The Lyrik sits at the top of the RockShox single crown tree and is its top flight, big-hitting enduro fork. For 2019 there’s an addition to the line-up that features a brand new damper – the Charger RC2 – that provides different damping adjustment options than the current RCT3 model. Users of the current model will be familiar with the three position damping adjustment lever on the top of the right leg, but this has now been replaced with a five position high speed compression damping dial. Low speed compression is still there and adjusted by a dial that sits above the high speed adjuster.
The new Lyrik RC2 still uses the same 35mm black stanchions as previous models and is available in 27.5 and 29 versions with travel ranging from 150mm all the way up to 180mm. Each wheel size also comes in two different offsets for the new wave of bikes designed around a shorter trail and comes in either black, or Boxxer Red like the one in this test.
For this year, not only has RockShox added new damping, they have also used a brand new DebonAir spring in the Lyrik RC2. The new spring uses a machined alloy head to enable higher manufacturing tolerances which can help reduce friction and perform better under load. On top of this it also helps create 42% more negative air volume to give the fork a more linear and coil like feel, and more mid-stroke support. As with the previous version, the air spring volume can still be tuned by the use of Bottomless Tokens in the positive air chamber to help with the overall feel and ramp of the fork. As with other RockShox forks these are added and removed by screwing them onto the top cap of the air chamber.
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
- Tapered alloy steerer
- Claimed weight: 2013g – 2058g
- RRP: £989
As with the previous Lyrik model (and most other modern air forks) initial setup is a relatively simple affair on the RC2. The 160mm fork came with two bottomless tokens factory fitted (which have stayed put), and following RockShox’ guide printed on the lowers I set the air pressure at 90psi which is pretty much exactly what RockShox recommend for my weight (89kg). Rebound is set in the usual way with an adjuster on the bottom of the damper leg. Once these were set it was time for compression damping.
The new high speed adjuster has five positions (the old RCT3 having just three – open, pedal, firm) and in the middle setting the high speed damping is the same as the old RCT3. This gives you two clicks adjustment either way to dial in HSC as you like – firmer one way or softer the other. Having spent quite a bit of time on the model-year 2018 RCT3, the middle setting seemed like a pretty good place to start, but then after chatting with the guys at SRAM I knocked this back one click to make it slightly more plush. I set the low speeded compression a couple of clicks from fully open as this is where I’d been running it on the RCT3, and so was a good benchmark to start.
On the trail:
I’ve been riding the RC2 forks for a good few months now and I’ve been impressed. Straight out of the box the RC2 feels really plush. It’s great on small bumps and soaking up general trail chatter, yet also supportive through the mid-stroke.
The first few days riding on them was a trip to Spain to sample the steep natural trails outside of Malaga. On fast, steep and rough trails the forks soaked up big hits with ease, but also felt really supportive on steep techy trails.
The forks feel stiff, with no noticeable flex when smashing into the rough stuff, and just go where you point them. Pick a line through rough, choppy ground, and a combination of stiff chassis and the well damped suspension means you can basically just hold on and keep your line. On fast, rocky, repeated hits the fork feels composed with no noticeable deflection.
I did encounter one issue during those first few days riding though. The fork developed a rather noticeable creaking noise when under load while descending. On returning the UK the fork was immediately sent back to RockShox, who then sent it on to Colorado for testing. It’s worth noting that SRAM wasn’t able to replicate this noise under lab testing and the replacement hasn’t suffered from the same issue.
Back in the UK, on local trails, I set the new fork up exactly the same – 90psi, 1 click back from middle on HSC, and a couple of clicks on LSC. As I’d come to expect, the forks felt great, but not as good as when riding mega steep, rough, downhill tracks. The fork felt a little too firm for my day to day riding so I backed off the high speed compression to help to help with this. I was now basically running the fork with the lowest amount of HSC, and that’s where it’s stayed since.
And since then it’s been amazing! My local riding, and the riding near the office, is a mixture of fast moorland descents and steep rutted woodland tracks, with the odd bit of rockiness thrown in. On the fast stuff the fork soaks everything up beautifully; taking rough trails in its stride and holding a line on fast corners, tracking precisely and letting you get off the brakes.
The additional mid-stroke support is also noticeable on fast bermed corners where the fork sits nicely in the middle of its travel and really lets you push through for traction. Point it down the steep stuff and again the fork sits in the middle of its travel with plenty in reserve to back you up. And it’s not impossible to use that added travel, it’s just delivered in a measured way, rather than just blowing straight through it on a big hit or steep section.
The new Lyrik RC2 is good… really good! It’s performed amazingly in every situation I’ve ridden it in – fast, flat-out singletrack to rough Spanish downhill tracks. The new DebonAir spring, and the additional mid stroke support it provides is really noticeable on the trail and make this one of the best forks I’ve ridden. It’s easy to set up, priced competitively (in relation to the competition), is composed on the trail and gives you the confidence to ride anything you want to point it at, or down… If you’re in the market for a new ‘enduro’ fork than you should seriously be considering the Lyrik RC2.
|Tested:||by Ross Demain for Four months|