The SID has been a mainstay of RockShox' short travel fork lineup for many years, but a total overhaul for 2017 means it's come back with a renewed focus on flat out cross-country racing speed.
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That means a completely new magnesium chassis to trim from the old fork, with neat tricks such as machined away dropouts and thinner legs shaving grams without losing stiffness. In fact, RockShox says that every single part of the fork was worked on to reduce weight wherever possible. The magnesium lowers use the ‘Power Bulge’ design that bulks them up around the high stress bushing area and the brace is webbed internally rather than being hollow to increase stiffness without adding too much weight. The fork also uses the larger Torque Cap interface on the dropout for the Boost spacing 15mm through axle to help boost stiffness there.
While the old SID was available in 120mm travel options, RockShox has deliberately limited the new model to a maximum of 100mm of travel in either of the 29in or 27.5in versions. That’s because they felt that 120mm travel bikes are becoming more aggressive and trail-riding focused, so engineering in enough stiffness and durability to work there would have meant compromising the qualities needed to be competitive as a race fork, namely in weight. The fork also has some really neat touches elsewhere. A good example would be that the top caps for the spring and damper don’t have a hex-wrench interface to remove them, using a cassette tool instead. That means taking away weight rather than adding it, plus a more secure, fast and reliable way to strip the fork down.
A hard-charging fork
The big news is that the sealed Charger damper, first introduced on the long-travel Pike range, has now been adapted for use in the two top line SID models. While it shares the name though, the damper is actually a completely new design.
Jed Douglas, RockShox product manager, explained that as well as needing to fit the damper into a smaller diameter chassis, developers also did a lot of work to reduce internal friction as much as possible. While keeping friction low is hugely important in terms of delivering smooth suspension performance and grip in any fork, it’s especially critical in a short-travel fork that’s required to work with very lightweight riders as well as heavier or more aggressive riders.
The Charger damper gets a two-position open or closed setting, with low-speed compression damping adjustment in open. RockShox says that the closed setting is made to be extremely firm. It’s also compatible with a cable operated lockout.
It’s not just the damper concept that’s borrowed from the SID’s big brothers. You can add in up to four volume spacers into the Solo Air spring to help tune how progressive the fork is. That’s really useful as the spring curve itself has been made slightly more linear with a greater air volume in order to perform better with light riders, a fair assumption in a world where riders want to save all the weight they can, be it from belly or bike.
Plenty of options
There are going to be four models in the range, starting with the top SID World Cup model. As well as having the Charger damper, it also gets a carbon fibre crown and steerer to help shave around 100g of weight from the aluminium version used on the rest of the range. With prices ranging from £965-1028 / $1150-1225 depending on the options you choose, you’ll need fairly deep pockets however.
The SID RLC gets the same damper but a conventional crown and steerer for £709-768 / $845-915. If you don’t want the extra adjustment of the Charger damper, the SID XX costs £709 and uses the open-bath Motion Control XX damper, which just has a hydraulic remote lockout rather than low-speed compression adjustment.
There’s also an RL model using the older Motion Control open-bath damper, but that will be only available on complete bikes.
All of the range is due to be available in July 2016, so we’ll get our hands on a fork for full test as soon as possible.