One of the best mountain bike forks at the value category, where is the compromise?
In the last few years Rockhox forks have became the leading company of the trail/all mountain/ enduro categories. After few years of Fox dominating the 1st place for popularity the market became very competitive with those two huge rivals at the the top.
The OEM market (Original equipment manufacturer) was always a very important one commercially and the Pike fork was always a little pricier that the Fox evolution series of lower priced forks (only available on OEM).
To take care of this need of a cheaper fork with the stiffness and reliability of the Pike Rockhox announced two new forks:
The Lyric fork: a new 2nd generation to the very popular lyric (this reviving of of old classic was good choice on the past) Pike’s inner cartridge (AKA the “Charger Damper”) but using a stiffer and more aggressive chassis, available in RC and also RCT3 version with more rider adjustments available.
The Yari fork: A lower priced version of the lyric aimed at the OEM market but also available as an after market product. It uses the new and upgraded Motion control damper, this is an open bath damper similar to what you will get inside the less capable Revelation fork as well.
An also the chassis of the new Lyric fork. So what we have here is a fork which is heavier and stiffer than the Pike with less sophisticated (but not much less capable from what we had experienced ) internal damping.
Both the Lyric and the Yari also have a new feature, called “Torque caps” which is a new trick to improved stiffness while using a 15mm axle.
A nice idea to save weight and to decrease the amount of axle width needed.
To use it (the fork works on regular 15mm axles as well) you will need a Torque caps compatible wheel set or a hub adapter. The only ones available right now are from Sram and industry nine. (Update: Hope adapters and DT swiss adapters are available as well)
As we can see the Yari is a uniquely versatile product, with the ability to change the travel from 120mm up to 180mm on the 27.7” fork.
It also have a boost 110mm wide version (we tested the 29” boost version at 120mm and 27.5” regular version at 160mm) so it’s also a 27.5+ fork and a 29+ fork.
You can notice the added weight coming from the beefier chassis, about 160g more than the pike, not a huge weight penalty for this type of riding.
On the adjustments front this fork is more basic, you have the options to adjust slow speed compression (on a big dial in the upper right leg of the fork), the rebound (lower right leg) and the rider is able to use rockshox bottomless tokens, those are used reduce the volume of air in your fork, increasing the amount of air-spring progression. So if you are an aggressive rider you can one or two tokens to resist bottoming out, usually you can also reduce the air pressure of the fork once adding tokens so the plushness and small bump sensitivity increases at the beginning of the stroke .
Price & More Details – Rockshox Yari
Update 19.7: Opional fork damper upgrade: We got a lot of questions about the option to change the damper in a Yari to the charger damper (the same one in the Pike and Lyrik).
Yari damper upgrade is possible, we got conformation from several riders that used Charger RCT3 damper upgrade kit.
Another possibilty is upgrading the damper with one of the custom labs like Avalanche to make a more special final product at a low price. Another plus for those who are considering future upgrades.
Update 1.9: Opional fork cartridge upgrade: MRP is releasing a Ramp Control cartridge upgrade for the RockShox Yari fork. As well for the Pike, Lyrik and BoXXer forks. These upgrade cartridges should give your fork the same technology as the Ramp Control found on the MRP Stage fork and will places instaed of the original RockShox tokens. The Ramp Control cartridges effect the end of the stroke and not the mid stroke, so more supple initial feel and support oward the end of the storoke and less mid storke support. On of the main benefits will be changing the progressiveness of the fork (between ~1 to 3 tokens) on the fly. Read more about it here >
Out on the trails
On this two months test we have used two Yari forks:
27.5” 160mm Yari RC on our Enduro bike (Transition Patrol)
29” 120mm Yari RC Boost on our aggressive trail 29er (Whyte T129 SCR)
Enduro riding notes
Starting with the more classic setup for the fork we replaced our usual Pike fork on our enduro rig with the Yari. Riding at the usual trail center loop the fork was working great, the fill of the fork is very close to have the Pike used to feel, with two exceptions: The benefit of the new and stronger chassis is noticeable on only the most harsh and big jump or berms, for medium weight rider it is not likely you will be able to fill this benefit unless you are super aggressive and riding on full-blown downhill descents. Probably also using all the tokens you can use.
When descending hard segments with many long rock gardens the OB damper was very slightly less agile than the pike, this was only noticeable after more than 10 min decents.. One of those moments your hands are so tired its hard to tell small differences anyway , on shorter runs this was not noticeable at all.
When riding north shore style runs with big air I turned the compression dial 2-3 click to get a more firm and supportive feel, while on faster open courses I used it fully open resulting the “magic carpet” effect we are so keen of. The performance of the fork was great both with the small bumps and the big , it just kept its course with great determination and a “no big deal” attitude.
Trail riding notes
I also got the fork set up on my new long term test personal bike – the Whyte t-129, more about the bike in the near future.
On a all mountain-trail bike the fork was even better, personally I love to be “over equipped” at my fork ,I find it to be a similar feeling as having a good gripping tire at the front.. It gives the bike the sort of rock and adrenaline hunger I was looking for. The fork was a great fun and a true confidence booster overall when comparing with a Fox 34 or Xfusion Trace , delivering higher stifness that is more noticeable on a 29er.
Keep in mind the if your bike is not aggressive by design and with a more xc oriented rear shock you might find yourself stretching the limit too far and might find your rear end not dealing the same as the front. This kind of set up however is still a great fun but you will need to work harder with your body english and pick the lines both ends of your bike can handle best.
On lower speeds, the fork was working very well but I could feel the additional weight when popping the front wheel for a small manual sometimes . (More about how I dealt with this on the conclusion)
Checkout this POV video of the fork on the trail:
Reliability and maintenance
Both forks were working seamlessly, together with the no-nonsense set up style the experience was trouble free.
Although some people say it is recommended to maintain and service an open bath damper forks more frequently than a closed damper design, Rockshox maintenance guide and my LBS were saying it is exactly the same as the Pike’s service needs, every 6-8 months of regular use being the common knowledge and every 50 hours of use being the strict hours interval on the service manual.
Weight penalty solution:
As promised, this how I dealt with the Yari’s additional weight on my personal bike.
I balanced the fork extra weight by opting for a carbon handlebar and low weight grips like ESI chunky (60 grams) that combination will shed around 90-120g off your front.
When counting the $ per gram ratio on a top value bike it is not a bad deal to pay ~$300 less on the fork and paying an extra 70-100USD on a lighter cockpit. The weight on the handlebar is more noticeable than on the fork from my experience the 50g remaining difference is not a big deal.
This is from a “pick you battle” bike build poing of view. If you are after the lightest top of the line machine you are probably better off with a Pike of fox 36/34 fork.
“The Rockhox Yari RC fork was a great performer, I find it the best value fork up to date, well done rockshox. If you are a more the heavy side, ride aggressively and looking for the best value for you money this is a top choice both on complete bike and as an aftermarket product.”
Pros: Super stiff, competitive pricing, looks good, easy set up.
Cons: A little heavier than the higher end forks, only simple adjustments.
Bottom Line: A great option for aggressive rider on mid level budget and a OEM game changer.
|Travel||120-180mm – 27.5"|
|Wheels||27.5" / 29"|
|Axle to Crown||572mm – 27.5"/180mm|
|571mm – 29"/160mm|
|Weight||2023g – 27.5"|
|2046g – 29"|
|Damping||New Motion Control|
|Available Springs||Dual Position \ Solo|
|Adjustments||External rebound+low speed compression to firm|
|Tubes||35mm Fast Black|
|Options||27.5" / 27.5" BOOST|
|29" or 29"+ BOOST|
|Maximum Rotor Size||200mm|
|Color Options||Diffusion Black(Matte)/Gloss Black/White|