The not-so-minor details
RockShox Lyrik RCT3
Monza Bicycle Imports
Buttery smooth and sensitive.
Tuneable air spring.
Effective low speed compression adjustment.
The Lyrik might often be referred to as a big Pike, but we’d lean more towards dubbing it a small BoXXer. After six months of hammering fitted to the front of our Canyon Strive, we’ve become quite attached to this superb fork, not just because of the way it works but more due to the fact that it’s saved our skin a few times when our ambitions overtook our abilities.
The RockShox Lyrik is the all-new big travel single crown fork for the enduro crowd, from 150mm and stretching up to 180mm travel and available in both 27.5″ and 29er wheel size.
For more details on what’s inside the Lyrik and what it is all about head to our First Bite piece here – Flow’s First Bite: RockShox Lyrik.
The Canyon Strive was a perfect bike to test the 160mm travel Lyrik RCT3 on, not only due to its appropriate travel amount and race-ready attitude but the fact that it replaced the comparative level Pike. Swapping from the Pike to the Lyrik gave us a clear comparison to how the burlier fork will go. Read more of our thoughts on the very impressive Canyon Strive here – Tested: Canyon Strive CF Race.
TRAVEL – 160/170/180mm – 27.5″ , 150/160mm – 29″
WHEELS – 27.5″, 29″l
WEIGHT – 2005g – 27.5″ , 2032g – 29″/27.5″+
DAMPING – Charger Damper (RCT3)
AVAILABLE SPRINGS – Dual Position Air, Solo Air
ADJUSTMENTS – External rebound, low speed compression, 3-position compression (Open/Pedal/Lock)
UPPER TUBES – 35mm tapered wall aluminium, Fast Black
OPTIONS – BOOST 110 compatible option in 27.5″ and 29″/27.5″+
RRP – $1549 or $1649 for Dual Position version.
Air pressure: RockShox’s Solo Air forks are a snack to setup and their Bottomless Token tuning system is a real winner. We followed the air pressure guide on the rear of the lowers to find a base setting and fine tuned it on either side of that to find our desired sag using the inscriptions and red rubber o-ring on the right leg.
After a few test rides we decided on two Bottomless Tokens fitted into the air chamber to create a more progressive spring curve by reducing the overall size of the air spring volume. This may be a little too progressive for lighter riders on calmer trails, and we found two Tokens fitted inside a Pike quite a significant change. But with two Tokens in the Lyrik and the air pressures lowered slightly in tandem we found the fork not only incredibly hard to bottom out, the whole bike actually settled into its travel really well, and even on climbs standing up out of the saddle the fork sagged a touch further into its travel for a lower front end.
Rebound: Once we were happy with the air pressure, it was on to the compression and rebound adjustment. The rebound was easy, we like our forks to rebound slightly faster than the rear shock, and via the big red dial we were able to find a good setting in the wide range available. Never did we have to run slower rebound to accomodate for the damper heating up during long descents and the rebound speed becoming faster, it handles heat and fade very well (at least on any trails we took them to).
Compression: The compression adjustment range is fantastic and very user friendly. We only ever used the three-stage pedal control on the smoothest of climbs or longer stints on tarmac to cancel out the action when really hauling on the bars, but we often toyed with the low speed compression dial (smaller one in the centre). We urge riders to experiment with this adjustment, with a good understanding of what it does, you’ll really be able to make the most out of the fork.
The 15-clicks of low speed compression has a dramatic effect on the way the fork holds itself up in the stroke, while some riders overlook this function as it may not have an obvious impact when pushing on the fork in the carpark, it is really quite profound on the trail. During a ride the compression damping is essentially what holds the suspension up, while the air spring is what extends the fork after an impact.
We experimented with lowering the air pressure at the same time adding low speed compression to gauge how effective it was, and we settled on a sweet point where the fork resisted diving under brakes and rode high in its stroke through the turns but would still remain active enough to the high frequency chatter on faster surfaces.
With the low speed compression backed all the way off the stroke is impressively supple and sensitive, but will bounce around more under your weight shifts during a climb or heavy braking.
If you want to know more on the blood and guts inside the Lyrik click here – Lyrik details please! But after riding the Lyrik for six months we’re really able to make comment on its performance on the trail, and it rules.
Swapping the Pike to Lyrik didn’t turn any heads, the extra beef in the chassis is quite subtle to the eye and they both use 35mm black stanchions, graphics wise they are also similar in appearance. The larger air spring of the Lyrik does cause the left leg extend down further under the axle than the Pike, and the crown and arch are certainly chunkier upon closer inspection but otherwise they look alike at a quick glance. But there’s a whole lot more to it that the mighty Lyrik than just chassis stiffness, it’s ability to swallow up massive impacts is just absurd.
Impacts large and small all start with a the fork breaking through its static stiction point to get moving, and with a fork as smooth at this one the activity is immediate. The feedback from the trail transferred to your hands is minimal and when the biggest impacts are thrown at you the fork remains calm and controlled over and over again.
Feeling more like its big brother the BoXXer like any fork we’ve ridden, the fork is a burly descender.
The Charger Damper won massive praise when the Pike first emerged, and the Lyrik also uses the impressive system. The way the fork remains composed in the roughest of situations is testament to the sophisticated and effective damper, you can feel the way it reacts to the impacts even when deep into its travel while remaining supportive and controlled. It’s dead quiet too, confirming that the Lyrik won’t get over its head no matter what you throw at it.
While we didn’t get our hands on a SRAM front wheel that uses the Torque Cap system, we still relished in the impressive rigidity and steering precision that the bike has with these forks bolted on the front. Some big forks can be too big sometimes, creating a slightly harsher ride as the front end can ping and glance off trail objects with little compliance, and we’ve noticed this with some of the Performance level FOX 36 forks we’ve ridden, the Lyrik doesn’t suffer from this at all, it’s just too sensitive.
The Lyrik is a seriously impressive piece of kit, the buttery smooth and composed suspension action won us over on those long and rough descents, and even cranking our bike up rough climbs it was always keeping us moving in the right direction with its immediate reaction to impacts. In comparison to other forks we’ve tried and tested the 2017 FOX 36 Factory fork is also up there with it, while distinctively different in feel they are both leagues ahead in the 160-180mm category in our opinion. The new FOX damper does allow seperate tuning of high and low speed compression and is available with a 20mm axle, but we never felt the Lyrik was underdone in strength or adjustment in the slightest.
RockShox also produce the Yari, same chassis and air spring with a down specced damper for a saving of $500, a good option for sure.
For about a 100-120g weight gain over the Pike there’s a serious amount of appeal for the rider who charges trails harder and needs a longer travel to suit the bike it is fitted to. And after six months of as much riding as we can throw at it, the fork is running just as well as it was in the beginning. No creaking, loss of sensitivity or signs of wear.
Top marks for the single crown fork that rides damn hard.