Just In – Manitou McLeod Rear Shock

by Brian Mullin on July 7, 2015

Manitou McLeod Shock

Manitou McLeod Shock

The McLeod is Manitou’s newer air spring rear shock and its simplicity, features, functionality and build quality are all outstanding. The shock is meant for bikes with medium travel, and comes in the usual sizes for that realm, and will compete with the Monarch RT3 and FOX Float. 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. They come in 1.25×6.5, 1.5×6.5,2×7.5, 2×7.875, 2.25×7.875 and 2.5×9.5 sizes and retail for $320.

Overview: I found it had great small bump compliance and plushness through most of its travel, along with good platform and bottom out capabilities.

Specs

Weight Lb / grams .60 / 272
Canister Diameter 43mm OD/ 40mm ID
Adjustments Incremental Platform Adjust, Rebound, Air Pressure
Air Valve Type Positioned at angle to fit all frames
Damper Shaft Material 10mm 7050 Aluminum Hard Anodized
Damper Body Color Black Hard Anodized
Eyelet Hardware Industry standard 12.7mm ID Bushings 6,8,10 mm ID Hardware 2-piece or 3-piece hardware depending on size
Availability In Stock
Remote MILO ready at OEM, Dealer, and Consumer Level

Features

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 and roads.

Manitou McLeod Shock Controls

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.

Manitou McLeod Shock Parts

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.

Manitou McLeod Shock Features

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.

Manitou McLeod Shock on Ibis Ripley

First Impressions

I had Manitou build me a specially sized McLeod for my Ibis Ripley, and it used their standard can and was 184×44 (190×50 with a 6mm spacer) in size. They have the option for a dual air can with two different volumes depending on the desired spring curve you might want. For installation, I had to dump the air out of the shock so I could rotate the ends at a 90 degrees to each other to fit the odd shock mount system on the Ripley. The bottom end of the shock needed the bushing removed to fit the Ripley connection, so I had to rig up a removal tool using some sockets and a threaded rod with nuts on either end. It wasn’t the cleanest way to remove the bushing, but it worked, and Manitou sent along the proper tool for the next time I might need it.

Measured weight: 269 grams

I loved the small bump compliance of the shock, and it reminded me of the feel of their silky smooth Minute fork. For most riding, the shock just floated across terrain and provided excellent composure and support. On some medium square edged bumps, it seemed to confuse the shock just a tad and toss your weight off just slightly, and although altering the rebound speed helped it didn’t squelch the issue entirely. Once you got the bike up to speed and started to slam through the gnarly terrain, the shock came to life and offered superb balance and support, absorbing everything in its way.¬† On big drops, it didn’t pack up, and it ramped up nicely without any undue jamming or abrupt movements being tossed into the rider. Compared to the FOX Float shock it replaced it works much better across the entire travel stroke, especially at the end where the McLeod provided better platform and control. The Incremental Platform Adjust lever was useful, and each of the settings made obvious changes into how the shock functioned. I tended to use the fully open mode along with the second to last for climbing, and would switch it to lockout for fire roads.

Adjustments: 100-120 psi and rebound in middle of dial

I am looking forward to some more time with the McLeod, and so far I am extremely happy with the overall performance of the shock and consider it a worthy entity on my Ibis Ripley.

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