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After having my Rockshox Pike for a while, I wanted to give it a freshen up and make it feel like new again, so I upgraded my Pike A2 with this RockShox Charger 2 Damper Upgrade Kit and couldn’t be happier. The Pike now is like having a new fork for a fraction of the price and once installed, you can really tell the difference in performance. Kudos RockShox for offering this upgrade kits.
The installation is straight forward for anyone with some mechanical knowledge and basic tools. The RockShox manual is great and easy to follow but there are tons of YouTube videos. It will take 45 minutes to complete the whole process. Since you have to disassemble the fork legs I took advantage of it and went in to install the DebonAir Shaft Upgrade to change my travel as well. If you opt for this upgrade, keep in mind that with the air spring pressure values change. My recommendation would be to use the RockShox phone app to find out the new starting values.
Pedaling uphill, I immediately noticed an improvement in off-the-top feel. The fork fluttered smoothly over ledgy rocks, keeping the wheel stuck to the ground.
The new DebonAir air spring continued to impress by smoothing out the small to medium stuff, with the fork riding in the upper portion of the travel most often. With the previous Charger 1 cartridge, I used to add two Bottomless Tokens to the stock setting to provide enough bottom-out support. With the new DebonAir, I find no need for modification from the stock air spring configuration. Using the app to set up the air spring, looks like RockShox has hit the reset button on their positive air spring volume and pressure recommendations.
While entry level and some intermediate level riders may struggle to get full travel at the suggested setting, I believe them to be an excellent starting point. The fork provides plenty of support when needed, smooths out the roughest bits, and keep hands and forearms feeling fresh. Switching the fork to the 'Pedal' and 'Firm' compression modes firmed things up, but remained more supple over small bumps than the previous Charger 1.
The most notable on-the-trail improvement is a more supple feel and the stock settings are now spot-on for the aggressive trail rider without the need for an exhaustive tuning process. If you have an A1-A2 Pike and want the newest RockShox technology, don’t think twice and get this upgrade, you won’t regret it.
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