From the first suspension solutions to grace a mountainbike to the sophisticated forks and shocks of present day, Manitou has played an integral role in the evolution of our beloved off-road sport. Having already developed some of the most versatile, reliable and performance-oriented suspension systems for the increasingly wide range of disciplines, Manitou set its sights on developing the most competitive and complete cross-country fork available. Creating the world’s best XC racing suspension could only be done with feedback from the world’s most severe testing ground.

Manitou Research and Development (MRD) spent nearly two entire World Cup season’s testing and refining the perfect xc solution underneath elite athletes, with the fork hiding in plain sight thanks to its prototype camouflage. From the first iteration the fork has been securing podiums on the world stage, further proof that being RIDDEN, NOT HIDDEN produces results. In other words, what started off as a successful initial test gave way to an elite feedback loop that produced the most complete XC racing suspension package available. Little did curious minds know that beneath the intriguing covering lied a killer, of compromise: the MANITOU R8.

Lightweight, stiff, versatile, unparalleled tunability and reliable, the newest fork from the #scienceofsmooth experts excels in all areas that are crucial to a better, dependable, and race-winning performance. An elite XC fork, built to be ridden harder and perform better than anything else in its class, the R8 addresses each and every need of even the most demanding xc athlete.

All of what you need, nothing that you don’t

While the first request from athletes was for a stiff chassis for precise handling on technically demanding XC courses, reducing the weight of this very stiff platform was the secondary priority in the development of the new Manitou fork. No area of the fork was left untouched to ensure that every single gram that could be removed was, while not affecting rigidity or reliability in the least. The resulting 34mm HYPERLITE chassis, with direct mount fender design, plays a major role in the fork’s featherlike weight. The featherweight crown benefits from deep hollow boring to remove excess material from the inside as external machining does the same outside in a manner that strikes the perfect balance between stiffness and weight. The rear-facing arch and its shorter pathway from leg to leg requires less material and thus represents not only an increase in stiffness but a significant area of weight savings. By using stress analysis software and countless hours in the testing lab, Manitou engineers were able to eliminate excess material from both the rear portion of the arch, the dropouts and other areas thus shaving additional grams from the overall casting weight. The development of 7000 series straight thin wall legs adds yet another area of weight savings. Further reductions in weight come from material optimization in the production of Manitou’s lightest axle ever produced, te Hexlock SL-R, a R8 specific axle weighing a mere 25 grams.


Creating the next level in reliable, lightweight and extremely performance oriented front suspension required the development of a fork that performed in all situations and could adapt easily to varied terrain and circumstances. The R8 fork is far from a static unit and the Manitou Engineers worked diligently to produce a premium level remote system to ensure the rider’s complete control of the suspension. While there will be a manual knob option available with the R8 it is most probable that the majority of XC riders will prefer the remote solution. The ACE and DEUCE combo is a Manitou made underbar remote lockout that controls fork, shock and dropper posts. The Ace lever controls the dropper post while the Deuce lever controls both the fork and shock. The two levers are stackable and can be built into the configuration that makes the most sense for each individual rider. In other words, the Ace can be built above or below the Deuce and either can be built as a stand-alone lever as well. In an effort to minimize weight the lever uses 3mm housing and .9mm cable however, is compatible also with standard 4mm housing and 1.2mm cable.


Alongside the front suspension development project for XC the Manitou engineering staff has developed a new solution to complete the suspension package. To keep things as smooth in the rear as up-front the Mara Pro IL GEN 2 shock line can adapt to multiple disciplines with 30-65mm stroke lengths available. The new design incorporates rebound detents for precise rebound adjustment and also includes a new IPA shaft for improved lockout performance.

The Manitou engineers set off on a parallel path to create a high-performance shock solution that would ensure a rear suspension product that would provide the same lightweight, tunable, reliable, race winning performance that the R8 project represents. While the new inline shock family represents a performance increase that should satisfy even the more demanding athletes desires, the development of an elite XC solution dedicated to a very specific purpose: absolute race winning performance. Within the Mara Pro IL Gen 2 line a dedicated PRO XC SKU was produced with a 37.5-45mm stroke and a specific XC shim stack to ensure the strongest lockout performance available. The remote lockout controlled XC shock includes the new Lite can and represents a weight savings worthy of a podium topping build. An industry leading lockout platform translates into amazing power transfer and superior performance while the lightweight construction requires fewer watts required on the climbs as well as the sprints.