Some time ago, I go in the Manitou Minute Super 140 to review on MTB198. This lightweight 140mm travel mountain bike suspension fork with a 20mm thru axle is one of the many 140mm travel forks on the market today. With the drastic increase in 140mm travel full suspension mountain bikes on the market, every suspension fork manufacturer has a thru axle and quick release version of a 140mm travel fork in their lineup and this is the offering from Manitou (now owned by Hayes). For compete specs and more pictures of the Manitou Minute Super 140 review fork, hit up this initial, first-look post.
The Manitou Minute 140 Install and Setup
The Manitou Minute installs just like any other suspension fork, so getting it on the bike and ready to roll was a relatively easy process. My only real complaint during install was the enormous process you have to go through to get the front wheel on the bike. This review fork from Manitou came spec’ed with their 20mm thru axle. I find that a thru axle is necessary on 140mm travel mountain bikes to increase front end stiffness, but the install of the 20mm TA on the Manitou is one of the most complicated setups on the market. Not only are there 5 bolts you have to loosen and tighten down, but there are no catches for the axle in the fork lowers. You have to hold the bike at the right height to get the axle through the front hub. This makes getting the front wheel on your bike a real pain…especially with all of the QR TA’s on the market.
Initial setup on the Manitou Minute was pretty straight forward and easy. There is one air valve to control the air spring, the opposite leg controls the lockout and at the bottom of the fork let you will find the rebound adjustment. After a couple of runs back and forth on a small rocky section of trail, I had the fork dialed where I needed it and was ready to roll on. I did find that the rebound adjustment on the Minute was really sensitive. By turning it even just a little bit clockwise, it really slowed down the action of the fork. I ended up leaving it almost all the way wide open.
On the Trail with the Manitou Minute 140
Over the course of this several month review process, I took this fork to a multitude of different riding conditions to see how it could handle everything from smooth to super tech. The 140mm travel suspension fork has to be able to handle a lot of different terrain as the riders on 5.5″ trail bikes are the most diverse crowd in mountain biking.
Damping and Suspension Action
The suspension action on the Manitou Minute Super 140 was ok. As long as the trail stayed smooth, the fork kept pace and the easy to use platform/lockout mechanism did a great job of locking out the fork for extended, smooth climbing sections. When things started to get really rough and technical, the fork seemed to lose its composure some. I could feel the suspension changing directions through the stroke which tells me that the damping action needs some work. The transition between positive and negative movement is not a smooth as it needs to be. As mentioned before, the rebound setting was very sensitive to changes, so some of this feeling could not be taken out of the fork without really slowing down the rebound to the point it was packing up under multiple hits.
Small bump sensitivity and travel quality stayed pretty consistent when the trail was pretty smooth though…which makes me think that the suspension setup on this fork is more geared towards smoother cross country styled riding.
Stiffness and Trail Behavior
Again, if the trail stayed smooth…the fork behaved. But when things got rough…even the 20mm TA on the Manitou Minute could make up for the lightweight crown and brace. I could feel the flex in this fork through rock gardens and landing small drops. At 3.65 lbs. with axle, this is almost expected in a way. You can not get lightweight, stiff and affordable all in the same sentence so something had to give. With the Manitou Minute, they gave up overall fork stiffness in favor of having a lightweight overall package.
Overall Thoughts on the Manitou Minute Super 140
After riding this fork for several months, I really think it is geared toward the cross country end of the 140mm trail bike spectrum. For that reason, most of the potential purchasers are going to be more attracted to the even lighter QR version of the Minute. The fork seemed to work ok as long as I didn’t start really pushing the limits of a 140mm setup. In cross country, smooth riding conditions, everything seemed to work as planned but as soon as it got rough…things started to go downhill with suspension action and overall stiffness.
The Manitou Minute is a good, lightweight fork option for the rider that wants a 140mm bike but probably isn’t going to use it to the full potential. If you are really focused on overall weight and mainly ride more groomed sections of trail, the Manitou Minute will probably work within your weight requirements and budget. For those of you that ride more technical terrain, you are going to miss the stiffness and damping of the other forks in this market.
What I Liked About The Manitou Minute
- Lightweight for a 140mm suspension fork (claimed 3.65 lbs. w/axle)
- Overall good looks on the bike
- Easy to use and adjust lockout mechanism (Absolute Platform)
What I Didn’t Like About the Manitou Minute
- 20mm TA Removal and Install Way Too Complicated
- Inconsistent Damping
- Not as Stiff as the Competition
- Sensitive Rebound Settings
- No Compression Settings Independent of Lockout
Overall, I think the Manitou Minute Super 140 needs some work. What I am hoping is that Hayes does for Manitou what SRAM did for RockShox by building back up the brand with a new life and new technologies. So far…I have heard fantastic things out of the new Manitou Dorado DH fork, so – hopefully – they start to reverse engineer the technologies found in that fork down to their cross country lines. If I was a betting man…I would bet that is the route they are taking and we will probably see some significant changes to the Manitou lineup of suspension forks in the coming years.
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