If you’ve been riding mountain bikes for a decade or more then you will probably at least have some part of the back of your brain ringing that bell of familiarity at the mention of the Rockshox Domain.
It was a burly fork for its time, with its dual crown options and beefy 35mm stanchions. Well, now it’s back. And it’s been to the gym.
Well ok, it’s essentially a budget version of the Zeb. It looks like the new Zeb and that’s because it is a Zeb but without the fancier materials and trimmings, but that isn’t a bad thing. And you will appreciate the efforts that Rockshox have gone to to create this frankly, monster of a fork when you see the price.
This huge (up to 180mm) 38mm stanchioned rocker eater of a fork will cost £530 and comes in 27.5 & 29 sizing. Can you imagine a 180mm version on a 29r?
In the grand scheme of things a fork that just a decade ago would have been classed as a monster of a DH fork coming in at £250 less than the most basic Zeb option is pretty impressive. It’s worth noting that while we can often be carried away with outrage at some of the stratospheric prices for some bikes and parts at the highest end of the market that those same brands are also devoting a lot of time and development at the more affordable end of the market too. And if this fork is the result of the trickle down effect from the Zeb then I for one am perfectly happy for those with a lot more money than the rest of us to keep driving development of those super expensive bikes and parts.
The Rockshox Domain in detail
“SEND IT. DON’T SPEND IT.”
That’s what the Domain promo material from SRAM begins with.
Press release highlights follow
Big value and a badass look come together under one roof in the all-new Domain. Featuring legitimate enduro capability, strength, and legacy, this robust fork is packed with value to meet the demanding needs of both MTBs and E-MTBs alike.
With bigger bikes come bigger demands. The new Domain takes cues from ZEB, our enduro specialist fork with serious credentials. Domain offers a new burly 38mm chassis, short fender compatibility, and a confidence-inspiring DebonAir air spring matched with a reliable Motion Control RC damper. We even brought the performance of Maxima Plush damping fluid along for the ride. Nothing goes as big as Domain does in value and performance.
- Wheel size: 27.5″, 29″
- Travel: 150mm, 160mm, 170mm, 180mm
- Damper: Motion Control RC
- offset: 44mm (27.5″, 29″)
- Upper tube: 38mm aluminum
- NEW 38mm chassis for increased stiffness and rider confidence
- Motion Control RC damper featuring low speed compression adjust with externally adjustable dual flow rebound
- Highly tunable DebonAir air spring offers a consistent feel throughout the travel
- Maxima Plush damping fluid reduces friction and quiets damper noise
- Short fender compatible (RockShox premium fender sold separately. AM Variants include RockShox zip-tie fender)
- Fits tires up to 2.8” without fenders – use of a short fender may reduce tire clearance
Rockshox Domain PRICE: £530
Your basic Domain can be upgraded of course and there are some specific kits that will be available right from the start. That start being July, which is when the Domain will actually be available to buy. That’s quite a way away from this official launch date, but you can pin that on the currently global supply chain situation. Maybe there’s a stock of these sitting in a long line of boats outside the Suez canal right now. Anyway, if you have a twitching credit card right now you are going to have to wait a bit longer.
Tucked in among all the promo images and marketing we were sent was an actual FAQ document that I reckon is really quite useful. It may seem like a bit of a cop out to reproduce it verbatim but at this stage, where I’ve had time only to fit and ride the sample fork they have sent us the once, my own answers are going to need some more time to brew.
SRAM’s Frequently Asked Questions
The large 38mm diameter upper tubes and stiffer overall chassis are best suited to long travel all mountain and enduro bikes (150mm -180mm) as well as modern E-MTBs that benefit from a bigger, more capable front end. Domain is a fork that has the appropriate scale to look ‘right’ on E-MTBs but isn’t too heavy to find the fun way over flowy trails (2,540g / 5.6lbs).
Domain leverages some of ZEB’s best features but forgoes some of its exclusive Signature Series-level spec to represent as a great enduro fork option at lower price points. Domain differs from ZEB with its 6000 series aluminum upper tubes, Motion Control RC or R (rebound-only) dampers, and bushings.
Domain features 1.5” tapered aluminum steerers for both its OEM and Aftermarket options; the larger 1.8” tapered aluminum steerer is an option for OEM E-MTB models only.
Domain supports three different crown diameters to best match modern bike designs: 59mm as both an OEM and Aftermarket configuration option, and 63mm and 69mm crown sizes as OEM-only fork configurations. Additionally, the 69mm crown is large enough to accommodate the optional 1.8” steerer.
Though both 38mm upper tubes, the DebonAir spring in ZEB will not fit in Domain. Domain uses 6000 series aluminum upper tubes which require a specific size requirement.
Bottomless Tokens are available for tuning Domain’s DebonAir spring – the maximum token quantity is three (3). Domain forks will ship from the factory with the following Bottomless Tokens installed:
180mm travel – (0) tokens installed.
170mm travel – (1) token installed.
160mm travel – (2) tokens installed.
150mm travel – (2) tokens installed.
A Motion Control RC damper upgrade kit will be available for sale in the Aftermarket:
AM UPGRADE KIT MOCO RC 38MM / MSRP $42.00 USD.
There will also be a remote Motion Control damper kit available for sale in the Aftermarket:
AM RMT UPGR ONELOC FS R RC P DOMAIN / MSRP $98.00 USD.
– This Motion Control remote damper kit includes a OneLoc remote.
The Charger 2.1 RC2 ZEB Damper upgrade kit is compatible with the Domain.
Domain is 200mm direct mount. For a 220mm rotor a 20mm post-mount adapter is needed. 203mm rotors can also be used with a corresponding spacer kit, available as an aftermarket spare.
Domain accommodates tires up to 2.8” on both 27.5” and 29” platforms. Use of the optional short fender or a mud guard might decrease this clearance depending on your tire choice, so always check the fork’s static and bottom out clearance to the tire closely when a fender is installed.
Domains sold in the Aftermarket will ship with a mud guard included that attaches using zip ties. The premium RockShox ZEB short fender is an optional purchase that also fits Domain and installs on the fork leg using included hardware. Additionally, some third-party suppliers have their own integrated fender solutions riders can purchase and install as well. Please note that a fender or a mud guard might decrease tire clearance depending on your tire choice, so always check the fork’s static and bottom out clearance to the tire closely when a fender is installed.
The design of the lower leg must accommodate many factors – two of these include clearance for mud guards at full travel as well as headtube clearance at bottom out.
The best place to start for set up guidance is the RockShox TrailHead app. You can download the app on your favorite smart phone, or visit www.rockshox.com/trailhead. TrailHead will lead you through the different settings to adjust your Domain fork for you.
Right? Domain is all about getting big value and big performance without spending big! Demand is high for all bikes and cycling components right now but RockShox is working very hard to provide you with your very own Domain to ride and love. Ultimately, it is not too hard with Domain to see that there really is “Nothing Better”!
That first ride
I have fitted this fork to a Specialized Levo SL that came with a stock Fox 34 fork. My biggest complaint about this bike is that it is really underforked and it has been screaming out for something bigger for quite some time. Specialized are now spec’ing the SL with a Fox 36 option these days, which is a good move.
But, this sample fork came preset at 170mm, which is a bit more than this 150mm bike needs right now. SRAM have sent me a new 150mm damper to swap out and I’ll be doing that in the coming few days. My thoughts will be much more useful to share once I’ve made that change. But for now, I can report that it’s super stiff and very plush after ride #1. It’s transformed the feel of the bike, which is not surprising since I’ve added almost an inch of extra travel, but it’s not created a wallowing monster and with sag setting at 30% it hasn’t dramatically affected the climbing feel.
On the descents it made me feel invincible, of course 🙂
There’s no doubt that the Rockshox Domain is a fork suited to big bikes and will be a great upgrade for a lot of eMTB riders looking for a big hitting fork to pair with their bikes. At this price, I would expect that we will see this spec’d on a great many bikes in the coming months.
I’m off to swap out that damper and take this budget monster out for some adventures on the biggest hits I can find. If I survive I’ll report back with some deeper insights into performance.
The Rockshox Domain Podcast
Because we got this fork in time for this launch we took the opportunity to have a chat about it in front of our microphones. So tune in and have a listen as Mark and Andi chat about the old Domain, the new Domain, funny wheel size stories and chat plus why we think it’s not all sky high prices ahead of us.
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RockShox Domain is back!
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