Squarely on the top spot of the podium
The blood red, retro-inspired paint of RockShox’s updated Lyrik might ensure it pops in photos and videos from the EWS series, but it’s the updated internals that have helped Sam Hill dominate enduro racing in 2018. A three-prong upgrade plan to this flagship fork has seen friction reduced, negative air volume increased (for greater mid-stroke support) and the addition of a high-speed compression adjustment. The result is a buttery smooth ride that lets you open up the throttle and use less energy on longer descents. There’s plenty of adjustability if you want it, but the beauty of the Lyrik is you can really get it singing sweetly with minimal tuning.
The latest version of the RockShox Lyrik RC2 gets reduced friction, high-speed compression adjustment and increased negative spring volume.
It’s a three-pronged approach to making one of the best enduro forks even better… and it’s worked.
By replacing the old plastic seal head in the air spring assembly with a machined alloy one, RockShox is able to control the tolerance of this small part to a much higher degree. As such, it reduces the squeeze on the o-ring so the seal fits better inside the upper tube to reduce friction. This, combined with a sized bushing that the alloy seal head now slides on, offers a whopping 73% reduction in static friction.
That alone would be a bonus but RockShox has also increased the size of the negative air chamber to achieve more mid-stroke support and give a coil like feel at the beginning of the travel. The really neat part of the new Debonair design is that it uses the hollow space inside the shaft of the air-spring assembly to gain the extra volume.
The RC2 tag on the top-end Lyric indicates the level of adjustment on the Charger II damper. So in addition to low-speed rebound and compression adjustment, it now has a high-speed compression adjuster within arms reach. We never used the threshold adjuster on the old RCT3 version of the Lyrik so we won’t be mourning its loss.
That’s not to say we found the 5-position high-speed compression adjuster any more useful. After starting in the mid-setting we backed off the HSC one click at time before settling on the fully open position. In this setting the fork would still absorb the high-speed hits with ease, but you get much less deflection at the handlebar, which means you don’t need to muscle the bike around as much to keep it on line. Handy at the end of a 10min race stage, when your muscles are anything but fresh.
The Lyrik RC2’s real strength is its ability to iron out chatter. It’s so supple and sensitive that it’s one of the very few forks where you actually need to use the low-speed compression adjuster. RockShox has also nailed the range or rebound adjustment, so this fork can easily accommodate all rider weights without needing to be re-tuned.
In back to back testing with the Fox 36 Float Factory Grip2 the Lyrik RC2 offered a noticeable reduction in vibration at the handlebar. They are both great forks but the RockShox Lyric RC2 allowed us to charge just as hard while taking less of a beating. Which is exactly what you want from a race fork.