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The Machette Forks from Manitou are the answer to those calls for a boost compatible fork that was lightweight but not lacking in performance and didn’t cost a fortune.
- Wheel Size: 27.5″/29+”
- Spring: TS Air
- Bottom Out: Rubber Bumper
- Steerer: 1.5′ tapered
- Crown: Hollow Crown
- Crown Finish: Shot Peen
- Offset: 51mm
- Compression Damping: Kwik Toggle 2 Position On/Off Damper
- Rebound Damping: Adjustable TPC Cartridge
- Adjustments: Air Pressure, Compression to Lockout, and Rebound
- Leg Diameter: 32mm
- Leg Material: Alloy
- Brake: 74mm Post Mount
- Axle: 15x110mm Hexlock SL tooled axle
- Axle to Crown: 530mm (120) 550mm (140)
- Weight: 2030g
Manitou Machete Review:
Manitou is a Quebec based suspension company, but I have only used their Kage and Jekyll forks, so I was curious to see what this beefy fork felt like. The Machete has an interesting pedigree, being designed and produced by Manitou in Montreal, and then being rebranded for different companies, such as Pivot, Evil, and now Kona.
The fork was a little late to arrive at my house due to mishaps out of the hands of the shipping company, but it finally made it. When I first saw the box I was surprised by the weight of it, it left me a little worried after the last fork I had tried. Inside the box was a fork with a pleasing finish and a beautiful crown and stanchion. The stem was already attached to the fork, but the handlebar was not. There are no spacers included either. It was surprising to see that a fork made out of this material was coming in at 2 kilos.
I assembled the bike and went for a ride. First impressions were not those with which I was satisfied. The fork was left feeling a little cheap if I’m being honest. The handlebar was too short in the reach, and I didn’t feel like it had enough room at the top where I could sit up if I wanted to. The fork also seemed to be a little soft, and I was worried that it wasn’t going to be up to snuff for long climbs. It wasn’t unbearably slow, mind you, but it was slower than I had hoped it would be.
The first two things I did were to shorten the handlebar and to add more air in the fork. I admit to moving away from the original rider weight because the fork was so extremely stiff. I added 30, and 40 cubic centimeters of air, just to get it to a point where I could comfortably move. The second change I made was adding a little more air volume into the fork. When I had the bike on the scale, it weight in at 25-26 kilos. I was a little disappointed to find that the weight didn’t come down with the addition of a lockout, but I was glad to have the fork working the way I wanted it to.
After a few rides with just these changes, I wanted to try to change the lockout to see if it worked the way it said it did. I unplugged the air and when I plugged it back in, I went back to the adjuster. I had a hard time getting enough air in the fork, but it was manageable. The lockout was more difficult to get to than I had thought it would be, and it was really stupid to me that it was so hard to get a tiny little nozzle into the retention that was holding in the nozzle. After fighting with this, I got the air in and couldn’t wait to try to get the thing set up the way I wanted it. I got down to about 20% sag and in addition to that, I had about 35grams of air on top of it. I set the rebound width in the middle and had it set at about 12 clicks until I felt like it bottomed out easily when I landed.The lockout was set to about 50%, and I was up and riding.
The lockout felt a little off, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or not. I’ve had some other lockout’s that felt like they worked great, but this one felt very different. On longer, steeper climbs, I felt like I was being pushed forward more than I had ever felt before. It wasn’t off putting, but it was noticeable. Descending was a different story. The fork worked really well when it was locked out, and I never bottomed it out on some really long downhill runs. The fork also worked well through the corners, even though it was a little slow to react. If I leaned into a corner, the fork stuck without any bob or bouncing. I felt in control at all times, and the fork was surprisingly pliable and soft for what the advertised weight was. I was very impressed with the performance. The fork is definitely not the best for climbing because it is like riding on a pogo stick. I can see this being an issue for some, but it might be helpful for others. I would still swap out for a better climbing fork, but I was surprised by how well it did climb.
So, all in all, I liked the fork for the price, it worked really well in the long and short sections, and the lockout was a nice bonus.
- The Rebound Damp
- The Lockout
- Fork is Heavy
- The way the Lockout Works
- The way the air retention works