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.
If you are looking to switch up the feel of your current RockShox fork, upgrading the damper is a great place to start. Not only will it allow you to dial in your fork to the exact settings you want, but it will drastically increase your fun factor. Check out this review by our customer Kelly to hear why he is such a fan of the Charger 2 damper upgrade kit!
When upgrading my 2018 Salsa Deadwood, I pretty much hit a limit on things I was comfortable with upgrading. I know what I like in terms of shifting, brakes, tires, and contact points, but the suspension has always intimidated me. I would play around with settings on my stock Revelation with the Motion Control damper (what few there were) and could just never find anything that worked. The Deadwood is a short travel bike to start with so I wanted to make sure I was getting everything I could out of the limited travel it has but I kept coming up short. Removed all my tokens, dropped the air pressure, kept the damper wide open and even with up to a full 35% sag, I was still not getting full travel on some pretty gnarly trails. Not to mention the fact that I felt like I was getting beat up from the vibration on repeated hits on the front end.
I decided to do a total overhaul on the front end. This included a damper swap to the Charger 2 RCT3 as well as an MRP ramp control unit. After making the switch, the first thing I realized is just how much adjustability there is. Again, I became super intimidated and felt like I bit off more than I can chew by changing both things at once. After all, how do I determine what to change and how it affects the ride and was it the air pressure that made the difference or was it the compression settings? High or low speed? Ramp control setting? Rebound? I found an app for my iPhone that I highly recommend to anyone playing around with different settings called BikeSetup. It allows you to record every aspect of your suspension, as well as tires and pressures and allows you to record specific rides with that setup and your impressions. It has really helped to sort of narrow things down.
It's been a couple of months now on the new front end and I still can't quite say I have it completely dialed in, but it is definitely getting there. What I CAN say is that the difference between the Motion Control damper and the Charger 2 is like night and day. The Charger is SOOOOOO smooth and supple. Gone are the forearm pounding descents that will rattle your fillings loose. The only downside I have found is having too much adjustability. It makes it hard to know which is the correct setting. Was it 5 clicks of compression that felt better or 6? How does the trail effect which settings to use? Admittedly, I am new to the suspension game but I am enjoying learning more about my bike and how it all affects my ride and it all pretty much starts with having the right equipment. The Charger upgrade is 100% absolutely one of the best upgrades I have done to the bike ... Now I just need to keep playing with it to figure out how to use it to its potential.