RockShox — the epitome of suspension forks and dampers in the MTB sport. The Lyrik is known as one of the best enduro suspension forks ever, and has been for a long time. However, up to the 2018 model, RockShox had dedicated themselfes to the development of other suspension forks. But then they let it come back with a bang: It was fundamentally revised in order to continue to set the tone for enduro suspension forks — which was a success. But just after this big update in 2018, the question arises why RockShox would release a new model for 2019. Do the newest innovations make that much of a difference compared to the previous one? What has changed? Is it even worth upgrading? Will Bungi find enough points to talk about? Spoiler alert: He does.
At first glance
The new Lyrik lives up to its great name and shows improvement in all respects — it’s no unnecessary marketing update then! RockShox has truly worked hard and finally included the DebonAir air spring into the Lyrik — which captivates the rider with an unexpected increase in performance. The damping unit is also new and features an adjustable high-speed pressure stage. With the new offset version, RockShox also takes the newest generation of enduro mountain bikes into account! The high acquisition costs are justified by the performance. When compared to other suspension forks, it finds itself in the upper mid-range as far as price is concerned. So the best Enduro suspension fork of all time will still carry this title in the near future. Just keep on reading to find out why.
Bungi’s suspension fork test
“After the major revision of the 2018 Lyrik, I was a little surprised that RockShox immediately followed up on it. But fine, let’s test this anyway, I said to myself. The new 2019 RockShox Lyrik RC2 has been adorning my Radon Swoop test bike for almost two months. I ride it in 27.5″ with a suspension travel of 170mm and the new offset of 37mm. What immediately caught my attention was that the Lyrik can be ordered optionally in BooxerRed — certainly chic, but I prefer its classic black look. That’s not all which has changed though. Here‘s a short overview, followed by the details:
- The biggest difference: the new DebonAir air spring!
- Independent high and low speed pressure stages — the high speed pressure stage is now adjustable as well!
- The offset has been adjusted, i.e. for the new flat steering angles there are now versions with 37mm offset at 27.5″ and 42 mm offset at 29″ wheelsets!
- The Lyrik is now also available with 180mm suspension travel for 29″.
- Not only available in black, but also in BooxerRed!
Out of the box and into the bike
The installation of the suspension fork is no witchcraft: shorten the head tube to the correct length, deburr, drive in the claw and drive open the crown race. Then grease the bearing contact surfaces and insert them into the head tube! After setting the headset properly, the first step is to adjust a basic setup using SAG (negative suspension travel). But first we take a look at the new Lyrik from the inside, so to speak.
To wax lyrical: What’s new?
Suspension: DebonAir has finally found its way into the benchmark of enduro suspension forks. RockShox is hoping that the DebonAir air spring, which has been a well-known feature of RockShox dampers for years, will provide a more sensitive response and an improved suspension fork characteristic. The technicians achieved this, among other things, by enlarging the negative chamber by 42 %. According to RockShox, the suspension fork should now respond and act better to small shocks, especially in the mid stroke range — the so-called Mid Stroke Support. Another new detail from the interior is the new aluminium separating piston, which is guided onto the AirShaft via bushing. Friction reduction should be 73 % and the stick-slip effect — the transition from compression to rebound when changing the direction- should even be 86 %. The characteristic curve can be adapted to personal habits by means of tokens and air pressure.
These are strong figures that certainly raise expectations. And that’s not all. The new dream team of the Lyrik is completed by the new Carger 2 RC2 damping unit, since with the 2019 version, the mother of all enduro suspension forks also receives an adjustable high-speed compression stage. An absolute highlight, which allows the rider even better adjustment and thus promises better control!
Damping: The Carger 2 RC2 damper is also new in terms of the way the compression and rebound stages work. The compression stage regulates the compression speed of the spring element. The damper deflects slowly at a full pressure stage. This makes the entire riding behaviour firmer and the rider receives more feedback from the ground. For MTB suspension forks in the enduro and downhill disciplines, the pressure stage is divided once again: into high speed and low speed pressure stages. And they can now be set independently of each other.
The low-speed pressure stage takes care of larger bumps and e.g. banked curves — the slow, soft forces that act on a bike, so to speak. The harder the setting of the low-speed pressure stage is, the tighter the chassis behaves. The high-speed pressure stage is responsible for fast and abrupt shocks on the suspension fork. Here, too, the fuller the pressure level, the harder the suspension fork reacts.
The low-speed pressure level is individually adjustable, which is not new — but the ability to finetune the high speed pressure level is! There are 5 levels to choose from. The middle one is the one that corresponds to the previous standard setup.
⇒ Now it also becomes clear how many levers RockShox has really turned in order to raise the Lyrik to this level!
Besides the compression stage, there is also the rebound. This is because, in addition to the compression speed, there is also the extension speed. The fact that it‘s adjustable is not new either. Still, RockShox has a better grip on the rebound due to the new damping unit, which influences the overall response of the suspension fork.
I have chosen the new shorter offset variant to keep my test bike more agile. As the steering angle has become flatter due to longer geometries, another parameter was changed: the offset distance. The steering angle indicates the angle at which the fork stands to the ground — when it becomes flatter (smaller), it pushes the front wheel forward, which increases caster and wheelbase. The result is smoother running, but also a more sluggish bike to steer. That is why you shorten the offset value so that your bike becomes easier and more direct to handle.
More progressivity: Tokens
In addition to the new extensive possibilities of adjusting the compression and rebound stages, more progressivity can be achieved by adding tokens. They limit the space available to the suspension. Tokens aren‘t new, but I‘ll explain them briefly: The bottomless tokens have a direct influence on the performance of the air spring. The easy-to-install tokens make air suspension more linear in itself. This makes the suspension more aggressive, which can be advantageous for certain riding styles and terrains. If you need more progression, you can easily install and remove the tokens using a sprocket tool. RockShox has also specified their maximum number, of course:
|27.5″ Boost||29″ Boost|
|Fork Travel||Bottomless Tokens Factory Installed||Bottomless Tokens Maximum||Bottomless Tokens Factory Installed||Bottomless Tokens Maximum|
A first setup
I only used one token and set the SAG (negative suspension travel) to 20 % for the basic setup. The negative suspension travel, better known as SAG, is the part of the suspension travel that is compressed solely by the rider’s own weight. An orientation value for the SAG is 15 – 30 % of the total suspension travel. If you reduce the SAG, the chassis becomes tighter (or less reactive).
For rebound and compression (in both low and high speed) I chose the golden mean. This changed after the first few meters of trail, which affected my personal feel, so that I readjusted it. Something I noticed: I had to pump in a good 10 psi more air than with the predecessor.
Action on the trail
“I don’t have much to say here — usually that’s not a good sign. But in this case it is! The suspension fork can do anything you’re expecting of it. Be it on alpine trails or in the German low mountain range – the Lyrik negates everything, no matter what it is. It ‘absorbs’ unevenness of the smaller kind, which is much more defined than with its predecessor.
In the area of mid-stoke support, which has been inproved, the Lyrik only releases as much suspension travel as required. As a result, more travel is ultimately available when it‘s really needed: After successive waves or shocks, the suspension fork returns to its starting position more quickly, which pays when facing the following shock.
The damping works nicely and can be perfectly adjusted to personal preferences thanks to the many options and clicks. Whats a part of the RockShox standard by now are the damping markings. These practical rubber rings are perfect for gradually adjusting to the perfect setup.
With the new Lyrik 2019, RockShox has hit the bull’s eye. Compared to its predecessor, it‘s better positioned in all respects! The DebonAir air spring and the Carger RC2 damper do a great job here: The suspension fork stands full and firm in the suspension travel, responds sensitively and can be adapted easily to personal preferences. This makes the high price bearable, although it has to be said that the price is still okay compared to similar suspension forks from other manufacturers. It’s also cool that the DebonAir can now be installed in old models as an upgrade kit — which is not quite as expensive.”