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.
Most of you out there would agree that the suspension on any given mountain bike is a key component in how your bike performs and feels on the trail. Sometimes you can upgrade the performance of an existing fork without replacing it. Our friend Josh gives us his take on the RockShox DebonAir Upgrade kit. Check it out!
But wait, you already have the new debonair air spring, right? Wrong, I’m talking about the new, new debonair upgrade. Unless you have a 2021 fork, and you likely don’t just yet, you probably have the DebonAir air spring that has been running for a few years now. Let’s cut the the chase… the new one IS actually improved. Here’s why.
My 2020 Rockshox Lyrik Ultimate was staying sucked down into about 10% of its travel WITH NO WEIGHT ON THE BIKE. This created the functional problem of a fork that had a dead feel at the top end of its travel. In theory, it was almost like I was running a 135mm fork instead of the 150mm travel it was supposed to be. The fork was dead feeling on the top end, and had less than desirable mid-stroke support. These deficits weren’t game changers, but they were noticeable and frankly disappointing on such an expensive, high-end fork.
The new, new DebonAir Upgrade Kit is a $42 purchase from WWC if you want to replace the entire air spring. A good choice if you are wanting to change fork travel at the same time; this is the part that you change to do that or $25 of you want to change out the seal head/foot nut portion of the air spring you have already which is what is actually changed on the new spring. Either way, its a simple install that literally only adds about 5 extra minutes to a typical lower leg service. Just be sure to grab some snap ring pliers as that’s the only extra tool you’ll need above what you’d need for a typical lower leg service. I recommend checking out my YouTube video on how to do this simple install here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx86IuHEUHI
So what does it do? In short, it improves the fork’s ability to regulate air pressure between the positive and negative air chambers. The position of the air piston in the new spring sits at or above the dimple that regulates air pressure between air chambers at sag. On the old air spring, when the air piston goes past the dimple, it has a brief moment where air rushes into the negative chamber creating a “dead spot”. This is avoided on the new one by having the air piston already past the dimple. On the trail, the new air spring has a noticeable improvement in small bump sensitivity because you no longer have to run excessive air volumes to compensate for a lack of mid-stroke support. The fork doesn’t tend to blow through its travel while diving into corners and coming off from drops and jumps as it did before. Is it a life changing improvement?
Depends on how put out you are by having a fork that starts out sucked down by 10% and doesn’t have good mid-stroke support. For me, the improvement was well-worth the $42.
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