When RockShox reintroduced the Pike four years ago in all its murdered glory, it set a new benchmark for suspension performance. It forced competitors to step up and it made black stanchions sexy again.
Taking what they learned from that seminal product, RockShox has since launched several (arguably) class leading products. That includes the enduro oriented Lyric, the ridiculously light SID, and the inverted RS1 fork. With each product line, Rockshox introduced new improvements. Now, they’re taking all that technology and bringing it to the Pike.
Charger Damper 2
Let’s start with the heart and sole of the fork, the damper. In their premium product line, RockShox uses a closed cartridge system with an expanded bladder. This system was first used by RockShox in the Pike. They called it the Charger Damper. The sequel, which has been imaginatively named the Charger Damper 2, relies upon the same basic principles.
The difference is that the bladder now has an hourglass shape, similar to what’s found in the new SID. That allows the piston to displace more oil, without requiring a larger stanchion.
The tuning has also been adjusted. The Pike now has a wider range of low-speed compression adjustment in the open mode. The firmness of the middle (or pedal) setting has been backed off, making it more usable for all the riding that occurs between steep fire road climbs and gnarly descents.
DebonAir Air Spring
Now that we’ve covered one fork leg, let’s move over to the air side. For the new Pike, RockShox borrowed the same tech as their DebonAir equipped shocks. In short, they’ve increased the negative air volume, which enhances small bump sensitivity – particularly in the first third of the stroke.
This new air spring will also be featured on the Lyrik, Revelation, and Yari.
In addition to the internal changes, RockShox also made significant modifications to the chassis. With burlier and lighter options in the line, they wanted to optimize the Pike for trail oriented pursuits. So max travel is now capped at 160mm for the 27.5” version and 140mm for the 29er. Both are built exclusively around boost spacing and will clear up to a 2.8” tire. Although if you’re plus curious, the 29er fork will accommodate up to 27.5×3” rubber.
If the new fork has you feeling upgrade-itis, there are some things you can do to spruce up your existing Pike. The first thing we’d suggest is the Luftkappe air piston assembly from suspension tuner Vorsprung. This little doohickey increases the negative air chamber, which gives you that ultra plush feel at the top of the stroke. It also replaces the mechanical top out bumper with a pneumatic one.
And when it’s time to service your Charger Damper, you can simply order a new Charger 2 Upgrade kit instead. The non-remote version will retail for $240, the remote kit will be $300.
The new forks are available now. Retail is set between $875-1000 depending on options.
To learn more, visit www.sram.com.