MRP Stage Review

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So…with a hint of hesitation I allowed myself to be the guinea pig at the shop and be the first to try out one of our MRP Stage forks. After reading a few other reviews on it I decided to throw it on my bike and see how it handled my local trail.

MRP Stage Details:
• Intended use: trail / all-mountain / enduro
• Wheels supported: 26″/27.5″/29″
• Travel: 26″ or 27.5” 140mm – 170mm (160mm TESTED)
• External adjustments: rebound, compression, Ramp Control, air bleed valve
• Spring: air
• Stanchions: 34mm
• Steerer: tapered only
• Brake: 180mm post mount
• Axle: QTAPER 15mm
• Offsets: 26″/ 27.5″ – 43mm
• Weight: 4.3 lbs
• MSRP: $969 USD
So what is listed above this are the basic specs of the fork. And just to give you a little bit of background I installed the fork on my 2015 Banshee Spitfire frame. The current suspension setup on my bike was the MRP Stage fork and a Cane Creek DB Air shock. I had previously been riding on a Fox Float CTD with the newer damper in it…. I don’t want to lie, it was not the one for me. I had fiddled with it on more than a dozen occasions and felt I could never get it right nor did I ever feel confident on it. My main gripe was divey in the turns and flex. One reason I heard of for my personal fork issues were that I only have the one bike and I was riding it like it was a DH bike. Perhaps that may have been it. Still I expected a little bit more. Enter the MRP Stage.
Initially I was a skeptic. It had the same diameter stanchions as my Fox 34. What convinced me more so to give it a try was a customer that had walked in bragging about how everyone in Colorado was rocking the Stage and loved it because of its feel and lack of flex. I struggled to maintain a positive outlook on it. While out for my first ride on it I could feel the stiffness but also my hands were taking a beating. While out on the trail I had either read it and spaced it out (which is a definite possibility) or I had accidentally skipped over it but as I was trying to soften up my Stage I was not able to. I let air out of the spring and it still felt super stiff. I ended up finding out later on that I forgot about the bleed valve for the air spring at the top of the left leg. Finally I got the sag set up. The rest was cake. The compression knob has 8 clicks of adjustment, rebound has 14 clicks and there are 16 clicks of the ramp/bottom out control. All adjustments should be pretty self explanatory for any semi seasoned bike enthusiast. It didn’t take me long to find the sweet spots on my favorite local trail, Cold Creek.
My impressions of the fork. For one it looks pretty damn sexy. Some of the reviews I had read whined about the skewer being different than Fox or Maxle’s and blah, blah, blah. Whatever. It works just fine and hasn’t come loose on me once. Its an axle, plain and simple. Its job is to hold my wheel on my fork and thats what it did. Thats good enough for me. Second, the fork is stiff. I’m not sure how exactly but it is noticeably stiffer than the 34 it replaced. Yes its a little hefty for some of you people out there but I don’t race and so frankly my dear …I don’t give a damn. It’s buttery smooth. Feels strong over the rough stuff and very confident when slamming down after a jump. Apparently really good at saving your ass too on dead sailors over the second blaster on Thrillium according to my youngest son Gordo. His brother Mylan was on his rear wheel as they went off the jump and Mylan had the bottoms of Gordo’s shoes looking him in the face as they were in the air while approaching the landing. Somehow Gordo rode it out without blowing up my fork or wheel or bars. Seems legit.
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Three weeks of solid riding (day and night) and I am loving the hell out of this fork and the current set up on my Spitfire! The best part about the fork is that the service intervals are something insane like 200 hours I think it was! That is an insane amount of riding!! I doubt I would wait that long to service it but it’s nice to know that the service interval isn’t oil changes every 180 minutes of riding time or something weird like every other full moon because the moons gravity does something wacky to the damper oil or something. All in all I highly recommend this fork. Great price and value and a sick halloween/WCR paint and color scheme which is automatically like having an extra 5-10 horsepower under the hood. Its stiff, easily adjustable and feels great on real mountain bike trails like Cold Creek and Thrillium. If simple and durable parts that rip are your thing then the MRP Stage is right up your alley.  A little later this season I will have a long term review on the Stage for you guys to see how it holds up to time and all the beatings that a season of riding in the pacific northwest can dish out.

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