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Product Review: Manitou Marvel Comp Forks – 9mmQR 2016

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It’s a tough name to live up to. When it comes to XC—it’s all about efficiency. The hole shot, cleaning lines with precision, climbing like a goat and descending like a river. Not to mention being able to custom tune the thing with as little effort as possible.

The Marvel—is a marvel. Rebound, damping and lockout is all external. And the stiffness will point the front wheel where you need it to go.


  • Weight: 3.96lb/1798g
  • Spring: TS Air
  • Spring Rate: n/a
  • Bottom Out: Rubber Bumper
  • Crown: Forged Hollow Crown
  • Crown Finish: Shot Peen Black Ano
  • Offset: 26″ – 41.27, 27.5″ – 44, 29″ – 48
  • Compression Damping: TPC Technology, Absolute+ XC Stack
  • Rebound Damping: Adjustable TPC
  • Adjustments: Air, compression to lockout, Rebound
  • Leg Diameter: 32mm
  • Leg Material: Straight Wall Aluminium
  • Brake: Post Mount
  • Axle: 9mm QR
  • Crown to Axle: 26″ – 458/478/498, 27.5″ – 476.5/496.5/516.5, 29″ – 490/510/530
  • TS Air: Light weight for XC, the easy set up covers all rider weights and features simple user charts on the back of forks.
  • TPC (Twin Position Chamber): Providing 4-Dimensional Compression Damping; The velocity dependant circuit responds to the terrain while the Pressure Dependant Circuit flattens the bumps, the Energy Dependant Circuit activates on big hits while providing unmatched small bump sensitivity and the Position Dependant Circuit creates a bottomless feel.
  • ABSOLUTE+: Velocity/Pressure Dependent System; Compatible with MILO remote lever, Absolute+ Switches between velocity dependent to pressure-dependent based on adjuster position. With an eight-position dial for compression rate-adjustment, it achieves lockout feel at maximum adjuster position, and plushness and control with pedalling efficiency.

Read more or buy here

Manitou Marvel Forks Review:

For 2018, Manitou has updated the Marvel Comp for 9mm QR. I’ve managed to spend most of the year so far on the new version which I’ll hold up next to the previous version from 2017.

Price-point and build: The Marvel Comp is a 300g claimed weight fork with the Rockshox Reverb remote bolted directly to the lower leg. Two covers protect the service key and the bottom of the air shaft. Axle, Boost, and other key bits are all 9mm QR.

The big news here is the move to a hollow forged crown with shot-peened black finish. Of course, internal update, too, but the crown on the Marvel 2018 looks much better.

As the name suggests, this fork will work with any of the 29er wheeled bikes on the market with Boost 12x148mm hubs.

The lower legs are slender with a section of reinforcement milled in a half way up the leg. This should help add a bit of rigidity, plus the thick bearing webs.

Legs lock out with what Manitou is calling Rubber Bumper hidden behind a cap at the end of the leg. The legs have a post height of 570mm and there is a 7mm to 5mm reducer to help get those 29ers into the travel.

Read more or buy here

According to Manitou, the Marvel Comp’s 160mm and 140mm are 27% stronger and 33% stiffer, respectively, than the previous Marvel models.

Damping adjustable via Air, Compression and Rebound. The new TS Air system and the components seem top notch. The air can has a range of 6 to 8 psi which is too much if you’re running a fork for anything other than racing. New airsprings have not been really small and are slowly rolling out of the factory. The TS Air springs are not on the list yet. if you ride at a wide range of pressures it pays to upgrade to something like the Reverb Stealth.

Seat tubes are short so I tended to leave SD-29s on the 150mm setting. I’ve seen a lot of forks come with the short-stroke compression setting on the lockout which I’m not comfortable with. I prefer the setting for firmest terrain. That’s also been the setting for lockout on the last three Fox forks I raced on.

The travel adjuster has the same range as the 200 on the Fox 36, so you can set your bike up with the travel in the middle for general riding/trail rides or turn it to the short side for some DH.

Crown-race setup is more complicated than Fox but after a couple of times I got it pretty straight and it’s easy to confirm your installation.

With a grip of locktite foam and a few wraps of tape, you’re good to go.

Build quality is super high. Like every other high-end product from Shimano, Fox and Ritchey. The piggyback works well with no weird noises.

The Reverb Stealth has a lockring on top and can be easily adjusted on the trail. No need to deal with hex keys and bags of grease. Just turn the rocker to tune it to your needs.


The TPC (Twin-Position Chamber) technology works with any travel. Set it up for 2-positions and you’ll get a compact mid-stroke with stability for straights and a super-stiff, controlled end stroke for the climbs.

In the best Long-Travel-Full-Suspension-Off Road-Bike-Reviews tradition, let me tell you what it feels like when I’m bunny-hopping, popping and popping in short, steep technical stuff at 12 to 16 downhills per day on rough trails and tracks and all that on mountain-bikes. It has to handle big hits, lose traction and provide some suspension magic. It has to stay clean and provide the consistency for the race. The winning formula.

Ok, enough with my clever talk and goofy suits, let’s get on with the review…

You’ve no doubt heard that Manitou was late arriving to the 29er party. Well, I’m here tell you that they have arrived. In a big way.

The Marvel Comp is an ridiculously progressive fork that catches your eye with the black crown and plays tricks with your mind by being one of the most distinctive parts of your bike.

Read more reviews or buy here

Written by Mark Adams

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