RockShox's Charger 2.1 damper has been on the market for less than two weeks, but the consummate tinkerers over at Push already have an aftermarket upgrade option available for riders looking for even more adjustability. It's called the HC97 Compression System, and it's designed to replace the stock Charger or Charger 2.1 compression assembly in found in RockShox Lyrik, Pike, and BoXXer forks.
The HC97 is made in Colorado, and has 28 clicks of low-speed compression damping, and 28 clicks of high-speed compression damping. That wide range of adjustments is intended to allow riders to get their fork set up exactly how they'd like, without needing to worry about ending up between clicks.
Push HC97 Details
• Fits Charger 2 and 2.1 dampers in Pike, Lyrik, and BoXXer forks
• 28 clicks LSC, 28 clicks HSC
• Made in Colorado
• Includes rebound re-valve shims
• Made in Colorado
• MSRP: $245 USD
A parabolic needle design, much like what's found in Push's ElevenSix shock, controls the amount of low-speed compression damping. Push say that using a rounded, rather than pointed, needle shape makes for a more consistent difference between each click of adjustment.
There's more to the new compression assembly than a bunch of extra adjustments – Push also eliminated the shims in the compression valve and replaced them with a sliding valve seat, another design also found in the ElevenSix. The sliding valve is designed to allow for more oil flow during big square edged hits, in order to help the fork compress freely without any harshness or spiking.
Push didn't get rid of all the shims, though; shims are still found on the Charger's rebound damper. For riders looking for something different than the stock rebound tune, Push includes rebound valving shims with each HC97 kit, along with instructions on how to use them.
The kit is priced at $245 USD, and Push have a step-by-step video on their website that details the installation process for customers who want to take the DIY route instead of having a shop perform the upgrade. Initial Impressions
Over the last few months I spent time on a fork that had been equipped with Push's ACS3 coil spring conversion kit and a prototype version of the HC97 Compression System, along with Push's low-friction seals. The extra-smooth, small-bump swallowing performance of the ACS3 kit
was just how I remembered it, but this time there were even more compression adjustment options.
At 160 pounds I'm on the lighter side of things for most stock fork tunes, and it's not unusual for me to end up with the LSC and HSC almost all the way open. With the HC97, I ended up with more room for adjustment than I typically have - there were eight more clicks of low-speed and six clicks of high-speed available to me if I wanted to run even less damping – the overall range seems like it should suit a wide variety of rider weights and riding styles.
I haven't had any issues with the Charger 2.1 damper in its stock form, but I can see the appeal of being able to really fine tune the amount of low- or high-speed compression damping. For the extra-picky rider who wants to have as many adjustments as possible at their fingertips, the HC97 makes sense. It also makes me wonder how long it will be before Push go all-in and release a fork of their own. After all, they've got the internals figured out, now they just need to come up with a chassis to house them.