We may have literally just finished off our longterm review of the 2018 RockShox Lyrik RCT3 fork, but already RockShox is ready to announce the 2019 model – in March.
Yes, there are new 2019 suspension products coming your way, including the new Lyrik RC2 fork, plus updates to the regular Lyrik, Yari, Pike and Revelation models. The chassis all pretty much remain the same as the current 2018 forks, but the 2019 forks will come equipped with an all-new DebonAir spring that boasts some pretty significant claims in friction-reduction. There are also some tweaks to the Deluxe and Super Deluxe air rear shocks that aim to achieve a similar outcome, which we’ll go into a little later.
Right now though, let’s take a look at the new addition to the Lyrik fork range; the Lyrik RC2.
2019 Rockshox Lyrik RC2 features
- Long-travel enduro fork
- 35mm diameter stanchions
- Travel: 150mm, 160mm, 170mm & 180mm
- Wheelsize: 27.5in or 29in
- Offset: 37mm & 46mm (27.5in), 42mm & 51mm (29in)
- Maximum tyre width: 2.8in
- New DebonAir spring
- Charger 2 RC2 damper
- Adjustments: Air pressure, air spring volume (Bottomless Tokens), rebound, low-speed compression & high-speed compression adjustment
- 110x15mm Maxle Lite thru-axle
- 1.5in tapered alloy steerer
- Claimed weight: 2013g – 2058g
- RRP: £989
Joining the existing Lyrik RCT3 fork, the Lyrik RC2 will use the same chassis, offer the same 150-180mm travel range, and will be available in 27.5in and 29in versions. Plus, it comes in red.
The big news for the chassis in 2019 is that the Lyrik will now be offered in two offsets in each wheelsize option, mostly to address the growing number of bike brands that have been requesting different offsets for their 2019 model year bikes. Expect to hear more about that in the near future.
The main difference though with the Lyrik RC2 fork though is in the use of a brand new Charger 2 RC2 damper, which simply offers up a different type of damping adjustment to the current RCT3 damper. There’s still a low-speed compression dial (with the same feel and adjustment range), but surrounding it is a high-speed compression dial that provides five clicks of adjustment. This dial replaces the 3-position Open/Pedal/Firm settings of the RCT3 damper.
Why the extra adjustability? According to RockShox, part of it is to address demand from consumers and bike brands that simply just want that extra feature – whether they really need it or not. To this end, RockShox has designed the new high-speed compression adjustment to be really easy to use and understand.
The dial only has five clicks, with the middle setting offering the same high-speed compression damper setting as the current RCT3 damper in the Open position. Then you have two clicks each way to firm up or soften up the high-speed compression damping. The idea being that riders don’t get too bamboozled by the extra dial, and to keep the range of adjustment a bit narrower so you don’t end up with a horrible-feeling fork by accident.
The rebound adjustment at the bottom of the fork remains the same, and essentially adjusts the return speed of the fork in its starting-stroke. High-speed rebound is still controlled internally, and isn’t designed to be user-adjustable.
Because of the modular nature of RockShox’s Charger damper, any rider with an existing 35mm RockShox fork – such as a Lyrik, Yari, Pike or Revelation – can potentially upgrade to the RC2 damper if they so choose. We’re still awaiting confirmation of the exact price, but the Charger 2 damper options (RCT3, RCT Remote & RC2) are listed as ranging from £259 – £309, so that gives you a ballpark figure.
Alongside the new RC2 damper, the big news for 2019 RockShox forks including all Lyrik, Yari, Pike & Revelation models is the new DebonAir spring. And yes, the DebonAir spring was only introduced last year for 2018. But RockShox already thinks it can do better with the all new-new DebonAir spring.
So what exactly is different that makes it so much better? First, the negative spring volume is bigger. For the Lyrik/Yari DebonAir spring, negative volume is up by a huge 42%, and for the Pike/Revelation DebonAir spring, it’s up by 36%. This has been done by increasing the physical volume of the negative air chamber, which is all about delivering a more linear and coil-like feel to the suspension.
The other big change is the main seal head itself, which is now made from machined alloy (that’s the red bit in the image below). Inside the seal head is a new bushing that replaces the Delrin version found inside the 2018 DebonAir spring. Aside from being a whole load stiffer and more resistant to bending loads placed on the fork’s guts during hard compressions, the alloy seal head and bushing drastically reduces friction to make for a smoother-feeling fork.
Because the transfer port between the positive and negative chamber remains in the same position, anyone with a current 35mm RockShox fork can upgrade to a new DebonAir spring. It’ll set you back £42, and for anyone who’s pulled apart a fork for a lower leg service or air spring service, it should be an easy task.
Having spent quite a bit of time on the 2018 Lyrik, I can’t say it’s a fork that I’ve found lacking in butteriness, so I’m particularly interested in trying the new DebonAir spring in a current Lyrik fork to see how much of a difference it makes on the trail.
To match the new DebonAir fork springs, RockShox has also worked on its rear air shocks to achieve the same outcome: less friction. The main change is in the air can, which is now manufactured with a different method that creates a smoother and more consistent surface internally that is not only more cylindrical from top to bottom, it also allows lubricating oil to stick to it better.
The big change to the air can is the transfer port between the positive and negative air chamber. Instead of punching two transfer ports into the air can (and potentially distorting the overall ’roundness’ of the air can’s internal diameter), the new air can has three transfer ports CNC machined in. We’re told the process makes everything a whole load more consistent for smoother performance, and reduces that ‘hammock’ feeling you can sometimes get when squishing a rear shock around the carpark.
The new DebonAir can will be featured on all 2019 Deluxe and Super Deluxe shocks. We’re assuming it’s a retrofittable upgrade for current 2018 Deluxe and Super Deluxe air shock owners, but we haven’t had confirmation from SRAM as to pricing – we’ll update here once we do.
Aside from the air can, RockShox has also broadened the range of rebound damping built into all of its rear shocks for 2019, and has also made the steps between each ‘click’ of adjustment more consistent.