Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
The first place to look when wanting more traction out of your bike other than tires is your suspension. Upgrading suspension on your bike can allow you to rail those corners like never before. Our friend just got a new Manitou Mezzer. Read on for more!
Anyone who knows me knows that I love new parts. LOVE them...and when it comes to being able to bolt something new and shiny and different on my bike, I'm all for it. I also love having something that nobody else has on their bike. Such has been the case with my fork on my Pole Evolink 158. The RS Lyrik Ultimate that I bought for that bad boy first got the HC97 treatment, then I went whole hog and installed the Vorsprung Smashpot into it, going full coil. It really was a great setup, but ultimately was more suited for something with some serious downhill. South Florida's mostly flat trails really don't allow one to fully enjoy that setup and it actually created more work, as it was a bit "bob-prone" (if that's even a term).
After reading some reviews, I decided I wanted to try something that it seemed like wasn't getting nearly enough love despite having some really impressive tech in it....the Manitou Mezzer. So, I contacted Worldwide Cyclery, used some of my saved up credits, and bought this puppy. A few days later, and I had this wonderful black box delivered to my house.
I apologize for my messy workbench, but when one is excited about a new purchase, we hardly take the time to see if the area we are taking pictures in is framed well. In any case, the box is very similar to most other fork boxes...large and with a company logo on it.
So, I took a breath and opened it up. Everything was well packaged and in great shape out of the box.
Included are the travel reducers in case you want to change the travel from the stock 180mm. I decided I would leave it as is, as my frame is designed for 160-180, to begin with. This can be reduced down to 150mm I believe using the included spacers. The process from what I have read is relatively easy and uses only a cassette tool and some wrenches.
The package also includes a bolt-on fender. As factory fenders go, this is probably the best one I've seen. DVO does something similar, but I found theirs to be really narrow, so I was never able to use it on the Diamond I had a few years back. This baby EASILY clears my e*thirteen LG1 2.35 tires with loads of room to spare. It's well made, covers a good amount of area. I don't know that you really need it for the stanchions like you would on some forks, as with the reverse arches, mud and sand are rarely found on my seals even without this on my fork.
One thing that I was surprised to not see was a shock pump. Most other forks I've had came with one, so that was a surprise. Not a deal-breaker for me, as I have a nice digital fox pump I like better than an analog pump anyway.
And then there is THIS in the box! The Mezzer in all it's beauty. I have to say that the picture doesn't even do the heft of this fork justice. It just LOOKS like it means business. While I've been used to seeing bikes with the front arch, I actually like the reverse arch on this fork, as it lets me see the beautiful 180mm of stanchion travel. It's also supposed to provide a stiffer fork without requiring any extra material or weight according to Manitou's reports.
So, how does it compare to the Lyrik? Well, here they are side by side. I have to say that the Mezzer just looks more premium to me with the matte finish. The stanchions are 2mm thicker (which of course is easily visible in the photo, right?).
I removed the Lyrik and buttoned up the Mezzer onto my bike.
While setting it up, I was impressed with some of the little things Manitou has done here. The brake cable routing is well thought with a slight "channel" machined into the fork lower and a cap that fits over it giving a nice "built-in" feeling when you see it completed. All of the HSC/LSC and rebound dials feel very solid and well made. Then come the Airside and the real fun begins.
The Mezzer has IRT (Infinite Rate Tune), which is Manitou's dual positive air chamber system. It allows you to run a lower main pressure with a second higher pressure positive chamber above it. What does this do? Well, early in travel, the lower main pressure keeps your small bump compliance really supple and smooth. As you progress into your travel and the main pressure increases due to compression of the fork, it engages the IRT higher pressure chamber, which provides better bottom-out prevention, less brake dive, and more composure through tight turns. It's a really cool tech and similar to what some other fork manufacturers are beginning to copy from Manitou and implement in their own forks. It's also similar to the DSD Runt that you can install on Fox/RS forks to get somewhat similar effects. First, you fill the IRT to higher pressure from the top of the fork, followed by the main chamber at the bottom of the fork.
So, how does it work? In short, AMAZINGLY well. It can take a little bit of time to zero in on just the right pressures for your riding conditions. There is a basic setup guide on the web that shows approx pressures, LSC, HSC, and rebound for different riding conditions. They're a good start, but I have found that I tend to run a little less pressure in the fork than the guide. LSC/HSC, and rebound are pretty spot on.
So, how does it work? In short, AMAZINGLY well.
Once you get this sucker dialed in, this fork is the best I've ridden. I've ridden it probably 50 miles so far and it's just a joy to ride. Small bumps and chatter are easily taken care of, as the lower main pressure means that it doesn't take much to initiate this fork's movement. That being said, the big hits don't feel particularly jarring. On top of that, braking hard doesn't cause your bike to dive, resulting in the bike staying much more composed, with proper weight distribution for quick maneuvers after grabbing a fistful of a set of Magura MT7 boat anchors like my bike has in an "oh S**T!" moment. To quote one of my riding buddies who has seen nearly every iteration of fork I've had on my bike, "That fork just makes your bike glide over things!". It's composed without being harsh and supple without feeling mushy.
It's worth mentioning also that the maintenance on this fork looks to be pretty simple to do with some basic tools for most routine wiper/seal maintenance and requiring a standard bleed kit for damper service. I have pulled my lower legs to check the oil levels and see how the wipers and such looked. I did find that the foam rings were only damp, so I re-saturated them and the lowers were a little low in oil, so I topped them off with the proper 21ml in each leg. The entire process took maybe 10 minutes, and most of that was the process of removing and reinstalling the fork onto my bike.I'm looking forward to having this on my bike for a very long time.