RockShox Yari RC Debonair fork review

Big travel with upgrade potential

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Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £695.00 RRP | AUD $1,200.00
Suspension fork for mountain bike

Our review

You can’t get a better fork for this much money
Pros: Among the best off-the top sensitivity, traction and small-bump compliance of any fork at any price; one of the cheapest properly capable big travel forks; damper can be upgraded to Lyrik spec if needed
Cons: Motion Conrol damper lacks low-speed support and is occasionally harsh over big impacts; you may want to remove the pre-installed volume spacers and increase pressure relative to the setup chart
Skip to view product specifications

The Yari is the more affordable and often overlooked sibling to the highly-prized Lyrik. It uses the same stiff 35mm chassis as the Lyrik, and in 2019 it gets the Debonair spring too.

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So it now offers the same coil-like spring feel that makes the Lyrik so good. The more basic Motion Control damper and wiper seals are the only things that differentiate the Yari from the Lyrik.

That means you get RockShox’ trademark sag markings, which make setting up the fork that bit easier.

Also, the fork pushes the O-ring all the way to the top of the stanchion when you use full-travel, which makes it much easier to see how much travel you have used when compared to other forks that stop short of the top of the stanchion.

  • This fork was tested as part of a group test including ten of the best enduro forks. All forks were tested back-to-back on the same tracks, keeping all other variables as consistent as possible to ensure our findings are as reliable and accurate as they can be.

RockShox Yari RC Debonair setup

Suspension fork for mountain bike
The Yari’s Motion Control damper can be upgraded to the Charger damper found on the Lyrik.
Steve Behr

I found the two factory-fitted volume spacers, combined with the recommended air pressure, caused the fork to sit too low in its travel, while making it hard to use full travel.

Removing both spacers and increasing the air pressure to 110psi, around 20 psi above what RockShox recommends for my weight, solved this problem, providing more support while still allowing it to use full travel.

Despite the extra air, I measured a relatively generous 34mm (21 percent) of sag.

RockShox Yari RC Debonair performance

The DebonAir spring represents a significant upgrade over the older Yari. Like with the Lyrik, the spring sinks into its early travel more readily than anything else on the market.

This gives it a stuck-to-the trail feel with consistent-traction over pitter-patter bumps and incredible turn-in grip when the front is lightly weighted.

The Yari’s Motion Control damper, however, can’t match the Lyrik’s in either comfort or support. It doesn’t hold the fork up quite as well under low-shaft-speed loads, such as braking or cornering, so it needs a few more psi in the spring to prop it up.

More significantly, it “spikes” when faced with high-speed impacts such as heavy slap-down landings or large bumps at speed. In other words, the damper doesn’t allow oil to flow fast enough to keep up with really fast compressions, so it feels harsh and doesn’t use much travel on the very biggest impacts, the kind you might experience just a handful of times in a run.

Interestingly, this occasional high-speed harshness didn’t cause me sore hands or finger-pain even over the longest, roughest tracks where many other forks did.

That’s because, while it’s slightly jarring on rare occasions, it reacts to the thousands of small bumps you’ll encounter between those events as deftly as the very best forks. And thanks to that coil-like spring, the Yari provides predictable support and superb traction when pattering through roots and small stones.

How does it compare to its rivals?

Despite being the cheapest fork on test, only the RockShox Lyrik and Fox 36 Factory GRIP 2 performed better.

The other budget-focused fork in this test, the Marroccchi Z1, is more forgiving when it comes to big hits, but it’s not as glued to the trail over roots and loose trail chatter. The Yari is lighter and cheaper too.

What’s more, the Yari’s Motion Control damper can be upgraded to the Charger damper, like you’d get in a Lyrik, and the wiper seals can be swapped to Lyrik spec too during a routine service.

So, the Yari has the scope to be upgraded to the point of being identical to the best fork on test should you wish to do so.

RockShox Yari RC Debonair options

Travel

  • 27.5in: 150mm, 160mm (tested), 170mm and 180mm
  • 29in: 150mm, 160mm, 170mm and 180mm

Offset

  • 27.5in: 44mm
  • 29in: 51mm (tested)
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This video shows how we tested the forks and how they compare.

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $1200.00GBP £695.00
Weight 2,129g (29in)
Brand Rockshox

Features

Features Crown to axle length: 567mm
Offset 51mm
Travel 160mm
Wheel size 29in/700c