Earlier this year RockShox announced a new, updated version of their top end enduro fork, the Lyrik. The Lyrik was only updated less than a year before, which gave rise to the Lyrik RC2. For 2020, RockShox has revamped that chassis and introduced the RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2.
Rather than being a full on, ground up re-design, the Lyrik Ultimate is more a refinement of technology and still uses the same chassis as the RC2 with those burly 35mm black anodised stanchions and chunky BoXXer Red Signature lowers.
The biggest difference between the MY19 and MY20 models comes in the damper. The Ultimate now uses a Charger 2.1 damper, which is an update of the RC2’s Charger damper. The damper still features the same independent high and low speed compression adjustments, but the high speed compression has been re-tuned and reduced. This has been done to give a more usable range as a lot of people, including myself (read my MY19 review here) were running the high speed on the previous model fully open.
The damper also benefits from a new piston wear band on the main piston which is designed to stop oil bypassing any of the damping circuits and improve the consistency of rebound. This is combined with new heat resistant Maxima Plush damper fluid to reduce friction and quieten the damper. Along with that, the damper also features a re-designed damper seal head to improve sensitivity
The air side of the fork stays relatively unchanged with the Lyrik Ultimate using the same DebonAir air spring as the previous model, for class leading off the top suppleness and mid stroke support. RockShox has changed the grease though for 2020, which combined with brand new seals from SKF (that were reportedly 2 years in development) it’s claimed will add up to increased suppleness, longevity and overall suspension feel.
- Long-travel enduro fork
- 35mm diameter stanchions
- Travel: 150mm
- Wheelsize: 29in
- Offset: 51mm
- DebonAir spring
- Charger 2.1 RC2 damper
- 110x15mm Maxle Lite thru-axle
- Tapered alloy steerer
- RRP: £989
The overall look of the fork remains the same and users of previous versions will be familiar with the layout and adjustments. At the top of the air spring leg is the removable cap, removed using a standard cassette tool, which also includes the air valve. Remove this cap and add and remove bottomless tokens as required by just screwing / unscrewing to the cap (the fork came fitted with two).
Switch to the other side and you’ll see the same high and low speed compression adjusters as the previous model offering up five clicks of high speed with the low speed adjuster sat on top. As with all RockShox models, rebound is adjusted by the usual dial on the bottom of the damper leg.
I’ve generally found RockShox forks hassle free to get set up and feeling good on the trail and this updated Lyrik is no different. RockShox now has the handy Trailhead app which makes things really simple. Input your serial number and rider weight, and whether you’re on an MTB or EMTB and the app will give you an air pressure recommendation along with a setting for rebound – simple.
I weigh around 86kg and the app suggested 90 psi and -7 clicks of rebound. Air pressure has remained the same throughout the test but I did speed the rebound up a click or so. The rest of the setup was just as simple. RockShox claims that the middle setting of HSC on the new fork is the same as wide open on the previous model so that seemed like a pretty good place to start. For low speed compression, I added 3 clicks.
On the Trail
I fitted the Lyrik Ultimate at the start of June to a Stumpjumper Evo and since that time it’s been ridden in all conditions on a huge variety of trails. From hand cut muddy ruts to rocky Scottish mountains and everything in between, the Lyrik has performed faultlessly and taken everything I’ve thrown at it.
The previous model Lyrik was one of, if not the, best forks I’ve ridden and the new model doesn’t disappoint. The initial part of the travel is super smooth with barely any breakaway force to get the fork moving. The new seals and grease certainly seem to be doing the job and help make the small bump sensitivity really impressive. When climbing there’s no noticeable bob, yet the travel is still super plush for tracking the ground and soaking up smaller bumps.
Once on more rolling trails where you have a bit of momentum on your side, the mid stroke support is equally impressive and keeps the fork riding high in its travel, giving plenty of support for pumping rollers and popping off trail features.
That mid-stroke is also noticeable in faster, bermed turns where the added support really lets you get on the front and push into them, rather diving or blowing through the travel. You can lean on the front and push through turns knowing that the fork won’t dive and will give you plenty of support.
After a couple of initial rides getting used the fork I decided to knock the high speed compression back one click to gain a little less ramp up. After this I left the high speed compression where it is and for me this has been the Goldilocks setting. It’s given me plenty of high speed support for when things get fast and rough, or shady landings, yet kept the fork feeling nice and supple and helped stave off fatigue on prolonged rough descents.
Once up to full speed and smashing downhill tracks, the Lyrik feels completely composed and rock solid. The stiff chassis and impressive tracking let you pick lines through the rootiest, choppiest trails and rock gardens and stay on line without having to worry. Big hits are taken in its stride with the Lyrik offering plenty of support and using its travel in a composed way. Similarly, point the Lyrik Ultimate into any steep chute or rut and you can trust that it will give you support and stay on track, getting you round that all important catch.
I get the chance to ride quite a few different bikes and top end components and it’s easy to become a bit spoiled with high end bling and start to take things for granted. Getting on the Lyrik Ultimate though, the quality is immediately noticeable and I’ve been nothing but impressed. Last year’s Lyrik was good, but the Ultimate is better. It’s easy to set up, feels amazing from day one and gives you the confidence to ride anything you point it down. No, it’s not cheap, but what top end component in any industry is. If I was in the market for a new hard hitting long travel fork then my money would be going on the Lyrik Ultimate RC2. Recommended.
|Product:||Lyrik Ultimate RC2|
|Tested:||by Ross for 5|
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