There aren't too many people in the world of mountain biking that have not heard of Rockshox. Founded back in 1989 in North Carolina, the company shortly after setting up, moved to California three years later. Although overlooked originally, Rockshox brought in Greg Herbold as their test rider, and he soon became world champion in downhill MTB racing - using a Rockshox Fork.
The very first Rockshox fork was the RS-1 - which had two inches of suspension travel. In this post, we look at the complete Rockshox front fork range, looking at which fork is best suited to your requirements, as well as why you need a suspension fork in the first place.
Why use a MTB Suspension Fork?
The MTB suspension fork transforms off road mountain bike performance, which is why hardtail and full suspension mountain bikes are fitted with front suspension forks as standard. Suspension forks provide plenty of performance, they allow the rider to enjoy a more comfortable and more controllable performance and play an important part in all kids of off road terrain. As off road terrain is so varied, the range of suspension forks available is also incredibly varied - with some suspension forks designed for downhill mountain bikes, having massive amounts of travel - soaking up the drops and obstacles of a downhill trail - whilst cross country forks have less travel, but are designed to help fly across rough terrain, whilst also being lightweight - contributing to the performance of the mountain bike.
As the mountain bike suspension industry has developed - suspension forks are more adjustable, lighter, more tunable and better performing than ever before.
The Paragon 700CC suspension fork is designed for use by urban and trekking cyclists - looking to handle all terrain. The Paragon boasts 65mm of travel and uses the proven solo air system to adjust the fork to the weight of the rider. The paragon is also compatible with a lockout controller, which is sold separately.
The Rockshox 30 is a cross country fork, which is available in a number of different travel options - 80mm travel, 100mm travel and 120mm of travel. It’s a mid range fork, with an aluminium crown, and a coil spring operated fork. Clever features of this fork include the blow-off design, which unlocks this fork if locked out, if an obstacle is hit - saving damage to the fork, and also allowing the rider to benefit from the fork’s travel! This fork is designed to work with all mountain bike wheel sizes, including 26’’, 27.5’’ and 29’’.
Designed to be both strong & lightweight, these forks have a 32mm steel upper tube, with magnesium being used in the lower legs of the fork. These forks are designed to provide all of the performance and reliability of enjoying a tough day on the trails. Suspension travel varies on this model, with the Recon being available with travel of 80mm, running right up 150mm of travel. It can also accommodate 2.8" tyres without fenders.
With a huge amount of design carried over by the downhill range of BoXXer forks, the Sektor provides plenty of precision and will swallow bumps and obstacles. As standard, these forks have the Debonair spring as well as the motion control damping system. Perfect for the trails, these forks provide 80mm of travel running up to 150mm of travel - and are designed to work with both 27.5" wheels and 29" wheels.
The Judy was one of the original suspension forks from Rockshox, and today the Rockshox fork has been completely redesigned around a totally new design and frame. Those familiar with the Rockshox range will recognise some design elements from the Rockshox Pike. The Judy fork is fitted with a solo air spring, with motion controlled damping - meaning it swallows up the impacts of roots and rocks. There is the 100mm travel Judy and the 120mm travel Judy available in three different options - the Judy, Silver TK and Gold RL.
The Rockshox 35 is available with between 100-160mm of travel - and is available in three models, Silver R, Gold RL and Silver TK. These forks are designed to stand up to the rigours of long days on the trails - and have been constructed with tough aluminium uppers - to provide reliable and strong performance.
The Rockshox Reba fork has earnt an excellent reputation for soaking up bumps and rough terrain when riding off-road. A cross country fork, these forks are available with 100mm of travel running up to 150mm of travel. The forks have 32mm stanchions to increase stiffness and offer a fantastic array of tuning and adjustability. There are options to fit 26inch, 27.5 inch and 29 inch wheels.
The Rockshox Bluto are a bit of a wildcard in the Rockshox range - they are designed to be used with fat bikes, so are incredibly wide, and can fit tyres up to 4.8" inches wide. These forks can only be used with 26 inch wheels.
The Yari is the entry level enduro forks - which provide travel of between 100mm and 180mm. These forks are very stiff, and use 35mm stanchions. There is only the Yari RC available, but these forks have been designed to work with 27.5", 29", and 29"+ wheels.
Rockshox Signature Forks
Rockshox Signature Forks each have three different options available - each model is categorised as either Select, Select+ or Ultimate. All of the three options have their own, different damper - and the Ultimate range sits at the very top of the collection - with most features and technology.
The Rockshox SID is designed for those racing mountain bikes - it’s equipped with the high end DebonAir spring and the Charger RL damper. These two working together, provide excellent levels of comfort and control. There’s a 32mm aluminium upper tube - which makes these forks ideal for use on cross country mountain bikes. There are the usual SID, Ultimate, Select+ models - and suspension varies between 100m and 120mm. These forks are designed to be used with 29’’ wheels only.
Rockshox SID SL
The Rockshox SID SL is designed for superlight XC mountain bikes, and therefore has been designed to work with 29 inch wheels. It’s lightweight, has a lightweight damper and has a 32mm stanchion. Travel is 100-120mm.
The Pike is one of the most well known forks within the range. It has the Debonair spring, and a charger 2.1 RC2 damper. It’s a fork which absorbs bumps and obstacles of all sizes - and has between 120mm and 160mm of travel. There is also the option to spec this fork with the wireless flight attendant system. This fork can be used with 26 inch, 27.5 inch and 29 inch wheels.
Incredibly popular with enduro riders - the Lyrik range of forks allow for precision control and comfort. Debonair spring is used in conjunction with the Charge 2.1 damper and there are a number of options available, with between 140-180mm of travel available. Lyrik forks can be used with 27.5 inch and 29 inch wheels.
The ZEB is a hardcore enduro fork - with between 160-190mm of travel. It’s got 38mm top tubes made from aluminium, magnesium lower legs and a hollow aluminium frame. The different materials used in this fork provide the perfect balance between strength and weight. This fork has been designed with rider comfort in mind, and riders report less friction and fatigue when using this fork. There are different variations available, including ZEB e-mtb forks, and this fork can be used with 27.5" and 29" wheels.
An incredibly common and welcome sight on downhill trails, the Rockshox Boxxer is Rockshox most popular downhill fork, it has between 180mm and 200mm of travel, and is designed for big and fast downhill trails. It’s available to fit both 27.5 and 29 inch wheels.
Rockshox Flight Attendant Explained
The Rockshox Flight Attendant is one of the most exciting bits of mountain bike technology we have ever seen. The system works via a wireless communication system, with sensors placed at the crank, fork and rear shock - which provides the rider with automatic suspension changes and updates. There’s no complicated controls, it’s all automatic. Data is gathered every five milliseconds, and has been proven to improve comfort and pedalling efficiency.