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Review: RockShox Domain RC Fork - Affordable Performance

Oct 25, 2021
by Mike Kazimer  
RockShox Domain RC review


$1,000 is a whole lot of money for a fork, and for riders on a budget, or product managers trying to keep a bike's price below a certain threshold, it can be a prohibitive price tag. $549, on the other hand, is a much more reasonable figure, one that makes it possible to spec a bike with thing like brakes that actually work and a drivetrain that shifts reasonably well without driving the final cost up into the stratosphere. It's also the price of the new Domain, which sits in RockShox's lineup as the more affordable counterpart of the Zeb.

Like the Zeb, the Domain has 38mm stanchions, and is available with up to 180mm of travel. It's air sprung, and uses RockShox's open bath Motion Control RC damper, rather than the pricier Charger cartridge damper found in the Zeb. It also uses 6000 series aluminum in order to keep the costs down, although that does bring the weight up to a fairly hefty 2540 grams.
Domain RC Details

• Wheel Size: 27.5", 29"
• Travel: 150, 160, 170, 180mm
• Offset: 44mm
• Stanchions: 38mm aluminum
• Damper: Motion Control RC
• Adjustments: low speed compression, rebound
• Weight: 2540 grams (170mm, 29")
• MSRP: $549 USD
rockshox.com

A lower price for a for a fork or shock typically means a few less external adjustments, and that's the case here. The Domain RC's adjustments consist of air pressure, low speed compression, rebound, and end-stroke ramp up via volume spacers.

The Domain will accept RockShox's higher end Charger 2.1 damper, and riders who decide to take that route will be able to purchase an upgrade kit for $330 USD. There's also an $42 upgrade kit that can be used to upgrade the base model Domain R to the RC version, which adds external low speed compression adjustment.

RockShox Domain RC review
Low speed compression is adjusted on the top right side of the fork...
RockShox Domain RC review
..and rebound is adjusted on the underside.

SETUP

Once the air pressure is set (RockShox's chart provides a good place to start) all that's left to do is adjust the rebound and then turn the low speed compression dial until everything feels like it should. In my case, that meant running 60 psi when the fork was installed on a 'regular' bike, and 70 psi on an eMTB.

It’s possible to adjust the amount of end-stroke ramp up by adding or subtracting volume spacers, but I found that for my 160lb weight there was more than enough progression without any spacers installed.

I tested the fork on both a non-motorized Commencal Meta TR, and on a Specalized Turbo Levo e-bike. On the Commencal I typically left the compression dial in the fully open position, and on the Levo I’d add a couple clicks to gain a bit more support. The compression clicks all make a noticeable difference, and in the fully closed position the fork is almost totally locked out.

On the rebound side the adjustments weren’t as defined – there are a lot of clicks without much difference between them, and the amount of damping seems to be on the faster side. I was able to find a setting the suited my needs, but a slightly narrower range with more of a difference between each click would make setup easier.

RockShox Domain RC review

PERFORMANCE

The last Domain that I tried was on a bike with 26” wheels, and my memories of that fork aren't exactly warm and fuzzy. Thankfully, it didn't take very many miles on the new Domain for those old memories to fade away, replaced by new impressions that were much, much more positive.

The Domain feels very smooth throughout its travel, free of any traits that immediately distinguish it as a budget-oriented fork. It's easy to forget about, and I mean that in a good way - it's a solid, no fuss type of fork, one that didn't require much fiddling to get it dialed into meet my needs.

There are a couple quirks worth mentioning, though. The first has to do with the substantial ramp up towards the end of its stroke, even without any volume spacers installed. Despite my best efforts, I was never able to fully bottom it out – the biggest nosedives or hucks to flat always ended with around 10mm of travel left on the table. It was only once all the air was let out that I could I get it to go through all 170mm of travel. It’s not the end of the world, but it would be nice to have a better range of ramp-up tuning available.

WEIGHT & PRICE

The Domain replaced a Fox 36 on the Commencal, and in that case the extra weight was noticeable, at least initially. The Domain is over a pound heavier, and while a pound may not seem like that much in the grand scheme of things, when that weight is hanging off the front of the bike where you'll be lifting it over and over again, it does add up. On the e-bike that extra heft wasn't an issue, and realistically I can see the Domain being a good way to bring the astronomical price of e-bikes down without negatively affecting their performance.

As far as price goes, the Domain sort of sits in its own category when compared to offerings from other major manufacturers. At the moment there aren't really many direct competitors with 38mm stanchions that hit a similar pricepoint , which means you'll need to spend $200 more to get a fork like the Manitou Mezzer Expert or Marzocchi Z1. Suntour also now offers a Durolux 38 in the $750 price range - we'll work on getting one of those in for review in the near future.

RockShox Domain: 2540 grams, $549 USD.
Manitou Mezzer Expert: 2040 grams, $750 USD
Marzocchi Z1: 2210 grams, $729 USD
RockShox Zeb: 2250 grams, $1,019 USD
Fox 38: 2430 grams, $949 - $1,199 USD


DOMAIN VS ZEB

How much of a performance difference is there between the budget-oriented Domain and the top-of-the-line Zeb? Not as much as you’d think. They both have great small bump sensitivity, although the Zeb does feel a little slipperier, requiring less breakaway force than the Domain.

Where the Domain does falter a little is on sections of trail with repeated impacts – imagine a steep run with a bunch of big braking bumps. In those instances the Domain didn’t feel as composed as the Zeb – it felt like the rapidfire impacts caused it to choke, making the final hits in a series harsher than expected. The Zeb also has a more effective rebound adjustment, along with low- and high-speed compression adjustments. Less weight, more adjustments, and a better damper are the reasons why the Zeb costs nearly twice as much as the Domain.


SERVICE

Just like with their other forks, RockShox recommends performing a lower leg service every 50 hours, and a complete damper and spring service every 200 hours. A lower leg service is a simple procedure, and can be performed at home in well under an hour. After five months of regular use my test fork remains leak- and creek-free, and is still operating smoothly.


RockShox Domain RC review
A bolt on fender is available for an additional $20.




Pros

+ Great price vs performance ratio
+ Effective range of compression adjustment

Cons

- Very progressive air spring makes it difficult to make use of all the travel
- Heavy





Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe new Domain is an extremely worthwhile option for anyone who's hunting for a stiff, capable fork at a fairly reasonable price, as long as light weight isn’t too high up your list of priorities. Mike Kazimer










196 Comments

  • 114 2
 “Suntour also now offers a Durolux 38 in the $750 price range - we'll work on getting one of those in for review in the near future.”
Thanks for listening Smile Curious to see how it’ll stack up against the competition.
  • 39 13
 Only in 29 meh :-( #275aintdeadyet
  • 59 3
 @zoobab2: #275isarearwheelnow.
  • 16 0
 Based on everything else from Suntour (above the entry level) it will punch way above it's weight class.
  • 9 4
 @zoobab2: doesn't matter too much. You can run a 29 fork on a full 27.5 setup without any issues. Slightly higher/slacker front end which you may never notice.
  • 6 3
 @ThunderChunk: it is noticeable. I have a 29 fork on a 27.5 bike set up full 27.5. Axle to crown is 19mm more. That equates to 1 degree slacker. My bike is designed for 160mm fork but running 29 at 140mm to preserve geometry. I never bottom out so personally not impacted.

And if you run a 29 wheel, you just added 19mm more under the axle. So that is another degree. If I ran mullet at 160mm, bike would be 63.5 HA and 71 SA. That is a heck of a compromise. Plus you would lose a significant amount of reach and higher bb.

I think the work around is angle set headset. That way you steepen up the seat angle with the slacker front end. Drop the bb back down and add some reach.
  • 2 0
 @vapidoscar:
The work around to slacken front end and steepen seat angle is great BUT reduces reach.
  • 3 0
 @danimaniac: Not as much as you think though, the stem moves backwards 2/5mm but the bb also rotates down/back so it’s a pretty subtle difference from a bike fit POV.
  • 2 0
 @PB-J: it just doesn#t increase reach, like post above said...
that's all.
IF you add an angle set without changing anything else you lower the bb and rotate to the front.

@vapidoscar started out with heightening front AND bb by adding a 29inch fork to his 27,5" setup. That way rotates his bike backwards around the rear axle by around 1° (slackening all angles and reducing reach)

by adding an angle set (-1°) he slackes ou the front further BUT rotates the bike slightly to the front (again around the rear axle) and reduces reach minimally because while his front axle is even further away from the bb his steerer/stem/bar is (irrelevantly) nearer to the saddle.
  • 51 0
 So...

Its a fat Yari then?

Because it looks like a Domain is to Zeb, as Yari is to Lyrik?
  • 6 22
flag stiingya (Oct 25, 2021 at 12:49) (Below Threshold)
 No, it's a Domain because Domain is to Totem before there was a Yari... Smile
  • 1 1
 I had the original Domain but it had 35mm stantions I think. Had a Yari too and I'd agree with ocnlogan. This is a 38mm stantion fork down to 150mm on a 29, for cheap - I bet they sell a LOT of these.
  • 18 0
 @ocnlogan This is the way I read it.
The Yari is a simplified budget built Lyrik; as the Domain is a simplified budget built Zeb.
  • 22 0
 Yep domain is zeb as yari is to lyrik and as revelation is to pike.
  • 5 0
 @BovineAssassin: Reba to SID too. And I suppose Recon to Reba and Judy to Recon?
  • 2 0
 @tremeer023: Yes it was 35mm polished steel stanchions. I had the 318 with motion control and it was decent, but there was also a 302 model IIRC which had even more basic damping.
The Totem I upgraded to was waaaay better though.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: yep, the 318 with silver (*)stanchions. It was a good fork for the time. Will we see a 40mm stanchion single crown fork again? Could be ideal for Rampage.
  • 1 0
 It's got similar ride characteristics - can't quite get full travel, choking on bigger hits....
  • 3 0
 @tremeer023: I think going to fatter and fatter stanchions starts to have diminishing returns after 38mm or so, because the crown/steerer interface becomes the weakest link in terms of strength and stiffness. Seems like there's more room for improvement through solutions like EXT's T-shaped crown, or the Intend Stiffmaster headset.
  • 4 0
 @tankthegladiator: yeah but you should try a mezzer they are awesome
  • 1 0
 I've been super impressed with the Yari, so this is likely to be a winner. Sturdy, simple controls, easy to service, and excellent small-bump compliance (better than the brand-new Pike on my son's bike). The only caveat is that you have to service it regularly to keep it plush, but that's a good idea anyway.
  • 2 0
 @headspacej: absolutely. I've got a Yari on our Ebikes, and a Zeb on the wifes park bike, and a 38 on my park bike. Cannot fault the Yari at all. It is a fantastic trail fork. Excellent small bump compliance, easy to dial in, and works well right until the hits get sharp, repeated and fast - but that comes down to the damper not keeping up. When it comes time for the major service, I'll swap the damper to a Charger R and have a great fork for low bucks.
  • 1 0
 NO
yari has the complete identical chassis and material as the lyrik. Just another damper and wipers.
Domain has way cheaper and heavier materials as well as the worse damper.

When you are on a budget take depending on stiffbes preference a

Yari
ZEB R

And upgrade both with a good tuning damper as the M Suspensiontech upgrade for 149-220 euro, which is better than the rs ultimate damper (do not know about the avalanche 700 dollar upgrade) and worth the good price

Or a mezzer expert
  • 1 0
 @tankthegladiator:

Wrong.
Yari=lyrik with other wipers and better damper
Relates to ZEB R to ZEB ultimate
Domain is like the Rs 35 series. Heavier and cheaper
  • 1 0
 @tankthegladiator:

Upgrade from yari Mico to charger R? Charger is mit worth the money. Take a charger rc with shim tuning or directly a tuning cartridge instead.
  • 48 1
 Main takeaway is that I can lose ~400grams by swapping my 38 with my Mezzer. That would make it so I can do sweet manuals since fork weight is the only reason I suck at that particular skilll.
  • 17 1
 I just bought a Mezzer, and weighed it last night before I started installing it.

~2060g with an uncut steerer for the 29in/44mm offset version.

Which means I saved 1.05lbs right there. And, as an admitted non-weight weenie (my bike is 37lbs) ... that is a pretty large difference for a single component.
  • 5 0
 @ocnlogan:

It’s not insignificant! I probably will swap at some point just to try it out. They are both fantastic forks
  • 47 12
 I built a new bike this year and went with a Lyrik over the Zeb due to the weight...and I’m certainly not feeling any excess flex and I weight 195 lbs. I can’t imagine charging hard enough to “need” a Zeb, or 38...And I used my bike mostly at mammoth this summer.
  • 38 9
 Have you ridden a Zeb? IMO game changer of a fork - I weigh 175 and I don't think I'll ever go back to a Lyrik. It's miles better in every way.
  • 19 0
 @heyburner: I’d love to give one a go, maybe it’s worth the weight... but I probably just suck too much to tell a difference.
  • 51 8
 If a Zeb can win rampage then it's probably fair to say none of us mortals charge hard enough to need it!
  • 48 0
 Don't try one. Ignorance is bliss and the lyrik leaves few excuses.
  • 5 0
 @heyburner: if they both have same damper (which they can do) then surely the only way they are better is stiffness? But then they are heavier so that’s a negative to some people ??
  • 5 6
 @heyburner: Don't get me started on how much I love the Zeb. It literally blew my mind (and continues to do) the first time I rode mine. It is so damn composed and confidence inspiring.
  • 5 0
 @tbgd: the wider stanchions would allow for some differences in the air spring as well, not sure how much they are using that to their advantage
  • 3 1
 @heyburner: The Zeb is so goood. I thought I wasn't ever going to find something i liked as much as my old ass 66RC2X but finally someone made something better. Not finding it 'heavy' either - certainly lighter than the old 66 7lbs !

For lighter riders I weight 140 - 145 lbs....not finding this chassis too stiff at all, just glorious smooth squish
  • 7 16
flag thenotoriousmic (Oct 25, 2021 at 13:19) (Below Threshold)
 Zeb is finally reaching the acceptable level of stiffness for a long travel single crown fork. There’s absolutely no reason to ever buy a lyrik over a zeb now but the lyrik is still a fantastic fork just obsolete with the zeb on the market.
  • 6 0
 @thenotoriousmic: which travel are you talking about ? Because the 180mm zeb sure is stiffer than the 180mm but it seams from lab measurements that 180mm zeb is as stiff as 160mm lyrik.
  • 9 0
 @mtmc99: I think the air spring is 90% why people prefer the zeb.
Please try an aftermarket air spring with bigger volume (novyparts, vorsprung, etc) on the lyrik
  • 6 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: similar weight similar experience with the Zeb, had a 2019 Lyrik Ultimate and the Zeb just blows it out of the water. So smooth
  • 2 1
 @Simzesun: the zeb is noticeably stiffer side to side and when the wheel is trying to twist the fork and it doesn’t bind as much and has a better spring but like any single crown it has that weak joint between the crown and steerer so there’s still a lot of forwards and backwards flex compared to a triple crown. I do like my zeb but I’d much preferred a 170 / 180mm duel crown lyrik instead.
  • 19 15
 i swapped from a zeb to lyrik, best change ever, my hands dont die, less weight.
Sure the ZEB's great for the ones who "all the gear no idea" which is most of PB commenters.
  • 9 5
 @noideamtber: um speak for yourself pal
  • 6 9
 @noideamtber: man, I don't agree with you at all.... were you trying to run the same pressure with a Zeb as you were for a Lyrik? If that's the case, then sure. It'll feel horrible. But when you run correct pressures the Zeb feels about 3 times as plush as a Lyrik and that should save your hands. It's never felt stiff in a bad way to me, just a welcome sense of stability. 200g isn't all that much of a penalty for all of the benefits a Zeb gives. As for the 'all gear no idea' comment, yeah you can just see yourself out. Hundreds of hours on both puts the Zeb far far above the Lyrik in my book, not just marketing jargon and tech talk.
  • 4 5
 @Fullsend2-13: off you go if nothing to add to the subject.
  • 31 4
 @heyburner: cool. Our EWS riders would disagree with you and so would alot of others, its like saying the 38 is nicer than the 36, Jesse blankly came out an said the 36 is much nicer and he would run it but was told 38 is their enduro fork and he was to run that.
i've Personally owned 3 ZEB's 2 ultimates and 1 select + - none felt as nice as a lyrik.
On our compression device the ZEB's Graphs are nothing like the lyrik other than in damper control. Chassis stiffness and Air spring ratio just doesnt provide the "plush" feel you are talking about.
Maybe you incorrectly setup a Lyrik but on our machine we use to graph how the fork performs the lyrik offers a much more nicer curve and on trail feel.
I regularly see ZEB riders running way more sag... wonder why.. When we first starting with the ZEB's and asked others we got the same answers "its stiff and my hands/arms were feeling it so i dropped the pressure"

Love the comment sections on here, nobody agree's with facts just their own ego opinions.
  • 6 0
 @noideamtber: I have to agree the zeb's i've ran were all harsh, they have a bulldozer feeling where unless you were going mach 3 letting it skip ontop of the bumps, it would just beat you up. reminds me of the older fox 40's that would do the same
Im back on lyriks and have no regrets about it. - so in reality unless your full blast all the time then whats the point of it?
  • 5 0
 I'm with you. Extra stiffness does not always mean better. On the other hand, I am only 160lbs so the Lyrik is all I need and then some.
  • 1 1
 I switched from a fox 36 to a zeb I can’t say I can necessarily feel the fine differences but it definitely makes the whole ride feel better.
  • 4 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Wouldn’t a 180mm Dual Crown Lyrik be the same as a current 180mm Boxxer?
  • 3 0
 @noideamtber: It's interesting that you feel so strongly about the Zeb being inferior. What travel were you running them at?
I've only had one Zeb Ultimate and it's been set at 190mm - and I haven't noticed any of the excessive harshness described in certain reviews and comments. I wonder if it works best at longer travel settings.
It really unleashed the potential of my 170mm super-enduro bike, which frankly had been held back a little by a Lyrik.
But I also have a Lyrik Ultimate on my 150mm trail/enduro bike. It's set at 170mm and it's the perfect fork for an all-rounder bike IMO. I think it does have the edge over the Zeb in pure performance.
  • 1 1
 @DH1977: It’s heavier, I would like to have seen a duel crown at the same weight as the zeb instead of an overbuilt single crown.
  • 2 6
flag thenotoriousmic (Oct 26, 2021 at 3:44) (Below Threshold)
 @noideamtber: You would wouldn’t know a fact if it hacked your pinkbike account and started trolling the comment section, which is suspect is happening right now.
  • 3 1
 @thenotoriousmic: really? nothing to add to the subject? just an attack? Our Team who compete on the world stage would clearly know better and when an average rider like me feels the same... hmm must be all lies??
  • 3 1
 @chakaping: i never ever said its inferior? Our zeb's were at 170mm. on big bikes designed to hulk smash that you are moving at a fast speed all the time youll notice the ZEB should outshine the lyrik on everything, i was talking about how they feel, ie on feedback.

Interesting you mentioned about travel, friend of mine with a 190 zeb aswell has said it feels really nice but it does make me wonder if hes actually got lower pressure.(this is kinda like when we were running 10mm longer air shafts in the lyrik to get the fork to actually stand up to its "set" travel)

People seem to miss the fact im talking about feel, not overall performance which ive noted in several comments.
it's hard to perform over a long period of time if the fork is beating you up.. i never said it was a bad thing, it just has its place.
  • 4 0
 @noideamtber: Dont stress with these comments, most of the guys on here wouldnt know the difference if: you gave them a blanked out lyrik and told them it was completely redesigned inside and let them ride it, they 100% come back an say its WAAAY better than the old one. yet the blanked out lyrik was a 2021... one they'd been running already. The ZEB has more progression than the lyrik and is probably what people are feeling the most when they couldve added tokens to the lyrik to get that feeling.
Theres a very small percent of people who will actually benefit from 38mm sanctions, most of which will be Heavy riders... and im talking more than 200-210lbs.
  • 2 6
flag thenotoriousmic (Oct 26, 2021 at 18:41) (Below Threshold)
 @noideamtber: Yeah that would make sense of it wasn’t absolute bullshit. I have a way easier time on my zebs just being able to point and go than I do on any of my 35mm rockshox. Not have to wrestle a noodley fork on line while it chokes and binds on everything. As soon as the 38mm forks came out every pro rider dumped the 35/36mm forks overnight. Not a coincidence.
  • 6 1
 @thenotoriousmic: you have no idea how Company's market new products then? go look at maes, jesse and that other girl who came out an said they are harsh, The girl has swapped back to a 36, jesse was told he couldnt.
Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about. Even when Im with our team at the DH Races alot of Pro's personal enduro bikes are running the 36/lyrik.
I believe @noideamtber 's has it about spot on.
I would say his comment with 27 up and 3 down votes is correct as per those voters agreeing. your a minority commentor who probably cant bike for horse poo thinking your opinion is valid when your onboard a super enduro bike because you think your skills are pro.

Maybe you should go Apply for the PB race team with BC, you'll get told you suck and go back to the skills area. Come join us at the UCI DH events next year, but you wont, just anther arm chair PB mtber.

sorry everyone else, im sick of seeing these cowboys on here thinking they know sh1t when they are just an onlooker.
  • 3 2
 @thenotoriousmic: Move along mate, if you dont know what you're talking about please refrain from commenting on my posts. If you need more info on how things actually work in the real world.
Im happy to provide via DM/PM
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: These guys are being a bit mean, but they have a point about the pros being told they have to ride the Zeb or 38 as part of the marketing strategy.
Before I bought the Zeb I'd heard on the grapevine from an EWS team that some of the racers were finding it harsher than the Lyrik, but I had a hunch the increased chassis stiffness and insulation from the trail would suit my needs anyway for my big bike.
And as I said in my previous comment, I've not noticed any harshness at all and find it more comfortable than a comparable Lyrik, but not as "sporty" and responsive. I think there's something that needs a bit of work - and TBH it's not very secret that there's an update in the pipeline and likely to be revealed soon.
  • 1 3
 @mtbtrekracer: so it’s ok to run blacked out Maxxis but it’s not ok to run a slightly lighter but equally priced and equally premium fork from the same manufacturer? You’re a joke.
What maes actually said was that he didn’t want to change his fork mid season and then came back the following season with a bigger fork like everyone else because it’s superior. Your just spitting random pinkbiker conspiracy theories and I ride hardtail with a lyrik most of the time down stuff you probably couldn’t even ride, I only pull the enduro bike out on special occasions because I get bored of riding on recruit difficulty or you can find me doing laps in the bowl on my bmx.
  • 1 5
flag thenotoriousmic (Oct 27, 2021 at 5:12) (Below Threshold)
 @noideamtber: Haha pinkbikers are hilarious. If I took your advice I’d probably end up on a revelation for compliance or something equally as retarded. Absolutely nobody agrees with you except ‘some girl and maybe Jesse Melamed who I suspect who is now buzzing over his 38’s as much as everyone else is. Ether way nobody’s going back to 36 / lyriks even though they could if they wanted to do I guess that makes me correct and your wrong.
  • 3 0
 @thenotoriousmic: chill bro, we're all just here to have fun and ride bikes.
  • 3 1
 @thenotoriousmic: chill out buddy, think it's time for you to move on to troll anther news post, its ok if your inexperienced and uneducated when it comes to suspension, we aren't all perfect at everything.
so now you have resorted to attacking my riding which in this case has nothing to do with the subject?

Cya mate "LOL"
  • 4 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Your overcompensation is showing, glaringly.
  • 2 4
 @noideamtber: You literally went of subject because I kept making fun of the silly nonsense you kept spouting, if you thought you could have won the argument you’d have stayed on topic and beat with me with evidence like I did to you instead you brought rumours and conspiracy theories before trying to change the subject. It always amuses me the lengths people go to not to admit they were wrong. Another easy victory.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: so - despite the comments you still cant let it go? off you go mate.
Leave the suspension stuff to the suspension people, dont need your fuzzy head exploding.
I couldnt really care any less about what you think as I have our EWS riders telling me the same thing as I feel and that the dyno shows.. soooo.... what again?

Go ride your bike and less getting yourself cranky over stuff you are clearly uneducated about. im sick of the notifications but watching you lose your marbles is hella funny.
  • 1 4
 @noideamtber: Haha losing my marbles, you’re having a temper tantrum in the comments because I was poking fun at your silly comments and unfortunately for you the entire EWS field except from some girl and maybe Jessie melamed agrees with me and nobody going back to 36’s and Lyriks no matter what bullshit conspiracy theories make up to suit your agenda. Don’t bother replying unless you’ve got more than petty insults and wives tales.
  • 5 0
 @thenotoriousmic: You are seriously off your chops lol
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: LOL - Still at it i see, i wouldve thought since you knew everything you'd stop replying to me but you cant let it go, the more you reply the more i will, as i said its entertaining watching some grown man? cry about his banana
  • 24 5
 I can't imagine anyone looking at a 38mm stanchion shock cares too much about weight.
  • 49 4
 Probably the same for those looking at a 38mm fork then too?
  • 18 0
 @mammal: Haha, thats what I get for commenting on things while I'm working.
  • 4 11
flag stumphumper92 (Oct 25, 2021 at 12:01) (Below Threshold)
 @mammal: I am assuming that's what he meant
  • 7 0
 Maybe, but I'm only riding on a Fox 38 because the 36 in the same travel was discontinued.
  • 17 1
 Rockshox needs to dump the compression side of the MoCo damper. Its performance is not adequate for the intentions of a 38mm stanchion fork. I wish they would remake the Mission Control damper with the high speed adjustability removed as the new budget damper. The cost difference of a MiCo vs a MoCo replacement compression damper when they were both available was not that large, and removing some adjustability would narrow that gap further. IMO, a functional damper is worth an extra $40 on a $600 fork meant to see higher speeds and big hits.
  • 12 0
 I fully agree, my good friend Talderson. That said, we need to remember this is Rockshox, and they are probably overly concerned with product line hierarchy, and thinking that producing a slightly better (ie: functional) damping cartridge for the Domain will undercut the sales of the Zeb. Customers just want something that works regardless of whether it's marketed as "affordable", while the sales people would rather keep that performance at arms-length ("spend double, or buy our upgrades").
Also, looking forward to meeting your new pup on TuesdayWink
  • 4 9
flag Balgaroth (Oct 25, 2021 at 12:33) (Below Threshold)
 Meh, Moco can be made to work if you take a bit of time to figure out the right combination of oil and poppet shims for your use. Slightly more involved than playing with knobs but whatever float your boat.
  • 1 0
 Maybe Fast suspension will make a drop in compression cartridge like the Yari up?
  • 10 1
 We (PB commenters) aren't the market for this, it's aimed at E-Bike product managers where the $40 is more meaningful when they are trying to hit margin targets on 5,000+ bikes.
  • 1 1
 @half-man-half-scab: Fast and Novypart will certainly adapt their solutions to work in this, no doubt. But there are DIY was to make those work, as much as it seems to butt hurt some all that is needed is a basic understand of suspension and a bit of time.
  • 3 0
 The extra 40$ performance upgrade isn't necessary for RS to make sales on this fork when it will already be default OEM spec on any SRAM spec'd ebike and there is currently no direct competitor in it's price range...
  • 5 1
 @Balgaroth: Or I can just buy a product that works correctly right out of the box, and isn't held together with plastic clips. The MoCo is beautifully designed for its intended purpose, which is minimum acceptable performance, and extremely low production cost. This is fine on a $2500 trail bike, maybe high level XC riders are happy with the performance. But having seen multiple MoCo dampers fall apart inside the fork when the plastic clip fails, on top of their terrible performance when ridden hard on rough trails, these dampers have no place in a fork intended for aggressive riding.

I am aware the overall level of damping can be adjusted with oil weight, and that the blow-off point can be adjusted via shimming the poppet to have less free stroke before contacting the rod. I think most people buying a 180mm travel fork would be happier if their fork didn't require "guess and check" internal adjustments to perform adequately. Rockshox has the ability to make a better performing more robust product without leaving the "entry-level" price point, and for the Lyric/Boxxer/Zeb, I believe they should.
  • 1 1
 @talderson: I am currently on a Z1 and I am actually looking forward to my next bike with a Yari because I will be able to fine tune it much more easily than the Z1. If RS can give me a MiCo for tue same price point that would be great sure but right now I can't afford more expensive fork versions and being able to change my damper settings in minutes rather than taking my whole fork appart and having to bleed a cartridge is a feature I value. Charger RC doesn't work better than a standard MoCo but it a lot more complicated to work on for instance and definitely not an upgrade in my case, other versions are out of reach for the moment. If one day some brands decide to feature some Suntour RC2/R2C2 I will have my cake and eat it but for some reason they prefer to put Yari and Z1 on their entry level builds and from experience I pick my poison, it will be a good all MoCo which I have experience from the good ol' boxxer 32 days.
  • 2 0
 Regarding basic fork model a mezzer expert is unbeatable. Completely same chassis, spring and wipers as the pro, only thedamper is different and far better than the Mico Mico stuff. I do not know how far of a difference you even have to a charger ultimate. But out of the budget forks of the shelf it has the best price, weight, stiffness, performance ratio.
  • 1 0
 @bansaiman: I had a Mattoc pro that was really excellent but servicing needed special tools which is shit, did they fixed that on the Mezzer ? Other than those silly tools the forks was actually easy to service, much easier than my Z1 which is a pain comparatively.
  • 1 0
 @Balgaroth:
There is no special tools needed.
The cassette nut needs a hole in the middle, which many of those for 10-15 bucks have
  • 13 2
 How does the domain compare to the lower tier zeb? I think both uses motion control, but in the ZEB it is called charger R. I think it still fonction similarly to a MoCo damper.

Switched the MoCo to a charger 2.1. in my yari, because the damper was not working that well.
  • 8 0
 The Charger R is still a sealed bladder design not like the MoCo open bath design, but is not the same as the charger rc as it uses a cheaper ifp design if I read correctly.
  • 15 0
 I haven't spent time on the Zeb R yet, but there is a difference between the Motion Control damper and the Charger R. Motion Control is an open bath damper, while the Charger R is a cartridge style design with a spring backed IFP.

You can see an exploded diagram of the Charger R here: www.pinkbike.com/photo/21540239. And the Domain RC here: www.pinkbike.com/photo/21540242.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer @Danmcdan Thanks for the info!
  • 4 3
 I kind of assumed people would buy these low tier forks and just put a smashpot in there over MoCo. Isn't that what everyone was doing with the Yari ?
  • 11 0
 As someone who had a previously super dialed 2016 Pike RC (Debonair upgraded and custom tuned) and went to a brand new ZEB RC, expecting the same kind of adjustability and performance, my only advice is: don't...
The ZEBs performance is inferior on so many levels, that every time I look at it, I can't help but think that my money should have gone to the top tier Mezzer instead, for the same price. The ZEB is not the worst fork in the world, but it is, without a doubt, a step back from where I was. The fork is super rigid, I'll give it that. But mid/heavy fast impacts make it feel overwhelmed pretty fast. I've tried it with one, two and no tokens, messed with the air pressure, but it always feels off. I'm thinking about giving it one last go, with a luftkappe. But unless that works like magic (which I believe it will), you might aswell go to a better ZEB, or to a different brand altogether.Just my two cents, obviously.
  • 4 0
 Funnily enough my Zeb R seems to have the opposite characteristics to this Domain. i.e. it dives like crazy and is super linear. I set it up as per a couple of 'official' guidelines but bottomed the fork out super hard on something that normally isn't an issue (and I built it...). I added an extra token and increased the air pressure, plus run minimal rebound to keep the fork high. I think I'll have to go with a third token though, which is at odds to what the guidelines say. It literally seems to have no compression damping at all.
  • 3 0
 I’ve got a Zeb Select (the bottom spec with the Charger damper). Last year I had a Yari RC with the motion control with lockout.
The Yari flexed more than the Zeb on big landings - but it didn’t strictly need to be stiffer. I prefer the Zeb’s stiffness though.
Damper wise, the lockout was great for those road miles I do I the way to the trails. Plus the motion control compression adjuster actually adjusted the compression, unlike the charger in the Zeb which does literally nothing from full open to full closed.
Rebound damping wise, the Zeb damper squeaks at certain settings (3-4 clicks from fully slow). I also find myself running it one click from fully closed in hot days in summer, despite being an very middle of the road 80-83kg kitted up. On the motion control, I was always on the lighter side of the middle setting.
Air spring-wise, I find the Zeb to be a bit better, a bit plusher. Both forks were 170 travel 29ers with the short offset.
I wish the Zeb had the motion control damper in it.
  • 8 0
 @sadfusde: mezzer pro all the way best fork ever the new manitou stuff is amazing and inexpensive to service
  • 3 0
 @Waldon83: The Smashpot replaces the air spring, not the damper side with the MoCo.
  • 1 0
 @sadfusde:

Guve the rc damper a custom tune ie only shimstack adjusted to your weight and needs. Depending on tuner that will cost you around bucks
  • 16 1
 Tomatoes gonna potate
  • 8 2
 Ironic, the comment about price usually meaning less adjustability...yet I bet the low speed compression dial on this fork actually does something unlike the shitty ZEB Select that costs 50% more and the compression dial does jack shit so in practise has even less adjustments than this fork. Either that or the dial on this fork does fk all too, in which case compared to other forks on the market won't make it quite the steal it first appears.
  • 3 0
 True story... Been thinking there was something wrong with mine until I realised all of them were like that. You can take the cartridge out and compress it with your hands with the compression fully open/closed, and it is still hard to notice any difference
  • 3 0
 Yes. The Motion Control in the Yari has useful adjustments plus lockout, unlike the PoS in the Zeb.
  • 10 0
 This fork weighs 25 grams less than a boxxer.
  • 4 0
 I am coming from a DH background, but I have the Zeb on my 2022 SC Hightower and it's rad. It is at 170mm and it took the Hightower from being a nimble trail bike to handling everything that Trestle Bike Park could throw at it. Highly recommend it if you don't mind the weight. I just got better at pedaling instead of getting a "lighter fork"
  • 5 0
 I understand why light bikes are fun but I'm never prepared to part with the amount of money required to own one. This fork at 550 big ones is my idea of premium!
  • 3 0
 That's why I try to buy take off's on here or ebay. I paid $550 for my top of the line Lyrik a couple years ago that was used for only a handful of times
  • 3 0
 Naming it Motion Control is an oxymoron, as the moment you hit the rough stuff at speed all control is lost. Had a Yari, chassis is great, damper gets easily overwhelmed. Tried everything but replacing the damper. Marginal improvements, eventually just replaced the fork.
  • 8 1
 Save your pennies and buy the Mezzer
  • 5 0
 If it's going to weigh that much, bring back the steel stanchions. Those were bullet proof
  • 3 0
 coil option would be nice too
  • 2 0
 @VtVolk: Ha, yes. My 2011 Domain had steel stanchions and a coil, and probably still weighed less (granted, 26")
  • 2 1
 @hamncheez: I still use 2009 domains with a slightly drilled out damper. I haven’t tried anything smoother.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: I had the same fork and loved it. Probably the single (only?) thing I missed most moving on to the big wheels and more sophisticated suspension.

Just googled it and the old Domain 180 coil weighed 2800g (6.2lbs.)
  • 1 0
 @VtVolk: Ha guess not.
  • 3 0
 I had a coil u-turn Domain that was smooth as butter, until it cracked around bottom of the left leg and bled oil on the brake.
  • 1 0
 Where is nitrided steel? Would be impossible to scratch
  • 3 0
 So, what's the point of this fork when Zeb comes in 4 different models with 4 different price tags?
Can the industry stop with inventing new stuff and stock on existing stuff?
  • 2 0
 Control your domain and your wallet. A Zeb for less money and not for weight Winnies. I honestly hate one of kind of rider most - the weight Winnie who can’t pedal for shit. Dude it’s not your bike, but fitness level or lack thereof.
  • 2 0
 I really like how interchangeable Rock Shox chassis are regarding swapping out dampers, air caps, etc. so you can bring a 'budget' fork up to the top level damping platform if you want to later.....One of the reasons why I elected to get a RS Revelation instead of the Pike....for my trails, I really don't need high and low speed damping adjustments (I live in the pimple hills area of lower Michigan), but I really wanted the stiffer 35mm chassis for better handling. And, they're so easy to dial in.....
  • 8 2
 Potato Patoto
  • 5 0
 Still left wondering why the totem never came back as the zeb.
  • 13 2
 Same reason Yeti no longer has a "tribe?"
  • 2 1
 They lost the rights to the name/let it expire/something so they couldn't use the name Totem again. Zeb is some mountain peak, or short/nickname for it like the "pike" = Pikes Peak?
  • 4 0
 Nothing some Totem stickers off ebay can't fix!
  • 2 1
 @stiingya: Lotta Colorado springs nomenclature in RS naming conventions. Zebulon Pike was the old white guy who explored Pikes Peak. Ring any bells?
  • 5 10
flag jaame (Oct 25, 2021 at 14:17) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah it’s racist to use a name for something that’s not from your ethnic group, or a from a physical characteristic that everyone does not have.
Next in line for the bin: the footlong sub, because it makes men who don’t have a 12” feel sandwich anxiety.
Yes, they should have called it the Totem. I would have bought one. I bought one anyway, but I would have preferred it to be called the Totem (and have the galvanised lowers)
  • 1 0
 @jdh: isn't that what I said?
  • 4 0
 Zeb r is cheaper than domain in europe right now, whats the point of buying this
  • 2 1
 "but a slightly narrower range with more of a difference between each click would make setup easier."

Only of you fit inside that smaller range. Very light and very heavy riders will just have to crank it open or closed and deal. And what is easier? If you mean faster with less clicks to try, then maybe: you could always count by 2 or 3 clicks at a time. If you mean easier as in able to actually find the close-to perfect clicks, then not really. With bigger changes between clicks, you might spend more time trying the 2 closest clicks to figure out which one is closer to ideal, instead of just splitting the difference as you would if there were more clicks and you bracketed in by counting multiple clicks at a time.
  • 1 0
 Considering a Zeb for my next bike although I like the Domain but I do think with upgrading to the charger 2.1 (at some point) it’s not far off the price of a Zeb and with the weight difference on the Zeb I’d probably just buy a Zeb to start with and live on cheap noodles for 6months!
  • 2 0
 Get a used working zeb r. That is very cheap to get. Get it to a tuner:fresh service and tuning cartridge or at least a charger rc with custom shim tuning.
Voila, high performing fork on a budget
  • 1 0
 I have reasonably fond memories of the old Domain @mikekazimer - steel stanchions and all.
It could be a bit spikey but it was bombproof and the Motion Control damping seemed to work better in that than in some of the RS trail forks of the time.
I'm curious how much the MC damping has actually changed in those 13 or so years.
  • 1 0
 Bit similar to the Manitou comp forks with different material for the Stanchions. That really is frustrating when you buy the fork and expect it to be the "Bones" of the higher end fork w/ potential for upgrades. In the Mani you can get around it by swapping air spring pistons to get IRT instead of IVA. Gotta cut costs somewhere I guess... At least the damper is upgradeable in the Domain, that was smart.
  • 4 0
 Win. Thanks for a real world option RS.
  • 1 1
 "The first has to do with the substantial ramp up towards the end of its stroke, even without any volume spacers installed"

It says DebonAir... Is it _not_ the same DebonAir as the Zeb? In the Zeb First Ride it was said that "even without any volume spacers there's a nice smooth ramp up at the end of the stroke". Did RS really change the spring that much on this fork? If yes, that's stupid.
  • 3 0
 The air spring is different on the Zeb vs. the Domain due to the different internal stanchion dimensions, so even though they're both a DebonAir system they're not identical.
  • 1 0
 Bolt on mudguard (or fender)...if your going to bother making one, make it a decent size, that actually does as its supposed to? I dont live in California where its only ever dusty....
  • 2 0
 I would also go for a bespoke mudguard if it was a decent size. I’m using the Crud XL Fender right now and it bangs and buzzes on the Zeb a lot worse than on the Yari or 36.
Shame because I never take it off, but it’s pretty annoying.
  • 2 0
 Big missed opportunity but I'm sure Mudhugger and RRP will be on it - at least the bolt holes are there.
  • 2 0
 Please ditch the fkn motion control damping already, or make the oil flow greater, it is a ridiculous piece of shit damping with prices like this.
  • 1 0
 I don't think anyone who is in the market for a budget fork with 38mm stanchions will care about weight too much. IMO it would be nice to see RockShox offer a coil conversion kit for the Domain.
  • 1 0
 @RockShox can you swap out the MC for a Charger like usual -- or is the thread pitch different etc in the Domain different in some way that makes that impossible?
  • 4 0
 Yes, that upgrade is possible - the Charger damper is $330 USD. It's on the air spring side where there are differences between the Zeb and Domain.
  • 4 0
 I was confused by this statement for a bit, as the air springs for the ZEB and the domain are both "Debonair", and a couple of other reviews say the "same air spring".

Turns out the air springs between the ZEB and the Debonair aren't the same exact ones (can't swap between them). Because the lower quality aluminum they used to save costs, can't have the same wall thickness for the stanchions. So the Domain has a slightly smaller inner diameter, and needs its own part number.

So the air spring is the same tech/type, just... you can't borrow your buddies ZEBspring to try a different amount of travel.

In case anyone else was wondering Smile .
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer: Care to do a test upgrading a fork with a third party damper i.e. Fast Suspension SC4 cartridge and pitting it against the ZEB?
  • 1 0
 It's possible, but expensive to the point where it doesn't make sense anymore.
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: I wonder what the actual cost savings were. I bet it’s more to do with the product range than actual costs.
  • 4 1
 so 2,5kg is hefty for a 180mm singlecrown fork these days. nice.
  • 1 0
 I'm a serial thrifty fellow, but spent another $500 on a recent Fluid FS1 purchase to get a better fork.

Especially for a lighter rider (which was the case in my example).
  • 2 0
 Motion control this, bla bla charger that and my 98 Monster T will still outlive all that by another 20 years...
  • 3 0
 MoCo..... arghh
  • 2 0
 Just pay the extra dollar for a Zeb ultimate
  • 2 0
 Cool cool. Anyways new Totem when? And it has to be coil.
  • 2 0
 Everybody needs to adjust their compression, selling “enthusiast level” forks and rear shocks without compression adjust is damn insulting
  • 1 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: devil's advocate, I own an old Domain 302 that only has rebound adjust and it's totally fine at least for jumping and hucking. I feel like it also might've been easier to get away with the lack of adjustability on coil shit though.

But anyways you're right
  • 1 0
 double the price for compression I won't adjust and a weight difference worth less than a bottle of water? I'm in.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer
The bike started with a 36 Other than weight, how does the Domain compare to the original 36 that was fitted?
  • 2 0
 The decals should be a boat anchor or anvil, or both.
  • 1 0
 No axle information? Neither on their website. Boost, no Boost, 15, 20, 28.99mm?
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer, was the Z1 you mention when you listed the comparables was air or coil? Thx!
  • 1 0
 i miss my old coil sprung domain. it feels like a charger damper even if it has motion control only
  • 1 0
 Bargain for what it’s is, will definitely upgrade when I can get one, or when the misses approves.
  • 2 2
 Mission control damper or motion control damper, it says both in this article.
  • 12 4
 Nevermind, it is a poor performing damper...
  • 1 0
 It has a Motion Control RC damper.
  • 3 10
flag drunknride (Oct 25, 2021 at 11:17) (Below Threshold)
 @Happymtbfr: I'd go as far to say it's junk
  • 5 1
 @drunknride: I've been riding the Yari for years. It's not great, but I'd be willing to be you just haven't set it up right.
  • 4 1
 @Jaib06: What's there to setup? The damper cannot take any repeated hits. It spikes like crazy when ridden hard. Put in a charger 2.1 and it's night in day without being dialed in yet.
  • 1 0
 @drunknride: Yes. Admittedly it's not great at high speed, but it works. Its won me a few podiums, and hit big 40 footers, so although there are better options, if that's all you can afford, than great for you.
  • 1 0
 @Jaib06: My problem is that it's specced on bikes meant to be ridden hard and fast (my Nukeproof Mega for axample). It's not up to the task. As a damper in a shorter travel trail fork it's probably fine.
  • 1 0
 Which system is more durable? Charger or Motion Control?
  • 2 2
 Buy this fork, put in a Charger 2.1 damper, making it a Zeb, for $140 less than a Zeb.
  • 1 0
 We haven't forgot about it! When is it shipping!!!?
  • 1 0
 I don't mind the damper on my Yari, but that spring ramp up is extreme...
  • 1 0
 It's the fault of the damper as well. Going from motion control to charger in the same fork makes it better in every aspect. I run higher pressure and use all the travel now. It seems the damper can't allow the oil thru fast enough.
  • 3 5
 When they sell a small piece of plastic for $20 you know they are ripping you off.
That piece cost less that a dollar to make!
  • 29 2
 I'm no business expert, but it's pretty typical for companies to sell products for more than they cost to make...
  • 2 0
 And there's more to the cost of a product than the raw materials that went into it...
  • 3 3
 @mikekazimer: I am and if you charge 20 times the cost you are ripping somebody off , but hey if people are willing to pay for it…
  • 1 0
 @Dabbo: Welcome to mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I had to come back and smile at this one just one more time.
  • 1 1
 FYI typo in the second sentence. Should say “things”.
  • 3 4
 New fork, dirty wheels.
  • 5 0
 I’m sure they wiped down the fork because that’s the focus of this review.
  • 3 1
 Haha. Kaz must be a skater from the 90's: Big pants, Small wheels. Trying to carry over to MTB.
  • 1 4
 $549 is affordable budget forks? LOL
  • 3 0
 Uh yeah, for 150mm and up $550 msrp is a bargain where you been for the last 10 years?
  • 1 0
 for an extremely reliable and probably borderline-indestructible fork from one of the two most prevalent suspension manufacturers in the industry, with upgradability down the line, yeah I'd say that's a pretty good deal
  • 1 0
 very....especially nowadays where material costs are driving everything up up and up
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