The RockShox Domain Fork Is Back! First Look & Podcast

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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.

rockshox domain fork 2021

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.

DOMAIN RC

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.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • 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.

Questions questions

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

What is the intended use of this fork?

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).

How is Domain different than ZEB?

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.

Are there different steerer diameters available for Domain?

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.

Why are there different crown sizes available, and why not just one size?

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.

Will the DebonAir air spring from ZEB fit in Domain? Are they interchangeable?

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. 

Can I tune my Domain’s DebonAir air spring?

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.

Can I upgrade my Domain R to an RC?  What about a remote option for the RC model?

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.

Can you upgrade Domain Motion Control damper to a Charger damper?

The Charger 2.1 RC2 ZEB Damper upgrade kit is compatible with the Domain. 

What rotor size is the direct mount brake for? What is the smallest and largest size rotors I can run?

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.

What is the largest size tire I can use with Domain?

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.

Is Domain compatible with a fender?

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 lower leg fork arch looks like it sits much further forward. Why? 

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.

How do I set up my new Domain?

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.

All this for only $549 USD MSRP?!? Seriously?!? 

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.

rockshox domain fork 2021
A whopping 170mm on this Levo SL. A bit much? Yup.

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.

Half Price Membership Deal

Listen out for our special podcast exclusive half price membership offer at the end of the episode.

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Viewing 33 posts - 1 through 33 (of 33 total)
  • RockShox Domain is back!
  • Premier Icon Mark Alker
    Full Member

    Full story here .

    The RockShox Domain Fork Is Back! First Look & Podcast

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    I didn’t know there was such a thing as 220mm rotors, let alone direct mount 200mm!

    I think my idea of gnar is different from other peoples…. 😉

    Premier Icon mashr
    Free Member

    Looking forward to seeing if they’ve deliberately hobbled the Damper as they seemed to do to the Yari. Ancient Boxxer – no spiking when things get rough, modern Yari – hold onto your hat!

    Premier Icon Simon Farrington
    Full Member

    I didn’t know there was such a thing as 220mm rotors, let alone direct mount 200mm!

    I think my idea of gnar is different from other peoples…. 😉

    Mine too. My idea of gnar these days is to choose rocky-road over millionaire shortbread after a pootle round a green trail centre route 😉 haha

    Premier Icon dangeourbrain
    Full Member

    I didn’t know there was such a thing as 220mm rotors, let alone direct mount 200mm!

    I think my idea of gnar is different from other peoples…. 😉

    Logical progression isn’t it :

    How much? you could buy a motor bike for that!
    How big? You could stop a motor bike with that!

    Next thing they’ll put engines on the things.

    choose rocky-road over millionaire shortbread


    @fazzini
    It might be too difficult for you, and there’s no shame in that, but I think you’re ready to be introduced to the concept of “and”

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Free Member

    I didn’t know there was such a thing as 220mm rotors

    Yep, I think technically they’re for eMTBs but they’ll fit anything.

    The fork looks great, it wasn’t hard to work out they’d make a Yari / Revelation for the Zeb chassis and with RS being so modular I’m sure it will be popular as an OE fork or just a ‘cheaper’ fork that you can throw a £200 charger damper on when you want to.

    Also I’m sure RS will make some lower end OE Zebs which are technically lower spec than the some higher end OE Charger equipped Domains at some point just to confuse us all.

    Premier Icon ScotRoutes
    Full Member

    http://www.rockshox.com?

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    To repeat my comment from pinkbike – this fork has a little eMTB decal at the top of the damper leg. e-specific components is the new enduro specific socks.

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    Also, because it often goes unsaid, in this case the small team at STW have deliviered a far better and more detailed article than our pink canadian friends.
    Well done STW.

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Full Member

    What’s the axle to crown length of these, compared to the forks people are likely to want to replace on their bikes?

    Yep, I think technically they’re for eMTBs but they’ll fit anything.

    220mm rotors? That’s all that’ll fit on an old fork of mine that predates eMTBs by a long long way.

    Premier Icon hainman
    Free Member

    Would the motion control updated or same as the years old model

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    Yep, very good article! (it mentions “sending a 150mm damper” to change the fork travel, is that right? Usually you’d just change the spring not the damper, a pretty big change if true)

    Honestly it seems like a faithful recreation of the old Domain, ie a good sturdy long chassis with too little damper to do the job. Big forks need good damping. If it makes any sense to have an 180mm 38mm fork then it makes little sense to have motion control in it.

    But still, it looks a good cost proposition and the charger upgrade isn’t that expensive. I’m confused by the question about fitting a Zeb’s debonair- don’t these already have debonair as standard? I guess the zeb’s is bigger.

    hainman
    Free Member

    Would the motion control updated or same as the years old model

    TBH motion control’s changed loads over the years- the modern ones I’ve ridden felt pretty similar to the ones that you got in the last 32mm Rev chassis like my 2010 blackboxes, with the dual flow rebound damper. That feeling of “something basic, but done well”. Miles better than the classic Pike 426 that a lot of people still think of

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    Big forks need good damping.

    These are going to be lapping massive jump lines for instagram.
    If you really cared about/were competitive in big mountain rocky enduros, you’d pony up for the Zeb (or this and change the damper…) Gotta cut costs somewhere, otherwise its just a zeb in a ever so slightly heavier chassis.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    The fork looks great, it wasn’t hard to work out they’d make a Yari / Revelation for the Zeb chassis and with RS being so modular I’m sure it will be popular as an OE fork or just a ‘cheaper’ fork that you can throw a £200 charger damper on when you want to.

    But still, it looks a good cost proposition and the charger upgrade isn’t that expensive. I’m confused by the question about fitting a Zeb’s debonair- don’t these already have debonair as standard? I guess the zeb’s is bigger.

    Sounds more like a 35 than a Yari/Rev?

    In which case the debonair spring isn’t the same, it’s just a big solo-air spring.

    Premier Icon rockandrollmark
    Full Member

    Would the motion control updated or same as the years old model

    I was going to add comment but held back initially. Isn’t it about time RS started offering something a bit more sophisticated in their mid-tier forks than the old MoCo damper. I mean, N-Sync were in the charts, and we still thought white and brown were a good colour combo when the MoCo came out!

    Premier Icon poah
    Free Member

    sooo heavy – bugger having that on the front of a bike.

    Premier Icon Simon Farrington
    Full Member

    @dangeourbrain that just cost me 2 hula hoops!! Chapeau sir 🙏🤣

    Premier Icon dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    I’m assuming the issue with not being able to run the Zeb air spring internals is down to wall thickness of the stanchions being larger due to the lower spec alloy.

    Not sure I understand the ‘not a debonair spring’ comment above?

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Also, because it often goes unsaid, in this case the small team at STW have deliviered a far better and more detailed article than our pink canadian friends.
    Well done STW.

    This

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Full Member

    To repeat my comment from pinkbike – this fork has a little eMTB decal at the top of the damper leg. e-specific components is the new enduro specific socks.

    Yep, this is for downspecced, burlier ebikes much like how the 35 is for downspecced trail ebikes. Strength a bigger priority than weight, and brands have price points to hit.

    Fox do similar but are a bit more subtle about it, if you get a base YT Decoy then it’s a 36 but with a downspecced Grip damper.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    Not sure I understand the ‘not a debonair spring’ comment above?

    If that’s aimed at me, then yes, the “Debonair” spring in the 35 is completely different to the Yari/Lyric/Pike/Rev. They’re different parts and the equalization mechanism works differently.

    It’s still very plush, but it’s not the same in anything but name.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    If you really cared about/were competitive in big mountain rocky enduros, you’d pony up for the Zeb (or this and change the damper…)

    You really don’t need to be doing any of that to benefit from good damping. And this is a big hoofin fork, which gives dampers a much harder job (more movement to control).

    Like I say, if this much fork is a good idea then it’s not enough damper. If it’s an adequate damper then it’s too much fork. Maybe smooth bike parks are an exception but what bike only does that?

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Full Member

    I didn’t know there was such a thing as 220mm rotors

    I never knew there was such a thing as 1.8″ steerers…

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Free Member

    If that’s aimed at me, then yes, the “Debonair” spring in the 35 is completely different to the Yari/Lyric/Pike/Rev. They’re different parts and the equalization mechanism works differently.

    It’s still very plush, but it’s not the same in anything but name.

    Really? is it one of the older Debonairs I wonder. The 2018 Debonair spring in my 2018 Lyriks didn’t really look much different to the air spring in my 2016 Yaris. I just swapped it for a 2021 Debonair, which is waaaaaaay better and waaaaay easier to fit/replace. It was £40 I think. Great value upgrade.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    I’ve never seen a debonair spring that wasn’t just basically a way of adding extra negative space. The detail varies but I think only because some of them were deisgned to fit into old forks while others in newer chassis were designed for hte bigger neg spring (so that like a debonair they changed the shape of the seal head to add volume on one side) ,the basic thing (basically a piston and a wee slot in the leg to let air pressure equalise at the end of the day) has always been the same?

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    I’ve not had mine apart to have a look but my understanding was the version used in the premium forks equalizes via a port in the shaft, whereas the cheaper version equalizes at top out.

    But as Northwind says, it’s basically just a big volume auto-adjusting negative spring. The details of how you achieve that are secondary.

    Although my 130mm 35 does have that air spring character of being very linear initially, but with no chance of ever using the last 10mm of travel. Kinda putting it down to that being how all air springs end up behaving when spaced down and why the premium versions you have to buy a new spring rather than just add/remove spacers.

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Free Member

    I’ve not had mine apart to have a look but my understanding was the version used in the premium forks equalizes via a port in the shaft, whereas the cheaper version equalizes at top out.

    I think it’s a bit simpler than that, the shafts are just tubes, there’s no ports or anything in them and the head is just a bit of plastic with a seal.

    There’s a dimple on the inside of the CSU / Stanchion, as the piston passes it, it allows pressure to equalise.

    The two ‘old’ versions of debonair are ‘just’ redesigned heads for increased plushness I guess.

    The latest 2021 version has a slightly longer shaft so the piston sits on this dimple when its static, so it equalises better, this eliminates the first 10mm or so of travel not really doing much and manages to allow the fork to sit a little higher in normal use without losing small bump sensitivity.

    Yes, that sounds a lot like RS marketing and I think it’s probably a decent go at what they said from memory, but despite being incredibly cynical about new stuff, ESPECIALLY from the RS bullshit marketing department, it’s completely true and it’s a decent, and noticeable upgrade from from 2018 Debonair to 2021 Debonair on my Lyriks. It’s smoother, doesn’t dive at all under braking and seems to set traction on the front end to infinity, or at least higher than this scardy cat trail centre mincer can reach.

    Also, if anyone else home services their RS air spring and has an older one – the best bit, they’ve done away with the hateful wave washer so you can refit them without screaming obscenities at the fucking circlip for an hour, it just push it and and throw the circlip at it from the other side of the room if you like and it finds it’s home. That alone was worth £40 of my hard-earned.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    Hah, when they changed the foot design so that it’s flat instead of having a recess shaped like the circlip (so that there was just barely enough space to remove or fit the bastard thing) I rejoiced a little bit.

    Premier Icon squirrelking
    Free Member

    Yep, I think technically they’re for eMTBs but they’ll fit anything.

    220mm rotors? That’s all that’ll fit on an old fork of mine that predates eMTBs by a long long way.

    Original Fox 40 with IS 200mm caliper? Needed a Hope No.5 or PM + adaptor and 220mm rotor.

    Premier Icon erictwinge
    Free Member

    Also, because it often goes unsaid, in this case the small team at STW have deliviered a far better and more detailed article than our pink canadian friends.
    Well done STW.

    really? he’s bolted it to a completely unsuitable bike and neglected to even ride it!?

    An interesting enough but well padded article, regurgitated the marketing spiel. The actual review consists of ‘I can report that it’s super stiff and very plush after ride #1’… nice 1.

    Not that the pinkbike one is any better in fairness! but this lot put a bit of effort in at least https://ebike-mtb.com/en/new-rock-shox-domain-suspension-fork-2021-review/

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    really? he’s bolted it to a completely unsuitable bike and neglected to even ride it!?

    An interesting enough but well padded article, regurgitated the marketing spiel. The actual review consists of ‘I can report that it’s super stiff and very plush after ride #1’… nice 1.

    Expecting an actual review at some point in the future, but as a desktop study of the available information, STW have done a far superior article.

    Premier Icon erictwinge
    Free Member

    Expecting an actual review at some point in the future

    well yes but it is meant to be baby Zeb – i dont wanna read a review of it fastened to the end of a 66°/150mm trail ebike.

    Premier Icon binman
    Full Member

    I am curious bout the changing travel procedure, not that I need a new fork (I have Pikes and Revelation to compare).

    I assumed that it was the air spring that would need to be changed but appreciate that MoCo might need a new damper rod too, as the 2018 MoCo version I removed from my Revs sits below the damper body and squishes the oil up to the damper body.

    Just wondering.

    Would be a useful article itself when it is being done.

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