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If you've ever browsed through an online bike shop looking for a new Rockshox suspension fork, you couldn't have failed to notice there's a very wide range to choose from.
In fact, at my last count, there are currently 36 Rockshox single crown forks available in their MTB category alone.
Sound confusing? Well, it is a bit. But luckily, out of these 36 forks there are only 14 main models – with each pretty much sitting in its own discipline and budget category:
And what are these discipline and budget categories? Well ...
Nothing fancy, the steel stanchioned XC30 and XC32 are very basic coil sprung forks designed for the MTB novice, Saturday afternoon cycle path rider or possibly commuter – should the ride to work involve some rough patches.
If you're serious about mountain biking, it’s probably best to invest in something a bit more advanced.
First thing first, the Recon is just a budget version of the Reba. But whilst the basic Recon Silver TK is seen as an entry-level XC fork, the Reba RLT is considered a fairly high-end performance one that wouldn’t be totally out of place on the amateur race circuit. Both are 32mm stanchioned and offer 100mm – 120mm of travel with a solo air or coil options for the Recon and just the solo air for the Reba.
If you’re serious about your recreational XC riding, and want a no-frills, reliable fork, a Recon or Reba would certainly fit the bill.
The SID is essentially an advanced Reba. Used for XC racing, the SID comes with 80mm – 100mm of travel with a highly advanced damping system – the top ‘World Cup’ model even boasts a full carbon steerer and crown.
Whilst these forks are essentially designed for winning XC races, they can certainly be used for a bit of serious cross-country fun: A bit on the flexi side for Trail or really aggressive styles of riding though.
The Yari is a budget version of the Pike. Both are designed for the same purpose, which is modern Trail and Enduro. Travel options of 100mm – 160mm for the Pike and 120mm –180mm for the Yari deal with those bigger impacts whilst the beefy 35mm stanchions offer strength and stiffness. The main difference between the two is the lighter Pike has the advanced Charger Damping system whilst the heavier Yari comes with the more basic Motion Control damper.
The Yari and Pike are modern, hardcore forks designed for aggressive Trail and Enduro riding – they will soak up anything your local trail center can throw at them and then a bit more.
The Sektor and Revelation are essentially long travel, 130mm – 150mm versions of the Recon and Reba – with the Sektor being a budget version of the Revelation. These forks occupy that area between aggressive XC, technical singletrack and intermediate Trail.
The Sektor and Revelation may not be quite as sophisticated or as stiff as the Yari or Pike, but they will be able to confidently take you through any trail centre or technical singletrack. Reliable, no-messing, long-travel forks with a mid-range price tag.
The Lyrik is a tough 35mm stanchioned, 150mm –180mm travel fork that will pretty much go over anything that happens to be in its way. It’s labeled as a lightweight DH fork but it can certainly be used for Trail or Enduro. It has the same advanced Charger Damper system as the Pike in both solo and dual air, and is available in 27.5 and 29 versions.
The Lyrik is a very serious fork designed for very serious riders. So, if you’ve got the skills, it could be just the thing for you.
The Argyle and the Pike DJ are Rockshox’s slopestyle and dirt jumping forks. The Argyle is the budget model with 32mm stanchions and coil whilst the Pike DJ offers solo air, stouter 35mm stanchions and a more advanced damping system. Both are for 26ers only.
As you can guess, these forks are aimed squarely at riders who spend a lot of their time in the air.
The new Judy is designed with the latest 2.8 and 3.0 plus size tyres in mind. Its Boost tech width is built for SRAM’s new 110mm front hubs but you can buy adapter kits to retrofit a standard 100mm hub. As with most Rockshox models, there is the heavier, budget TK and a lighter, more advanced RL. Both offer 80mm –120mm of travel with easily adjustable solo air spring systems.
The Judy is considered an entry-level, plus size Trail fork. So, if you would like to build or upgrade a plus size bike on a budget, they would certainly fit the bill.
The Bluto is Rockshox’s fat bike suspension fork. With its solo air system and 100mm – 120mm of travel, it adds even more comfort and control to these beasts of the wilderness.
If you want to upgrade your fat bike, the Bluto could well be the way to go.
This list is really just meant to give you a rough idea of the type of Rockshox forks available. Once you have shortlisted forks for your style of riding and budget, it’s then time to look more closely at the specs.
Specs that you really need to consider are travel, (both for style of riding and frame compatibility) damping, adjustability and weight.
Posted by DL