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Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
Traction and compliance are two characteristics that everyone wants to get from their suspension on their mountain bike. Our friend, Mitch, installed an upgraded RockShox damper in their fork to help with small bump compliance. See what they think!
I have slowly been upgrading my 2021.Santa Cruz Hightower from NX to GX. I now have a GX derailleur and shifter, a new GX 10-52 cassette, and GX chain. The drivetrain shifts like butter. But I have always struggled with tingling and numb hands, partly thanks to a prior dirt biking accident from my younger days where I broke both of my wrists. (I am also pushing age 60). Along with Ergon GA3 grips and replacing my bars with a OneUp carbon bar, it made a noticeable difference.
But my RockShox Yari RC fork was still transferring a significant amount of harshness and jarring through my hands and wrists. Small bump sensitivity was ok but the shock suffered under larger chunk and roots impacts and it just didn’t recover well when exposed to consecutive hits. I would have to take occasional riding breaks just to get the feeling back into my hands. I had been considering the damper upgrade to effectively convert my shock to a Lyrik Ultimate.
I can honestly report that I immediately noticed a significant and greatly improved difference in ride quality.
I had researched how it was a substantial and noticeable improvement, so I finally pulled the trigger and went with the Charger 2.1 RC2 kit. My Yari already had the newer DebonAir air spring. Just to make sure I was ordering the correct kit, I sent a question to the customer service emails of two different places because availability at the time was an issue. The WC reply was received in about 15 minutes, the other took about a day and a half. You won’t find better customer service. I have always done most of my mechanical work, but never a shock rebuild. Still, I decided to do the conversion myself. As long as you have the proper tools, the process is fairly straightforward. It probably took me around 90 minutes but I am slow and deliberate.
I was pretty eager to get it out on the trail. The majority of the trails that I ride are tight singletrack with an ample amount of rocks, chunk, and roots, tight turns, and a fair share of climbing and downhill. I think any time we spend a decent amount of money on something new, we want to convince ourselves that it was certainly worth the purchase. No one really wants to admit that it was a complete waste of money. But I typically moderate my expectations so as not to be too disappointed. However, I can honestly report that I immediately noticed a significant and greatly improved difference in ride quality. I am a 180 lb rider and the first thing that jumped out to me was the improvement in small bump sensitivity. Everything just seems quieter. Once I hit the chunky stuff, the harsh jarring I experienced on the Yari seemed to smooth out. You still feel the hits but they were plusher and easier to keep the bike tracking straight. The shock seemed to stay higher in the travel so recovery was quicker for the next hit. Cornering was definitely more controlled with less dive. And best of all for me, a definite reduction in hand fatigue and numbness. I would still get some tingles after riding for a while but never did my hands go numb.
I am still experimenting with and tweaking the HSC and LSC settings but I couldn’t be happier with the upgrade. And just to complete the package, yes I got my hands on a set of Lyrik Ultimate decals and slapped those babies on! Sweet.