RockShox Charger2.1 Damper Upgrade Kit [Rider Review]

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There is always room for big upgrades for your mountain bike like wheels, a rear shock, or a suspension fork. Just short of all new suspension there are upgrades out there for the dampers as well. Our friend Eric shares his thoughts on the RockShox Charger2.1 Damper Upgrade Kit. Check it out!

RockShox Charger2.1 Damper Upgrade Kit Rider Review


The RockShox Charger 2.1 Damper Upgrade Kit is a great upgrade for a lower end Rockshox Lyrik, Yari, or Pike. The RC2 is the same damper cartridge used in the top of the line Lyrik Ultimate. I don’t believe there are any differences between the legs, stanchions, and crown on the different levels of the 35mm fork. RockShox doesn’t use any special coatings like the Kashima gold coating used on Fox Factory folks so nothing to upgrade there.

Replacing the damper cartridge involves pulling off the lower legs of the fork. There are several good YouTube videos out there that walk you through the process step by step. Plan on spending an hour or more if your first time. No special tools are required other than a cassette tool and maybe some snap ring pliers. Instead of a 32 mm hex on the top of the air spring and damper like on Fox forks, RockShox uses a standard cassette tool. You probably should have one anyway and they are around $10.

RockShox Charger2.1 Damper Upgrade Kit Rider Review

RockShox forks are relatively easy to service if you are somewhat mechanically inclined so don’t be afraid to start doing your own fork maintenance.

Speaking of air spring, you also want to upgrade to the 2021 Debonair with the longer red piston if you don’t already have it on your model of fork. RockShox had an issue with the fork wallowing in the top 5-8mm of stroke. The 2021 version supposedly fixed that. I upgraded mine and it did help. Taking out 1 token and running a little higher air pressure also helped. The new 2021 Debonair air spring is $42 and there are YouTube videos that show the difference between the old and new versions if you don’t know which one you have.

RockShox Charger2.1 Damper Upgrade Kit Rider Review

Dropping the lower legs is a bit messy since 20ml of oil spills out of them. It helps to have a good bike stand that can pivot the bike up and down. I purchased a small bottle of RockShox 0W-30 weight oil but any brand of equivalent oil will work. You also need some RockShox butter grease (Slick Honey) for lubing up the seals. Don’t forget a plastic measuring syringe to accurately poor in 10ml per side. This is only 0.33 ounces. You also add 3 mm to the air spring side. A bulk package of measuring syringes is around $7 if you don’t have it already.

Final Thoughts

The RC2 cartridge made a big difference. The fork has both great small bump sensitivity as well as the ability to take the big hits. There are 2 different easily accessible adjustments (low and high-speed compression). Start by setting in the middle and tweak from there for the riding and terrain you are doing. Important. Be careful about installing the lower protective cover. The little set screw strips the aluminum cover if over tightened. This happened to me but fortunately, I had a spare.

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August 22, 2021

Charger 2.1 › Damper › Rider Review › Rock Shox › Suspension ›

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