So I’ve had the Maverick DUC 32 front shock on my RIP for quite a while now, I’ve had a chance to ride it on just about all of our trails. This is what I’ve found.
I won’t lie, I was not a fan of installing a fork with a rubber mallet and hacksaw on the list of necessary tools. A fork that costs this much should mount up easily and without the need to go caveman on it. I was more than a little frustrated getting the upper crown on correctly.
The initial set up with my fork was somewhat of a learning exercise. I had the legs out of the fork on numerous occasions trying to get the right oil heights and viscosity, the right negative air spring rate etc, but I was able to find a setting that did what I needed eventually. It seemed like every time I changed one setting, I had to rethink the others. It took up until last week to finally get it all figured out.
On my very first ride, I hit a large root which produced a very large clunk from the headset. I figured that the upper crown must have finished seating itself, because you can only hit the thing so hard with a hammer in the stand and feel good about it. After I checked every bolt, and tightened them back up accordingly, the noise was gone, and has yet to return.
The quality of travel is actually quite amazing. It feels very well damped and controlled while seated, but get out of the saddle and it has a tendency to dive. But add pitch to the equation, and there goes most of your usable travel.
From these photos, you can see that I’m pretty much bottomed out. While the fork will extend into depressions keeping the front wheel firmly planted on the trail, situations like this demand raw positive travel.
It seems adjusting this out of the fork is not possible at this time. Maybe a platform valve of some kind would help immensely. Or maybe I need my own personal Maverick tech to play with it every time I want to ride.
They have been extremely helpful too, I would add. I’m not even going to talk about what I had to do to one of these forks to get it to work on one particular set up, but they were there every step of the way.
It certainly goes where pointed with no drama. The direct mount stem is the first I’ve used since my days on my Boxxer equipped DH bike.
It’s always good to know where you’re going.
I did manage a few large drops (3-4 feet) this Sunday, and it soaked them up with aplomb.
One of the problems I have with certain bar/stem/shock combos, is that my hands get beaten up. I use carbon bars to help with this, but my Reba always used to pound my palms numb. Not so with the Maverick. That is a big plus for me.
I have read on some of the mountain biking forums that some folks have had issues with the fork on off camber sections of trail. The complaint is of the bars wrenching out of your hands while going over rocky sidehills. This could be caused by not having the axle secured properly, one leg could rotate while the other stayed put. I never experienced this, as I paid extra special attention to the clamping force on the quick release. I found Maverick’s quick release to work pretty well, but the one thing I would improve is to give the tension bolts a coat of threadlocker or something to stop them from coming out of adjustment. It seemed like every time I had them open, I had to fiddle with them to get them back to the correct tension. On more than one occasion, the QRs were too tight, and I lost the skin the knuckle of my thumb more than once on the brake rotor trying to re open the damn thing. That was super annoying, as I have a small car and I have to use a roof rack to get where I’m going to ride. Time spent fiddling with one’s gear gets big BOOs from me.
For what it is, the Maverick is a pretty good fork if you are an “in the saddle” rider. I can see that on long epic rides, the fork’s lack of weight and buttery softness would be a big benefit. It is an amazing climbing fork, the inverted design allows it to react to even the smallest of bumps, and the direct mount stem kept it pointed the way you wanted it in technical rocky ledgy climbs. You can tune it 100 ways to Sunday, allowing you to get the ride you want in for most applications.
The down side, is that there isn’t much you can do about the dive on the fork if you are riding steep, technical descents. “Out of the saddle” riding effectively turns the fork into a really expensive rigid fork on descents, or a giant pogo stick in short sharp thrusts up.
The clatter of the stanchion guards was a little unnerving at times too. It made a racket on almost every bump hit.
What initially had me pretty excited about the fork was the possibility of more travel for my RIP, ended up to be something I don’t think it was ever intended to be. It is not the 4.5″ travel all mountain fork the RIP so badly needs to reach its full potential, but it is a good fork for the cross country minded trail rider.
Stay tuned for the next installment on the RIP. That’s kind of a funny joke…