Zeb? Yes, that's right, RockShox's new, extra-beefy single crown fork is called the Zeb. That name comes from Zebulon Pike, the explorer who was traipsing around in the mountains near RockShox's present-day Colorado Springs, Colorado, headquarters back in the early 1800s.
Unique name aside, the Zeb is positioned between the Lyrik and the dual-crown Boxxer, and it's designed for use on enduro and e-bikes. Available travel amounts range from 160mm all the way up to 190mm, in 10mm increments, for either 27.5" or 29" wheels.
RockShox Zeb Ultimate Details
• Travel: 160, 170, 180, 190mm
• Wheel size: 27.5" or 29"
• Stanchions: 38mm
• Damper: Charger 2.1 RC2
• Offset: 38mm (27.5"), 44mm (27.5", 29”)
• Optional mud guard
• Actual weight: 2250 grams (170mm 29")
• MSRP: $999 USD
• More info: www.rockshox.com
There are a total of five different models, with the top spot occupied by the Zeb Ultimate that's pictured here. That fork gets all of the bell and whistles, including a Charger 2.1 damper with externally adjustable rebound and high- and low-speed compression. Next comes the Zeb Select+, an option that'll only be available on complete bikes. It too uses the Charger 2.1 damper, but loses the high-speed compression adjustment.
The Zeb Select is the next option down the line, which, like the Select+ has adjustable low-speed compression and rebound, but via a Charger RC damper.
The two least expensive (and least adjustable) options are aimed more at the e-bike crowd. The only adjustments on the Zeb R are air pressure and rebound – it doesn't get much simpler than that. There's also a dual position version of that fork that can be switched from 180mm of travel down to 150mm with the turn of a dial. Details
Increased stiffness was the driving factor behind Zeb's larger stanchions and new arch design, but within reason – a fork that's too stiff can feel harsh and difficult to handle on long, rough tracks, no matter how good the internals are.
So exactly how much stiffer is the Zeb than a Lyrik? According to RockShox, it's 21.5% stiffer torsionally, 7% stiffer when it comes to side bending, and 2% stiffer fore / aft. Those numbers are comparing a 180mm Lyrik to a 180mm Zeb.
Extra stiffness usually comes with a little more weight, and my 29” 170mm Zeb Ultimate test fork weighed in at 2250 grams. For reference, that's 250 grams more than a Lyik, and 180 grams less than the recently released Fox 38.
The Zeb's arch is tipped slightly forward in order to provide a little more head tube clearance. Extra-girthy head tubes are apparently becoming more common, although it's happening more in the eMTB arena. Speaking of e-bikes, there's a 1.8” tapered steerer option. 1.8” steerers first popped up at Eurobike last year
, and at the moment, it still seems like the 1.8” steerer is going to remain in the motorized realm. Of course, when a company as big as RockShox gets behind something it's probably only going to become more common in the coming years.
Other external details include the ability to run a bolt-on fender (finally) using the three holes on the back of the arch, and to run a 200mm rotor without needing any adaptors. No tiny rotors allowed here – 200mm is the smallest you'll be able to go. The Zeb uses a 15mm thru-axle, so 20mm thru-axle fans will need to keep on waiting for that standard to make a comeback in the single crown world.
Side note: I really wish brake manufacturers could settle on either 200 or 203mm rotors. Pick one or the other, please; there's no need for both to exist. It's great that a Code caliper can bolt right onto the Zeb without needing to dig for an adaptor, but riders in the Shimano camp will still need to run two 1.5mm washers to get their brake caliper to align properly. What's Inside?
Inside of the Zeb Ultimate you'll find a Charger 2.1 damper, which uses the same expanding bladder design that's used in a Lyrik or Pike. They're not cross-compatible, though, because the Zeb's damper has been designed to fit those 38mm stanchions.
The same goes for the DebonAir air spring. It's similar, but not identical to the recently updated spring
found in the Lyrik and Pike, which positions the spring on the stanchion dimple that allows air to pass from the negative to the positive chamber, allowing the fork to ride higher in its travel. The Zeb's negative air volume is larger in order to give the fork an even more supple initial portion of its travel.
Thanks to the increased air volume in the Zeb, the recommended air pressures are relatively low. Those lower pressures mean that changing adding or subtracting a pound or two of pressure makes a more noticeable difference than it would on a fork that requires higher pressure. Ride Impressions
I have about a dozen rides on the Zeb so far, plenty of time to experiment and find the settings that work best for me. At 160 pounds I'm currently running 55 psi and no volume spacers, while in a Lyrik, I'll typically run 1-2 spacers and 80 psi. Even without any volume spacers there's a nice smooth ramp up at the end of the stroke, and despite my best (or worst) efforts I haven't had any nasty bottom outs.
The Zeb's damper and air spring are very similar to the Lyrik, but the two forks do feel different on the trail. The Zeb has a more muted feel than the Lyrik when faced with repeated impacts, as if a thin layer of memory foam was laid over the ground. It's similar to the difference in feel between running a DH casing versus a single-ply, trail casing tire. The Zeb seems to filter out the small vibrations differently than the Lyrik, transmitting a little less trail feedback to the handlebar. There's still a very usable range of high- and low-speed damping, it just that even all the way open the Zeb seems like it takes the edge of sharp hits a little differently than a Lyrik.
I've taken the Zeb on multiple 3,000 ft descents and haven't had any issues with it being too stiff. The extra stiffness is noticeable, although it is worth mentioning that I don't have any complaints about the stiffness or damping performance of a Lyrik. With the Zeb, that extra stoutness can be felt on steep, sharp turns, the type where most of your weight is directly on the fork, and on rough straightaways, when letting off the brakes and blowing through is the best option, or at least the most fun.
How does it compare to the Fox 38? Well, the Zeb is less expensive by $200, and it wins in the weight game, coming in at 2250 grams compared to the Fox at 2430 grams. The 38 does have independently adjustable high-speed rebound damping, plus it's got those nifty air bleed ports on the back of the legs, and a pinch bolt axle system.
I've been very happy with the performance of both forks so far, but since both are brand new options this season it's worth taking an even deeper dive into their handling to see if there are any areas where one really stands above the other. Pinkbike's Dan Roberts has been putting both forks to the test on the steeps of Champéry – look for an in-depth head-to-head comparison later this summer.
SRAM needs to work on their naming structure for their forks.
Nop no . A 38.99 sir !!!
Edit; lol, just found it....file this in the same file as "Fanny" aka Fanny Pack for you Britts....for him
thought the same thing...
Actually, Zeb sounds also close to ridiculous in French...
What's not to like about that?
Wait. Is that why the commencal website had photos of meta am with pixelated forks? It was a Zeb, you can't show a photo of a zeb on a bike website.
A ZOB is a dick... in arabic, also used in french.
ZEB, in arabic still, is the green thing you can smoke to get high if you see what I mean...
You'd think that Sram has a big enough Marketing dep. to maybe take two minutes and ask their local branches of the names are usable accross the world, like you know International Marketing 1-o-1 ...
My main fork currently is the Marz Z1(simplified 36), and it's been feeling great at 150
To the editors: I'm the right height to ride the same bikes as the Mikes and I'm just down the road - be happy to put in a few Galby laps to offer the 240lb perspective
Only on certain hubs, they added useless rings so people didn’t have a hard time lining up the hub to get the axle in.
The real torque caps make a real difference.
Hey bud sorry I honestly thought i was being helpful.
Turns out you’re just stupid.
35mm, triple clamp, weight around 2300/2400?
Zebulon Pike mostly bumbled through his explorations getting captured multiple times by Mexico and Native Americans and his whole party was trapped and nearly froze through at least one winter. None-the-less, he failed upward enough to get a 14er named after him that he never summited along with a bunch of "Pikesvilles" throughout the suburban US.
Would be a good option for someone wanting more on the front of their 180mm rig. Or (lighter) riders building a park bike with 200 front and back. Bar spins at rampage?
Those extra 10mm might have pushed it over that edge.
Could also be that they didn't want the fork to overlap with the Boxxer. It's not unusual. It creates a psychological limit for the customer in terms of what the fork is capable of.
Ma Zeub: French slang for Penis
What will be heard in France once this hits the trail:
"Ma Zeub est trop raide" : My ZEB is too stiff
Where the modified Lyrik is "better" - parking lot feel and some small bump compliance at low to moderate speeds.
Mezzer is more composed at speed, tracks better, handles chunk better. The bottom out with HBO is awesome as well. I love that I can adjust the travel easily as well. I bet 170 or 180 would put the small bump on par with the Lyrik as well.
Oh and it's ~ 2030grams after cutting the steerer for an XL bike.
Probably because most bikes come with RS, or Fox. So that is what MOST people can relate to.
The mezzer has larger diameter stanchions than the Lyrik, but weighs about the same. That makes me think that the wall thickness was made thinner to save weight, which would mean it dents more easily.
Manitou claimed that the Reverse arch increased stiffness and decreased weight, so maybe they weren't lying.
Regardless, how many times are you dropping or hitting your fork on the stanchion hard enough to dent it, but not hard enough to scratch it and damage it?
@mikekazimer apologies for getting your nationality wrong.
Further though, some jump to incorrect presumption of intent which leads to unnecessary offence, on their own part.
My personal view is Maxwell didn't kill herself.
We are currently testing both forks as well as many other exciting models as part of our big enduro fork group test – be excited.
Lets hope the Mezzer is part of the Test.
je pleurerai seul dans la forêt
White is torsional stiffness, grey braking stiffness
The Helm I got to replace those creaky forks has been sufficiently torsionally and laterally stiff and a year in still isn't creaking. Maybe the Fox 38 will be the first SC Fox fork to not start creaking almost immediately.
I am deeply saddened by this news.
For Fox sake No! Just No!
(That goes out to my fellow middle aged spitting image loving Brits )
"We vould have liked to see the more rigid ZEB vs the lightweight Lyric that comes specced on the bike"
Try to score a deal on a Lyrik as everyone scrambles for a Zeb, or join the masses and try to scrounge more cash and pony up for a Zeb?
I do like that it’s lighter and cheaper than the 38 though. Good move there.
I’ve been low key in the market for a fork for a while now. But I totally agree with the sentiment.
Currently rocking a long offset yari with motion control damper and solo air spring.
Looking for a short offset fork with a better damper, and even though I can upgrade the yari, the math tells me it’s a better deal to upgrade to a whole new fork if I can get a good deal on it.
Or put another way.
New CSU + new air spring + new damper ~= new fork - selling the yari.
So a new fork might actually make sense. Just depends on the deals.
OMG...I'm like so offended at that anti-capatalistic, economy killing, commie talk...
Just because you have a product that serves it purpose perfectly well and is working excellently, it doesn't mean you shouldn't buy the latest and more expensive replacement.
If we all went around "keeping the forks you have" what then? Oh so now your brakes are perfectly good, get serviced when needed and could run another 2 seasons...
Well buddy... You and your fellow "make do'ers" are everything that's wrong with this world. I say replace everything just because you can... Buy... Buy... BUY!!!
Together, we can use all unnecessary resources... Together, we can increase obsolescence and reduce longevity... Together, we can ruin this world...
Oh, Son... If you see your mom this weekend... Be sure to tell her...
Satan... Satan... Satan...
(medical help is being sought)
Lighter I see.
But cheaper? Looks like the same $999 price point everywhere I look? They have them cheaper on their site, but its a sale price, and none are in stock in short offset 29'er.
Save your money and buy from th classifieds. Lots of nice, used forks from people who don't know that the latest and greatest is barely better...
"I expect a street price for the Zeb to be higher than the lyric."
A beautiful line. Is that you Irvine?
If it was sarcasm, then disregard the comment.
I can see that some people want a stiffer fork, for whom surely a lyrik/boxxer hybrid would be a better proposition. I had a totem and while I loved it, the huge legs and huge seals definitely didn't help the action.
It makes me wonder - did Cannondale build frames with dual-crown approved construction standards? Like, could you run a dual-crown on a 2017 Jekyl and not have issues with the head-tube splitting? Likewise, would a Lefty void the warranty of a bike not intended for dual crowns?
If Cannondale made a 140-160 Lefty for 29ers that didn't require a special hub (like Adroit developed), I'd be all about it.
@leelau thought it was time to put this back into service.
Quite the turn, as just a few years ago he was almost a regular pb contributor. Let this be a lesson to us all to not use the internet while drunk.
brokemywristfallingoffmybike account looks suspect.
Never give everything you got in one package. Sell those innovations partly and you will get bigger profit.
The motivation is in the last sentence. Remember, this is SRAM we're talking about.
On factory bikes like the Commencal Clash Ride where there fitting the base model ZEB, how would that do for Freeride? Go a little extra on the air to get the desired feel?
And do you know if the base model has some sort of fixed damping??
Thats why they've done it. Knobbers.
still ROCK solid, still buttery smooth.... have one set of back-up seals if/when I need them
mine's the rare 1.5 steer tube model
You had cool names there for a while, Rock Shox. You had a good run. "Faak" would've been a good one for this.
These kinds of absurd prices will destroy the sport for the average rider . No one except a pro would benefit from such a fork and even that’s debatable .
The bike industry has gone off the rails and are pushing more potential riders away from the sport .
Some of the most fun i ever had was on my old cimarron MTb . Rim brakes , cro mo frame , no suspension , but fun as hell .and only about four or five hundred bucks.
It has bigger stanchions but wil the CSU will still in 6 months
The Zeb has bigger stanchions but the CSU will still creak in 6 months
My experience on a Boxer and Pike at the same bike park would suggest otherwise.
I am waiting for the EXT while riding my 36 (luckily doesn't make clicking noises) and my Lyrik.
It's specced on some of the new Clash's ....
But how about the version without damping control. Is that version still gonna be fun and useful for Freeride?
Question is how does it compare to the Mezzer?
Who's motorcycle is this?
It's a chopper baby.
Who's chopper is this?
Zeb's dead baby, Zeb's dead.
I would guess it's around 20..25%?
*Caveat: if the sag number is super low, like low-teens or single digit, and you're not Aaron Gwin or Amaury Pierron, then yes tell us, and explain why. Or if it's super high, like 40s or up, also tell and explain.
I'll wait for the coil version with a 20mm axle, the TOTEM
40 40 was the # , 40 why, why ??
Zeb's dead, baby. Zeb's dead.
Little typo, methinks?
I use one year round. Ever get poop flung up in your face? No? Lucky you...
You just shot your argument down, if they included a fender then there would be no additional packaging to those who purchase it separately.!
f*ck your heavier, more flexy 15mm garbage.
SRAM - king of pushing the pointless “standards” until they just disappear.
mudguard is an extra $50
Seems like a winner to me.
mudguard is $20
It's lighter and cheaper than competition.
Yep, seems like a winner.
mudguard still costs, mine came with one.
Its heavier than the mezzer
"It's similar, but not identical to the recently updated spring found in the Lyrik and Pike"
So not the same as the new one.
Also, "The Zeb's negative air volume is larger in order to give the fork an even more supple initial portion of its travel."
Larger negative than what? The DebonAir OG or the DebonAir v2? Either way, it was mostly the massive negative chamber on the OG that made it feel like crap and "sit low in the travel".
Fellow PNW rider here. So much this.
Its not about keeping your clothes clean (that is well beyond a lost cause here). Its about being able to see while riding.
A big glob of mud/grit to the eye at 25mph isn't any fun. Goggles help, but sometimes those get pretty obscured as well if the weather is truly bad. A fender keeps that to a relative minimum.
So yeah, not just a fender, but a big one. My first thought looking at the optional fender was actually "I wonder if they will make a larger one".
That would be a good review/experiment. I’d gladly read and comment on that.
I live just over an hour south of Mike, and can say without a doubt that fenders have made a huge difference in my riding in the winter.
Interesting our experiences are so different. But can’t fault you for having different experiences.
On my old 26in bike with steep HTA and small wheels, the downtube and head tube caught a lot of the gunk.
On my ‘18 Kona process 29’er, the higher speeds it was capable of, the larger diameter wheels, and the slacker HTA meant I got tons more in my face.
At first i rode it without a fender like my old bike. That was bad. Like panic stop in the middle of a descent because I was blind bad. That happened three times on first time out.
First put a small fender on, which helped a lot, but still got muck in my eyes a couple of times. Mostly when trying to float the front wheel at speed (manual-ish movement).
Early last winter I got a huge fender It’s almost 3x longer than the little ones most people use, and that I had before.
I’ve since ridden in the worst conditions I’ve ever ridden in, and haven’t had a single panic braking moment because of temporary blindness. Enough for me to swear by using them at this point.
Join Pinkbike Login