Manitou Mezzer Pro Fork

Manitou Mezzer Pro Fork Review

Words & Photos by Rob “The Rake” Dunnet

If you look back a decade or more into mountain bike history, Manitou was one of the top suspension brands in freeride. They sponsored some of the most popular riders like; Cam McCaul, Darren Berrecloth and Matt Hunter. At the time, their Urban Camo Manitou Sherman was one of the coolest forks on the market and Berrecloth was riding a pink Travis. Then all of a sudden they  faded from the limelight.

In recent years Manitou and Hayes have been working hard to restore their relationship with the mountain bike community. Manitou has been making headway with the Dorado, Mattoc, Mastadon and now, with the Mezzer.

Manitou Mezzer Pro Fork


The Mezzer Pro has 37mm stanchions and is available in both popular wheel sizes with two fork offsets available (37mm, 44mm for 27.5” and 44mm, 51mm for 29”). The fork is available with 160mm, 170mm or 180mm of travel and has adjustments for high and low speed compression, rebound and IRT (Infinite Rate Tune).

We met up with Manitou’s Zac Smith and he talked us through IRT and how it allows adjustment to the fork’s mid and end stroke feel with out affecting the beginning stroke. The IRT adjustment is found at the top of the non drive side leg with the main air spring found at the bottom. Essentially it is a dual air spring system with the main air spring handling the beginning to mid stroke and the IRT handling the mid stroke and end stroke. The IRT is a more tuneable version of air volume reducers.

Manitou also claims that the Mezzer is 28% stiffer than their main competition. This is in part due to their 37mm stanchions but also because of Mantiou’s placement of their reverse arch. The reverse arch location is lower down than a traditional fork arch. This adds to stiffness and reduces overall weight.

As Zac would say “It’s Science.”

Manitou Mezzer Pro Fork


Single crown park bikes are coming back into style so we matched a 170mm travel Mezzer Pro to the front of a Transition Patrol that we tried to push like a downhill bike. During our testing time we rode the Patrol with both coil and air sprung rear shocks and the Mezzer was able to compliment the strengths of both. We rode a wide variety of trails with the Mezzer spending time in the local bike park and pedalling to some of our local favorites.

To be honest after setting the sag and IRT I was a little bit worried about how the fork would perform on the trail. The initial stroke of the fork felt soft and I was concerned that I would blow through all of the travel or that the fork would ride deep in its travel. After riding a short fast section of trail with several medium sized hits I was surprised that the fork stood up in it’s travel and that I had not reached full travel. I was then concerned that the fork would not perform well at moderate speeds on steeper terrain. Again I was surprised that the fork rode high in it’s travel and offered a smooth ride.

Manitou Mezzer Pro Fork

While riding with Zac we played with the air pressure in the IRT and the main spring and ended up really close with the pressures we started with. The IRT pressure can be adjusted to change the way the fork rides, similar to how volume spacers work. Adding air to the IRT reduces volume in the main spring to slightly change the ride characteristics of the fork. Instead of playing with the low and high speed compression, Zac tuned the fork using the IRT. Riders who want to tinker even more with the feel of the fork can use the 11 clicks of low speed compression and the 5 clicks of high speed compression.

After a bit more riding and tinkering we got the fork ride even better and suit my style. It rode high in the travel, remained supple of the top and ramped up aggressively towards full travel, giving it an almost bottomless feel. The IRT and the Hydraulic Bottom Out took away any harsh feel when the fork reached full travel or when landings were a little less than soft.

Manitou Mezzer Pro Fork

We did notice a little bit of stiction in the first couple millimetres of travel when cycling the fork while stationary. The stiction wasn’t noticeable while riding and it didn’t increase over time.

Potential customers might be concerned with what to do when a fork service is needed. Manitou has two service centers located in North America; one on the east coast and another on the west. For riders with a little bit of mechanical aptitude they should be able to service the Mezzer on their own. Manitou sent me a service kit and a link to the Mezzer Service Guide and I was able to complete a lower leg service in a reasonable amount of time.

The Wolf’s Last Word

It didn’t take long for the Mezzer to win us over. It has the supple and bottomless feel of a dual crown fork in a single crown package. We enjoyed the ride quality of the fork after the initial set up and it only rode better after meeting up with Zac. He is a tinkerer/mad-scientist at heart and his suggestions about leaving the compression settings alone and using the IRT to fine tune the fork made for a great experience on the Mezzer.

The Manitou Mezzer was designed for riders like Zac, riders who are going to take apart their fork to see how it works and how they can make it better. The fork can be serviced with tools that are readily available and the travel can be adjusted with out purchasing a new air spring. It’s a great fork for riders who love to ride hard, have a plush yet progressive fork and enjoy having an easy-to-work on product.

With products like the Mezzer in their line up, we can’t say that performance or value are going to be keeping Manitou from squaring off against the big boys, so long as they can creatively market and change their image. The big question is, will they be able to find enough riders willing to look outside the box and try something new?

Price: $999
Weight: 4.4lbs

We Dig

Bottomless Feel
Looks Good
Black and Chrome
Rides High in Travel
Fender Included
Easy to Service

We Don’t

Only Available in Black
Reverse Arch Might be a Problem With Some Bike Racks


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