Our "Rider Review" article series features honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
If you have a RockShox fork that is starting to feel sluggish and want to give it a refresh you have options. Instead of replacing the entire fork you can upgrade the damper if you have a compatible RockShox fork. Our friend Preston shares his thoughts o the RockShox Charger2.1 RC2 Damper Upgrade Kit. Check it out!
Just over a year ago I graduated from college and decided to treat myself to a shiny new 2019 Santa Cruz Bronson V3 Carbon R-build. Going with the base build was the epitome of “balling on a budget.” After spending a year of riding this beauty on a regular basis, I slowly started to upgrade different things that I felt would be good improvements for my preferences. One of the biggest gripes that I had with my bike was suspension related. Don’t get me wrong, the RockShox Yari fork and Super Deluxe R shock that come on the Santa Cruz base builds are solid and very capable right out of the box, but there are small details that can easily be improved upon at home without having to shell out a ton of money to replace a perfectly good set of forks and a shock.
One of the main things that bothered me were the uncomfortable sensations that I felt in the front end when riding rock gardens and corners. When entering longer and rough rock gardens, my fork felt like it would pack up, almost like it couldn’t handle the impact of multiple jarring rocks and boulders. In other words, the fork would hit certain rocks and make the bike feel like it wanted to stop instead of powering up, over and through them. The other issue that I had was that the fork wanted to dive in corners, almost making the front end a little bit too untrustworthy and uncomfortable for my liking.
For me, this was most noticeable in wide, sweeping corners, as the fork would want to dive and wander at inopportune times. For instance, I would set up wide to enter a corner as cleanly as possible, but I would find myself not being able to follow a nice arc because the front end would start to do weird things and push me to places that I had no intentions of going to. It would also dive unexpectedly in mid-to-tight corners, leading to near-crashes left and right. After trying different riding techniques with and different fork settings, I began to get a little frustrated which lead me to do some research for an end-all solution.
That solution came in the form of a part swap. One of the main recommendations that I found online was a damper swap. I’m a pretty skeptical person when it comes to reviews, but I read a lot of people talking about how much better the Charger damper made their forks. I took all of the reviews with a grain of salt because we all know that whatever someone just bought is always the best thing since sliced bread. Instead, I continued to ride a setup that simply wasn’t working for me.
After a month or so of contemplation, I decided to depart with some invisible money and say hello to debt by purchasing a RockShox Charger2.1 RC2 Damper Upgrade Kit and SRAM Butter/0w-30 RockShox suspension oil kit from Worldwide Cyclery. The most beneficial thing about the Charger 2.1 RC2 is that you have the ability to independently adjust high speed and low-speed compression, allowing you to finetune the overall feel of your suspension to your specific preferences. Additionally, it is easy to install on your own! As long as you have a few MTB specific tools and a little bit of general knowledge, you can do it yourself in no time. Follow the instructions that come with the damper and you’re good to go.
After replacing the stock Yari Motion Control damper with the Charger 2.1 RC2, the fork truly is night and day better and I no longer cry myself to sleep at the thought of the hurt that I put on my pockets. Both of the issues that I had with my fork seemed like they disappeared immediately. The midstroke feels A LOT more supportive everywhere, which makes a huge difference in the overall feel of the fork. When hitting rock gardens, the bike doesn’t feel like it wants to stop anymore! The front end stays up and eats gardens up without hesitation. The fork no longer wanders around in corners, tight or wide.
The best way that I can describe the overall feeling of the fork is that it is a lot more predictable and trustworthy. Don’t believe me? Do a little bit of research and see what others who have switched from MoCo to Charger dampers have to say. Now that I have done the same thing that they have, I can honestly say that all of the good reviews are warranted. This is EASILY the best upgrade that I have done for my bike and I’m kind of kicking myself for not doing it earlier. Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself! Disclaimer: Don’t get me wrong, I’m trash on a mountain bike, but after replacing my stock damper with the Charger 2.1, I’m still trash, but slightly less so. Thanks, Worldwide Cyclery!