Spotted: Next Generation Zeb from RockShox - Taipei Cycle Show 2024

Mar 6, 2024 at 20:53
by Dario DiGiulio  
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A red Zeb certainly draws the eye, but it turns out this one contains something we haven't seen yet. We've spotted some red Rockhox Zebs on some World Cup winners' bikes over the past year, and it looks like that elite paint job is coming down to the layman's level. Along with the cherry looks, this Zeb was sporting a Charger 3.1 damper, indicating a next-generation damper in the RockShox nomenclature.

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0.1 newer.

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Obviously I couldn't hop on this and take it for a ride, so things are fairly speculative here. The external compression and rebound click counts were the same as the current Charger 3, though the markings are slightly more defined at the zero point.

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Current Charger 3, for reference.

This particular example has the eMTB sticker on the crown, which they refer to in their literature as a simple "endorsement decal." One marking that is new is the Charger text on the damper-side stanchion.

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Zeb's red, baby. (s/o Kaz for the Pulp Fiction reference)

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Yes, this eMTB comes with a Zeb and Level brakes.

I reached out to RockShox for comment, and received the following breakdown of the fork's details, pricing, and availability:
bigquotesNo comment.

No news on when this new tech will reach the market, but rest assured that we'll keep you up to date as soon as it does.

Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
191 articles

131 Comments
  • 202 1
 The breakdown of the fork's details, pricing, and availability was quite excellent. Dario is a gem.
  • 11 0
 i really liked that, thanks for the lol dario
  • 7 1
 and then the comment "Obviously I couldn't hop on it and take it for a ride". Really? Looks pretty obvious to me that you could... at least for a little bit of a rip inside before security caught you (if you couldn't outride them). Smile
  • 8 0
 @trillot: with level brakes he could have never stopped so he'd still be going until the tires explode and the friction of the bare rims on the ground finally have him come to a stop
  • 1 0
 Well I will wait for JUDY SL 1,1 KG...
  • 119 1
 "Zeb's red, baby".

People have been fired for less.
  • 9 0
 The Elixirs were definitely less.
  • 7 0
 @weekendupdate: Thinking about Juicys and Elixirs triggers the worst imaginable nightmares in me.
  • 5 0
 @colincolin: All I remember about my juicys is
  • 1 0
 Ah man, turkey emoji aren't supported?
  • 2 5
 Its why there is so much hate for SRAM brakes... they are just juicy's and elixirs.
  • 6 0
 Let me ask the younger generation out there: do you guys watch pulp fiction? Do you get the references? Interested to hear the response

-Gen X guy
  • 6 6
 About as useful as Kaz's first ride article yesterday on that Rocky Mountain bike. "Got caught in a storm, no idea what the bike is like (other than what you can read on their website) - I was just trying to get home. Here's an article anyways for some reason."
  • 11 0
 “Whose bicycle is this?”
“It’s an ebike, baby.”
  • 4 0
 @stubs179: whose ebike is this?
  • 8 1
 @schu2470:, I mean, the article title was “First Ride…” A review will happen once I get in a proper amount of riding. Until then, at least you know that there’s a new Instinct.
  • 3 16
flag MattQEkBp1 (Mar 7, 2024 at 13:19) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: just like how you gave mtb suspension product of the year to a first ride, real vigorous testing you guys got going
  • 12 1
 @MattQEkBp1, what? We spent 5 months on that fork before it received an award. From the awards article: "Since the First Ride back in July at Crankworx, the Boxxer Ultimate has been hammered at race events and seen plenty of park laps. "

If we've only had a couple rides or limited time on a product it gets the First Ride designation in order to avoid confusion - a review happens only after we have enough time / miles on something.
  • 2 19
flag MattQEkBp1 (Mar 7, 2024 at 14:34) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: so no review, just first ride then hammering it for months as you say…then suspension product of the year, seems suspicious
  • 43 0
 The red is cool but whatever. I'd pay legit money to get a lyrik with the crown in machined raw like the last gen boxxer crowns were. probably zero performance but god damn they looked good.
  • 10 0
 boxxer crowns were anodized
  • 4 0
 @lightone: damn really? I thought they were raw Alu. That doesn’t make me want them less, but still, didn’t expect that.
  • 13 1
 @nskerb: if they were, they would look rather bad after only a short period of time.
  • 1 0
 @nskerb: yeah, kinda a light gun metal grey. I agree with the sentiment, they were great looking, but definitely not raw aluminium (which I don't think would look good at all, too shiny)
  • 4 1
 @Muckal: You mean as bad as a raw alu frame? damn ...
  • 1 2
 @lkubica: I would think so. Depends on the material, of course.
  • 1 3
 Manitou have the polished crown patent unfortunately
  • 2 0
 @m-for-munter: you are kidding right?
  • 5 1
 Anything that's raw aluminum, that you want to keep looking good, needs clear ano. Oxidation will turn raw into a cloudy mess in short order otherwise.
  • 2 1
 Pro tip,
You can "wrap" them in almost anything you could ever want.
Cheap (ask for scraps from a wrap shop), DIY, replaceable at any time, added protection a la RideWrap, peel off when it gets to scratched up, good project in the winter, when youre doing your 100/hr service.....
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: nope, google it
  • 30 5
 So is it finally going to be at least as good as the 2.1 or what?
  • 12 0
 Could be, but look, red.
  • 1 0
 @iian: Cool, but I don't want it to appear blurry in pics so I'd probably repaint it.
  • 1 0
 charger 3 is really that bad? havent ride it yet
  • 25 0
 Bring back the 170mm Lyrik in red
  • 3 1
 Pretty sure the lyrik is going to be offered in red with the 3.1 damper.
  • 4 13
flag lkubica (Mar 6, 2024 at 23:49) (Below Threshold)
 Honestly, just changed a red lyrik rc2 for a fox and will never look back. This thing rides 1cm higher in travel and is still plusher, most probably due to much better air spring. And finally I can use the HSC dial instead of leaving it fully open. The best part of this fork was the color.
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: so it was a Charger3 damper? I just replaced the basic Charger in my Zeb with the 3 and kinda don't know what to expect. Was the HSC all open related in any way to your weight? How heavy are you?
  • 1 0
 @kopaczus: No, we are talking about old lyrik ultimate, so the 2.x damper.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: got it, thanks. I'm hearing all the different opinions on the v3 damper... In another piece Seb Stott says the v3's rebound damping is not enough open for him. I prefer slower damping tho, so I guess I'll just have to go out there and make up my own mind on how it performs.
  • 2 0
 @kopaczus: yeah, this is unevitable I think, different setups for different preferences. Hint from my side is to forego any own biases and try to set it up from the gound up, starting from recommended sag.
  • 1 3
 with 35 mm stanchions Bahahahaha.............!!
  • 14 1
 great job sanfa. displaying a bike, with the most interesting part being the fork.
meanwhile placing the axle lever on said fork like a true bellend. Big Grin
  • 20 10
 3 was a huge step backwards in performance (dished piston), servicability (messy manual assembly, can't vacuum bleed)and tunability (9 and 5mm shims WTF). Hopefully 3.1 gets better.
  • 3 0
 I have absolutely no idea about the technical issues. all i know is: fork feels and rides great. keen to know more about your negative points. as an instance i have absolutely no clue what you mean by the 9 and 5 mm shims comment.

feel like an idiot writing but it's necsessairy nowdays: i mean it honestly, no sarcasm, not being a dick nor wanting to prove anything to anyone. just some clueless guy wanting to know more.
- thanks Smile
  • 2 0
 @cro-magnon: Charger 2/2.1 dampers could be easily vacuum bled which makes for fast and clean assembly. The Charger 3 design requires messy and multi step manual bleed process.
The Charger 2/2.1 uses common 6mm ID metric shims. I keep thousands of these in stock for tuning. Same for 8mm (next most common size). Rockshox chose 9mm ID and 5mm ID shims for these dampers which makes it very difficult source those sizes for tuning and repair. 9mm however is easier to find than 5mm.

The dished piston means forces go quadratic with speed until those shims start to open. This creates a force spike and harshness on every sharp bump. Ride groomed trails with big hits and you won't notice. Ride natural rocky terrain and you'll hate it.

Rockhox have a lot of scope to improve these for Charger 3.1
  • 8 1
 Charger 2.1 will still be superior unless they go back to a bladder on this 3.1. Exact same reason as air vs coil, seal friction sucks! Keeping on top of damper servicing (even though trust me you do not have to be anal about it) and custom valving a 2.1 if it just doesn't suit your fancy, will always result in a better damper than the Charger 3.
  • 2 2
 Somehow Fox can make an excellent ifp damper ... Look at the last Zeb vs 38 comparison on PB and see that the air spring is also a problem here, maybe bgger than the damper.
  • 2 0
 Spring backed ifp's are far better from a performance point of view than an unpressurised bladder. The mechanical advantage the damper has makes the tiny amount of friction present in the ifp seal a non-issue. To be fair, I can't believe the mtb industry got away with unpressurised bladder dampers for as long as they did. It's just a poor design
  • 1 1
 @lkubica: the pb comparison said the 38 was a better fork overall but they chose the zeb over it simply because it was easier to setup.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: I really think it's a matter of preference. I couldn't ride the grip2 without heavy internal re-tune so maybe fox can make an excellent ifp damper for some people? I haven't properly tried the charger 3 and have little motivation to. Honestly between charger 1,2 and 2.1 that I have one each on my bikes, the first one seemed by far the most tunable and with a good homemade air spring it's the best fork I have, despite being a few generations behind the latest forks I have.
  • 2 2
 @TheSlayer99: In the UK you can buy a Zeb or Lyrik and a pike select for your hardtail for the same price as a 38 or 36, plus RS has the stiffer chassis, more reliable crown / less likely to creak, generally more reliable, needs less maintenance and has a better / faster warranty service and arguably better performance throughout the range except the 40 and easier it set up.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: As the owner of a 2.1 Zeb Ultimate I wish I had a 38. The only benefit over the 36 it replaced is chassis stiffness, and even then I’d almost rather run the 36 because it performs better.

The only reason to by a zeb over a 38 is because you can buy a 2.1 zeb used for a third of the price of a new 38. But then to get equivalent performance out of it you have to shell out the cost of another Zeb so unless you’re ok with subpar performance and being boxed into a specific setup the 38 is a better buy.
  • 1 1
 @TheSlayer99: I think rider preference would have something to say. I have tried quite a few 38s and was always really happy to get back on a Zeb.

That said, I did prefer a 36 to a 38. Not to a Zeb, but I just really can't get along with a 38 at all.
  • 1 0
 @MrDuck: I can see what you’re saying but the zeb is objectively just ok stock. The C1 (A1 for the zeb) style air spring is probably the worst air spring design out of anything put in a fork in the last decade. The damping isn’t bad it’s just hard to compensate for the air spring being so terrible. Similarly the charger 3 Zeb didn’t really fix the a1 airspring being too progressive and the damping got worse.
  • 1 1
 @TheSlayer99: You can make arguments for the damper on the 38 but that’s about it. Everything else is better on the Zeb biggest being the chassis and the reliability but like you said Fox is significantly more expensive, it should be significantly better not might have a nicer damper depending on who you ask but worse everywhere else including service times and the fact you can get a pike with the change makes the Zeb a much better deal all things considered.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: What is exactly better on Zeb? Besides, Fox is more expensve for SMRP, but as of today, I can buy factory 38 for the same price as Zeb Ultimate (or whatever it is called now). Fox has an air spring whch much less friction, Zeb has this butter cups made to compansate for too much friction in their design.
  • 1 1
 @TheSlayer99: Oh I agree the Zeb s air spring was a failure when it came out. I got a luftkappe in asap and that brought the fork way ahead. Though I'd call the C1 air spring too linear rather than progressive. I couldn't put in enough tokens to get some ramp up near the end in the stock setup.
  • 2 1
 @lkubica: stiffer chassis / crown way less likely to start creaking, more reliable / less maintenance. Performance wise it depends on who you ask some people say Fox some people say RS so giving the benefit of doubt say they’re both pretty similar. So add all that up plus the fact you get a free fork thrown in for your hardtail if you go with RS makes it an absolute no brainer for anyone who’s not racing. If you’re a racer Fox is great choice as you’ve got support at every event and the fact it needs more maintenance and is more likely to break less of an issue.
  • 2 1
 @thenotoriousmic: Sorry but every review on the internet says that 38 has a stiffer chasis... No creacking reported for 38.
  • 2 1
 @lkubica: haven’t seen a single one. RS has a better stiffer chassis throughout their entire range with the exception of the 40. The joint between the crown and steerer is the weakest part on any single crown fork and that’s where fox seems to be struggling watch any huck to flat video for proof. RS has a much more robust joint that’s way less likely to creak though still a common fault.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Its actually more often the interface between stanchions and crown that creaks, according to s4 suspension.
@lkubica: Oh come on how did you miss that? The first Gen 38 we literally sent every single one back in less than 7 rides for creaking issues. They've improved but certainly didn't get good. 36 easily outlasts a 38 which is sad.
  • 2 0
 @TheSlayer99: I have a Zeb on 1 bike and a 38 on another, I like the zeb more. I'd offer a trade if it wasn't already customized. On the 38 I have hsc cranked and it's not nearly enough, I'm not convinced that knob does anything. It seems like fox tuned it for the average rider who should be on a 36, though that probably is most of the people who have one.
  • 11 0
 I see a red Zeb and I want it painted black...
  • 10 0
 Everything is faster in red.
  • 6 0
 I don't know what the 3.0 is worth but there are dozens of them on the second hand market right now and the prices are low. Doesn't seem to be a bargain. I'm quite happy with the 2.1 version.
  • 2 0
 2.1 is better in my opinion
  • 7 0
 I swear the 3 came out like a month ago, time flies when you're having fun apparentlySmile
  • 5 0
 Yeah I just bought it and installed it in my Zeb, like, last week! Already on obsolete tech, goddamnit! Wink
  • 4 0
 Welcome to the cycling industry baby!
  • 8 1
 As I scrolled down for the comments, also no comments.
  • 4 0
 The update that this needs is a smaller diameter air shaft like the new Boxxer and 38 to make more room for negative volume and not have to seal directly against the stanchions which are prone to bending/binding.
  • 4 5
 So essentially a Fox 38 air spring.
  • 4 3
 @surfotaku: god I hope not. Too pricey to buy and a pain to maintain properly.
  • 2 2
 @somebody-else: Also the only modern air spring I've seen leaking into lowers on new ish forks when I worked at shops. Not sure how the spring itself performs because the grip2 is so over damped I couldn't really ride the fork.
  • 1 0
 @somebody-else: Check the parts and price for the new boxxer air spring
You have to buy three items separately: the tube, seal head and the piston/shaft…
  • 7 1
 Unpopular opinion, red is just as bad as orange. That said gimme Judy yellow
  • 2 0
 I was with you until you asked for yellow.

Why is only the Sid in blue? That would suit my bike much better
  • 4 1
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TLDR They sell all the things to anyone.
  • 1 1
 Do you know how many websites have a little social media "iframes" that just push your data to all the big advertisers? Hint: almost all of them.
  • 6 1
 Dario should be sent to all the trade shows, just saying. And I’m not even affiliated with PB, I just like his articles
  • 5 0
 you turfin' bro?
  • 3 1
 I wonder how many people here slagging on the Charger 3 Have spent time on it. I’ve had forks with both the Charger 2.1 and 3 dampers and can say that the new damper is pretty amazing. It definitely has less of the top sensitivity than the 2.1 but I don’t notice any more fatigue when actually riding and the high speed performance is impressive.
  • 4 1
 And how many have had a 2.1 leak and need a $250 USD part because you can't service it?
  • 1 0
 @schili: had a friend ruined 4 park days as the bladder kept blowing off the lips
  • 1 0
 The people 'slagging' it here, one is a tuner with pretty excellent knowledge in suspension. You can say it feels amazing, that doesn't change the facts about the design from a tuning and maintenance perspective.
  • 5 0
 Yes, this eMTB comes with a Zeb and Level brakes.
  • 3 0
 And an in-line shock
  • 4 0
 me and my 2019 charger 2.1 pike ultimate and a can of red spray paint honest reaction to that information:
  • 1 0
 Anyone tried Luft Fusion? Only reviews I've found appear to be from the guy that made it, and one person left a note on it that it got stuck and the fork is basically done for now. Wondering how it compares to the DebonAir and DebonAir+ air spring. The former had almost no mid support and was divey while the latter has good mid support but almost always leaves 15+mm unused travel even on big hits. Curious if the Luft Fusion is better/does what it says, and also doesn't cock up the fork.

Maybe this new Zeb has a new air spring that has the best of both prior springs?
  • 1 0
 You can chat about bladders, shims and whatnot but all that really matters is what is observed in this post! It’s amazing that the industry is pushing product out with fundamental flaws like these. It’s 2024 for fecks sake. Why is it so hard?
  • 4 1
 Probably best to wait ‘til charger 3.1.1, once they get those new new issues sorted.
  • 2 0
 I’m no mechanic or bike expert but my charger 3 has felt great

I will probably drop the 3.1 damper in my Lyrik next summer
  • 1 0
 So others feel like their Zeb Ultimate with Charger 3 damper and buttercups is overly harsh on small bump? I have a few friends who rave about theirs and I'm over here missing my Lyrik Select + vs my current Zeb Ultimate.
  • 4 0
 Red, the color of fast.
  • 3 0
 hopefully they make the air spring less progressive
  • 1 0
 I think the posting was mainly to show the Zeb with level brakes. I remember attending a bike show where one both had bikes with Manitou forks installed backwards!
  • 2 0
 "Looks like red Zebs aren't just going to be for the pros"
Yes. They call that a "marketing strategy"
  • 4 2
 Extra $150 for that EMTB sticker
  • 3 2
 Don’t forget the extra HP it gives you though.
  • 1 0
 Oh come on you got it right with the Boxxer metallic red, why back to bright cherry?
  • 2 0
 Can the new Zeb win over Seb? Staying tuned to find out.
  • 1 0
 No it can’t.
  • 1 0
 My Lyrik had the same E-MTB sticker and it was surprisingly difficult to remove!
  • 1 0
 seems as the pressure release valves on the back are of the same design as the new Boxxer, so no pin to push anymore
  • 2 0
 It’ll match the red super deluxe coil so well
  • 2 0
 I'll take bright red over bright orange.
  • 1 0
 How many of are are old enough to actually get the Pulp Fiction reference? Be honest now Smile
  • 1 1
 I knew that pestering @jessemelamed and his instagram when ever the red ZEB was pictured would turn out great. Thanks Jesse and @SramMedia
  • 7 7
 Bro the Zeb is only 2 years old at most and has gotten a damper update ready, what could they possibly be changing?
  • 33 0
 It's actually almost 4 years old, but who's counting?
  • 60 1
 @mikekazimer: not me aparantly
  • 2 0
 @eae903: this is the second update, it was released with the charger 2.1 I believe, then 3 w/buttercups, and now 3.1
  • 2 0
 They might be softening the damping a bit?
I really like the Charger 3 damper but some reckoned it was a bit harsh for them and we can see plenty of moaners in the comments here.
  • 1 0
 The updates all got backed up with Covid so expect them to be quicker than normal for a while longer.
  • 2 1
 They are changing enough to market it as all new and convince people to buy it because its 1% better. Basically the bike industry standard operating procedure these days.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: so, harsh like the original Charger? Are they stuck in a loop here?
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: zeb is just for real MEN 90+ killos
  • 1 0
 I suspect it will have the new airshaft tech from the BOXXER as well...
  • 1 0
 ....." say what one more motherf#cking time"

classic movie
  • 1 0
 I'll stick with my red 180mm lyrik thanks
  • 1 0
 I got a lyrik for the red, thankfully I liked it too.
  • 1 0
 No bleeder valves on ultimate in picture ???
  • 1 0
 The Zebb is red baby, Zebb is red...
  • 1 0
 Any clue when this is released??!!
  • 1 0
 Hell Yes Red!
  • 1 1
 Have they fixed the creaky steerers? 3 csus for me (one arrived creaky!!!)
  • 2 4
 No USD No care
  • 1 0
 (An only halfway serious sarcastic comment on the rise of upside down forks)







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