Sea Otter 2014 – Manitou’s New McLeod Shock

by Brian Mullin on April 16, 2014

Hayes
had a Milwaukee style Beer and Brat fest at Sea Otter where they
introduced the Manitou McLeod shock to the media. The Hayes marketing
rep Scott Struve and lead suspension engineer Ed Kwaterski gave a great
informal technical overview of the McLeod.

The
McLeod is Manitou’s new air spring rear shock, and is their first 100%
in-house designed and built shock since the Hayes acquisition of Manitou
back in 2006. The shock took two years to bring to fruition, and the
simplicity, features, functionality and build quality are all
outstanding. The shock is meant for bikes with medium travel, and will
come in the usual sizes for that realm, and will compete with the
Monarch RT3 and FOX Float. They’ll be available sometime this summer,
with a price that should be competitive within the marketplace. They
went with an all-black body color and red decals to match up Mattoc
fork, and for durability and an upscale look, they used waterslide
decals. I took  a short ride around Sea Otter on a bike equipped with
the shock, and I found it had great small bump compliance and plushness
through most of its travel, along with good platform and bottom out
capabilities.

McLeod Specs:

  • Weight – 275 g/.6 lbs
  • Damping – IPA
  • Canister diameter – 40mm ID
  • External adjustments – compression platform, rebound, air pressure, IFP chamber pressure
  • Internal tuning – shim stack, high speed and low speed compression, rebound, air volume
  • Options – MILO remote, custom shim profile, custom spring rate, custom finish color
  • Price – to be determined (market competitive)
  • Release Date – June 2014

The
shock has three user adjustable settings, including the air pressure,
compression damping and rebound. The compression damper, which is aptly
named the Incremental Platform Adjust or simply IPA, is controlled by a
black lever with four indentations, which gives an open mode, an open
with more platform, and two more pedal assistive settings for climbing
or lighter riders.

The
IPA performs its functions by physically changing the preload on the
shim stack for each of the settings. The blue rebound dial sits just on
top of the IPA lever, and doesn’t have any indents, and is infinity
adjustable between fully open and closed. The rebound dial was designed
that way to simplify things, since it goes down the middle of the
compression shaft. The shock comes remote ready, and there are two
threaded posts by the IPA to attach an optional MILO remote kit to run
things from the handlebar.

It
uses a sealed negative air chamber, which gets filled when the air can
is slipped on during installation, trapping air between two seals. The
non-adjustable negative pressure balances the tapping forces, and
closely resembles the Dorado fork design. It has an MCU bumper to
control the last few mm of travel, while the air pressure balances the
bulk of the load. They made multiple design improvements to facilitate
maintenance, including a bleed screw for the air piston, an attachment
tool to inject oil under pressure  and a special fixture for gas
charging.

I am looking forward to trying the Manitou McLeod for a long-term test on my home turf and bike.

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