First Ride | The 2025 RockShox Zeb, Lyrik & Pike Introduce New Charger 3.1 Damper & Updated Internals

Mick & Wil ride the 2025 RockShox Pike, Lyrik & Zeb

The RockShox fork lineup was last overhauled in 2023. This saw the introduction of the Charger 3 damper, which features a coil-backed IFP along with independently adjustable high and low-speed compression damping.

There’s a lot that we like about the current range of forks, but if you’ve followed our reviews over the last two years you’ll know that our experience hasn’t been completely positive. While the Charger 3 damper provides loads of support for harder and faster-paced descending, we’ve found it lacking sensitivity, particularly for lighter weight riders. This was especially noticeable when back-to-back testing the Pike against the Fox 34, and the Lyrik against the 36.

It would appear that RockShox has been listening. For 2025 it’s rolling out a bunch of updates for the Pike, Lyrik and Zeb, which includes a new Charger 3.1 damper that promises improved performance and a broader range of tuning options.

2025 rockshox pike ultimate
For 2025 we’ll be seeing a new RockShox Pike, Lyrik and Zeb.

What’s new with the 2025 RockShox forks?

From the outside the 2025 RockShox forks don’t look all that different. The lineup continues to be based around the Pike (120-140mm travel), Lyrik (140-160mm travel), and Zeb (150-190mm travel), and there are no changes to the chassis on any of those forks. The only indication that something is new is the ‘Charger’ logo that’s anodised onto the damper side upper tube.

The DebonAir+ spring is carried over, though the Pike does get a revised design with a larger volume negative chamber. This provides a more supple starting stroke that makes for quite a different ride quality. For those with a 2023-24 Pike, it’s worth noting that the new air spring is backwards compatible.

Additionally, RockShox has updated the lower leg bushings. Previously there were different bushings in the Ultimate-level forks, but for 2025 all models across the Pike, Lyrik and Zeb range will feature the same design. The new bushings are less about material differences and more about improved manufacturing tolerances, which should help to reduce friction.

2025 rockshox zeb ultimate
The 2025 RockShox forks have a Charger logo anodised onto the right side stanchion.

Charger 3.1 damper

Really though, the headline update for the 2025 RockShox fork lineup is the new Charger 3.1 damper.

As the name implies, this is an evolution of the Charger 3 damper we saw introduced two years ago. Indeed the overall architecture remains much the same with a coil-backed IFP, two compression dials at the top and a single rebound dial at the bottom.

Going in deeper, there are quite a few changes to the internals that are designed to increase oil flow and broaden the range of tuning. RockShox states that there is 68% more oil flow through the updated low-speed compression circuit, while a bigger valve stack for the high-speed compression assembly allows it to provide more support when you have the dial closed all the way.

2025 rockshox charger 3.1 damper upgrade
There are significant changes afoot with the new Charger 3.1 damper.

The result is a wider adjustment range. RockShox claims that Charger 3.1 will generate less compression damping when you have both the low and high-speed dials wound fully open compared to Charger 3, but conversely it will generate more compression damping when you have the dials fully closed. This aims to appease competing demands from different riders, though it does mean that each click of the adjusters will have a bigger effect on the damping, potentially making it harder for some to find their sweet spot.

To match the updated compression circuit there’s a stiffer coil spring behind the IFP that provides more back pressure. RockShox has also updated the mid valve check spring, and there’s a new seal head that reduces friction. In theory, the new forks should be more responsive when switching direction between compression and rebound.

2025 rockshox zeb ultimate charger 3.1
You’ll still find two compression dials at the top of the fork, but the damping characteristic and overall tuning range has changed.

Damper tuning kits

Along with the new Charger 3.1 damper, RockShox is introducing a suite of tuning kits. Selling for $45 AUD, these are comprised of specific shim assemblies that offer a different damping characteristic depending on what the rider is looking for.

For compression damping there’s a Stock and Heavy option, while rebound damping is offered in Light, Stock and Heavy tunes.

We reckon this is a fantastic idea to help riders on either side of the bell curve to better match the fork’s damping to their weight and air pressure. Most forks tend to be optimised for riders in the 65-85kg weight range, which means those outside of that may find themselves at the limit of the external adjusters. RockShox is aiming to address the needs of those riders with these new tuning kits, which is great to see.

2025 rockshox charger 3.1 upgrade kit shim
RockShox will have an upgrade kit that will allow you to turn a Charger 3 damper into a Charger 3.1 damper. Well, mostly.

Along with those tuning options, there’s an upgrade kit that allows existing RockShox users to effectively turn their Charger 3 damper into a Charger 3.1. The $129 AUD kit doesn’t get you the new seal head, but otherwise you’ll be able to benefit from the high flow piston assembly, stiffer IFP coil spring and broader tuning range.

Alternatively, RockShox will also offer a complete Charger 3.1 damper aftermarket for $615 AUD, which you’ll be able to drop straight into an existing fork.

2025 rockshox zeb ultimate
The 2025 RockShox Zeb Ultimate on the front of Mick’s Specialized Levo.

2025 RockShox Zeb

2024 rockshox lyrik ultimate charger 3.1
Wil has the 2025 RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fitted to his Pivot Switchblade.

2025 RockShox Lyrik

2025 rockshox pike ultimate charger 3.1 rc2
And a 130mm travel RockShox Pike on his custom Tor Mullock hardtail.

2025 RockShox Pike

On the trail

To get some hands-on experience with the 2025 RockShox lineup, we received three new forks that we’ve been riding over the past couple of weeks.

Mick has a 160mm travel Zeb fitted to the front of his Specialized Levo, resplendent in its new gloss red colour. Wil has a 160mm travel Lyrik on his Pivot Switchblade and a 130mm travel Pike on his Tor Mullock steel hardtail.

Given our experience with the 2023 versions of these forks, installation and setup proved straightforward. We carried over our existing air pressures and rebound settings based on recommendations from RockShox. The exception was the Pike, which feels considerably plusher in the start of its travel and more linear throughout due to the new air spring design. This warranted an extra 5psi of pressure and the addition of a Bottomless Token compared to the previous Pike.

2025 rockshox pike ultimate charger 3.1 rc2
The DebonAir+ spring inside the 2025 RockShox Pike is new, featuring a larger volume negative chamber that gives it a much plusher starting stroke.

When it comes to the high and low-speed compression dials, the tuning process is the same. RockShox suggests starting out with both dials in the neutral position and adjusting to suit from there. In this middle setting the Charger 3.1 damper doesn’t feel drastically different, offering a similar level of support to the Charger 3 forks. Sensitivity is improved however, and it’s even more noticeable when you open up the compression damping. All three forks feel considerably more fluid, which is good news for lighter riders and those chasing maximum plushness.

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the improved sensitivity is coming from. Whether it’s due to the new damper seal head, the higher oil flow, or simply the more precisely manufactured bushings, we’re not entirely sure. Likely it’s a combination of all those changes that have resulted in more grip and comfort.

Despite the internal changes the Charger 3.1 damper remains beautifully silent on the trail with no oil-slurping to be heard. It’s also able to deliver decent big-hit support. Cranking up the high-speed compression dial makes a significant difference, and it’s totally usable given the forks are more sensitive to begin with. Of course you can beef up the compression damping even more with the aftermarket ‘Heavy’ tuning kit, which gravity racers and big hitters will likely benefit from.

2025 rockshox lyrik ultimate charger 3.1 rc2
The tuning approach remains the same with the two dials atop the Charger 3.1 damper.

Any issues so far?

While our Pike and Lyrik test forks have been flawless, the Zeb has unfortunately suffered from excessive bushing knock from new. The play is particularly evident on the left side, with visible movement between the main wiper seal and the stanchion. You can also feel a mild rattle from the front wheel when skimming over the top of rock gardens, or when carrying the bike uphill.

Additionally, Mick discovered some oil seepage around the rebound dial following an overseas flight. Whether this is from a slightly loose foot bolt or a faulty seal is yet to be determined. We’ll be getting the Zeb checked out soon and will provide an update here once we find out what’s up.

2025 rockshox zeb ultimate charger 3.1 rc2
Unfortunately our Zeb test fork has suffered from some bushing knock and leaking issues.

It’s worth pointing out that RockShox continues to offer a two-year warranty for its suspension forks that would cover the issues Mick has encountered. We’ll note that our past experience with SRAM’s technical service in Australia has been excellent, and that’s echoed by numerous bike shop mechanics we’ve spoken to. The fact that RockShox offers a wide range of spare parts along with easy-to-follow service videos also deserves mention.

On the topic of servicing and general maintenance, you might have spotted the threaded inserts on the back of our test forks. These replace the pressure relief valves found on previous RockShox forks, which is due to a patent dispute with Fox. Instead of pressing a button you now undo the threaded insert using a 4mm hex key to release any unwanted air pressure that’s built up in the lowers. It works as advertised, and we also like that it gives you access to the stanchions should you wish to drop in some lubrication oil in between services.

2025 rockshox lyrik ultimate charger 3.1 rc2
RockShox has already rolled out the new threaded inserts in place of the push-button pressure relief valves.

Flow’s Early Verdict

Initial impressions of the 2025 RockShox Zeb, Lyrik and Pike are certainly positive. There’s been a welcome improvement in sensitivity over the previous Charger 3 forks, and the wider compression range gives more scope for dialling the suspension in to your preference. We’re also stoked that RockShox will be offering tuning kits for the compression and rebound assemblies, as well as upgrade kits for existing users. Backwards compatibility is never assured in the bike industry, so we’re always happy when we come across it.

That being said, we’ve got a lot more riding ahead as we dig down into the details and evaluate long-term durability, especially once we get that Zeb checked out. We’ll be experimenting with setup further and embarking on some back-to-back testing alongside the latest 2025 Fox forks to see which takes the crown in their respective categories. Stay tuned for more!

2025 rockshox zeb ultimate charger 3.1 rc2
We’ll have plenty more coming on these 2025 RockShox forks – stay tuned for our upcoming reviews!

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