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RockShox Fork Upgrade

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Does your bike have a RockShox Lyrik, Yari, Pike, or Revelation fork without the newest top-tier damper and air spring? If you’re wanting better performance, you can easily upgrade your fork’s internal parts to transform your mid-level fork into the top-tier RockShox Ultimate fork.

So in this blog, we’re going to show how you can easily change a few parts in your current fork to have that top shelf performance without having to buy a whole new fork.

rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rcts debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike

There’s 4 extremely common RockShox forks on bikes today. Those are the Lyrik, the Yari, the Pike and the Revelation. Now here’s a little more in-depth look at those forks. We tried our best to make this as easy to understand as possible, so bear with me.

RockShox Forks

First, let’s cover the RockShox forks for enduro and aggressive riding: the Lyrik and Yari.

The chassis of the Lyrik and Yari are nearly identical with the exact same lowers and 35mm stanchions, but the Lyrik’s crown is slightly lighter and stiffer. We honestly don’t think anybody would really notice this on the trail though, and the real differences are within the dampers.

The Yari was the Lyrik’s more mid-level and affordable younger brother and used a Motion Control damper, which is a sealed unit that has both air and oil all in the same cartridge. Since there’s air in the oil, you’ll lose consistency and overall the fork will feel like it’s skipping over small bumps, especially on longer descents when more air mixes with the oil.

rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rcts debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike red
rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rcts debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike red

The Lyrik is the high-end option and came with the RockShox Charger Damper.

This uses and expanding bladder and that combined with it being totally sealed with no air within the oil and damper results in better sensitivity and consistency. Charger damper forks just feel like they’re glued to the ground with tons of traction and predictability. It feels like every tiny bump is being absorbed and you don’t at all feel like you’re skipping around like with the Motion Control damper. The most common Charger Damper out on the trails is the RC model with only adjustable low speed compression and rebound.

On the air side, these forks use the RockShox Debonair air spring which has a large negative air spring for super supple sensitivity on small bumps

rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rcts debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike silver
rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rcts debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike silver

Alright now let’s take a peek at the RockShox forks for trail riding: The Pike and Revelation.

Both of these forks are less “heavy duty” than the Lyrik and Yari and will be more lightweight but less stiff and are designed for less aggressive riding. The Revelation used to have 32mm stanchions until 2018 when it was redesigned with 35mm stanchions, so now both of these forks have 35mm stanchions making them very similar.

Upgrades

The newest version of the Charger damper is the Charger 2.1. This version’s piston and rod were redesigned with less stiction and a new tune to give the fork better mid-stroke support without any harsh sensations.

The newest version of the Debonair Air Spring has a totally redesigned seal head with less stiction, and the air shaft is hollow to create an even larger negative air volume for even better small bump sensitivity.

rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rcts debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike

If you have any RockShox Lyrik, Yari, Pike or 35mm Revelation that isn’t the top-tier Ultimate series, then you’re totally able to upgrade your fork’s air spring to the newest Debonair air spring and Charger 2.1 damper which comes in the Ultimate series forks.

Then you will virtually upgrade your mid-grade fork up to that top-tier Ultimate Series since you will have the same damper and airspring that comes in the Lyrik Ultimate and Pike Ultimate.

Both of these forks use a RockShox DebonAir air spring which makes the fork feel super supple due to the large negative air chamber volume. The newest version of the DebonAir air spring has a totally redesigned seal head which has less stiction than the previous version. The airshaft itself is now hollow which creates an even larger negative air chamber volume which has even better small bump sensitivity than the previous version

So there’s the rundown on the popular RockShox forks, one of which you probably have. But why the heck should you upgrade??

rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rcts debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike

Why Upgrade?

If you want your fork to be more sensitive to small bumps, have more mid-stroke support, have more adjustability and overall just feel smoother, then upgrading your damper and/or air spring will make you pretty darn happy and save you a bunch of money over buying a fancy new fork.

There are 2 ways we recommend upgrading your fork: Either upgrade your air spring alone, or upgrade the air spring and damper together.

rockshox fork upgrades upgrade kit rc2 2.1 damper rct3 damper debonair airspring mike randol mtb mountain bike galbraith  mountain lyrik ultimate

Upgrading the air spring by itself is only $42, and you’ll have more small bump sensitivity, less stiction and increased mid-stroke support. However, upgrading your damper and air spring together will yield the absolute best results with even more small bump sensitivity, even less stiction, even better mid-stroke support and more adjustability.

The Charger 2.1 upgrade kit is available in either RC2 or RCT3.

RC2 version offers adjustable rebound, low speed compression and high speed compression and will be better suited for longer travel bikes where adjustability on big hits is important.

rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rcts debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike red

The RCT3 version has adjustable rebound, low speed compression and a 3 position switch with open, pedal and firm modes. Since this damper has more of a dedicated lockout this might be a better option for shorter travel bikes where locking out your fork at the flip of a switch is important.

rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rct3 debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike red

But can you actually feel the difference?

Yes!

This is going to be one of those upgrades that you can actually feel improvements from. We have customers come into the shop all the time who upgrade their fork with the Debonair air spring, and then return after a week of riding with their wife’s bike for the upgrade because it felt so much better. And the next week their son’s bike, etc.

Price and Install?

Debonair air springs are a no brainer upgrade at only $42. Depending on the damper you choose and your fork’s compatibility, damper upgrade kit prices range from $250 to $375 which is of course way cheaper than dropping $1,000 for a whole new Pike or Lyrik Ultimate.

Compatibility wise there are a few different variations of these Charger damper upgrade kits and DebonAir air spring kits. In order to check to make sure you're buying the right parts for your fork, you can hop over to RockShox website. They have an app called Trailhead where you can take the serial number and input it into the app. The app will tell you exactly year and model your fork is and tell you the exact part numbers for the upgrade kits for the damper and airspring as well as any other parts you need. We definitely recommend using the trailhead app before you order parts.

If you click here, you can head over to the Trailhead App now.

rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rcts debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike fork serial number location
rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rcts debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike fork serial number location detail

The serial number of your fork is located on the back of the forks crown

Installation is a breeze as well, and if you can service your lowers at home, then you can easily upgrade your air spring and damper. While you don’t technically need to drop your lowers to install a new damper, we always recommend servicing your fork with new dust wipers if yours are tired, or at least packing your current ones with fresh grease. That way, you aren’t holding back the performance of your new internal upgrades with sticky dust wipers that only cost about 30 bucks.

rockshox charger damper rc2 2.1 rct3 debonair air spring lyrik pike revelation yari upgrade kit ultimate series mtb mountain bike red

Well there you have it! That’s the rundown on how you can upgrade the performance of your RockShox Lyrik, Yari, Pike or Revelation. There’s some other little tidbits of information here and there, but we covered the majority of important information.

Until next time, Happy Trails!

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ABOUT THE RIDER/WRITER

NAME AGE HEIGHT WEIGHT LOCATED

Mike Randol

29

5'7"

150 lbs

Bellingham, WA

Current Bikes: 2020 Kona Process 153 CR/DL Custom Build
 
Bike Size: Medium
 
Favorite Trails: Dirt Merchant in Whistler, Chuckanut Mountain Trails in Bellingham

About me: I grew up hucking my bike off curbs in the suburbs of Chicago. I moved out to the PNW in 2014 and opened The Lost Co in 2016. I freaking love riding long rough descents and really pushing my body to the limit. I'll straight up ride any type of bike but really prefer long travel 27.5" bikes. However, mid-travel 29r's are growing on me...
 

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