- Magura Menja
Magura describes its Menja as an All Mountain/XC fork, and as such it sits somewhere in the middle of the company’s brand new range of four forks. Magura forks have built a good reputation for value and reliability, but as yet this hasn’t translated to huge UK sales. With their new range, this is hopefully set to change.
The Menja is available in three different travel options – 85, 100 or 130mm. They’re different forks, so you’ll need to decide how much travel you want before you buy. Other options include a choice of lower legs with either disc brake and V-brake mounts or disc brake and Magura’s own Firm-Tech mounts specifically for its hydraulic rim brakes. If you’re only planning to use discs, the Firm-Tech models will give you a cleaner look – the rim brake mounts are low profile and behind the legs. Standard colour is black, but Magura’s Customize Program gives you the choice of white, yellow, orange, pink, red, olive, turquoise, dark blue or silver.
Uniquely, Magura’s whole fork range uses its Dual Arch Design, with brake arches at front and rear. It’s not the first manufacturer to do this – Pace forks had twin arches years ago – but it’s the only one doing it now and the only one to be doing it with one-piece magnesium lowers. It’s quite a clever bit of manufacturing, and certainly looks distinctive.
32mm stanchions are bonded into a cold-forged 6082-T6 aluminium crown, which carries an integrated cable stop for a retrofittable remote lockout lever. On the subject of integrated bits and bobs, there’s a built-in hose guide on the lower leg but it turned out to be too small to fit a Hope hose through. The dropouts are angled forwards at 45° to eliminate the possibility of brake-assisted axle wander, and stainless steel corrosion protectors are fitted to the dropout faces and IS brake mounts. All forks in Magura’s range are warrantied for up to 210mm rotors, so if you fancy running 8in rotors on an 85mm fork you know where to go.
Moving inside, the Menja is air sprung and oil damped. You won’t find yourself bewildered by controls and adjustments – you’ve got an air valve on the top of the left leg and a rebound damping adjuster at the bottom of the right. At the top of the right leg is a lockout lever, but it’s not just any old lockout. Magura’s Dynamic Lockout System locks the forks at the sag point rather than fully extended, giving you a more agreeable weight distribution for tackling steep climbs. It’s a little like a less extreme version of Marzocchi’s ETA system. A remote handlebar lever for the lockout is available, if you want it easier to reach.
We strapped the Menja to the front of our Pipedream, and just through the first few sections of singletrack the extra stiffness provided from the Dual Arch Design became apparent. Combined with 32mm stanchions, steering is very precise and direct, and there’s no hint of flutter under braking. Previous generations of Magura forks have generally featured quite a stiff action out of the box and even after a lot of running in haven’t matched some of the competition for plushness. But the Menja is super plush from the first moment you hit a root and there’s certainly no bedding in period needed. The travel is pleasingly linear, with all 100mm being easily accessible. There’s no harsh bottoming out, though, and the damping does an excellent job of keeping the front wheel in check.
Setup is a doddle – the shock pump even has recommend pressure settings printed on the barrel to get you started. The downside of simple controls and setup is, of course, that the scope for fiddling to get things just how you want them is somewhat reduced. If you’re a tinkerer you may wish to look for something with more knobs and dials on it. If you just want to ride, check out the Menja.
Ups and downs
Positives: Plush, easy adjustment, stiff, distinctive looks
Negatives: Not the lightest, limited tunability, weird name
The Menja is one of the nicest short travel forks we’ve used in a while. It’s solidly made, super smooth and controlled, with a lockout that works in a way we can get our heads around. At a claimed weight of 3.7lb, they’re not superlight for a 100mm fork, but then the 130mm variant isn’t much heavier. If you have your own ideas about how you want your fork to behave you’ll want something with more adjustability, but if you don’t want to think too hard about setup (and let’s be honest, most people don’t have a clue), take a good look at one of these.