2021 RockShox Lyrik Ultimate | First Ride Review

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Can a few internal tweaks make this updated 2021 RockShox Lyrik Ultimate even better than it already was? First ride review right here.

COVID-19 Notice – We were lucky that the Lyrik arrived just ahead of lockdown, and were able to get a few rides on them. This is just a first ride review or first impressions, and we’ll have a longer in-depth review once life is back to normal.

We’ve already been over the tech side of things for the updated Lyrik here, but in case you missed that here’s a brief rundown of what’s changed.

2021 RockShox Lyrik – First Impressions Video

2021 RockShox Lyrik – What’s changed?

Not a whole lot has changed from the MY20 Lyrik to this updated 2021 Lyrik. The Ultimate still comes with the same foil decal package, is painted Boxxer red and it even uses the original chassis and CSU.

For 2020, RockShox made updates to the Charger Damper, releasing the Charger Damper 2.1, the new fork uses the same damper, and also benefits from the improved SKF seals and Maxima oil of last year’s fork too.

The only changes that have taken part are in the air spring side of the fork. Debonair has been refined with to move the air piston 10mm higher into the stanchion allowing the Lyrik to ride higher in its initial stroke than before.

The update consists of 2 parts, a new air piston and a longer air shaft nut. These items can be bought aftermarket so if you have a Lyrik already you can benefit from the improvements with a little spannering, instead of needing a whole new fork.

2021 RockShox Lyrik
The upgrade is available for a bunch of RockShox forks.

On top of helping the fork sit higher in its travel, the new Debonair also overcomes a problem some riders had which meant their fork would sit slightly lower than it should, despite having the correct air pressure. 

So in a nutshell, RockShox claims the new Debonair offers a more stable platform, it sits higher in its travel and retains supple off the top small bump performance, or while being easier to set up.

2021 RockShox Lyrik – Set-up

2021 RockShox Lyrik first ride review

Of all the forks on the market today, the Lyrik was always one of the easier to get set up out of the box, well unless you found your fork sat lower in it’s travel than it should.

Generally, to set up a Debonair air spring you would have to equalise the air pressure between the positive and negative chambers. To do this you would let all the air our and cycle the fork. Pump to 50 psi and cycle the fork, then you might do it again at 100 psi.

2021 RockShox Lyrik first ride review

Ensuring that the fork was properly equalised would mean that the Debonair air spring sits correctly. One that wasn’t equalised might read as if it was sitting in its travel even under the weight of just the bike.

The new Debonair air assembly ensures you don’t have to go through that, and means that the fork with automatically equalise itself, and it really does work.

Following the settings which are printed to the rear of the fork, I pumped the Lyrik to 85psi plus an additional 10psi as I was testing them on an eMTB (don’t judge me). 

Starting from the slowest rebound setting I would on 8 clicks, but settled on 7. High-speed compression full open and 4 clicks for low-speed compression.

2021 RockShox Lyrik – First Impressions

RockShox wants to be clear that the Lyrik is not only for riding down gnarly descents but also riding up to them, so I set out on my new favourite loop which takes in a long climb rewarding you with an equally long downhill.

2021 RockShox Lyrik first ride review

RockShox’s main claims for the Lyrik are that the new Debonair retains small bump sensitivity while allowing the fork to sit higher and offer a better platform, and I would have to say that those claims are spot on.

In a seated position with more of my weight going through the saddle, the Lyrik patters over small bumps and undulations with not off the top seal friction. It’s a buttery smooth and controlled feeling as the wheel tracks the terrain.

Standing up, with your weight over the front on more aggressive and steeper climbs is when you would normally feel a fork sag a little more and drop but the Lyrik maintains a solid platform and ride height, even when hitting boost and slamming into rocks and roots at speed.

My local tracks start out with a fast sprint into a left-hand corner. The tracks are covered in loose rock, and the drier weather has caused a lot of dust to form. Just the type of conditions where you need predictable front end grip and the Lyrik didn’t disappoint.

With the fork sitting higher and level, leaning over the front for more grip is more comfortable as you don’t dive as much as you hit drops, dips and turns. The small bump compliance and Charger Damper performance ensured my tyre was constantly in contact with the ground finding grip at every twist and turn.

2021 RockShox Lyrik first ride review

The Lyrik shrugs off impact after impact while retaining enough travel in reserve for the really big hits further down my trail, as it steepens up and the loose rock and dirt are replaced with slappy muddy ruts and solid rock chutes.

As soon as you sprint or drop into a corner you feel the fork is sitting higher and is more stable. It’s noticeable but welcome, and by the end of my first run, I was thinking less about the improved ride height and more about where I can push harder on my next run.

2021 RockShox Lyrik – Overall

This should really say “my thoughts on the new Debonair air spring” because we all already know the Lyrik is an amazing fork, it’s just now a much more supportive, and easer to set up the fork.

If you’re on a current Lyrik Ultimate or an earlier Lyrik then I would certainly recommend giving your fork service and while you’re in there stripping out the old parts and replace them with the new Debonair components. 

It’s a simple upgrade that really does offer benefits you can feel on the trail.

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Review Info

Product:2021 Lyrik Ultimate
Tested:by Andi Sykes for 2 weeks

Comments (2)

    So RS released yet another expensive product that didn’t work as it should despite thousands of testing hours.

    How convenient that this fault can be rectified in the new 2021 fork or a small upgrade purchased (should be warranty)

    The cost of these things is starting to take the piss, the fact they can’t get the product to work properly without dropping updates and upgrades is a complete joke.

    Maybe as cycle press you could start calling them out on it rather than just advertising the shonky products year after year?

    Consumers deserve better than these half arsed releases.

    I have to say I have a Lyrik and Pike both with the 2019 debonair spring and they work perfectly. Neither of them sit down into their travel with no weight on the bike. As long as you cycle the forks as you pressure them back up from zero I’ve not had an issue with either of them. The Pike has been at 130mm and 140mm travel and the Lyrik at 160mm / 170mm and now 140mm. Faultless to date and they’ve both generally reviewed well.

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