Legends Never Die - Introducing the New Manitou Dorado
After flying under the radar for a few years, Manitou has re-launched the cult classic Dorado fork. Now sporting bigger stanchions, a new damper, and the option of a coil spring, Manitou have set out to prove there's more than just two big options in the DH fork game. Read on below for all the details, and stay tuned for an upcoming review as well...
Legends Never Die.
The longest-standing inverted downhill-specific fork is back, in a big way. For almost two decades, the Dorado has rewarded riders with unrivaled suspension performance and on-trail precision. The newest rendition stays true to its heritage with an inverted design, but this is where the similarities end. Featuring a new 37mm chassis, fresh internals, and new material options the all-new Dorado is now available in three trim levels, Pro, Expert, and Comp.
Let’s start at the pinnacle, your eyes are not deceiving you. After its debut 11 years ago, the Dorado Pro is once again dressed in carbon. In addition to looking amazing, the upper carbon tubes allow a 238g weight savings compared to alloy along with increased stiffness. The Expert and Comp receive machined tapered aluminum legs and are anodized in a svelte black finish. Each upper structure is met with 37mm lower legs.
Those who may be new to the Dorado might be curious as to why we’ve decided to create an inverted fork rather than follow a conventional design. So, let’s address some benefits. Inverted forks provide an incredibly smooth and consistent feel due to the constant lubrication of the bushings and seals. Inverted forks also provide a major increase in fore-aft stiffness with much longer bushing overlap compared to traditional fork designs while maintaining torsional compliance which provides more control to the rider over rough trail sections. The blend of the increased fore-aft stiffness and lateral compliance improves steering accuracy and traction while simultaneously reducing rider fatigue. When riding, you can focus more on what’s ahead and allow the fork to track over the small trail inconsistencies without bouncing you off-line. The last benefit we will discuss is the lower sprung weight provided by this design. With less weight moving with the wheel over obstacles the fork can respond quicker to changes on the trail benefiting your traction over rough terrain.
Why 37 and not 41? Well, after much testing in various diameters we found 37 to be the perfect balance of increased stiffness, weight savings, and an ideal seal surface area for reduced friction. Compared to the previous 36mm version of the Dorado, the new 37mm carbon Pro chassis is 27% stiffer fore-aft and 22% stiffer torsionally. The alloy Expert and Comp also saw a significant increase in stiffness at 20% for both fore-aft and torsionally when compared to the former 36mm. The shared chassis of the Expert and Comp is also e-bike certified.
The new Dorado is available with two different offset crowns. The options include a 47OS flat upper crown that is optimized for 27.5” wheels and axle to crown height, and a 57OS drop upper crown that is optimized for 29” wheels and axle to crown height. For certain frames, it is possible to experiment with the shorter offset crown with a 29” wheel. We have created a tech sheet showing how to confirm fitment for your particular bike before you pull the trigger on purchasing a spare crown. Markings are located on the lower clamp area of the outer legs signifying where to position the tube in the lower crown depending on wheel size. No longer will you need to purchase a new fork just to try a new setup! You can use your existing fork to experiment with mixed wheel sizes with relative ease.
Our Trail Side Relief (TSR) Bleed ports are included on every level of the Dorado to allow excess pressure built up in the outer legs to be equalized. The Pro is bled by simply depressing the bleed buttons on top of each leg while the Expert and Comp utilize a threaded screw system.
The Dorado now features a floating axle which allows perfect lower leg alignment, regardless of the hub, providing the smoothest possible fork throughout the entire travel. As you may have already guessed, the spacing of the new Dorado is Boost 20x110 which assists to the added stiffness of the fork.
New for the Dorado Pro is our TPC+ Sealed cartridge damper. This new TPC+ (twin-piston cartridge) Sealed damper is built off the former version and maintains its twin-piston design as the name suggests. TPC+ is a velocity and position-dependent damping circuit that maintains light damping through small bumps when the fork is high in its travel. As the fork compresses deeper in the travel the secondary TPC+ circuit engages and increased the damping force for added support and bottom-out prevention. Additionally, an independent Hydraulic Bottom-out circuit further increases the damping force in the final 30mm of travel to soften deep travel events and prevent hard bottom out. The new cartridge design with spring-backed IFP fully seals damper oil for the most consistent damping on long demanding DH runs. Spring-backed IFPs offer improved performance during extreme riding. Unlike a bladder system, an IFP pressurizes the oil at the initial stroke eliminating any cavitation for the most consistent damping. The compression damping can be adjusted for both low-speed and high-speed damping independently from one another through the two knobs located on the bottom of the fork. The rebound damper features a new tune that has a more defined range with increased settings, this will allow for the rider to have more fine-tuning of their rebound speed. The rebound can be adjusted by the blue knob located on the top of the fork.
The Expert shares a similar version of TPC+ but in a half cartridge format. Compared to the previous version of TPC+ the updated version has a redesigned architecture that reduces pressure losses during the rebound stroke by separating the check-valve from the compression pistons. It also features a new single high-flow check valve design that increases flow paths for improved small-bump compliance and increased damping consistency. The HBO circuit has been moved inside the damping cartridge to be fully submerged within the damping fluid to further improve end-of-stroke consistency. On top of these improvements, we have also redesigned our knob and detent design for better fine-tuning of the adjustment range. Both low and high-speed compression are adjusted independently of each other on the bottom of the fork with the Rebound adjustment found on top.
Our Comp version of the Dorado is fitted with our ABS+ damper. This damper has been with Manitou almost as long as the Dorado itself and has seen countless refinements over the years. Known for its incredible reliability and easy tuning this was a no-brainer to include on the Comp version of the Dorado.
As a bonus, every damper within the Dorado family is interchangeable. Should you wish to swap your damper, replacements are available as well as guides to assist you through the process.
Pro and Expert:
The Pro and Expert share our proven Dorado Air spring. Dorado Air contains a unique balancing valve that equalizes the positive and negative air chambers during the air fill process. This gives the spring rate a consistent feel without any flat or dead spots in the stroke that can be caused by a dimple system. This equalizing valve also ensures that riders of different weights have the same initial feel as the negative pressure is determined by the pressure of the positive chamber rather than a preset spring rate. Another benefit of Dorado Air is a simple and cost-effective way to change travel. With the air spring removed, simply follow the steps in the travel change guide to adjust the travel from 180mm, 190mm, or 203mm. Did somebody say dual crown enduro?
In the Pro, you will also find our Infinite Rate Tune (IRT) volume adjuster. The IRT allows for advanced spring tuning by independently adjusting air pressures in the beginning and end stroke. The IRT is essentially a secondary positive air spring that controls the middle and end stroke of the fork. This allows you to adjust the main chamber to a lower pressure for improved small bump sensitivity while maintaining your ideal mid-stroke support and end stroke ramp up.
The Expert features a redesigned Incremental Volume Adjust (IVA) that is optimized for Dorado Air within the Dorado specifically and provides an ideal range of adjustment. For those looking for a bit more adjustment, the IRT from the pro is compatible with the Expert and is available as an aftermarket upgrade.
Coil fans rejoice! Once again, the Dorado is now available with a coil option. Our Comp level Dorado features a steel spring available in six different spring rates: 25lb/in, 30lb/in, 35lb/in, 40lb/in, 45lb/in, 50lb/in. For those interested in the Expert and Pro but also interested in running a coil spring there is an aftermarket option to make the switch. If you do make the change to coil be aware that it is not a reversible change back to air. Due to the abrasion coil springs cause to the inner stanchion wall, it is not possible to guarantee a proper seal after coil use
The Dorado Expert and Comp are available now through our Distributor and Dealer network as well as our online store which ships to the USA and Canada. The Pro will be available in early fall.