RockShox's new SIDLuxe doesn’t change much in its latest version but this superlight XC race shock now feels a lot more controlled and capable though bigger, faster hits on rougher trails. Specific aftermarket bike tunes make shopping for a rear shock easier too, but it's more expensive and syncs better with SID SL than the plusher SID Ultimate.
Design and build
While it’s largely similar to the previous SIDLuxe, the new Ultimate version does get more machining around the head of the shock which slightly increases air volume. It also gets the option of the new ‘3P' low-speed compression damping as the SID Ultimate and SID SL forks. This adds a ‘Pedal’ mode between the ‘Lock’ and ‘Open’ settings of the 2P damper, which stays on as an option for binary fans. The high-speed compression circuit has been opened up for faster flow under high-speed loads too.
3P or 2P options are available with a manual lever or three different remote options while rebound is adjustable with an embedded Allen key. Standard eyelet and trunnion side mounts versions are available but RockShox hasn’t released the full range of sizes prior to launch. They have released a list of bikes that they’ll be selling pre-tuned shocks for which includes BMC FourStroke, Mondraker F-Podium and F-Podium DC, Santa Cruz Blur and Blur TR, Canyon Lux TR, Specialized Epic Evo and Trek Top Fuel (20-22).
I tested my shock in the upcoming Cervelo ZFS which uses a very similar tune to the Santa Cruz Blur. Unsurprisingly it felt similar to the previous generation SIDLuxe that it replaced, but 3P Open now felt slightly more open than the previous 2P Open if you get what I mean. It still has an efficiently taut rather than plush feel when cruising though and when switched to Pedal it really tightens up to provide a firmly determined platform off the top. Lockout is properly rigid too giving a really broad bandwidth of potential performance feels. That was great even on a well-sorted bike like the Cervelo, but if you’ve got a bike that’s currently too stiff or too soggy at the rear 3P could really help you find a happy place
Charge into chunky stuff though and it’s very obvious that the new SIDLuxe is happy to take a lot more of a hammering than before. That meant new PR times even on rocky riverbed descents with XC tire anxiety. It also lands drops really well and it’s definitely increased the speed and aggression I’m happy to take into ugly terrain compared to the previous shock. I’ve yet to get it feeling inconsistent and overworked even on extended flat-out rowdy descents and rough pedal sections too.
Overall feel is dependent on stroke but running it on a bike with 100 or 120mm travel options meant a naturally appropriate SID fork sync. I got a good tighter, more progressive match to SID SL using a 40mm stroke and then removed the travel spacer to get a more open mid-stroke and shorter, steeper ramp-up that matched the SID Ultimate really well in 45mm. It's naturally very progressive though and both times I’ve had shocks supplied with a volume spacer I’ve removed it to get full travel rather than struggling to get past 80 percent stroke. Even in the longer stroke or running 30 percent sag overall feel is relatively tight and business-like rather than gushingly smooth too.
That's fine by me though most riders looking for a race damper will want something that feels propulsive rather than pillowy. However if weight isn’t a massive issue and you’d rather have a more linear and sensitively plush trail feel you’re probably better off with the larger volume RockShox Deluxe shock, not the SIDLuxe.
The new SIDLuxe adds a noticeable amount of fast and hard slap control compared to the previous version. The new 3P triple mode compression gives you more options for managing overall bike character on the fly too, which more engaged riders are going to love. There's still a two-position damper for more binary feel fans if three positions sound like a karma killer, not the karma sutra.
Feel depends on stroke which lines things up neatly with the new SID forks but it’s definitely still a race rather than trail feeling shock overall. It’s significantly more expensive than the previous generation SIDLuxe too so not as big a bargain against Fox's latest Float SL when compared with the forks.
Tech specs: RockShox SIDLuxe Ultimate 2024
- Price: $439 - $509 / £479 - £539 / €539 - €609
- Sizes: TBC
- Options: Standard or Trunnion, Lever adjust, Remote in, Remote out, Backside remote
- Weight: 252g (190 x 40mm with 3P remote spool)