While we all love to upgrade our bikes, doing so can be a serious investment both in time and money. What if instead of completely swapping out parts, you can upgrade your existing setup to perfection? Not only does this give you a massive performance increase, but it can save your wallet big time. That is exactly what our customer Kris did with his RockShox Yari fork. Instead of replacing it, he simply added the new Charger2 Damper and MRP Ramp Control kit. Read on to learn more about how it turned out!
When I first purchased my Transition Sentinel NX, I knew upgrade fever would take over almost immediately. By the end of the week, I had a few new parts swapped with plenty more on the way. By the end of the month, my Sentinel didn’t have one stock component left…except for the Rockshox Yari fork. Upgrading a bike is a part of our mountain biking culture which was something we’ve done consistently over the last couple of decades. We save up our pennies and look for the best deal on that awesome fork that promises an endless supply of fun and excitement for our next big ride. Upgrading a bike’s fork can yield positive results for just about any rider of any skill level from any part of the world.
Unfortunately, not all forks are the same. There are forks designed for downhill, enduro, trail, and cross country. In my position, my Rockshox Yari has 160mm of long travel mania that I use to shred the Pacific Northwest one trail at a time. I was reluctant to give up this fork in exchange for a different model due to Sentinel’s SBG setup which allows me to run a very low offset on a 29er fork. Upgrading to a different fork would have been a rather expensive purchase. What if there was a way to upgrade my Yari without having to pay a premium cost for a top of the line model like a Rockshox Lyrik? Luckily, Rockshox and MRP have answers to this conundrum!
Rockshox introduced the Charger2 RC2 damper upgrade kit for riders who currently own a 2016 Lyrik B1+ or Yari A1+ fork models. Additionally, MRP launched the Ramp Control Cartridge (Model B) that was compatible with my Yari fork. For those who aren’t familiar with fork design, having the right damper and air shaft can make a big difference in how your bike handles bumps, rocks, and general gnar that we encounter on the trail. It was a no brainer for me to install the Charger2 into my Yari to unleash the beast on my enduro trails.
On the other side of the fork, the MRP Ramp Control Cartridge has a completely different job that’s separate from the damper. Installing the Ramp Control Cartridge requires the removal of your air tokens and replacing it with a cartridge that acts as an air tuning device in place of those tokens. A full counterclockwise turn opens up the valve to allow maximum travel without any hindrance of fork motion. Turning the knob clockwise adds progression to your fork movement based on what you expect to encounter on the trail. In other words, the Ramp Control Cartridge will dial in your air suspension to give you the right feel so you can enjoy your trail ride!
When combined with the Charger2 damper upgrade, my Yari fork became an entirely different beast that could possibly be compared to a Fox 36 Factory or even the Rockshox Lyrik. Before I get into the juicy details of this combination, let me talk about the installation. First up, the damper upgrade kit.
If you purchase any Rockshox damper upgrade kit, don’t forget to buy a can of Rockshox suspension cleaner and the appropriate oil weight for the lower leg. In my case, I needed Rockshox 0W-30 oil for my Yari. You will also need a syringe to slip the oil into the lower leg. Luckily, Worldwide Cyclery carries everything in stock to ensure you have a successful damper upgrade installation. Additionally, you can buy the new 2019 Rockshox Debonair air spring and install that into your fork while you have the lower leg removed. Be sure to check the specifications of your Rockshox fork to see if you already have this air spring installed! Some 2018 fork models have this air spring upgrade already done.
To find specific details about your fork, please visit https://trailhead.rockshox.com/en/ which lists various information about your fork to include the type of damper and air shaft that’s installed. In my case, my Yari did not have the 2019 Debonair air shaft which could possibly be due to the manufacturing date. This is the best time to install the new air shaft into your fork while the lower leg is removed. Worldwide Cyclery also has this air shaft in stock! If it’s been a while since you performed maintenance on your lower leg, Rockshox has a guide that can assist with it.
If you plan to do this installation yourself, my best recommendation is to follow the Rockshox damper upgrade installation video and read the instruction manual. I also recommend that you clean your fork externally with the suspension cleaner prior to performing your surgical procedure. Overall, the installation procedure was very straightforward. My Yari had the Motion Control damper which became quite the mess upon removal. Be sure to drain the oil from the upper tube by flipping your fork upside down. Prior to installation, be sure you take the time to clean the stanchion out with a lint free cloth and the suspension cleaner. Cleanliness is key when you are working with a fork. Installation of the Charger2 was as simple as slipping it back into the stanchion with a bit of SRAM Butter to guide it into its new home.
Also, the MRP Ramp Control installation was a breeze with no real tricks to it. To remove the air tokens, a Rockshox fork socket or a Park Tool cassette tool that doesn’t have the big pin in the middle will remove the entire assembly. Once you pull everything out, lubricate the o-ring as per the instructions and reinstall! MRP does include some grease to help you with the installation. My biggest tip is to NOT torque down the small retaining nut. You will damage the cartridge if you apply too much torque to the retaining nut! Finger tight with a socket head is all that you need! MRP highlights this specific step in the instruction manual.
After you reassemble the fork, it’s time to adjust the air pressure! I’ve noticed that I can run lower air pressure in my fork with the MRP Ramp Control Cartridge installed. I am a heavier rider and I used to run a pressure of 120psi with 2 tokens installed. It was enough to give me full travel and not bottom out. After testing out various air pressures to find my ideal sag, I’ve realized that my air pressure went down to about 95psi to give me the same sag setup that I was used to using. This decrease in pressure could possibly be due to the amount of space that the cartridge occupies which equates to 3 tokens. As cartridge model B is a bit long, it would make sense that it would fill the volume of 3 tokens.
Overall, my Yari performed admirably with the new internals when compared to the stock setup. I was able to adjust my settings on the trail at any given time which is a major plus! While pedaling uphill, all I needed to do was turn the MRP cartridge clockwise and it stiffened up my fork which made it much easier to climb up to the trailhead. Just make sure you open it back up and adjust accordingly! With the cartridge in full open mode, my fork was more playful than ever. When descending hard on Tiger Mountain, it helps to have a fork that can give you full travel while still being able to adjust the air volume at any given time. The Charger2 damper had very smooth motion when compared to the stock Motion Control damper. My rides felt as if I was gliding down the trail while maintaining my speed. Any hard trail encounters were met with a relatively smooth transition from dirt to gnar without that sudden feeling of shock upon impact with a hard object. Dropping on the Sentinel had a much smoother impact with the trail without any fear of bottoming out the fork. If I did bottom out, a simple clockwise twist on the ramp controller would fix it no problem!
Upon comparison to my Motion Control damper, there was a night and day difference. I have nothing against the Motion Control damper, but it’s not for my style of riding. I love to attack and hit the trail hard and the last thing I needed was a damper that can’t adjust quickly enough to my fast trail pace. Having high speed and low-speed compression settings really make the Charger2 RC2 damper come to life. When coupling all of this awesome adjustability on a fork, why wouldn’t you want anything else?
This question is challenging to answer! Buying the Charger2 and the MRP together could possibly be expensive for some people. You could probably find a used fork for the same cost, but would you want to risk buying a dud from someone you don’t know? Alternatively, upgrading your current fork could be an attractive option for those who are very hands-on with their bikes. The Pike, Lyrik, Yari, and the newer Revelations are great forks, but they don’t come with an MRP Ramp Control or the Charger2 damper as OEM (unless you buy a 2019 Lyrik).
I believe that if you have an older (2016+) but compatible Pike, Revelation, Lyrik, or Yari, it would be a no brainer upgrade. Just make sure you choose the right damper for your fork. The Charger2 RC2 is not for all of these forks, only the Yari and Lyrik. The Pike and Revelation use a different Charger2 damper. I also believe that if you have a 29er fork with a shorter offset similar to my Transition Sentinel (42mm), this upgrade would be a great value to you when you take into consideration the challenges of finding a very low offset 29er fork. If you are a rider who loves to assault the trail with no mercy while on a budget, a Charger2 and MRP Ramp Control Cartridge combination would breathe life into your fork and make it feel new and exciting all over again.