RockShox Lyrik 2016 - First Laps - Dirt

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2016 RockShox Lyrik.

RockShox Lyrik 2016 – First Laps

We recently headed over to Les Deux Alpes to catch up with RockShox and check out the reborn for 2016 Lyrik fork. In that time we got a sample ride in the form of three days of dustbowl shredding on a 180mm Lyrik RCT3 Solo Air and managed to sneak off with a fork for further testing.

Introducing the New Lyrik – For Those Wanting More. Everything you love in Pike in a stiffer, more capable, longer travel option. We built the new Lyrik for the riders who know there will always be more to explore, more to challenge and more to conquer. If it’s out there, they’re going to ride it, and the new Lyrik will always be up to the task. It’s built on a stiffer yet lightweight 35mm chassis, equipped with the world-acclaimed Charger Damper featuring new Torque Cap and Boost compatibility, and is available in 160mm-180mm travel options for 27.5” and 150mm-160mm for 29”. Lyrik combines single crown weight and agility with dual crown strength and aggression, blurring the lines of capability that limit all other forks in its class. The new Lyrik is built to inspire confidence and give you that much more. So keep going – Lyrik is ready.” – RockShox

There’s not a great deal to differentiate between RockShox’s (RS) brilliant Pike and the new Lyrik – RS themselves don’t even try to hide the fact. But is the new fork really a beefed up Pike or just a watered-down shadow of its former self?

Lyrik is available in 150 and 160mm-travel 29er versions, plus 160, 170 and 180mm-travel 27.5” wheel versions. (And there are 27+ and Boost options.) To sum it up most easily (for those acquainted with RS’s lineup), it’s between a Pike and a BoXXer. It seems a bit of an odd move from RS to add another fork to this bracket when Pike seems to have the bases covered, but forget that and it certainly has its place for those who huck. It does what Pike does, but is more resilient and is as happy as the BoXXer to take on bike park terrain.

Details:

– Wheel sizes: 27.5″/29″
– Travel: 150mm – 180mm (150, 160mm 29″, 160, 170, 180mm 27.5″)
– 35mm chassis
– 15mm axle
– Weight: 2005g 27.5″ / 2032g 29″
– Colours available: Diffusion Black; Gloss Black (OEM); White (OEM)
– Torque Cap and standard wheel cap compatible
– ‘Fast Black’ upper tubes (we feel really fast with these)
– New Solo Air spring with ‘plusher initial stroke’ thanks to increased negative air volume
– Now with SKF wiper seals and Charger Damper cartridge seal for ‘extended service intervals’
– Note: Charger Damper upgrade kit now available for old 26″ Lyriks

Lyrik is akin to Pike in most ways – Charger Damper, 35mm stanchions, SKF dust seals (new for 2016, with promised ‘extended service intervals’), pretty much everything in fact – but it’s got a beefed up, taller arch, tapered legs for added strength and internally tuneable rebound.

Gallery: View with captions for more information on the 2016 Lyrik

There are a few questions that probably need answering, such as the choice of 35mm stanchions and 15mm axle on a fork that states its intentions as having an appetite for downhill. Why go weedy when surely the bigger the better? Well, RS don’t think so, and in fact are confident in saying that with this combo – something ‘they know how to work well with’ – there is ample rigidity in the chassis. In practice we can’t disagree, but the cynic in us is quick to point out the obvious cost savings at manufacture stage.

The fork comes with option for the brand’s Torque Caps to be used – which are basically oversized caps to bridge between hub and fork interface and reduce flex, derived from the upside-down RS-1 XC fork. These are only available with the company’s own wheelsets, but RS say they expect other brands to follow suit. They are only optional and the forks will accept non-SRAM wheels too.

From three days of back-to-back riding it’s safe to say that the Lyrik can cope with the worst an Alpine mountainside can throw at it, performance-wise at least. Unsurprisingly (considering the similarities), it is as smooth, confidence-inspiring and active as its little brother the Pike and its father the BoXXer. Changes to the Solo Air spring with additional negative volume promise a ‘plusher initial stroke’ which adds to the fork’s buttery smooth action. Of course longevity is something else, and that will have to wait for an outcome in our further testing.

Rigidity certainly wasn’t an issue – neither too stiff nor too flexy – although we were riding with the Torque Caps and SRAM wheels so it will be interesting to see the difference with an alternative wheel setup in further testing.

Something that RS are very good at is hitting a good balance between performance and user-friendliness – there are few riders out there who can claim to truly understand the fine workings of dampers and the intricacies of high and low speed compression and rebound. The Lyrik’s typically easy to understand (for RS) rebound, low speed compression and three-position compression (Open, Pedal, Lock) makes things nice and clear. For those wanting to get a little more serious, further rebound tuning is available through internal shim stacks, in the same way that a BoXXer can be personalised. Plus both Solo Air and Dual Position Air options are both now tuneable with Bottomless Tokens.

A summary of sorts

We’re clearly not going to give a conclusion about the new Lyrik after such minimal riding, but we of course have our initial impressions, and they are at least partly confused.

35mm stanchions, tapered legs and overbuilt arch for strength; 15mm axle, Torque Caps for reduced flex. It seems like a fork of contradictions with one corner fighting for all-out bombproofness, the other defending its lightweight credentials.

It certainly sits more in the all-mountain category than its predecessor, but with up to 180mm travel it clearly still wants to hang out at the bike park too. In fact, we’d go as far as to say the Lyrik is pretty much a fork range not just a model.

There’s not a lot more to expand on from what has already been said about the Pike; smooth and supple, reactive, great ride height and impressive damping. But this does all beg the question, why produce two forks so very similar? With even the weights being so close it’s hard to imagine who would buy the Pike now. Will this new Lyrik phase out Pike? Perhaps RS have the answer up their sleeve somewhere.

The ultimate test for the Lyrik is in its ability to cope with seasons’ of hammering on big mountain terrain and in the bike park without failing. We have good feelings, but we’ll have to wait and see how it fares.

Price: £824 RCT3 Solo Air; £888 RCT3 Dual Position Air
More information: RockShox Lyrik 2016
Available: October 2015

 

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