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RockShox ZEB Select suspension fork review

Is the latest mid-spec enduro fork from RockShox the one to select?

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £864.00 RRP | USD $896.00 | EUR €968.00 | AUD $1,540.00
RockShox ZEB Select suspension fork for mountain bikes

Our review

RockShox has changed the character of the ZEB Select, with more mid-stroke support but less comfort and traction
Pros: Friction minimal throughout the travel range; rebound damping light enough to give an active feel
Cons: The ZEB has lost its impressive comfort; more expensive than similar-level forks
Skip to view product specifications

The ZEB Select features the same burly 38mm chassis as the ZEB Ultimate and is intended for bike parks and full-bore enduro stages, but with less sophisticated internals.


It’s aimed at those looking to upgrade to a solid mid-spec mountain bike fork, while keeping the budget in check.

This hard-charging fork features new RockShox Debonair+ spring and Charger RC damper, featuring external low-speed compression and rebound adjustment.

The wonderful thing about the ZEB Select chassis is all ZEB products can be retrofitted, meaning you could upgrade the Select to a higher-spec model without buying a whole new fork.

RockShox ZEB Select suspension fork details and specifications

The Charger RC damper features external low-speed compression and rebound adjustment.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

The ZEB Select has the same 38mm stanchions and stocky chassis as its higher-spec sibling. However, it doesn’t get the increased bushing overlap treatment found on the latest ZEB Ultimate, which is intended to reduce friction.

The forks will fit RockShox’s Pressure Release Valves, but these will need to be bought separately (costing £31) because they don’t come as standard on the Select model.

The rest of the chiselled chassis has been refined to improve stiffness, while keeping weight to a minimum. The fork is also compatible with RockShox Torque Caps, which are hub-end caps that have a wider-diameter flange designed to provide a stiffer hub/fork connection for improved handling.

Dimensions-wise, there are sizes to fit 27.5in and 29in wheels. You can choose between a 38mm or 44mm offset for the 27.5in forks, and 44mm or 51mm for the 29ers. All models use a 200mm brake mount with a maximum rotor size of 220mm.

To help keep the forks running smoothly, RockShox uses Maxima Plush Dynamic Suspension Lube. This is a lower leg oil that RockShox designed with Maxima. It’s intended to offer the best performance and reduce friction between the bushing and stanchions, improving longevity.

The ZEB Select features the latest RockShox DebonAir+ spring, which doesn’t have the brand’s vibration-absorbing ButterCups, seen on more expensive models. It uses a new aluminium seal head, which enabled RockShox to thin down the seal head while maintaining material integrity. This helped it, along with changing the shape of the piston, to increase negative spring volume.

The goal for RockShox was to increase mid-stroke support and fork ride height, intended to give the forks will have more travel, more often for tackling the gnarliest and steepest of trails. The new DebonAir+ spring is also backwards-compatible with older ZEB model forks.

RockShox uses its Charger RC damper for the damping side, featuring externally adjustable low-speed compression and rebound damping. This has less sophisticated valving than the top-spec Charger3 damper, but uses a similar IFP (Internal Floating Piston) to keep the damping fluid under pressure to prevent cavitation, aiming to keep damping consistency high.

The ZEB Select is available in 27.5in and 29in versions, with travel options ranging from 150 to 190mm. I tested the 29in fork with 170mm travel and a 44mm offset. On our scales, this weighed in at 2.23kg, which is average in weight for such an aggressive fork.

RockShox ZEB Select suspension fork performance

The DebonAir+ spring is backwards compatible with previous-generation ZEB forks.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

RockShox ZEB Select suspension fork setup

For my 76kg, I settled on 58psi, five psi less than RockShox recommends, and kept the one volume spacer installed. This gave me around 22 per cent sag, and a progression I felt was supportive without becoming harsh.

RockShox manages to get away with much lower pressures in its air chambers than other brands, such as Fox, due to bigger spring volumes. Slight pressure differences can lead to more noticeable changes on the trails. Take your time to get your pressures correct. I found a digital shock pump helped here.

I ran the compression damping open most of the time, and the rebound was set to 14 clicks from closed out of 18, leaving some room for additional adjustment.

RockShox ZEB Select suspension fork ride impressions

While RockShox is known for comfort, the new ZEB Select isn’t the most sensitive fork I’ve tested. The new DebonAir+ spring really has changed the character of the ZEB. As a result, the fork rides higher in its travel, and it was harder to use full travel.

The new Charger RC damper no doubt plays a role here too. However, the damping feels light enough when open that it doesn’t restrict travel and the spring supports the rider’s weight.

Riding across small bumps, the new ZEB isn’t wonderfully supple like older models. It doesn’t take the sting out of chattery trails as well as forks such as the Formula Selva R or Cane Creek Helm MkII. This will win some people over but not others.

That added support helps keep the front end high so you can push and load the handlebars in turns, which helps maintain momentum in some circumstances, such as high-speed berms and pumping jump faces or rollers. Still, it gives a bit of harshness through the hands.

The taller ride height and extra travel are useful on steeper trails, where the front end doesn’t dive through the mid-stoke. However, losing the ground-hugging sensitivity of the mid-stroke that made the DebonAir spring so comfortable limits confidence over small root spreads and unsupported corners where traction is necessary.

Get the bike up to speed, however, and the support in the mid-stroke is plush and plentiful. The ZEB Select negotiates rocks, drops and braking bumps in the bike park deftly. As a result, you can feel confident pointing the ZEB Select into a rough section of trail, knowing it will soak up whatever’s in its path without being fazed. Its stocky size helps here.

The ZEB handles well on the trail; the steering response is direct without producing so much fatigue you must stop and rest. I didn’t notice any binding, and it’s not a flexible fork. Direct and precise sums it up nicely.

The fork will work with RockShox’s Pressure Release Valves, although they don’t come as standard.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

There is also minimal friction in the fork, which helps give it a plush feel. The progression with the new spring is impressive, and it was tough to reach full travel, even when running lower pressures than suggested. The ramp-up is gentle, however, because the mid-stroke support is also firmer.

Rebound damping has a good range and enables you to run the fork fast so it can recover between bumps. That’s a good thing and gives the ZEB Select a lively character that doesn’t mute the trails and feel dull. If you’re at the far end of the weight spectrum, you’ll still probably need a custom tune to get it fast enough, but I feel RockShox caters for lighter riders better than most brands.

This update to this fork suits those who are looking to push hard and ride fast everywhere. It seems more like a bike park fork than its predecessor. Support has increased, but comfort is compromised, although it’s tough to improve both at the same time. Go full-tilt and it’s a strong-performing fork for the price.

Don’t expect the lack of adjustment to hold you back. I didn’t want to control the high-speed compression more than it was set to, because I always had a bit of travel remaining. I only wound on the low-speed compression to see what difference it made.

It doesn’t have the widest damping range, but the external adjuster is effective at increasing front-end support.

How does the RockShox ZEB Select suspension fork compare to the Manitou Mezzer Expert?

The Manitou offers more versatile performance for its price.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

Riders looking to upgrade to a mid-spec enduro fork will appreciate the performance the ZEB Select offers.

However, weight and price make the Manitou a more attractive option. Both forks enable the same type of external adjustments, so you’ll need to dig a little deeper to work out which is best for you.

The ZEB Select offers more mid-stroke support, but can’t provide as much in terms of sensitivity. The Manitou fork better manages to deliver on both, with plenty of ground-hugging traction, yet it stays composed when the going gets rough.

The Manitou is slightly more versatile than the RockShox, with its low-speed compression damping usable to firm up the travel if needed.

Both forks can have their internals upgraded and use the same chassis as their more expensive stablemates. The one place that Manitou comes up short is its flimsy mudguard. However, it takes the top spot thanks to its performance-to-price ratio.

RockShox ZEB Select suspension fork bottom line

There are compromises in the updated ZEB Select.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

The new internals in the latest ZEB Select have changed the ride feel for RockShox’s hard-charging single-crown fork.

It’s ready for big-hitting bike park lines and delivers plenty of mid-stroke support to maintain travel and dynamic geometry. It’s good for riding fast and carrying momentum.


To achieve this though, RockShox has sacrificed some of its previous sensitivity and comfort, and has lost its edge delivering all-out traction.

How we tested

The best mountain bike suspension forks are a pricey upgrade, but are one of the most important parts of a bike. They influence performance greatly, contributing to handling, comfort and control.

In addition, forks are one of the first big upgrades riders buy, so picking the right one is essential.

We tested seven forks that cover a wide range of price points.

The forks were put through their paces on both the black and rough red trails at BikePark Wales, repeating laps to make testing as consistent as possible.

Forks on test

Product Specifications


Price AUD $1540.00EUR €968.00GBP £864.00USD $896.00
Weight 2,230g (170mm travel, 29in wheel, 44mm offset) – as tested - full steerer, axle included
Brand Rockshox


Features Brake mount: 200mm
Wheel size: 29in, 27.5in
Offset: 37mm, 44mm (27.5) 44mm, 51mm (29in)
Travel: 150 to 190mm (27.5 and 29in)
Axle 110x15 bolt-thru
Damper adjustments External low-speed compression and rebound
Lockout No
Offset 44mm
Spring type Air
Travel 170mm
Wheel size 29in/700c