Manitou had a brief flirt with the rear suspension market back in 1999, but it never came to much. Now they’re back again with a licensed version of Progressive Suspension technology’s Fifth Element shock.
The shock had been causing a great stir on the Pro downhill scene in 2001 and now it’s appearing to rave reviews on bikes from Santa Cruz and Intense. For more details on the shock itself see our UK exclusive review of the Santa Cruz Bullit, but basically it uses a multi feature damping set up to allow tuning of pedalling and suspension performance across a wide range of parameters.
The Patented damping technology is actually bought from rival shock company Curnutt, and has been licensed to Manitou for race testing and product development in 2002. The agreement also allows Manitou to use the technology in their fork range if they want to.
What product we’ll see and when is therefore still a mystery but Manitou certainly seem plenty excited enough. "The technology's ability to not only eat bumps better than the competition, but at the same time establish a firm pedaling 'platform' has given Progressive a unique feel and a clear advantage for the high performance enthusiast. Answer is excited to be able to work with Progressive on an exclusive basis to incorporate the technology into Manitou suspension products."
Manitou have also just won two patent violation cases against Rock Shox which also covered damping and damping setting and adjustment technology. A good week all round for them then!
Like we said for first impressions of our ride on the Santa Cruzes Bullit toting geniune Fifth Element shocks click here.
Engineers wanting a big fight about oil cavitation, multiple damping circuits and temperature expansion of air cartridges could do a lot worse than have a look at this MTBR.com forum thread - the final comment by the guy from Progressive is a peach!