Reviewed by Brian Mullin aka Gram and MTBR.com Pastajet
NOTE: The latest version is known as the Manitou Minute Super 140
I started riding the Manitou Minute Elite Absolute 140mm fork just before the Interbike show, and have gotten around 8 months of some heavy duty testing on it. It was swapped back and forth on my Ibis Mojo with other comparable forks, so I had a nice test bed for cross referencing of several brands, including the Magura Thor 140, the DT Swiss EXC 150, the Manitou MRD 130 and the Fox Float 140 RLC. What stands out about this fork is its buttery smooth plushness on ugly terrain.
Manitou is a term used to designate the spirits among many Algonquian groups. The Algonquian is one of the most populous and widespread North American Native groups, and they live from the Great Plains to much of eastern North America. This spirit is seen as a (contactable) person as well as a concept, one aspect of the interconnection and balance of nature/life, much like qi, prana, and vitalism . Everything has its own Manitou-every plant, every stone, and even a machine, such as a fork!
Manitou the company has a very storied history, that started out in Colorado Springs area in the hands of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame Inductee Doug Bradbury. I assume Doug named the company after the town of Manitou Springs, which is close to many of the trails that he rode. Doug built the first Manitou fork in 1990, and John Tomac rode fork number three to a World Championship victory that same year. Doug went on to build aluminum frames and eventually licensed the Manitou products to Answer Products, where he continued working in research and development for them until 1997. In early 1998, he and Tomac partnered up to produce Tomac bikes, but the company under American Bicycle Group floundered until Joel Smith (son of motorcycle legend Malcolm Smith) resurrected the Tomac brand. In an interesting set of circumstances, Joel was a former director of North American sales and brand management at Answer Products, while Doug is still involved in bike design at Tomac. In late 2006 the Hayes Bicycle Group, a division of HB Performance Systems Inc., acquired the assets of Answer Products Inc., which manufactured Answer and Manitou brand bicycle suspension forks, shocks, bars and stems.
Manitou Minute Elite Absolute Fork
The Minute Elite Absolute, is one of Manitou’s premier All Mountain or Trail forks. The Elite is loaded with features such as one piece magnesium caste with a unique Reverse Arch, a proprietary thru axle and an adjustable platform damper.
It is available in 100mm, 120mm, or 140mm sizes with either a standard axle or their 20mm thru axle. It has 32mm aluminum stanchions, 1 1/8″ butted aluminum steerer tube, post mount brake tabs, and is tuned using rebound, air and platform adjustments.
I tested the 140mm version with the 20mm axle on my Ibis Mojo, using various equipment and tires. The rear shocks were the DT Swiss XR Carbon, the Fox RP23 and the Fox RPL (my current fave).