by Dave Anderson
April 8, 2014
After what seems like a endless amount of teaser images, here’s the news on the new Rockshox RS-1.
The first obvious difference in the fork’s looks is that it’s an upside down or inverted design, reminiscent of Maverick’s SC32 or earlier Marzocchi RAC (and others); however, the RS-1 sheds weight and gains an impressive amount of stiffness thanks to it’s one piece carbon upper construction. It’s this stiffness of the chassis, combined with bushings closer to the axle reducing the fulcrum of forces on the axle, that creates a very high ride quality by reducing the friction from bonding forces to create a suspension action that’s very sensitive to small bumps in the beginning of the fork stroke. This sensitivity is further aided by the new Accelerator damper, similar to the Pike’s Charger, with Rapid Recovery.
To keep the torsional forces under control the dropouts have been designed around a new hub standard; Predictive Steering which sees the 15mm Maxle Ultimate compressing a 27mm diameter Torque Tube, incorporated into the hub, to become a structural part of the fork. At present this is only available with SRAM wheelsets, or as an optional hub though the design has been licenced to DT Swiss.
Available as a 29er only fork in 80/100/120 travel options, 49 and 51mm offset, the RS-1 weighs in at a claimed 1666g and will cost, a breathtaking, €1800ish by the time a hub is priced into the scenario.
After riding the fork in Moab for two days though, first on XC loops and then on a descent of Porcupine Rim it’s fair to say I was blown away at the performance of the fork on a mixture of buff undulating desert singletrack and 3500ft of rocky descent. For what is being marketed to the SID World Cup brigade, the RS-1 offered plenty of predictable steering through repeated rocky drops and hits, with no noticeable flutter and a ride quality similar to the Pikes I later rode the same trails on. For a 120mm XC fork that’s an impressive performance. We’ll be publishing a Speed Date Review of the RS-1 soon.
Here’s what SRAM have to say…
New RockShox RS-1
We set out to make the world’s most efficient XC racing suspension. We ended up with an entirely new world of racing.
When it came time to best our XC platform, it meant reevaluating every element that defines the most winning XC fork in world cup history. A ruthless approach to material optimization, an ultra efficient energy saving lockout and quite possibly the world’s lightest air spring – all designed to enable riders to find their next line. The outcome was something unexpected. A fork that ushers in a new-generation philosophy to XC rider efficiency, packaged in a chassis design never before seen by RockShox. RS-1 harnesses 25 years of creativity, refinement, and the courage to tackle the biggest engineering challenge of mountain bike suspension to date: the inverted chassis.
FULLY INTEGRATED. COMPLETELY OPTIMIZED.
Engineering the RS-1 enabled us to use a fully integrated approach, avoiding the need for unwanted material in the chassis. We completely reimagined the fork’s structure, blending the legs, crown and steerer tube in a carbon mainframe resulting in an unprecedented level of integration and material optimization. The fully integrated RS-1 carbon mainframe improves steering precision and stiffness – every single gram serving its intended purpose, and nothing more.
The missing link.
For decades, engineers wanting to reap the benefits of inverted designs had to choose between light and flexy, or torsionally stiff and heavy. A dilemma that hindered the performance gains of inverted forks from being fully realized. Now we can’t claim to have invented the inverted suspension chassis. But we can claim to be the first company to deliver a design that’s light enough for the World Cup, while simultaneously delivering a stiffer chassis than traditional forks. The break-through technology centers around a reimagined dropout/wheel interface. Predictive Steering features a stock 15mm Maxle Ultimate mated with a solid oversized axle running through the hub, the Torque Tube. When the system is clamped with the corresponding dropout, the Torque Tube axle becomes a structural part of the fork, providing unparalleled stiffness. Fork leg twisting is minimized. And, since Predictive Steering technology only adds material around the dropouts and on the hub’s axle, the weight difference compared to a standard 15mm through axle setup is minimal, while providing an unprecedented level of torsional stiffness for a lightweight, inverted fork. This technology gives even the best riders room to find a new line. And it’s only available on RS-1.
- RISE XX
- RISE 60 – 29”
- ROAM 50 – 29”
- Predictive Steering Hub
Conquer the small battles, win the war.
On the journey to find higher levels of rider efficiency, we observed that many XC racers tune their suspension to the hardest possible compression setting, looking for maximum pedaling efficiency under power. This leaves them having no choice but to endure the natural undulations and braking bumps found on every square inch of the trail. But this approach transfers speed killing, energy robbing vibration to the rider. Nothing solves the issue more efficiently than RS-1: the nature of the inverted design ensures the seals are constantly bathed in oil and minimizes binding between stanchions and bushings. The result is an unprecedented amount of small bump sensitivity, helping you stay more efficient everywhere on the trail and racetrack.
A Damper Designed For Acceleration
Contrary to popular belief, rewriting the rulebook isn’t all upside. After designing the fork chassis from the ground up, it meant developing an all-new damper to eek every percent of performance out of the RS-1. A tall order, but one that RockShox fully embraced.
We started by reevaluating how XC athletes produce efficient power and navigate course conditions while fatigued. We created a firmer lockout for moments of maximum sprint efficiency. We eliminated material redundancies by housing the circuit in a sealed cartridge, reducing weight. Then air was eliminated from the damper circuit ensuring absolute consistency. The Dig Valve’s compression tune was created to manage diving during successive hits and heavy braking. We added the Rapid Recovery system to keep the fork riding high, in the plushest part of the travel. We even made the cartridge easily serviceable in the race pits or at your local shop. We believe the Accelerator Damper crystallizes the performance of RS-1 by helping riders turn every pedal stroke into acceleration towards the top step of the podium.
RockShox Bottomless Tokens
that bottomless feeling
- Easily tune your air volume in RS-1, Reba, SID, and Revelation
- Tokens thread in to topcaps just like they do in PIKE
- Black tokens designed to work in 32mm upper tubes
- Wheel Size – 29”
- Travel (mm) – 80/100/120mm
- Stanchions – 32mm aluminum, Fast Black
- Steerer – Tapered Carbon
- Offset – 46 and 51mm
- Axle – Predictive Steering – Torque Tube
- Damper – Accelerator
- Damper – Adjust XLoc Remote (Sprint or Full Sprint)
- Spring – Solo Air
- Decal – Color Red/White, Silver
- Weight – 1,666g (3.67lbs)
- MSRP – $1,865 / € 1,658