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RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2 2020 Review

Has RockShox managed to eke even more performance out of the Lyrik for 2020? We’ve been hitting the roughest and toughest fork-punishing enduro tracks to find out

RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2
(Image: © Sram)

Our Verdict

Rockshox has done a sterling job making its already superb Lyrik even better

For

  • Class-leading sensitivity paired with the perfect amount of damping structural support
  • A fully useable rebound and compression damping range regardless of air pressure

Against

  • Deciding whether to go for red or back lowers!

The incredible performance of the RockShox Lyrik RC2 2019 made it our top-ranked enduro fork last season. RockShox has introduced a series of tweaks and updates to the 2020 Lyrik which have yet again raised the bar in terms of performance and composure, firmly keeping the Lyrik the best enduro fork on the market for 2020.

Construction

The already superb Lyrik chassis remains unchanged for 2020 throughout the range. The sleek-looking black 35mm stanchions provide a superbly balanced level of stiffness. Even in the most punishing scenarios there is no ride-hindering flex but there’s no unwanted trail feedback being transferred through your hands either. RockShox provides the Lyrik in both 27.5- and 29-inch wheel options with a travel range from 150mm-180mm regardless of wheel size. The forged 7050 aluminium crown also comes in a standard or short offset option in each wheel size (37mm and 42mm for 27.5 and 42mm and 51mm for 29). The lowers still see torque cap compatibility too, allowing for bigger hub end caps to be used where possible. This provides a larger contact point interface between the hub and the fork dropout making for a stiffer, more responsive front wheel. Boost spacing means tyre clearance remains hugely generous with a maximum size of 2.8in and even with big rubber this still leaves plenty of room for clogging in the muddiest of conditions. There’s also scope to run anything from a 180mm to a 220mm brake rotor depending on rider preference.

Updates and technology

The big focus point for 2020 is the new and totally redesigned Charger 2.1 damper. Essentially what RockShox has done here is provide a lighter, therefore more usable high-speed compression tune but also reworked the low-speed compression to provide more support after the sag point. The damper changes for 2020 have eliminated any issues we had with the 2019 version and we really get the feeling RockShox has genuinely listened to what the riders wanted when developing 2020 products. Previously with the 2019 fork I found the high-speed compression adjustment to be redundant with my required 68psi air pressure, but these changes mean what was the fully open setting in 2019 is now closer to two clicks in for 2020. This provides a high-speed adjustment range that is now useable for all riders regardless of their weight/air pressure.

Other additions to the 2020 2.1 damper include a specific ‘sized to the damper’ wear band instead of the split ring that was previously used. The technology is taken from RockShox’s shock department and combats any stray damper fluid trying to make its way past the main piston seal. This improves overall rebound control especially at slow shaft speeds. Maxima Plush Fluid is now used inside the damper to provide a reduction in friction, keep performance as consistent as possible in all conditions, reduce damper noise and prolong service intervals. New SKF wiper seals not only preserve the internals from the elements but also reduce initial friction to provide even more sensitivity. The class-leading Debonair air spring remains unchanged for 2020 and still offers the best off-the-top sensitivity and control all the way through the travel. The air springs are also available to purchase separately, creating is an easy and effective way to change the travel of your fork or upgrade a pre-Debonair Lyrik.

RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2

(Image credit: Sram)

Ride and performance

Just when you think the best can’t get any better RockShox raise the bar again with the 2020 Lyrik Ultimate in terms of pure performance and usability. Setting the Lyrik up is still a breeze and the recommended air settings are a great starting point. After some fine tuning we did end up running 5psi more than stated for our weight, while also settling for one volume spacer in our 170mm travel fork. The RockShox TrailHead smart phone app is also brilliant for finding those solid baseline settings and offering specific tuning recommendations for each individual set up. This is great for people who are unsure how to get the most out of their fork.

One of the biggest noticeable differences out on the trail is how effectively the 2020 Lyrik uses all of its travel. Previously with the 2019 fork it was hard to use full travel and full bottom out would only usually occur after the hardest of landings. The new lighter high-speed compression tune totally fixes this and provides a much more effective use of travel.

Big impacts from harsh landings now feel smoother but crucially more controlled as the lighter tune causes the ramp up to start more gradually and earlier in the travel. The rate of progression can still be adjusted with the use of air-volume-reducing tokens too, these internally thread into place and allow for the ramp up to be tuned for different riding styles or locations. More aggressive riders may want to add tokens to gain even more support and bottom out resistance whereas lighter, less aggressive riders may want to run less to achieve use of full travel.

Another big noticeable difference when comparing the 2019 and 2020 Lyrik is how the new model naturally rides higher in its travel, but still manages to provide more sensitivity and hand-relieving comfort than before. It’s almost inexplicable how well the new Lyrik does this, bringing a true hovercraft-like feel to the front of your bike. It boosts confidence in all scenarios, reassures you when going nose first into wet off-camber roots as you know the vice-like grip on offer from the class-leading sensitivity and control always has your back.

The increased support after the sag point provides ultimate stability and reassurance without ever feeling harsh when carving lips or braking hard into steep chutes either, keeping the geometry of the bike predictably preserved. It tackles the longest, most punishing Alpine descents without flinching too, with feel and performance remaining totally unchanged even after 20 minutes of constant abuse.

Verdict

The 2019 Lyrik was phenomenal but for 2020 RockShox has pushed the boundaries even further with the Lyrik Ultimate to create an undisputed class leader. Incredible control with a totally unphased attitude makes for a hugely confidence boosting feel, offering a combination of sensitivity, support and ground-hugging traction we didn’t think were possible. While it’s obvious rival is the Fox 36 Grip2 version is also a fantastic big hitting enduro option, it falls short in terms of comfort, out-and-out trail chatter reduction and user friendliness when compared to the Lyrik. For lighter riders the 36 is over damped too, making a lot of the adjustments redundant when operating at lower pressures. If you only need 150mm (or less) travel with a more poppy than out-and-out damped feel you may want to consider the new Pike Ultimate from RockShox. It shares the same Charger 2.1 damper tech as the Lyrik but with a slightly sportier feel and it weighs 170g less (1835g V 2005g in 27.5-inch), making it brilliantly suited to trail bike use rather than full-blown enduro hammer.

Test conditions

  • Temperature: 10 to 25 degrees in both wet and dry conditions.
  • Trails and terrain: A mix of natural and man-made downhill tracks, EWS stages and bike park trails across the UK, Europe and New Zealand.

Tech Specs: RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2

  • Travel 150-180
  • Offset 37-51mm
  • Weight 2005 -2100g