RockShox rolled out their Flight Attendant
electronic suspension system last fall, effectively providing a sneak peek of the new features that are now found on the new battery-free versions of the Lyrik, Pike, and Zeb.
Those pressure relief valves and the ButterCup vibration absorbers made it into the lineup, and there's also a brand new Charger 3 damper that uses a spring-backed IFP instead of the bladder-style damper that RockShox used for nearly a decade.
RockShox has been working to avoid having too much overlap between the different fork models in order to make it easier to choose the right option. That's why you won't see a 120mm Zeb, or a 190mm Pike – horses for courses as the saying goes.
RockShox Lyrik Ultimate Details
• Intended use: trail / enduro
• Travel: 140, 150, 160mm
• 27.5" or 29" options.
• 35mm stanchions
• Offset: 44m for 29", 37 or 44mm for 27.5"
• Air spring with volume spacers
• ButterCups vibration absorbers
• Pressure relief valves
• Colors: black, Heavy Meadow
• Weight:1980 grams (178mm steerer w/ starnut and axle)
• MSRP: $1,107 USD
As it stands, the Pike comes with either 120, 130, or 140mm of travel, the Lyrik has 140, 150, or 160mm, and the Zeb goes from 160mm all the way up to a whopping 190mm of travel. I tested the 160mm, 29” version of the Lyrik Ultimate, which retails for $1,107 USD. CHARGER 3 DAMPER
The new Charger 3 damper is significantly different from its predecessor due to the use of a spring-backed internal floating piston (IFP) to deal with the oil that's displaced when the fork is compressed. Previously, an expanding rubber bladder was employed to accomplish that task. Why the change? According to RockShox, the new design made it easier to make the low- and high-speed compression circuits as independent as possible.
Now, RockShox are far from the first company to go with this design – it's very common in the moto world, and Fox has been using a spring-backed IFP in their GRIP damper for years – but while the overall concept may be similar there are distinct differences between the inner workings of the dampers. One feature that RockShox included is a stepped 'silencer' piston head. The stepped shape affect the oil's flow, reducing turbulence and the amount of noise that the fork makes as it compresses or rebounds. I never found the previous Lyrik to be too noisy, but this new version is remarkably silent – in fact, I'd say it's the quietest fork I've ever ridden.
As far as adjustments go, the Charger 3 damper has 15 clicks of low-speed compression adjustment, 5 clicks of high-speed compression, and 18 clicks of rebound adjustment. The concept of independent high- and low-speed compression adjustments gets tossed around a lot, but that's not always entirely true – at a certain point the the low-speed compression adjustment starts affecting the high-speed compression damping and vice versa.
However, according to RockShox, they've come incredibly close to having truly independent adjustments – on a dyno chart there's no change at all to the low-speed compression damping when the high-speed compression dial is fully closed, and there's less than a 5% difference in the high-speed compression damping when the low-speed dial is fully closed. In other words, riders should be able to turn those knobs to their hearts' content without worrying about one influencing the other.MMM, BUTTERCUPS
ButterCups are one of those features that make so much sense it's surprising we haven't seen them used in the mountain bike world before. Found in the Ultimate level forks, they're small rubber pucks that sit at the bottom of the air spring and damper shafts, where they act as the first line of defense against high frequency vibrations (RockShox says they reduce those vibrations by 20% compared to a fork without them).
The rubber pucks can wear over time, which is why it's recommended that they're replaced as part of a 200-hour service. It's also possible to run just one Buttercup and get at least some of the vibration damping benefits – that scenario would occur if a rider upgraded just the air spring or damper in their 2023 fork that wasn't already equipped with them.AIR SPRING
The Debonair spring has been tweaked yet again, and the position dimple in the stanchion that allows the positive and negative chambers to equalize has been changed. As with the previous Lyrik, changing the amount of end-stroke ramp up is as easy as unthreading the air side top cap (once it's deflated, of course) and then screwing on one or more plastic volume spacers.NEW CHASSIS, NOW WITH PRESSURE RELIEF VALVES
If you've ever slid a zip tie behind the dust seal of a fork you're probably familiar with how much air can end up in the lowers over time. That trapped air can affect the fork's performance, making it difficult to get full travel. With the pressure relief valves that's no longer an issue, and an occasional push of the buttons lets any trapped air escape. Again, it's not a brand new concept in the mountain bike world – Fox, Manitou, and others adopted it earlier, but it does come in handy, especially if you're doing a bunch of bike park laps or riding somewhere with big elevation changes.
The fork lowers were also re-shaped in order to increase the amount of torsional stiffness. Personally, I didn't find the previous version to be lacking in that department, but the new version is claimed to be 20% stiffer.
The Ultimate models have longer lower bushings than the Select and Select+ models in order to reduce friction during big impacts and G-outs. Part of me thinks it's not fair that there's a difference in bushings between the highest and lowest end models, but I guess there need to be some features that separate one from the other, and the promise of improved performance and lower friction on the fanciest model is a strong selling point.ON THE TRAIL
RockShox recommends 75 psi for my 160lb weight, which ended up being a good starting point. I ended up going down a small amount, settling at 73 psi. That gave me 28mm, or 17% sag. I typically don't measure fork sag during setup – I prefer to go by feel, and then adjust as needed depending on the fork's behavior on the trail. I ran a grand total of zero Bottomless Tokens, and didn't feel the need to add any over the course of the test period.
I started the test period with day of bracketing on the same loop, trying out each of the compression settings in order to feel the differences. The clicks are well defined, and I found the entire range to be usable, even if it didn't match my preferences. By that I mean I could close the low speed compression and high speed compression all the way and still make it down the trail without fearing for my safety, or having my hands blow off the bars.
My happy place ended up being smack dab in the middle for both the high- and low-speed adjustments, which is how RockShox intended it. When trail conditions were loose and slippery I'd back off the low-speed by two clicks, and for firmer trails, like those found in the Whistler Bike Park, I'd increase the low-speed compression by two clicks. Those changes made enough of a difference to be noticeable without dramatically altering the fork's manners.
Speaking of manners, the new Lyrik is incredibly well composed. I mentioned before how quiet it is – that's not directly related to performance, but it is very satisfying to be rocketing down the trail and only hearing the sound of your tires rather than oil slurping and sloshing around with every impact. There's more going on than the sound of silence, though; the Lyrik is also a very, very comfortable fork.
That trait became crystal clear during my time in the Whistler Bike Park. It's still early season, so the brake bumps haven't reached their full potential yet, but there were still more than enough repeated high-speed impacts to really get a feel for the Lyrik's response. Those fast chattery hits are where the Lyrik really shines, and that was the key difference between it and the Fox 36 that I did back-to-back laps with – the 36 wasn't able to take the edge off the choppy sections of trail in the same way that the Lyrik did. I'd still put the EXT Era at the top of my chart when it comes to initial sensitivity, but that fork is almost twice the price of the Lyrik, so it's not exactly the most even comparison.
I was able to use all of the travel when warranted, but I never experienced any harsh bottom outs, and that's without any volume spacers installed. As far as stiffness goes, I didn't find the previous Lyrik to be lacking in that department, and that holds true with this new version. We've seen a wave of 38mm stanchioned forks hit the market over the last couple of seasons, but for the vast majority of riders I'd say that the stiffness of a Lyrik (or a 36 for that matter) is more than adequate. I rode though compressions as hard as I could, landed deep off plenty of jumps, and rode all sorts of chunky trails with quick direction changes, and not once did I think "If only my fork was stiffer..." Granted, I'm no Clydesdale, but I'm willing to bet that the Lyrik's stiffness is going to hit the sweet spot for a wide range of riders.DURABILITY
I've put a solid two months of riding in on the Lyrik so far. That's not enough time to comment on long-term durability, but it's 100% leak and creak free, and there's no bushing play to speak of - it's still operating just as smoothly as the day it as installed. I'll update this review if anything changes.HOW DOES IT COMPARE? ROCKSHOX LYRIK ULTIMATE VS FOX 36 FACTORY
The Fox 36 is the Lyrik's most obvious competitor – RockShox and Fox are the most commonly spec'd brands these days, so it's worth taking a moment to pit the new Lyrik vs the 36. WEIGHT
On my scale the Lyrik Ultimate weighed 70 grams less than the Fox 36, at 1980 grams vs 2050 (both forks had a 178mm steerer with a star nut and a bolt on axle installed). That's barely a drop in the bucket, but if you save 70 grams here and 70 grams there eventually all that fat trimming can make a difference, at least if you're the type of rider that cares about the numbers on the scale. It's worth noting that the 2023 Fox 36 has a different steerer and crown that's a claimed 20 grams lighter, which makes the weight difference between the two forks even less of a consideration.PRICE
This point goes to the Lyrik, but just barely. Neither fork is going to be the way to go for the bargain shopper - the MSRP of the 36 is $1139 USD, while the Lyrik is priced $32 less at $1,107 USD. PERFORMANCE
Before I go any further, I should stress that the 36 is an excellent fork. It has more adjustments than the Lyrik thanks to the ability to tweak the amount of high-speed rebound, and it does a great job of balancing off-the-top suppleness with a very supportive mid-stroke – there's a little more of a platform deeper in the travel compared to the Lyrik.
However, this time around the Lyrik gets my vote as the overall winner thanks to how well it minimizes the amount of trail feedback while still providing a reliable platform to push into. The fact that it also happens to be dead silent is the cherry on top. Those back-to-back laps in the bike park made the difference between the two forks strikingly apparent, and if I had a long day of racing or riding ahead of my I'd pick the Lyrik due to its comfortable composure. On the 36, I tend to run my high- and low-speed compression settings closer to the fully open position than I did on the Lyrik; I found the Lyrik to offer a better range of possible settings than the 36, at least in the compression department.
Very comfortable, especially on choppy sections of trail+
Effective, usable range of damping adjustments
Only the Ultimate version has ButterCups and longer bushings.
|The previous Lyrik didn't leave much to be desired, but the enhancements the 2023 version receives take it to the next level. It's an ideal fork for a wide range of bikes, everything from those shorter travel, aggressive trail machines all the way up to bikes that straddle the line between enduro and all-mountain. With plenty of adjustability and smooth, silent performance the new Lyrik is going to be hard to beat.— Mike Kazimer|
resembling a palace in being spacious and splendid.
That's how I define my gentleman's sausage.
Mine is down country.
Well sounds similar
@ribena1234: wait for it
@mikekazimer: wouldn't your 36 be more comfortable if the hsc damping were closer to closed?
'Arm fatigue is typically a result of excess hi-speed. Reduce hi-speed for a more compliant ride.'
Decreased response to input....
Go eat a burguer and ride your built-for-bison-to-avoid-warranty 38lbs trail bike.
But oversized me likes that I am less likely to need to replace the fork on the next enduro bike I buy with RS.
Na, probably IT IS possible to Use the old Air spring in the new fork or you could Use the Pipe from the old one and mount IT to the new Air Piston and sealhead
Fork sag is not that precise/repeatable anyway (seal & bushing friction plays a much bigger role than on shocks), so it's kinda pointless to worry about fork sag as anything other than a really coarse starting point.
Just to reinforce that I'm not making this up... this is from Vorsprung: "...measuring fork sag is little more than stabbing in the dark. A better bet is to start with manufacturers' recommended air or coil spring settings for your weight". Then later on: "At that point, it's time to forget your sag, and work on getting your spring rate (air pressure or coil spring rate) right based solely on ride quality. If it feels better, it’s better. If it feels worse, it’s worse." www.vorsprungsuspension.com/blogs/learn/when-to-ignore-sag
Sag % is an entirely arbitrary starting point so it literally doesn't matter where you start from. Start somewhere sensible (e.g. the recommended pressure for your weight, which many forks have on a sticker on the side) and then adjust from that point. You really don't need sag markings.
@mountainsofsussex: But you don't need a friend or sag markings, you just need a shock pump with a gauge and the manufacturer's recommended pressure for your weight.
There's a complete misunderstanding about what sag actually is for a lot of people. It's literally just a display of the affect of your weight with a certain pressure in the shock.
Cut lines on handlebars are completely different. When they indicate 780mm you know you're getting 780mm. Otherwise you would have to manually measure or have lopsided bars - and unless you have one arm shorter than the other, you want symmetrical bars. This is not analogous to shock pressure, which is far more subjective.
Personally, I find that you need some sort of anchor to start the tuning from - with the enormous number of potential combinations of pressure, damping, positive and negative volume (not to mention riding style, bike and trail type), you need to start somewhere. And according to the Fox academy "Setting sag is the first (and arguably most important) step to dialing in the suspension on your mountain bike". The pressure is only what is needed to achieve a certain sag. For the rear, that sag is important, as the anti squat will have been optimised around a certain sag point. Less so the front.
In case it's useful to anyone out there who wants some hints from someone other than us keyboard warriors: foxacademy.ridefox.com/2020/07/fox-academy-video-series-why-setting-sag-for-your-mountain-bike-matters
If you can find out the recommended sag you therefore also know the recommended pressure (and usually manufacturers give a pressure for sag rather than a %), thus making the sag % markers even more pointless.
Either way you're going by a manufacturer default (both of which will result in a near identical sag because either way you're inputting a pressure based on your weight, using the markers just means extra steps), so the idea that aiming for a sag % marker is in any way better or different to going by a default pressure makes no sense.
With this done I set the fork air pressure and rebound to whatever the manufacturer states for my weight. With this done I take the bike somewhere flat, pedal around in the attack position and push the bike down (compress) with even hand and foot pressure. I then play with the air pressure and rebound until the front of the bike feels like the back of the bike. I guess I would describe it as balanced.
I then go out and ride and tweak it from there.
I'm *not* claiming that % sag measurement has any advantages over the mfr's pressure chart as a starting point for tuning. Unlike rear shocks, there's no leverage ratio to account for on a fork, so pressure is all you need.
IMO a stiffer chassis is a good thing, but only if the spring/damper is also improved.
I got downvoted to oblivion. Told I was a moron etc.....
Am I allowed to say I was right yet?
Also most riders I see in my city are bigger than me and ride 34mm and 36mm. I am still not convinced that flex pass 35mm is a serious issue
I love my Ohlins, and all I ever hear is "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee"
1) slacker head angles; and
2) more people consistently front casing jumps on machine built flow trails
3) all the while complaining about creaky CSUs
Or it is as dead as 26er?
wouldn't that huge tire under the fork at low psi act as first line of defense against high frequency vibrations?
Instead, manufacturers use teflon mesh impregnated rubber, dual density rubber bushings, preloaded rubber sandwich etc etc. But no urethane.
All All the adjusents from an EXT Storia für half the price.
The new e storia has Had adjustable HBO as Well and the Arma For years....so a Welcome feature
I also like knowing it’s working too.
I wouldn't say it's overly complicated - all the o-rings and seals are fairly easy to access.
They'll be back next year for sure (as a 'new extended' feature no doubt).
A 160 Pike isn't as floppy as the ol' 150 32, but if you need 160 then a Lyrik or 36 would be just plain better. Ask me how I know... (because I've had all of the above, 'cept the Lyrik)
Good thing you have 4 160mm pikes (why?), you should have parts to keep one alive for a long long time.
Forgot. One pair is a 650b 170 coil converted Lyrik, not a Pike.
Why 4 old pairs? - the wife asks the same, lol. They're all 650b, from older builds, never got round to selling them. Also got a SC N4 languishing in there, lol. It's ridiculous.
One of the current 170 Lyriks has a Smashpot coil conversion, love them.
Also: what if I like it loud? It's a Cons for me. Thanks for this indispensable feature.
Just means you're perfectly average.
The only detail I actually care about and it's missing
Many sources claim the B version (2020) was better than the C.
People get confused by all the marketing spiel about "incredible small bump" and end up running their fork with super low pressure and tons of tokens, then have a fork that is terrible at anything but just going in a straight line. If this new fork is "incredibly comfortable" even with no tokens, I'd imagine it is nigh on impossible to get any life and responsiveness out of it without making it overly hard later in the travel.
I didn't see an availabilty date, does anyone know when they will be in stock?
At the moment it appears that fox have dominated the oem market.
Take a look at all the current new bikes for sale, and you're hard pushed to find anything that is RS equipped.
Being someone that does all of my own fork and shock full servicing, I love how easy it is to work on RS and really don't want to own fox as this means re-tooling. some of the tools to do a full service on Fox is astronomically expensive.
Don't get me wrong, Fox is a fantastic product, but RS is so user friendly.
Yeah, but you started at their recommended pressure and adjusted, which is literally the same process as starting at a recommended sag and adjusting. You think RockShox doesn't know pretty damn close to what the sag would be at that pressure for that weight on an average modern bike that suits a Lyrik? All they're doing is giving you a different number to start from, which is actually kinda weird considering they have sag indicators on the fork...
It took them so long to realize it. Yeah.....no more "air and oil spiting" when you service the lowers.
"RockShox Lyrik Ultimate Details
• Intended use: trail / enduro
• Travel: 140, 150, 160mm"
It was such an advantage to be able to use the lyric up to 180mm. They are pushing the customers to buy the Zeb just like what Fox did with the 38.....
I think that everyone who values his money will now think of other brands as well. Within the same price range....why not DVO? Canecreek? Formula? or even Marzochi?
The only part SRAM is good at is in the OEM market....
PS: i am not going to comment on the rear garbage they call shocks.
PS2: not a Fox guy...
"I typically don't measure fork sag during setup – I prefer to go by feel, and then adjust as needed depending on the fork's behavior on the trail."
Check it out here: www.sram.com/en/rockshox/rockshox-technology
I had to do it, sorry...
The bottom out bumper in other forks was just that...a bottom out bumper. If you locked out the fork, or ran too stiff of a spring, you'd feel every little trail imperfection.
The Buttercups isolate the "active" parts of the fork from the trail.
Check it out here: www.sram.com/en/rockshox/rockshox-technology
Was this ever a thing? In +20 years of mountain biking I’ve never done it nor have I seen anyone else do it. I’d never even heard of doing such a thing until Fox added their equalisation valves. I smell 5hite.
That's what tokens are for. Of course "a grand total of zero Bottomless Tokens" is going to give less support deep in the travel.
My issue with the Buttercups is that they're undamped and likely temperature sensitive. Undamped means there is more chance for that small trail chatter they're supposed to smooth out to actually cause a resonance and make the vibrations worse. And of course, in areas with multiple seasons the rubber is going to act differently at, say, 90F (32C, saw that just last week) vs 30F (-1C, multiple rides this winter around that temp). Dampers already act a bit differently with temperature swings, why do we want to add another variable by adding something that is supposed to handle what tires are already handling. All these journalist claim they can feel the cups, but I have yet to see a double-blind test with and without to really prove they're useful.
I can’t say I have an issue with the buttercups being undamped, as the front wheel and tire is also undamped and displace way more than the 4mm the buttercups do in compression. The temperature sensitivity is an issue I have. I wish they’d use materials that line up more with the auto industry and aren’t effected so much by temperature.
Regardless if they’re a placebo or not, it’s another thing rockshox marketing department has as a weapon against the other suspension companies. My thing with rockshox for years is that their engineering department and their marketing department are the same, in that they don’t do real engineering, they just make shit that will get sales. Like the rapid recovery system on their forks and shocks, the countermeasure spring in their shocks, the c1 debonair spring and many other “performance features” that either don’t do anything or offer worse performance than the competition. And by proxy, another one of my major criticisms of rockshox is that they cater to the market, not outright performance.