Words by: Liam Woods
The RockShox SID fork is one of the most iconic xc forks in the racing world today. To continue that legacy, Rockshox has just launched the new RockShox SID, Rockshox SID SL, and Rockshox SIDLuxe. With huge wins in the WorldCup season from Nino Schurter and Kate Courtney along with two world championships again with Nino Schurter and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot it’s safe to say that the SID fork can deliver speed and control. For MY21, Rockshox has taken the SID up a level, releasing two versions of the Ultimate SID forks, the RockShox SID Ultimate and the RockShox SID SL Ultimate fork. The SID has 35mm stanchions and 120mm travel only, beefing up the SID and filling a gap in the newly developed XC+, down-country bike world. The SID SL gets the superlight treatment and keeps its 32mm stanchions and 100mm travel only. Before Rockshox made these two models, there was a small gap in the fork lineup.
An older SID with 32mm stanchions and 120mm felt a bit flexy, while a Pike with 35mm stanchions was a bit too much. That is why the introduction of this new SID with 35mm stanchions will make a ton of riders happy. The fork is designed to be as light as possible but still maintain an extremely high level of performance. Both SID forks come with a new Charger Raceday damper, providing the control you expect from a RockShox Charger damper while also being the lightest damper Rockshox has ever put into production.
RockShox SID with 35mm Stancions and 120mm Travel on the Mondraker F-Podium
So much talk about these forks, but what about the new SIDLuxe rear shock? Well, to start it’s fully redesigned and made for short travel lightweight full-suspension bikes. Rockshox wanted to make the lightest rear shock possible without sacrificing any control. As racecourses get more and more technical, light and capable suspension will continue to be in high demand. Any short travel bike can now have RockShox SID suspension front and rear with the SID, SID SL, or SIDLuxe.
As mentioned above, there are two new versions of the SID fork, and while they are both lightweight, there are significant differences between the two models. I think what Rockshox has done is pretty awesome, we now have two options to pair with our desired bike and what we want out of it. Personally I love the new SID with 35mm stanchions, as my xc bike is really a small trail bike that I can do 4-hour rides on while also dropping into chunky singletrack, along with doing races like the Downieville Classic. Personally, I think this new SID fork was made for riders like me. That is not to take away from the pure cross country racers who are all about being fast and light. The new SID SL remains the top level offering from RockShox for those racers who need a featherweight suspension fork to deliver race results from your local xc races to WorldCups and World Championships.
RockShox SID (Left) and RockShox SID Crown close up and RockShox Charger Raceday Damper (Right)
Let’s dive deeper into each fork to see the differences. One thing you will notice about both new models is that they are only available in 29”, 15 x 110mm spacing in boost and 44mm offset. RockShox knows the market as well as anyone, and when it comes to XC racing 27.5” wheels are just less popular. This also helps simplify the available fork models, and there are a total of 12 forks between the two platforms of SID, 6 each.
Beefed up and ready to take on that aggressive XC riding or dare I say down-country riding you do, the new RockShox SID gets some serious upgrades. Bridging that gap between the previous 32mm SID and the all-mountain 35mm Pike, for 2021 the SID gets bigger stanchions and not much more weight. At a slim 1520g, over 140g lighter than its next competitor, our test SID has been taking all the abuse we could throw at it. For the platform, this 120mm fork is the lightest in its category by a good amount while having 1mm bigger upper tubes than the closest competitor in weight. Not to mention being competitively priced. The 35mm SID Ultimate also gets the Charger Raceday damper with an open and a firm lockout mode. The look of the fork is sharp and futuristic while still remaining aggressive. One really cool feature is the bolt-on fender, yes, a bolt-on fender that looks badass. The new SID blends the bigger stanchions and the stability you expect from Pike while retaining the XC feel of the fork true to SID, this is also managed by the SID XC specific DebonAir spring that has a specific tune for a higher ride height over say a Pike. The difference is that the XC SID sits at about 15-25% sag while the Pike sits at 25-35% sag, a big difference when only having 120mm of travel to use.
RockShox SID in Gloss Black (Left) RockShox SID in SID Blue (Middle) RockShox SID Select (Right)
The RockShox SID SL for MY21 now takes the position that was previously held by the SID Ultimate Carbon and the SID Ultimate, yes a bit confusing that the SL has been added to the name but it's basically the same level of fork. Somehow Rockshox has managed to shave more weight off the new SID SL with a full alloy crown and steerer vs. the previous version. Shedding an incredible 166g! They have done this by using a new chassis from the upper CSU that has been machined and shaved of any unnecessary material as well as the lowers too. The fork is also more narrow than the previous models of SID. Other details that have helped trim weight are the Charger Raceday Damper, shaving 90g off the previous SID Ultimate dampers, as well as smaller details like the air dust cap is fully raced out and the rebound adjuster is a removable 2.5mm allen key. There are also two levels of the SID SL fork, the high-end Ultimate as well as the Select model, that forgoes the Charger Raceday Damper and gets the tried and true Charger RL damper. Both forks are available with a crown adjustment and remote lockout with both only having the open mode or locked out position. The SID SL Ultimate is available in both Gloss Blue as well as Gloss Black and the SID SL Select fork is available in diffused black.
RockShox SID SL in Gloss Black (Left) RockShox SID SL in SID Blue (Middle) RockShox SID SL Select (Right)
You can’t launch updated forks without taking care of the rear end as well. The Rockshox SIDLuxe is made to be the fastest, lightest, rear shock Rockshox has to offer. Made to pair with the new SID and SID SL forks, the SIDLuxe shares a similar goal, to shave weight while retaining top-level performance. With a soft off the top feel, but tuned to give support and ramp-up you need while riding an aggressive xc bike. You can also tune the air ramp up with up to 3 air tokens to really dial in that feel. To further match the SID forks, the rear shock also only has an open or lockout mode and can be found with either a lever or remote lockout to make these changes. Last is the rebound, to adjust you will need a 2.5mm allen, that can be found on the bottom of your fork, or just set it and forget it as I do.
RockShox SIDLuxe in SID Blue (Left 2) RockShox SIDLuxe in Gloss Black (Right 2)
We have been lucky enough to have about a month of riding on the new RockShox SID fork with the 35mm stanchions in 120mm travel. SRAM came down and spent the day with me setting up and riding the new fork to make sure we had it dialed. It wasn’t hard to set up and right away I could feel just how much I was going to like the fork. The SID was the perfect fork to match the aggressive geometry of my Mondraker F-Podium xc bike, with 100mm of travel out back and the 120mm SID up front, it's a match made for all-around speed. Right away the SID had a similar feel to the Pike, yet didn’t feel like too much on the front of my lightweight bike. With the first day of riding out of the way, I immediately wanted to get more riding on this fork on some more diverse trails to really see just what this “cross country” fork could handle.
Product tester Liam Woods riding the Rockshox SID Ultimate
I took the fork to some of the more local test runs I do, typically for bigger bikes and tougher parts, but why not see what this short travel bike was capable of? I mean...they beefed up the SID for a reason. Well, it turns out I was equally matched for this fork as it did everything I wanted it to do and more. It actually took a few rides to finally get this fork to bottom out, I was surprised at how much support and ramp up this fork had for only 120mm of travel, I have not had a fork feel quite like this when pushing it so hard on a small travel bike. Even a Pike would require at least one or two extra tokens to feel like this. Credit to the Charger Raceday damper, possibly, could also be my skills lacking but I'll put praise to the Charger Raceday Damper for the control and predictability I felt on the SID. I later went out for a couple of endurance rides with my normal training but had the SID upfront, not only does the featherweight feeling of this fork feel great when you get into that 3 hour plus zone, but I have to say, having the lockout right there and being able to flip that on when climbing some steep fire roads or paved roads after that 3-hour mark when you are in the hurt box really helps and is a big difference from my Pike with the Charger RC2 damper I had before that didn’t have a lockout.
I have to say, I didn’t expect to be disappointed by the new SID, but after a few rides, I can say this fork hits the mark. Down country, XC+, trail riding, whatever you want to call it, the new RockShox SID with 35mm stanchions delivers a smooth capable ride that can handle anything you can put a 120mm fork through as well as coming in as a super lightweight package.
Product tester Liam Woods riding the Rockshox SID Ultimate along with the WWC lunch crew behind
RockShox is always looking to make the best and fastest suspension products possible and the new SID line is no different. Getting SID to new heights with 35mm stanchions and a dedicated 120mm platform, as well as shaving weight off the SID SL and introducing a new damper, the Charger Raceday damper, the gaps have all been filled. Not to mention the new rear shock, the SIDLuxe, is light and made to pair perfectly with the SID forks. With plenty of WorldCup wins and current World Championships, the RockShox SID line just got upgraded to win more races, get more KOM’s, and just straight out get more riding done in a faster package. We always love new RockShox products but we really feel that the nail was not just hit on the head, but somehow they made the nail lighter when doing it.
This article was written / authored by Liam Woods. Liam has been in the bicycle industry for over 10 years as a racer, professional mechanic, service manager and as of late, media and content creator. Liam has ridden thousands of different bikes, ridden countless components, tested endless MTB apparel of all kinds and written reviews on it all. He's a key piece to the Worldwide Cyclery "All Things MTB" content creation puzzle. He also makes consistent appearances on the Worldwide Cyclery YouTube channel and Instagram.