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  • Manitou Circus Expert Forks - Tapered Steerer 2012
  • Manitou Circus Expert Forks - Tapered Steerer 2012

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Manitou Circus Expert Forks

Do you remember first grade when the Circus came to town and you attended it as a field trip? There was always some excitement until the clowns came up into the audience and you freaked out. Well get your freak on kids, because here comes the Circus.

TPC (Twin Piston Chamber) is a shim-based damper that uses two independently adjustable pistons: one optimized for rebound, the other for compression. TPC is a low-pressure, high-volume system which prevents cavitation (which leads to compression spikes and stiffening) and heat-related problems. Compared to the Absolute damper, TPC is always active. A fork equipped with TPC damping will soak up even the slightest impacts. The benefit of TPC is that it allows precise control of the fork's compression damping rate. As a result, the fork can be tuned to make the fullest use of its travel while minimizing bottom-outs. Forks equipped with TPC dampers have a compression adjustment dial on the top of the right leg and a rebound adjustment dial at the bottom of the right leg. The effect of these adjustments can be easily observed when the bike is at rest and the fork is compressed.

Absolute is a platform-style damper. This means that the fork can be set to remain rigid until a certain impact threshold is exceeded. The benefit is pedalling efficiency. As proponents of rigid forks will attest, suspension has the potential to diminish pedalling efficiency by compressing the fork rather than propelling the bike forward. In the open position, the Absolute damper acts much like TPC, absorbing even slight impacts. By introducing a bit of damping platform, a rider can get the benefit of suspension without the penalty of wasted energy. In the second and third positions, the Absolute damper resists pedal bob and brake dive on smooth terrain, yet still allows the fork to move through its travel over most bumps. In the fourth and fifth positions, the fork remains rigid during most out-of-the-saddle sprints or climbs, at the expense of some harshness over washboard and rooty trails. In the sixth position, the Absolute damper locks out the suspension for everything but a major, abrupt impact, like suddenly running into a rock or log. Forks equipped with the Absolute damper have a platform adjustment dial on the top of the right leg and a rebound adjustment dial on the bottom of the right leg. The platform adjuster has a total of six positions ranging from completely open (no platform) to completely closed. The dial can be turned from one extreme to the other in about 1/3 of a turn, for easy on-bike adjustment. The effect of the various platform settings is more apparent at speed than when the bike is at rest.

Like MARS Air, ACT Air is a hybrid coil/air spring. However, while the coil and air springs in the MARS system work in series and contribute equally to the spring rate, the ACT Air system consists of a coil spring inside an air chamber. The energy of an impact is primarily absorbed by the coil spring. The air chamber provides enough adjustability to set the proper amount of sag for a given rider weight, and also contributes a certain amount of bottom-out resistance.

Manitou Circus Expert Forks Specifications:

  • Weight Lbs / Grams: 4.7 / 2134 (80mm)
  • Travel: 80, 100 (Internally Adj), 130mm
  • Spring: ACT Air
  • Spring Rate: Firm
  • Bottom Out: Dual Bottom-Outs (1 / Leg)
  • Steerer: 1.5" tapered
  • Crown: Hollow Crown
  • Crown Finish: Black Ano
  • Offset: 41.27
  • Compression Damping: Absolute w/ Jump Stack
  • Rebound Damping: Adjustable TPC
  • Adjustments: Air, Compression to Lockout, Rebound
  • Leg Diameter: 32mm
  • Leg Material: 7050 Straight Wall AL
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • Brake Mount: PM 6”
  • Axle: 20mm Hex TA
  • Crown to Axle: 458/478/508

Buy Manitou Circus Expert Forks from Chain Reaction Cycles, the worlds largest online bicycle store

Rated 4.5 out of 5 by 2 reviewers.
Rated 5 out of 5 by Great forks. Reliable, adjustable and great perfoarmence and for a low price. I have the non tapered version and have had these forks for about 3 or 4 months but these forks are great, my favourite aspect of these forks is the different adjustments on them, you can lock them out, you can turn up the rebound and all this just by twisting a knob on the top, the other part I love about this is how smooth they are, the axle is pretty sweet to, because it is hex shaped on one side meaning you don't have to use 2 Allen keys when taking off the front wheel. All for a cheap price. I have been riding for 4 years and have done some descent sized dirt jumps and the performed great. There is only one thing that's is a little annoying which is the small bolts to clamp the. Great forks for price (better than argyles for the price). :) 23 November 2013
Rated 4 out of 5 by I wrote this review for the regular steerer circus, but I'm sure it will be just as much use to people looking to purchase the tapeered steerer version. I've had the circus for a good while now and I rate it highly - particularly for the price, but it's not quite as good as some people make it out to be. It certainly has it's issues. The real beauty of the circus is the adjust ability. You can set it up however you want. I set it up with about 40psi of air assist and 2 clicks away from locked out using the ABS knob. That way they barely move until you need them too. I rarely get through 40 of my 80mm of travel. They ABS jumpstack is awesome. Twist the knob around and it locks out - but there is a blow off feature when the fork is locked out so if you forget to turn it off it will move under lots of force. I find the ABS useful for road and pedalling up to the top of the hill after a run. But it really comes into it's own on a pumptrack. Pumptracks are all about speed and rolling efficiency so you want it rigid, but say you try and gap two rollers or something and you case the ABS will blow out and save your wrists. Useful stuff and a particularly good feature on a fork of this price. After saying all of that, the quality of the suspension movement isn't as good as others - RCT and 831 have much smoother actions and feel better. But the manitou is consistent and if you set it up firm like me you won't notice this issue. I haven't put in enough time on either of these rival forks to give a thorough comparison, but I wouldn’t say there is much separating the RCT and the Manitou Circus Expert in terms of quality or performance. The weight is very impressive - 2KG for a fairly bombproof fork is great - especially considering the price. The reverse arch is still something people are dubious about. Some say it’s straight up ugly, others just think your fork is on the wrong way around and some people are stuck in their old ways or think it will be difficult to footjam. This fork is not hard to footjam – if anything it’s easier. Although I do find it very difficult to overjam – although I am by no means a master of this trick. It is very difficult to wedge your foot in the arch from the other side of the stations because of the reverse crown and this makes overjams tough. The aesthetics of this fork are very difficult to talk about because it’s a matter of personal preference – but I see it like this. It's like if your mum is really, really ugly (I'm sure some of you can relate) - you don't really notice because she's your mum, she's always been there and you kin of get used to it. You can sort of forgive your ugly mother because of all the things she does for you and it's the same with the circus. Not a damn is given if it's a bit ugly because it's a great fork for the money and does a great job. Apologies go out to all of those without mothers at this stage, but you should probably be getting over that by now. The hex axle system can be pain to be honest. You have to undo 5 allen key bolds to get it out the axle can sometimes be a real effort to pull through the hub once it's been in there for a while. It seems to have a real talent for getting a bit stuck. However, I've never come across a more safe and solid feeling axle system. It's strong and stiff as you like. You also don't have to worry about some gypo nicking your front wheel whilst you're in the shop for 5 minutes, which I guess is a perk. Maxle light certainly has it's advantages over the hex system but there are pros and cons to both so it depends on your preferences and needs which you would consider to be better. For street you can't beat a nice solid front end and it looks that much cleaner without the release lever sticking out of the dropouts. To conclude then it’s not without it’s faults but circus is a class fork that comes at a great price. 15 August 2012
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2 Questions : 3 Answers

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Is the travel internally adjustable?

I was wondering if the travel on this fork is internally adjustable from 80-100mm, sorry if I'm just missing something, but I want to check just in case.
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Answer: 
This fork has 80mm travel and is not internally adjustable, only the 100mm is internally adjustable back to 80mm if required.
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Answer: 
I dont think they do but iv got 80mm and I do descent sized jumps in buckland rings and they work great
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What travel is this fork shipped as?

The details don't specify what travel the fork would show up as, nor is there an option to be selected for preferred travel length. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.
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Answer: 
This fork has 80mm of travel.
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