The New RockShox BoXXer - Charged And Ready

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The New RockShox BoXXer – Charged And Ready

The Charger damper. Nothing super complicated, but it works a treat. Despite less external adjustments on offer it offers all the tuning opportunities you need.

One thing that has made a big difference to the performance of the forks, and it’s easily the most significant change, is the new Charger damper that you’ll find in both the World Cup and Team models (the RC uses Motion Control RS). This is the damper that we know and love from the Pike, but despite its incredible performance it could be said that RockShox have been somewhat brave in fitting it in the BoXXer. The reason I say that is because is because many riders expect high-end forks like these to have every bell and whistle going, but with the new fork RockShox have actually reduced the number of external adjustments on offer.

Just low speed compression is adjustable up top and this simplicity helps makes it quicker to get the forks set up right, and more difficult to get wrong.

With the old Mission Control damper you got external beginning and ending stroke rebound adjusters, and both high and low speed compression adjusters. With the Charger you just get external adjusters for beginning stroke rebound and low speed compression. Some may seem that as a step backwards, and like I said it’s a brave move, but after extensive testing RockShox really believe it’s the way forward. During the testing period a number of RockShox’s most respected test riders, of all standards and styles, were sent out with a wide range of different shim stack layouts to try out. The different layouts altered the high speed compression and ending stroke rebound, the things that can be adjusted externally on the Charger damper. After several months of homing in on each riders preferred setup, tweaking here and there, even RockShox themselves were quite surprised when everyone started returning the same verdict.

At the bottom you also now get just the one rebound adjuster. This damper proves that simplicity definitely doesn’t have to mean lower performance.

It turns out that there is a ‘golden’ setting. Of course some people are always going to sit outside the norm, but RockShox found that even those riders with the most extreme tastes were only slightly off the common consensus. Those riders still have to have their needs catered for though, and so to address this RockShox have included the shims required for both ‘light’ or ‘firm’ settings within the damper. All you need to do is swap a couple of shims around and hey presto you’ve got the tweak you need. It’s a relatively easy job to do and is explained in the instructions, but if all this sounds like a faff then don’t worry because RockShox believe that it will only be a very small percentage of riders that feel the need to do this, the vast majority will be more than happy with the base setting.

People often get scared by shim stacks but they’re not rocket science. By just moving a couple of these shims about you can easily access the different tunes. Most riders will never feel the need to do this though.

Don’t believe it? Well, RockShox were so confident in the performance of the Charger that on the first day of riding they let us ride a current set of Boxxers for the first few runs. They were as good as ever. Then they bolted in a Charger damper and the new tweaked air spring, and the difference was unbelievable. I was expecting a slight change, but after just a couple of tweaks of the dials and the addition of some ‘Bottomless Tokens’ (more about them in a bit) I was nothing short of incredibly impressed. Sensitivity, grip, and composure were all significantly improved, and my hands and arms were getting far less beaten up. Many of the Queenstown tracks were blown to pieces with wheel-sized holes everywhere, and so they definitely didn’t make for an easy testing ground, and highlighted just how impressive the new damper is. Honestly this thing is seriously good.

Talking shim stacks with Jeremiah Boobar, aka Mr RockShox.

Those of you who’ve been paying attention will have noticed that I said they chucked the Charger in an older set of BoXXers, and this is a key point, and one where I think RockShox might have actually shot themselves in the foot. You see the Charger damper is going to be sold aftermarket for less than £300 and it can be retrofitted into any old BoXXer with a 35mm chassis. That’s going right back to 2010, and you can even fit it in a pair of the cheapest Race/RC forks to truly transform them. Obviously this upgrade is far cheaper than a new set of forks, and after riding the full new fork the next day it’s fair to say that any improvements over the upgraded version are subtle. I know if it were my money I would find it very hard to justify the expense of a brand new set of forks if I already had a set of BoXXers that could be upgraded. I really take my hat off to SRAM for offering this upgrade because it would have been so easy for them to make the Charger incompatible with older forks, just so that they sold more new forks. This is how customer service should be. If you want to know a bit more about the damper then watch the video below with Jeremiah Boobar…

Click below for part three…

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