RockShox Suspension Forks – Buyer’s Guide.
Are you going to buy a new suspension fork? Then you have probably heard of RockShox… And I know – you’ve already gotten headache because of over 50 models to choose from. Fifty! Is there really so many types of bikes and riding styles? Let me help you with choosing just ONE suspension fork for you 🙂
Main types of suspension forks.
In order to simplify things, we’re going to divide forks according to their travel. And so 80-120mm are for leisure mountain bikes (usually 80-100mm), Cross Country / XC bikes(usually 100mm ) and trail bikes (typically 100mm and more). Then we have generally Enduro bikes with around 150mm of travel and all kinds of gravity bikes with up to 200mm. It is also good to know, that the more travel your fork has, the thicker stanchions it gets. For example 80 mm travel fork will often have 28mm thick stanchions, 100mm travel – 30-32mm stanchions, 120mm and longer travel – 35-40mm stanchions. Let’s start with the short-to-mid travel forks…
RockShox forks with 80 – 120 mm of travel.
RockShox XC models.
Just as we start, the name of the model is already very misleading. The “XC” in mountain biking means “Cross Country”, but these forks have actually NOTHING to do with XC races. These are the entry level, budget forks, that can only be used for leisure riding.
Here we have XC 28 TK and XC 30 fork, where the number indicate the upper tubes diameter (28 and 30mm). Both forks cost around 100$, so it is a lowest price. The TK symbol means TurnKey damping with blow-off design. It means, that if you forget to unlock your fork, it will automatically do so when hitting some larger obstacle. The weight of both forks will be on the heavy side – around 2,5 kg or 5,5 lbs. These are not the forks I recommend as an upgrade for your rigid bike.
Here we have 3 models to choose from. Main upgrades, comparing to XC forks are: alloy stanchions and Solo Air system (not for Silver fork). That means less weight and better adjustability according to rider’s weight. These forks are designed for mountain bike amateurs and can be used for some easy MTB marathons. Main features:
- 30 Silver TK – coil spring (Solo Air in option), weight 2322g – 29″,
- 30 Gold TK – air spring, weight 1850g (there is an error on their website),
- 30 Gold RL – air spring, RL rebound – to lock damping, instead of TK TurnKey, more adjustments, weight 1841g for 27,5″ wheel.
RockShox Judy models.
The Judy is back! And here once more some tricky thing going on, as the cheaper model of Judy gets back to steel upper tubes and TurnKey lock. Judy is made for bit more advanced MTB riders, especially with full suspension trail bikes.
- Judy Silver TK – stell upper tubes and TurnKey damping, but here you get Boost hubs compatibility (110mm), option of using OneLoc (locking front and rear suspension with one lever) and tires up to 2,8″ wide,
- Judy Gold RL – all above plus alloy uppers and rebound-to-lock damper.
This is the budget version of Reba fork. We get here more travel (up to 150mm) and thicker upper tubes – 32mm. Ad the Boost system with Through Axle and you get a fork for more aggressive MTB riders on a budget. Main features:
- Recon TK – 80-100mm of travel, steel stanchions, air spring, weight of 1960g for 27,5” wheel, cheaper TurnKey damper, compatible with OneLoc,
- Recon Gold RL – 80-150mm of travel, steel stanchions, rebound-to-lock damper, OneLoc compatibility.
Very versatile and well known among trail riders and even XC competitors. Main features:
- Reba RL – 80-150mm of travel, alloy uppers, weight of 1575g (lightest version), price from 500$,
- Reba RLT – 80-120mm of travel, more adjustment options (RLT – rebound, lockout, threshold), weight of 1662g for 29″ wheel.
Cross Country racing, long MTB marathons, competition! Higher price, lower weight. Main features:
- SID RLC – weight of 1530g, low weight optimised,
- SID XX – weight of 1572g, hydraulic lockout XLoc,
- SID World Cup – weight 1366g, carbon crown, carbon steering tube (option).
Yup! The SID wasn’t your last choice for racing. There is even one more fork to think about. The RS-1 is different from anything else on the market. Upside-Down design, carbon fiber, one-piece steering tube, crown and uppers make from the fork a different beast. Who is it made for? Rather wealthy or sponsored marathon racers. Main features:
- RS-1 – travel 80-120mm, 1666g for 29″wheel, XLoc,
- RS-1 RLC – Charger 2 damper, 1573g for 27,5 wheel and 120mm of travel,
- RS-1 RL – Charger 2 damper, OneLoc compatible.
RockShox forks with 120 – 200 mm of travel.
Just as the Recon was a budget version of Reba, the Sektor is cut-price version of Revelation. 130-150mm means more fun on the descents. Sektor is made for pretty advanced trail warriors with limited budget. Main features:
- Sektor Silver – 32mm alloy uppers, air spring, TurnKey damper, Through Axle 15x100mm, weight og 2220g – 29″,
- Sektor Silver RL – rebound to lock damper, Boost option, OneLoc compatibility, weight of 2190g – 29″ wheel,
- Sektor Gold – TurnKey damper, less weight – 1806g for 29″ wheel.
Trail riders with advanced skills and higher income… 120-160mm of travel and three models to choose from:
- Revelation RLT – advanced damper Motion Control DNA with loads of adjustments,
- Revalation RC T3 – damper as above, plus three positions: open, threshold, locked,
- Revelation RC – Motion Control RC damper, weight of 1951g for 27,5″ wheel and 140mm of travel.
Yari is a budget version of Pike, so many Enduro beginners will choose it. 120-180mm and main features:
- MY17 Yari RC – 35mm uppers, Boost option, 27,5+ or 29″+, weight of 2046 g – 29″/27,5″+,
- Yari RC – more sensitive air spring, 2123 g for 27,5″ wheel with 160mm of travel.
Very well known and loved by many. Pike is made for aggressive trail riding and Enduro. 100-160mm of travel and three models, that have great adjustments.
160-180mm and a good choice for starting to do some Downhill training.
For Downhill and Freeride riders. 200mm of travel, double crown design and 35mm upper legs.
200mm of travel with a very stron chassis. Made for extreme Downhill or things like Red Bull Rampage.