The revised DebonAir spring will feature in RockShox’ headline Lyrik and Pike fork, along with cheaper Yari and Revelation models.
The idea is to make the most of each and every millimetre of travel on offer, and by making a change to its DebonAir spring, RockShox believes it’s achieved this.
- Best mountain bike suspension forks for 2020
- Mountain bike suspension setup: video guides to help you get the most from your bike
The change comes not long after the US brand unveiled its updated cross-country SID fork last month, which was also overhauled to ride higher in its travel and designed to make the most of the 100 or 120mm of travel on offer.
In a similar vein, feedback gathered indicated riders wanted to get the maximum travel from their Lyriks and Pikes as well as wanting them to ride a little higher in their travel.
Currently, with the current DebonAir spring set up, the forks can tend to sink into their travel under their own weight. While the problem posed is essentially the same as it was with the SID, RockShox took a slightly different route to fixing it.
Spring is in the (Debon)air
The crown and steerer unit (CSU) of the Lyrik and Pike (along with the Yari and Revelation) remain the same for 2021, as does the dimple (the tiny indentation/bypass port on the spring-side upper tube that lets air travel between the positive and negative air chambers allowing them to self-equalise), which retains its shape and position in the upper tube.
The change RockShox was after is achieved by moving the DebonAir’s piston up by 10mm to sit in the dimple, allowing the air spring to equalise automatically when the fork is fully extended.
That means you no longer need to compress the fork slightly for the pressures to equalise, as is the case with the previous DebonAir design.
Other changes include an aluminium seal head with internal bushing and a longer foot nut at the bottom of the air spring shaft – these are what enable the piston to move up to sit in the dimple.
The best bit here, though, is that the new DebonAir spring is backwards compatible and will fit previous generation forks, if you’d like to make this change to your Lyrik, Yari, Pike or Revelation – just be sure to buy the right one depending on the chassis design.
The 2020 DebonAir spring can also be upgraded by fitting the new foot nut and seal head as opposed to buying a complete new air spring.
Hollow in the head
There’s obviously a little more to it than that, though. As a result of the changes, the positive air volume does decrease ever so slightly.
To counter this and ensure the force to bottom-out remains almost unchanged, RockShox has taken lessons learned from the Boxxer, its downhill fork, and uses a seal head that’s hollow at the bottom.
It claims that by creating air volume under the seal head meant effectively increasing the volume in the lower legs at bottom out. The result is less lower leg volume ramp up as the fork enters the last part of its travel. This should then counter any negative effects of the decrease in positive air volume.
RockShox claims that as the positive and negative chambers equalise automatically at full fork extension, set up should be that bit easier.
The previous design, if being inflated from 0psi, would need you to add air, then partially compress the fork (to move the piston into the bypass dimple) to get it to equalise before topping up the air pressure to get to your required setting.
The new DebonAir spring should mean it’s simply a case of inflating to your desired pressure and riding.
RockShox also claims riders won’t need to run more air pressure than they normally would to gain support early in the stroke because the newly designed air spring should help the fork ride higher in its travel.
You’ll want to remember that while the air pressure chart for Lyrik (and Yari) remains unchanged, the Pike’s (and Revelation’s) recommended pressures are reduced by around 5 per cent due to the new air spring having a more drastic effect on their ride characteristics.
RockShox has also introduced a 44mm offset which it claims will work well across all 650b and 29in forks.
2021 RockShox fork models and pricing
The new DebonAir spring will be introduced to a number of forks across the RockShox range for 2021.
2021 RockShox Pike
The Pike Ultimate comes in 650b or 29in variations with travel ranging from 130 to 150mm.
Alongside the new DebonAir spring, the Pike Ultimate features the Charger 2.1 RC2 damper and uses Maxima Plush damping fluid and SKF wiper seals to help keep the fork as sensitive and supple as possible.
The Pike Ultimate costs £869/ $899/ €979.
Next comes the Pike Select, which is also offered for both wheel sizes and the same travel range as the Ultimate.
The Pike Select gets cheaper wiper seals but still uses the Maxima Plush damping fluid. Its damper is the Charger RC, which offers some low-speed compression adjustment. The Pike Select will set you back £679/ $699 / €759.
2021 RockShox Lyrik
RockShox offers its top-tier Lyrik Ultimate in either 650b or 29in sizes and with between 150 to 180mm travel.
Just like the Pike Ultimate, the Lyrik Ultimate gets the slippery SKF wiper seals and Maxima Plush damping fluid, along with the highly refined Charger 2.1 RC2 damper.
The Lyrik Ultimate costs £929 / $949 / €1,039.
Just below the Ultimate sits the Lyrik Select. This is offered for both of the main wheel sizes and in the same travel range too.
To help keep the price down there are no SKF seals and the Select uses a Charger RC damper instead. The Lyrik Select costs £729 / $749 / €819.
2021 RockShox Yari
The new DebonAir spring also gets included in some of the US brand’s cheaper forks, including the Yari RC.
The Yari RC uses a Motion Control damper and will work with 650b, 29in and 29in+ wheels. Travel ranges from 150 to 180mm.
The Yari shares the same chassis architecture as the pricier Lyrik and will set you back £479 / $499 / €539.
2021 RockShox Revelation
There’s a cheaper, shorter travel option in the shape of the Revelation RC, available with the new air spring too.
Like the Yari RC, the Revelation RC uses a Motion Control damper but will only work across 650b and 29in wheel sizes. Travel varies from 120 to 150mm and it’ll cost you £479 / $499 / €539.
We will be testing the latest Lyrik and Pike as soon as it’s safe to do so, so be sure to stay tuned for a full review in the not too distant future.