With a host of unique adjustments, it looks like MRP have done a great job of providing the Stage with many points of difference in this hotly contested area of the market. Available in travel variants from 140-170mm of travel, in both 27.5″ and 29er wheel sizes, and with a price tag of $1495, the Stage is aimed at the enduro crowd who might appreciate something a little different from the duopoly of FOX and RockShox. The meaty Stage uses 34mm diameter glossy black legs, a solid matte black chassis and a huge arch to give it its brawny appearance.
There’s your traditional air pressure valve on the bottom of the left leg, a rebound speed dial on the other side, a compression/lockout dial up the top of the right leg but more interesting is the ‘ramp-up’ or air spring pressure adjustment on the upper left side. Aiming to achieve a level of tune ability that you’d typically need tools and parts for (like a RockShox Bottomless Tokens for example) this adjustment can be made on the fly. By dialling in the adjuster the air spring will be reduced in size, and with a smaller air chamber comes a more progressive spring rate that will make it harder to bottom-out. Similar adjustments have proven to be very useful and popular with those riders who ride hard. Eith the Stage letting you adjust this aspect of the suspension performance so easily, MRP could be onto something for sure.
The little black button in the centre of the ramp-up dial is an air bleed valve, giving the rider quick and easy access to the spring by letting air out to reach the desired sag height. This is a nifty feature as the air valve is out of reach from the rider on the underside of the fork, but make sure you don’t bump it on the trail, it doesn’t take much for all the air to escape!
Weight is 1990g for the 27.5″ version we have on test which makes it heavier than the comparable RockShox Pike and FOX 34, but let’s see if that translates to good rigidity on the trail.
We’ll be fitting the Stage to our Trek Remedy long term test bike on which we reviewed the DVO Diamond and which is currently running the FOX 36. This should give us a nice and clear comparison to ascertain the strengths of a fork from a brand with which we’ve had excellent experiences with their drivetrain components, but their suspension is very new to us. So needless to say we’re looking forward to it!
Stay tuned for the final review soon.
TRAVEL: 140*, 150, 160, or 170mm (26/27.5″). 120*, 130, 140, or 150mm (29″).
WEIGHT: 1950g for 26/27.5″ 1995g for 29″
AXLE-TO-CROWN HEIGHT: 553mm for 170mm 26/27.5″, 558mm for 150mm 29″
SPRING SYSTEM: EQUALair
EXTERNAL ADJUSTMENTS: Air spring pressure, 8-position compression, Ramp Control, rebound
INTERNAL ADJUSTMENTS: Travel
STEERER OPTIONS: Tapered (1.5 – 1.125″)
OFFSET: 43mm (26/27.5″), 51mm (29″)
BRAKE MOUNT: 180mm PM (Disc only)
WHEEL SIZE: 26”, 27.5”, 29”
AXLE: QTAPER 15mm
*not a standard option, but internally adjustable to this travel with included spacers.
For more information – click here to go to MRP Australian distributor site.