Left: Various twiddly bits to operate Mission Control damping; Right: The Two-Step travel control dial
The eagle-eyed will no doubt have noticed that RockShox hasn’t been doing too much in the long-travel/freeride area of late. There’s the Pike, which is really an all-mountain fork, there’s various species of Boxxer, all of which are DH race forks but there’s nothing to go up against the likes of the Marzocchi 66 or Manitou Travis. That’s all set to change for 2007. All of the current RockShox forks are carried over in slightly revised form (except the venerable Judy/J2 entry level fork, which is binned in favour of a new unit called Dart) – the Reba gets a slimmed-down crown, the Pike’s lower legs are tweaked a little, things like that – while there are four new forks occupying various points along the all-mountain/freeride continuum.
There are some new features found across several models of the new range. First we have the new Mission Control damping system, a development of the existing Motion Control system designed with longer-travel (ie upwards of 150mm) forks in mind. Mission Control has separate high and low speed compression circuits. The compression gubbinses are independently adjustable – fiddling with the high-speed one has no effect on the low-speed and vice versa – via the stacked knobs on top of the fork leg. There’s also a second rebound circuit designed to allow the fork to recover more quickly from bigger hits without getting all out of kilter on pattery stuff. Mission Control-damped forks also have an “efficiency mode”, engaged by twisting and popping out the top dial – it’s designed to be simply engaged and disengaged by a gloved hand and gives you a slightly-compliant lockout with an adjustable blow-off as per Motion Control’s Floodgate.
2007’s funky spring feature is Two-Step. This is a lock-down system for air forks, but unlike things like Marzocchi’s ETA you retain a healthy amount of travel when the fork is locked down – for example, the Lyrik fork is 160mm at full travel and 115 locked down. It doesn’t get unduly stiff in short-travel mode, either, so you still have a useful suspension fork but with a substantially lower front end for better weight distribution on climbs. It works by shuffling oil between chambers to act as a kind of liquid spacer. You don’t have to unload the fork to get it to re-extend, it just eases itself back to full travel.
Then there’s the updated Maxle quick-release through-axle system. It’s now dubbed Maxle 360, because you can close the lever in any orientation without having the adjust the nut end. It’s a small tweak, but adds convenience. And we like convenience.
Top of the travel tree is the mighty Totem. It’s a 180mm travel single-crown fork, with 40mm aluminium stanchions and chunky magnesium lowers featuring a prominent bulge where the bushings sit. The lowers also have post-mount fittings for a 203mm brake – all of the new RockShox forks are post-mount for 2007, although that considerable part of the range made up of existing forks is still IS mount. Totem also has a “Speedlube” system – there’s a drain plug at the bottom of each leg into which you can fit an Avid bleed kit (one example of the increasing integration between products from different parts of the SRAM empire) and draw out the lubrication oil. If it looks OK, just squirt it back in. If it’s all manky, dump it and put some fresh in. That should extend “proper” service intervals. In a first for RockShox, the Totem will be available in a 1.5in steerer version as well as the 1 1/8in standard. The 1.5in model is considerably lighter as the steerer doesn’t have to be as thick – claimed weight is 5.9lb for the Solo Air version. It’s also available with coil springs or the Two-Step air spring system. Oh, and it comes in a plain colour with a sticker pack so you can decorate it how you like, or not.
The Totem will be fairly pricey, but it has a less-expensive brother in the shape of the Domain. This is also a 180mm travel fork, but priced from £329.99. To get it to that price, the 40mm aluminium stanchions are dropped in favour of 35mm chromoly ones (which may sound a bit undernourished, but the steel stanchions will keep things plenty stiff) and the lowers are accordingly more slimline. Damping is Motion Control plus a “Speedstack”, which is an extra shim system to help it along in a long-travel application. There’s no Speedlube and no Two-Step option – it’s plain coil or U-Turn only. There will be a 1.5in steerer option, though.
The lower leg casting from the Domain is also found on the Lyrik, which, with 160mm of travel, sits above the existing Pike fork. In common with the Domain it has 35mm stanchions, but on the Lyrik they’re aluminium to cut weight. The internals, meanwhile, are along the lines of those found in the Totem – Mission Control damping on one side and a choice of U-Turn coil (115-160mm), Solo Air or Two-Step Air (115 or 160mm) springs on the other. The Lyric weighs between 5.1 and 5.7lb depending on spring choice, and there’s a 1.5in steerer option too.
The last “new” fork is only half-new really. The Argyle is a specialist dirt jump fork that marries the existing Pike lowers to a new steerer/crown/stanchion assembly featuring 32mm chromoly stanchions, and then fills the space inside with Motion Control damping and coil or air springs to give 100mm of travel in a low-bendability package.