Ability to bridge the gap between XC and trail might be its biggest win yet
We’ve been ripping around on the new RockShox SID Ultimate fork and SIDluxe shock for a few months now fitted to a sexy Mondraker F-Podium.
We’ve used it for racing and trail riding, hitting all sorts of man made and natural trails along the way – giving it as much stick as we would any all-rounder.
And so far, so impressed. There’s something really enthralling about thrashing your favourite trails on a bike rocking the bare minimum of weight and travel. OK, so 120mm is still plenty, but as we become more and more accustomed to riding 150, 160 and even 170mm travel bikes, any kind of downsizing brings with it a heightened sense of what’s beneath your wheels. Less inertia, less safety net, more buzz when you get it right. It’s certainly addictive. And the RockShox SID lets you get away with riding stuff that you wouldn’t dream of tackling on any previous XC fork – at least not without the other-worldly skills of Schurter.
At the forefront of its category-straddling performance is the super supple response. A light touch to the damping is no doubt helped by a friction-reduction program that started with the Lyrik and has trickled down to the SID. New SKF seals, Maxima damping fluid, better fork alignment and more accurate bushing sizing all combine to let the new RockShox SID Ultimate glide over even the smallest of bumps. That means more grip at the tyre and more control at the bar. In open mode it feels lively and free, but swing the lockout lever through 180° and the damping is firmed up to the point that you can wrestle the bars out of the saddle with only the slightest of movement. Great that the spring-loading means it always wants to revert to open mode, too.
By adding the Debonair spring, but tuning the positon of the transfer port, RockShox has ensured that the supple response doesn’t mean a saggy fork that blows through its travel too easily. In fact the SID rides noticeably higher in the stroke than a Pike or Lyrik, which is really helpful when you don’t have lots of travel and may well be aboard a bike with a steeper head angle. It’s shipped without any volume spacers, and we never felt the need to add any either, such is the support on offer. We’d take the recommended pressures with a pinch of salt though – for our weight RockShox suggests 73psi, but we ran 91psi, which gave us 29mm of sag (25%) and 110mm of travel. So that’s over 20% more pressure than suggested.
Given how light the fork is, there’s enough precision to let you get away with railing ruts and slamming it into turns. In back-to-back testing, we’d say it was on par with the Fox 34 Step Cast, yet the SID is 150g lighter. And that weight saving is appreciable too, with a lighter touch to the steering that keeps the front end super agile.
So Olympic success might be in the SID's DNA, but its ability to bridge the gap between XC and trail might be its biggest win yet.