RockShox is one of the biggest names in mountain bike suspension and for good reason. It made the very first suspension fork in the form of the original RS-1 and today, having been taken over by SRAM, it produces a complete range of forks for everything from cross-country to downhill at a wide variety of prices.
[Updated 10th June 2019 with 'Ultimate' versions of Pike, Lyrik and SID]
We'll run you through each of the models in the RockShox front suspension range so you know what they're for, which specs they come in and which one is best suited to your needs.
RockShox fork range
There are 15 different fork models in the RockShox range, with each of those coming in a number of different configurations with various dampers and spring options. If you want to find out about those, skip down to the bottom of the article.
The Pike is RockShox go-to trail fork, using 35mm upper legs. Originally launched in 2013, it's seen a number of updates, most recently moving to Boost only hub spacing and gaining an updated Charger 2 sealed damping cartridge and a Debonair air spring. The Debonair spring uses a higher volume negative air spring to help reduce breakaway friction and hence improve sensitivity.
The Pike comes in 120mm, 130mm, 140mm, 150mm and 160mm travel options in both 27.5" and 29er wheel sizes, with clearance for up to 2.8" tyres as standard.
The basic Pike RC comes with external rebound and low-speed compression adjustment and it's not available for purchase aftermarket.
The Pike RCT3 gets an upgraded Charger 2 damper with three position compression setting from lock-pedal-open with low-speed compression adjustment in the open mode. The Pike RCT3 Dual Position Air uses the same damper as this fork, but it's possible to adjust travel down by up to 30mm on the fly.
The Pike Ultimate is a high-end version of the fork with a new Charger 2.1 damper, new low friction SKF seals and Maxima damping fluid to make things less sticky. The fork comes with either an RCT3 version of the damper with three position compression setting from lock-pedal-open with low-speed compression adjustment in the open mode and an RC2 version of the damper with high and low-speed compression damping adjustment as well as rebound. Both have foil graphics and a Gloss Silver Signature colour option.
While the Lyrik might look similar to the Pike - it does share the same 35mm diameter upper legs - but it's made for much more aggressive riding, with a beefed up, stiffer and accordingly heavier chassis.
There are 150mm, 160mm, 170mm, 180mm travel options for both 27.5" and 29" wheels and the Debonair air spring system is used in the forks.
The Lyrik RC is the cheapest fork in the range, using a version of the Charger 2 damper that has external rebound and low-speed compression damping adjustment.
The Lyrik RCT3 adds in a three-position compression lever with open-pedal-locked modes and low-speed compression adjustment in the open mode. It's also available as the travel-adjustable Lyrik RCT3 Dual Position Air and there's one non-Boost spacing option here too - all the other forks are Boost only.
The Lyrik RC2 uses a different version of the Charger 2 damper called the Charger 2 RC2. That offers high and low-speed external compression damping adjustment in addition to the rebound and it's aimed at serious enduro riders and racers that want to fine tune their fork to different tracks.
The Lyrik Ultimate is a high-end version of the fork with a new Charger 2.1 damper, new low friction SKF seals and Maxima damping fluid to make things less sticky. The fork comes with either an RCT3 version of the damper with three position compression setting from lock-pedal-open with low-speed compression adjustment in the open mode and an RC2 version of the damper with high and low-speed compression damping adjustment a 'BoXXer' Red Signature colour option.
The Yari is a more affordably priced version of the Lyrik, using the same chassis but less refined dampers across the range to keep the cost down. It comes in 150mm, 160mm, 170mm and 180mm travel options for both 27.5" and 29" and all but one fork in the range are Boost spaced.
The Yari RC is the entry to the range, using a Motion Control damper. Unlike the Charger dampers seen in more expensive units, this isn't a sealed damper - it's an emulsion damper where air and oil aren't separated from each other. It's got adjustable rebound and compression damping. There's a Dual Position Air option and non-Boost fork too.
The Yari Charger RC is the next fork in the range and it uses a version of the Charger damper that RockShox calls the Charger RC and describes as being 'cartridge-style' rather than a true sealed cartridge damper. It too has externally adjustable rebound and compression damping.
As the Yari is the more affordable version of the Lyrik, the Revelation is to the Pike, with a 35mm legged chassis that's derived from it, though not exactly the same. It's offered in 120mm, 130mm, 140mm, 150mm and 160mm travels for 27.5" and 29" wheels, though there is one solitary fork available in 26". All the forks get the Debonair air spring.
The Revelation RC uses the Motion Control damper with rebound and compression damping adjustment.
The Revelation Charger RC gets the more refined Charger RC cartridge-style, self-bleeding damper.
The SID is the all-out cross-country racing fork in the lineup. It comes in 100mm travel for 27.5" and 29" wheels but there is also a 120mm travel option for 29ers in certain models. There are both Boost and non-boost forks available and one legacy 26" model. All the forks use a specific version of the Charger 2 damper.
The entry SID RL offers rebound damping adjustment plus an open or lock compression setting that can be controlled by an optional remote in either twist-to-move Gripshift or trigger style versions.
The SID RLC adds in low-speed compression adjustment to the lockout and rebound adjustment.
The SID Ultimate is a special version of the fork that uses RockShox's new Maxima Plush damping fluid to reduces friction and quieten damper noise. It uses the RLC damper with open/lock and low-speed compression adjustment. There's a SID Blue Signature colour option and it has foil graphics.
The SID World Cup is the top fork in the range and uses the same damper as the RLC but uses a carbon fibre crown to help reduce weight, though there's no 120mm travel option.
The RS-1 name harks back to the fork that started it all for RockShox but it's a very different animal to that early fork. It uses an upside-down design, where the slider stanchions are at the bottom of the fork, rather than the top.
It's also made from carbon fibre wrapped over an aluminium skeleton and it's for cross-country and light trail riding use. The fork comes in 100/120/130mm travel for 27.5" wheels and 100/120mm in 29".
There are two models in the range and both are air sprung and use the sealed Charger 2 damper. The RS-1 RLC gets externally adjustable rebound plus a two-position open or lock mode lever with low-speed compression adjustment in the open mode.
The RS-1 RL has external rebound adjustment and two-position open or lock compression adjustment with a remotely mounted OneLoc lever to toggle between the two setting on the fly.
Both RS-1 forks require you to use a wheel with the oversize 'Predictive Steering' hub end caps.
The Reba is a more affordable cross-country and light trail riding fork, offering 100mm, 120mm, 130mm, 140mm and 150mm travel options in 26", 27.5" and 29" wheel sizes. It uses 32mm upper legs made from aluminium. It's available in both tapered and straight 1 1/8th steerer tubes.
The Reba RL is the only fork in the range and it uses a Motion Control damper with rebound and compression adjustment with a Solo Air spring.
The Bluto is one of the very few dedicated fat bike suspension forks available. It's based on the 32mm legged Reba chassis, but stretched to accommodate super fat rubber on a 26" rim - up to 4.8" wide. It comes in 80mm, 100mm and 120mm travel with a Solo Air spring.
The Bluto RL gets rebound adjustment and compression adjustment to lockout while the Bluto RLT3 gets three pedal modes with low-speed compression adjustment in the open mode.
The Judy name is another blast from the past, but now it's designed as a low to mid-range fork that offers plenty of clearance for Plus tyres up to 2.8" wide, using Boost hub spacing to achieve this. It comes in either 100mm or 120mm of travel and 27.5" or 29" wheel sizes.
The Judy Gold is the higher spec model, with a Motion Control damper featuring rebound and low-speed compression adjustment to lockout. It uses a Solo Air spring and gets aluminium uppers only with a tapered steerer.
The Judy Silver is the entry-level model, with Turn Key damping that offers a lockout and rebound adjustment. Again, there's a Solo Air spring and it has a tapered aluminium steerer but the upper legs are made from heavier steel.
The Sektor is the low to mid-range trail fork and there are two models in the range.
The Sektor RL is available in 27.5" and 29" and 100mm, 120mm, 130mm, 140mm and 150mm travel options. It gets a Motion Control RL damper with low-speed compression adjustment and lockout as well as rebound. It uses a Debonair air spring and 32mm upper legs made from aluminium. It's only available in Boost hub spacing and with a tapered steerer.
The Sektor Gold is a legacy fork only available in 26" and with 140mm or 150mm of travel. It uses the Turnkey damper and Solo Air, Dual Position Coil springs are available, as are tapered or straight steerers. It does not come in Boost spacing.
The Recon is designed as a cost-effective, high-value cross-country fork. It does not come with Boost spacing.
The Recon RL is the more advanced fork, coming in 27.5" and 29" versions at 100mm of travel. It uses the Motion Control damper with rebound and compression damping adjustment and the steel 32mm upper legs are black anodised. It's possible to get it with a bar mounted lockout remote and it's air sprung.
The Recon Silver TK is only available in 26" and 100mm travel and it uses the less advanced and adjustable Turnkey damping which offers external rebound adjustment and a lockout, plus an adjustable air spring.
The 30 is a budget fork and as the name suggests, it uses relatively narrow 30mm diameter upper legs. It comes in 80mm, 100mm and 120mm travel and 27.5" and 29" wheel sizes.
The 30 Gold gets aluminium uppers and a Motion Control damper with rebound and low-speed compression to lockout adjustment and a Solo air spring. Straight and tapered steerers are available, as is a 26" model.
The entry-level 30 Silver has more basic Turn Key damping with a lockout and external rebound adjustment. A Solo Air model is available as is a cheaper and heavier coil sprung version. The upper legs are steel and there are three options of steerer tube - tapered aluminium, 1 1/8" straight aluminium and 1 1/8" straight steel.
The XC30 is technically a different model the other 30mm legged forks, but it's the cheapest proper off-road fork in the RockShox range. There's a Turnkey damper with fixed rebound but a lockout and the choice of air or coil springs, as are a pick of three steerer tube types.
Charger 2 damper
This is RockShox current range-topping damper. It's a fully sealed unit that uses a bladder to keep the damping oil isolated from the air. It's available in different formats depending on the application, but the three main specs are the basic RC with adjustable rebound and low-speed compression to lockout, the RCT3 with three position compression setting from lock-pedal-open with low-speed compression adjustment in the open mode and the RC2 which gets high and low-speed adjustable compression damping plus rebound. The latter is only seen on dedicated gravity forks.
Charger 2.1 damper
This is an updated version of the Charger 2 damper seen on 'Ultimate' forks with some changes to the valving, such as less high-speed compression damping and more low-speed compression damping to make the fork sit up high in its travel.
There is also a new piston wear band inside the damper which is said to better manage oil flow, while a new rod seal from SKF is claimed to reduce friction by upwards of 30% at the rebound shaft.
It is available in RC2 and RCT3 versions, with the same differences in adjustment as the regular Charger range.
This is a term for volume spacers that can be added to the air spring of the fork to adjust how much progression there is - how much harder it becomes to move the fork as it goes deeper into the travel. Adding more makes the fork harder to bottom out under hard riding, having less means it's easier to achieve full travel for a given starting pressure.
To fit them, you need to take all the air out of the spring and then remove the top cap using the correctly sized spanner or splined cassette tool. You can put multiple tokens into a fork as they thread together and attach to the top cap. Different colour tokens fit different fork models.
- Black bottomless tokens fit these Solo Air forks: RS-1 SID, Reba, Bluto, Revelation.
- Grey bottomless tokens work with these Solo Air forks: Pike, Lyrik, Yari, Pike DJ, BoXXer.
- Dark red bottomless tokens fit in these Dual Position Air forks: Pike, Lyrik, Yari.
This is the premium air spring that RockShox offers. It uses a higher volume self-balancing negative air spring relative to the standard Solo Air design to offer reduced breakaway force for better small bump compliance and a more linear starting stroke.
Dual Position Air spring
This is an air spring that allows you to externally adjust the travel by up to 30mm, depending on the fork.
This is the mid-range damper and it comes in a few different formats. All are emulsion dampers, where the damping oil isn't separated from the air in the fork, which can lead to less precisely controlled damping when the two materials mix -become an emulsion - under more extreme use. Not having the damping oil under any positive pressure - as it is in a sealed damper - can lead to loss of damping control due to cavitation as well, though this is rare.
RockShox is the only company to anodise sag markers onto their fork legs to ease setup. All of their forks - except budget ones - have this feature. Very welcome it is too.
Solo Air spring
This is the standard air spring seen on RockShox forks. It's called Solo air because you only need to add air to a single valve and the spring will equalise the negative chamber by itself. At one point, they had a Dual Air spring that required you to do this via a second valve, hence the name.
Turn Key damper
This is the most simple and hence affordable damper seen on RockShox forks. It's a basic emulsion damper.
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