Big travel and high-performance damping Manitou’s long-travel X-Vert forks are designed for mountain bikers on the edge?downhillers, freeriders, or any serious enthusiast who strays from the groomed singletracks that most mountain bikers adhere to. The X-Vert Air is the lightest of the series at 3.8 pounds and has 4.1 inches of travel. Inside the sliders is Manitou’s TPC-plus damping system with a position-sensitive compression valve that keeps the fork moving freely until you smack something really hard. Rebound and compression clickers are located on the top and bottom of the right leg. An air spring is located on the left. Magnesium lowers and taper-butted aluminum legs are bound together by a hollow HyperLite crown and post type disc brake bosses are standard fare. RIDING IMPRESSIONS MBA’s staff was blown away by the X-Vert Air’s performance?especially when we really let in hang out. We never felt like we were running out of travel, and the Manitou fork steered through choppy turns without a wiggle. With the front brake on, we could feel a tiny amount of bearing play inside the sliders, but nothing that would cause us to downgrade its performance rating. Both the compression and rebound dials were very effective. You can trust the fork enough to leave the dials in the middle for starters. It feels right on the money out of the gate in the damping department and there is no sensation that you are riding on an air spring, even when you are plunking through the woods at a jogging pace. RATING THE X-VERT AIR Five stars for one of the sweetest trail riding forks that Manitou has ever produced. If you are willing to carry a half-pound of extra weight, you?ll find that the rigidity and damping performance of this capable fork is a giant step up from the ultra lightweight, fancy-boy XC alternatives. Questions? Log onto: www.answerproducts.com
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