiffness for a 150lb. rider like myself. The fork is so stiff that I ended up swapping out a 35mm Professional Taper handlebar for his or her 31.8mm clamp model so as to add just a little flex up entrance. Paired with a carbon entrance rim, the quantity of line-holding precision that this fork supplies feels profound. Supplied your tires have sufficient grip, this fork can take you the place you level it. Manitou claims that the Mezzer is the stiffest and lightest fork available on the market, and at roughly 2,000 grams (29″ 150mm examined) I’d say they’ve nailed that stability. For comparability’s sake, that’s roughly 200 grams lighter than a equally sized Fox 38.
The reversed arch in the course of this fork not solely seems cool, nevertheless it additionally deflects a number of the tire’s path presents. The fitted fender that comes with the fork is comparatively flimsy. It slaps in opposition to the tire often, and I’ve been anticipating it to get caught by the tire and tear free from the fork in some unspecified time in the future. As an alternative it has held sturdy, flapping flexy and retaining the mud off my goggles. Bolt-on fenders are one of many many issues I want the trade would standardize in order that we might all save our zip ties and eyes on the similar time. Sadly, the set again angle of the reverse arch makes this floppy inventory fender the best choice.
The through-axle additionally features considerably uniquely on this fork. There should be patent-related the reason why all forks can’t simply use a easy bolt-style axle, as a result of each model makes use of a distinct technique — and none of them are higher than a bolt that’s turned by a hex key. The Manitou through-axle resolution, known as Hexlock, makes use of a bolt that’s held stationary when slid by means of the driveside dropout and tightened by a nut that continues to be within the non-driveside dropout. Whereas this method works effectively, it provides shifting components to the axle that may finally put on out. Once more, an axle that mimics a basic bolt would do exactly positive.
Riders can both run their entrance brake hose round and behind the fork, or crossing between the non-driveside decrease and the wheel like common. I opted for the normal route, however If my levers have been mounted moto-style I’d try the “across the again” routing.
The MC2 damper
The Mezzer makes use of a completely sealed cartridge MC2 Damper that’s just like these in different excessive finish efficiency forks. Manitou says that the cartridge “makes use of a bladder with a blow off valve to stop rupture below excessive pressures and preserve your damping managed and constant regardless of the terrain.” The damper features a hydraulic backside out to keep away from jarring impacts from reaching the rider when the touchdown is additional sharp.
Excessive-speed and low-speed compression sit above a lonely low-speed rebound knob, and the entire clickers have a useable vary that enables for positive tuning to match totally different terrain. I ended up including a good bit of compression to realize the quantity of midstroke help I wished with out including air strain that may have decreased the fork’s traction grabbing properties. There’s a tuning information on the Manitou web site that divides damper tunes by using model: path, enduro, downhill. Since I examined the fork on an all-mountain hardtail, the place I favor weighting the entrance wheel greater than I’d with a full-suspension bike, I ended up of their “downhill” vary. With the high-speed compression closed midway, and the low-speed solely just a little additional open, the Mezzer felt each bit as supportive and responsive because the competitors.
|Value||$999.99 (obtainable on-line at JensonUSA and Wiggle)|
|Weight||Roughly 2000g, 29″ 150mm|
|Journey||140-180mm internally adjustable|
|Wheel sizes||27.5″ or 29″|
|Offset||29″ obtainable in 44 and 51mm, 27.5″ in 37 and 44mm|
|Brake mount||Direct mount 180, Max 203mm|
That Dorado air spring
In distinction to the bigger stanchions and reversed arch, the Durado air spring on this fork is a novel and modern component that you would be able to’t see. To stability the optimistic and unfavorable chambers, Manitou makes use of “a closing poppet valve throughout the air piston. Thus there isn’t a port or dimple within the lowers that equalizes the strain. As an alternative, each chambers will fill concurrently when attaching the shock pump on the fundamental valve. [Then], each the optimistic and unfavorable chamber will open and shut concurrently.” Not like the competitors, the Mezzer Professional has a 3rd air chamber on the high that acts as a quantity reducer. As an alternative of opening the fork so as to add or take away spacers to shift its progressivity and backside out help, you possibly can infinitely modify that help one stroke of the shock pump at a time. This extra chamber within the Durado air spring is appropriately named the IRT, or Infinite Fee Tune.
As soon as the sag is ready, you possibly can add air to the IRT to higher match your using model and trails. On lengthy days in a flowy bike park you may want the fork to ramp up a contact earlier in its journey in comparison with the place’s it’s set to your common lunch lap, to save lots of you any messy landings. For an enduro race you could possibly pump the IRT up an extra 5 PSI so as to add midstroke help and preserve the entrance finish excessive on steeper pure trails.
In brief, this fork will not be solely surprisingly gentle and depraved stiff, it’s additionally on the high of the suspension tuneability chart.
On the path
The Mezzer Professional took a while to tune. I began off with the beneficial “enduro” settings since that’s the kind of racing I had initially constructed this little hardtail up for. I then messed round with the air settings far an excessive amount of, and at last realized that I wanted to depart the principle chambers the place they have been, with affordable sag and a fluid preliminary stroke, and transfer to the IRT to dial within the help. I reset the static sag with the principle chamber valve and added air within the IRT till it felt effectively supported and protected from backside outs. Between the hydraulic backside out and IRT development, I’ve but to backside out the Mezzer, regardless of some unplanned hucks and intentional drop-to-flat checks from a shoulder-high stone.
This Norco Torrent hardtail has confirmed a improbable fork testing platform, because the metal body holds a stiffer stance than related bikes I’ve examined, making a correctly tuned fork paramount. I’ve ridden a great deal of lunch laps on my native descents and brought the bike to Finale Ligure to check the fork on longer and rougher trails, and I’ve been repeatedly impressed with its efficiency on all kinds of trails.
At residence I’m ready push suspension more durable, figuring out what’s round each tiny bend within the path. One of many extra thrilling elements of taking this fork as much as full pace is that you would be able to run the rebound pretty quick to offer the bike a energetic really feel with out sacrificing a lot entrance tire traction. The preliminary stroke stays silky and doesn’t chill so quick that it washes the tire. On a hardtail that sooner rebound ends in a extra enjoyable experience, opening up choices for issues to pop off or over.
I do know the trails in Finale Ligure effectively, however an enormous storm final fall destroyed all of them, and the rebuild course of has created some new strains, ruts, and reroutes that make all of them really feel new. I used to be in a position to experience a lot of the “flowy” tracks at a pace just like that of my full suspension bike, and so long as I stored my elbows bent and weight ahead the Mezzer stored the entrance finish excessive and as easy as I might count on from 150mm of squish mounted on a heavy hardtail.
The fork is among the few efficient methods to regulate the experience high quality with this bike, and the Mezzer does a improbable job. Each at residence and by the ocean I used to be in a position to click on in just a little extra high-speed compression once I knew the path can be additional messy, and again it off for the singletracks I bear in mind just like the cracks in my palms. With a journey vary between 140 and 180mm, I’d fortunately mount this fork on any bike I personal.
As I discussed above, the chassis stiffness of the Mezzer Professional is bigger than that of different forks I’ve ridden. I did discover just a little fore/aft flex below heavy braking at one level, however after checking for a similar with all of my different forks I discovered it was effectively throughout the vary of regular. I consider I seen it with the Mezzer as a result of the reversed arch makes the entrance finish look totally different from the rider’s perspective, inviting me to pay extra consideration to it than I usually would. This fork will possible maintain ample rigidity for riders far heavier and more durable hitting than I’m.
With out a lab to check stiffness, we are able to’t fairly analyze Manitou’s claims of “stiffest enduro fork available on the market” however as soon as the dials have been clicked to the correct spot the Mezzer Pro proved its place among the many greatest. With a aggressive value, and sophistication main weight and adjustability traits, this fork is value shut consideration for all-mountain and enduro riders who’re out there for an improve.
Due to Manitou for offering the Mezzer Pro for testing.