MRP threw their hat into the suspension game in a big way when they purchased White Brothers a couple of years ago. Having access to existing tooling and technology no doubt helped them to bring a good product straight to market without any fanfare, and in the Stage fork they have a great product, if reviews and word of mouth are anything to go by (they usually are). We've just taken delivery of the Stage fork, in 27.5 /160mm configuration. Travel options are 150, 160 and 170mm for the 26" and 27.5" versions, and 130, 140 and 150mm for the 29ers. Travel is also adjustable internally with the supplied spacers.
The feature that sets the Stage apart from other forks in its class is the Ramp Control adjustment, which allows you to fine tune the spring curve rate, ie having a supple set-up for small bumps but ramping up for the bigger hits at the end of the stroke, or a more progressive stroke with less ramp up and a more linear feel. There are 16 clicks so this feature can really be tuned to rider preference easily. There's a bleed valve in the centre of the knob to precisely adjust air pressure without a pump or letting too much out because of fat fingers. The sealed compression damper unit has 8 clicks of adjustment and a magnetic blow-off valve for when full compression damping is selected and big impacts are encountered.
The left leg houses the EQUALair spring with the valve on the bottom of the leg, while the right leg holds the rebound damper with the 18 click knob on the bottom also.
180mm post mounts. Axle is 15mm QR with a positive feeling cam action. What else? Tapered steerer, 43mm offset for the 27.5 version, a low axle-to-crown height which will let me get an extra 10mm of travel but with a similar front end height as my current 150mm fork. Nice.
Stanchions are 34mm with a slick black coating for less stiction, and the burly arch has three bolt holes in the back that could take a fender... maybe MRP has one coming?
Each for is dyno tested and signed off before it leaves the factory. A set up guide gives a good place to start with all the adjustments.
Look out for our reviews of the Stage and three other enduro/trail forks in Issue 64.