Nov 16, 2023
Buyer's guide to RockShox suspension forks
We explain every RockShox suspension fork and the brand's key technologies
We explain every RockShox suspension fork and the brand's key technologies
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By Finlay Anderson
Published: March 29, 2023 at 3:00 pm
RockShox has been at the forefront of mountain bike suspension forks since the early days of mountain biking, releasing the first-ever telescopic fork, the RS-1, in 1991.
Since then, the brand has come to dominate the market, alongside Fox suspension forks.
In this article, we take a look at all the mountain bike forks in the RockShox stable, explaining the technology and intended use case that sets them apart.
The RockShox mountain bike suspension fork range covers every mountain biker's needs.
There are 13 models in its range, offering everything from triple-clamp downhill forks with 200mm of suspension travel to super-light forks designed for cross-country racing.
You can skip to specific models or our tech explainer at the end of this article by hitting the links below:
The RockShox ZEB is the brand's flagship enduro fork. Built around stiff 38mm stanchions, it's aimed at riders and racers who need maximum stiffness and travel from a single-crown package.
Sitting at the top of the range is the ZEB Ultimate, often found on some of the best enduro bikes on the market. Specced with a DebonAir+ air spring and the new Charger 3 RC2 damper, this fork also benefits from RockShox's ButterCup technology, and premium SKF wiper seals and Maxima Plush damper fluid.
The ZEB Ultimate also features Pressure Relief Valves on the fork lowers. Rounding out this flagship package is a machined and anodised crown for durability and weight reduction.
The ZEB Select+ shares many features with the flagship ZEB, including the DebonAir+ air spring, Charger 3 RC2 damper and Pressure Relief Valves, but it misses out on the vibration-damping ButterCups and machined crown.
The ZEB Select is specced with a DebonAir+ air spring and the more basic Charger RC damper. The rest of the technology is carried over from the Select+ model, apart from the Pressure Relief Valves, which can be retrofitted if desired.
The entry-level ZEB shares the same DebonAir+ air spring as its higher-end counterparts. However, it gets RockShox's new entry-level Rush RC damper for easy low-speed compression and rebound adjustability. The rest of the internals are borrowed from the ZEB Select.
The Lyrik is RockShox's most versatile fork. With 35mm stanchions, it is aimed at mountain bikers who want to be equipped to ride a variety of trails.
The top-of-the-range Lyrik Ultimate gets all the bells and whistles. It's equipped with a DebonAir+ air spring and Charger 3 RC2 damper, making it a popular choice for some of the best trail bikes.
Much like the ZEB, it also boasts ButterCup technology, Pressure Relief Valves, premium SKF seals and Maxima Plush damper fluid, as well as a machined and anodised crown.
The Lyrik Select+ also gets most of RockShox's top-of-the-line technology, such as the DebonAir+ air spring and Charger 3 RC2 damper. While it also benefits from Pressure Relief Valves and premium seals and damper fluid, it misses out on the ButterCups and machined crown.
The Lyrik Select has a DebonAir+ air spring, but not the premium Charger 3 RC2 damper, instead getting the more basic Charger RC with low-speed compression and rebound adjustment. It also lacks Pressure Relief Valves, but these can be retrofitted.
In its most basic guise, the Lyrik relies on a DebonAir+ air spring and entry-level Rush RC damper. The internal seals and damper fluid are shared with the rest of the line-up and you can also upgrade to Pressure Relief Valves.
The RockShox Pike is all about trail and downcountry riding. While it has the same 35mm stanchion diameter as the Lyrik, the Pike features a slimmed-down chassis to save weight.
The Pike Ultimate is packed full of flagship RockShox technology. Like the ZEB and Lyrik Ultimate, it features a DebonAir+ air spring, Charger 3 RC2 damper, Pressure Relief Valves and ButterCups. Premium SKF seals, Maxima damper fluid and a machined and anodised crown complete the package.
The Pike Select+ is treated to almost all the same technology as the Pike Ultimate, but misses out on the ButterCups and the machined crown.
The Pike Select gets a more basic Charger RC damper, with easy-to-adjust low-speed compression and rebound. Apart from the Pressure Relief Valves, which can be retrofitted, the Pike Select shares the same DebonAir+ air spring, seals and damper fluid as the rest of the Pike line-up.
RockShox's entry-level trail fork, the Pike, shares the same Rush RC damper as the other base models in the signature trail and enduro range. It also has the same internal seals and damper fluid. Pressure Relief Valves are available as a retrofittable upgrade.
Designed specifically for use on dirt jump and slopestyle bikes, the Pike DJ features a custom-tuned Charger damper and Solo Air air spring designed to offer maximum progression for harsh landings and heavy compressions.
The Pike DJ is available with 100 or 140mm of travel and is exclusive to 26in wheels.
The RockShox BoXXer is a triple-clamp fork designed for downhill racers with 35mm stanchions.
The BoXXer Ultimate is the flagship model. It has a Charger 2.1 damper and a downhill-tuned DebonAir air spring. It uses SKF wiper seals and Maxima Plush damper fluid.
The BoXXer Select uses the same chassis and downhill-tuned DebonAir air spring as its flagship counterpart. It relies on a Charger RC damper and uses Maxima Plush damper fluid.
The SID is RockShox's flagship cross-country fork. It's a light but stiff suspension fork for racing or setting hot laps on the local cross-country course. The SID is built with 35mm stanchions and is available for use only with 29in wheels.
The top-end SID Ultimate features RockShox's Charger Race Day damper, designed to be as light as possible, while offering a lockout platform for the climbs. The DebonAir air spring is tuned to deliver plenty of support and a higher ride height. A machined crown, SKF wiper seals and Maxima Plush damper fluid add the final touches.
The SID Select+ shares the same DebonAir air spring as the SID Ultimate, but it gets a Charger 2 RL damper and misses out on the machined crown. Other than that, it shares its seals and damper fluid with the flagship model.
The SID Select has a spec sheet that's almost identical to the more expensive Select+ model. The only difference is that it comes fitted with the older Charger RL damper.
The entry-level SID features the same DebonAir air spring, and SKF and Maxima internals paired with the basic Rush RL damper.
Designed for cross-country racers looking for the lightest fork available, the RockShox SID SL uses 32mm stanchions and specially machined lowers to shave as much weight as possible.
Four models are available (the SID SL Ultimate, SID SL Select+, SID SL Select and SID SL), which share the same internals as the RockShox SID forks.
The RockShox Domain is a more affordable version of the ZEB, aimed at budget-conscious enduro riders. It uses the same 38mm stanchion diameter as the more premium ZEB.
Two models are available: the Domain RC and Domain R. Both feature a DebonAir air spring and Maxima damper fluid. The RC model comes specced with the budget-friendly Motion Control RC damper, while RockShox remains tight-lipped on the Domain R's damper.
The RockShox Yari is an entry-level fork for trail, enduro and eMTB riders, and borrows design features from the Lyrik.
Only one model is available, the RockShox Yari RC, which features a DebonAir air spring and a Motion Control RC damper.
The RockShox Revelation is a budget fork for trail riding. It borrows design features from the Pike and has 35mm stanchions.
Like the Yari, only one model is available. Called the RockShox Revelation RC, it comes specced with a DebonAir air spring and Motion Control RC Damper, as well as Maxima Lower Leg Performance Lube.
The RockShox 35 is an entry-level fork that gets its name from its 35mm stanchions. It is available in three models, which can fit tyres up to 2.8in wide.
The RockShox 35 Gold RL comes built with a DebonAir air spring and a Motion Control damper.
The RockShox 35 Silver TK features either a Solo Air air spring or a Plush coil spring. RockShox doesn't specify which damper is used here.
The RockShox 35 Silver R is specced with a Plush coil spring and an unnamed damper, which offers rebound adjustment only.
The RockShox Reba is an affordable fork aimed at light trail or cross-country riding, that borrows design features from the SID.
One model is available, the RockShox Reba RL, which features a Solo Air air spring and Motion Control damping.
The RockShox Bluto is a fat bike suspension fork. Available with 100 or 120mm of travel, this fat-bike specific fork uses a Solo Air air spring and Motion Control damper.
The RockShox Judy is a budget-focused fork offering 100 or 120mm of travel with a 30mm chassis. There are options for 26, 27.5 and 29in wheels, accommodating mountain bike tyres up to 2.8in wide.
The RockShox Recon is a budget trail fork with 32mm stanchions. Different axle standards are catered for, from 9mm QR to Boost spacing. Travel varies between 80 and 150mm, depending on the spec.
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The Charger 3 is the latest RockShox damper, offering low- and high-speed compression adjustment, as well as rebound in its RC2 guise. The Charger 3 damper is available in the Ultimate and Select+ versions of the ZEB, Lyrik and Pike suspension forks.
The previous-generation Charger 2.1 damper is still in use on multiple forks in the RockShox line-up, such as the BoXXer Ultimate.
The damper comes in two configurations. The Charger 2.1 RC2 has low/high-speed compression and rebound adjustment, while the Charger 2.1 RCT3 has a three-position compression lever (open, pedal, lock) and rebound adjustment.
The Charger 2 is the predecessor of the Charger 2.1 and features the same RC2 and RCT3 configurations, as well as an RC option that offers adjustable low-speed compression and rebound.
There are a number of dampers used on entry-to-mid-level RockShox forks. These include the older Motion Control, seen on forks such as the Yari and Revelation, and the newer Rush damper found on forks such as the entry-level Pike, Lyrik and ZEB.
RockShox has several names to explain the adjustments a damper system allows, which are outlined in the chart below.
RockShox ButterCups are rubber isolators that sit at the bottom of the spring and damper shafts of the Ultimate versions of ZEB, Lyrik and Pike forks.
According to RockShox, the ButterCups reduced trail chatter by 20 per cent in its in-house tests. This should translate to reduced fatigue in the hands and arms on rough descents.
ButterCups are retrofittable and included in Charger 3 and DebonAir+ upgrade kits.
The DebonAir+ is RockShox's latest air spring and is seen on 2023 ZEB, Lyrik and Pike models.
Although the design is similar to its predecessor, the new DebonAir+ has a larger negative chamber and a tweaked equalisation design to improve sensitivity and mid-stroke support.
The RockShox DebonAir spring is the predecessor of the DebonAir+ and tuned versions are used across a wide range of models, from the BoXXer to the SID.
The SoloAir spring is RockShox's basic air spring and is found on forks such as the RockShox Reba and 35.
RockShox's Pressure Release Valves are small valves found on the back of the fork lowers, just under the seals. These enable the release of unwanted pressure build-up in the fork lowers, caused by changes in altitude or temperature.
RockShox Flight Attendant is an electronic suspension adjustment system that optimises your suspension damping on the fly using sensors in the forks, shock and cranks. The system also enables you to manually adjust compression modes using SRAM's AXS shifters.
It is found on Ultimate Flight Attendant models of the ZEB, Lyrik and Pike models, and you can fit it into non-equipped models of the same forks.
Finlay Anderson is a contributor at BikeRadar with more than five years of experience in the mountain bike industry. After getting hooked on enduro racing and moving to Scotland's Tweed Valley, Finlay found his passion producing visual and written content for some of the bike industry's leading media outlets and brands. He has worked as an editor and photographer for Enduro MTB Magazine, written for MBR magazine and bagged the front cover of MBUK Issue 412. Finlay spent two years following the Enduro World Series, capturing exciting stories from the world's fastest racers. When he's not working, Finlay loves sessioning turns at home and getting lost deep in the Scottish Borders on his gravel bike. As a keen rider, Finlay knows the importance of no-nonsense kit that stands up to the depths of Scottish winter.
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Subscribe to MBUK and get a pair of Crankbrothers Stamp 1 pedals as your welcome reward! Plus, save 25% off the subscription price!Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: ZEB Ultimate ZEB Select+ ZEB Select Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: Lyrik Ultimate Lyrik Select+ Lyrik Select Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: Pike Ultimate Pike Select+ Pike Select Pike DJ Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: BoXXer Ultimate BoXXer Select Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: SID Ultimate SID Select+ SID Select Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: SID SL Ultimate SID SL Select+ SID SL Select SID SL Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: Domain RC Domain R Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: RockShox Yari RC Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: RockShox Revelation RC Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: RockShox 35 Gold RL RockShox 35 Silver TK RockShox 35 Silver R Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: RockShox Reba RL Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: RockShox Bluto Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: RockShox Judy Intended use: Travel: Wheel sizes: RockShox Recon Charger 3 Charger 2.1 Charger 2.1 RC2 Charger 2.1 RCT3 Charger 2 Charger 2.1