First, to start off with a disclaimer about both forks, the RockShox Lyrik RC2 and the Fox Shox 36 Grip2 - you cannot go wrong with either of these forks. The suspension technology available to the public now is nothing short of amazing. These stock All Mountain or Enduro forks are far more capable than most who are going to ride them, ourselves included. There is no bad choice! But there are some distinct differences, that can help you narrow down the fork that might fit your needs the best. We took the time to compile our findings with these two forks in a back to back test setting to help establish where both of these forks excel and which fork will be best for you.
Ridden and Reviewed by Chris Muntz
Class: Vet Pro
Bikes Tested: Orbea Rallon and Yeti SB5.5
I started off with the recommended air pressure and corresponding damper settings per the Fox manual that was supplied with the fork. Initial impression of how the fork felt (parking lot test) was that there was quite a bit of drag or friction while cycling the fork which wasn't what I had expected based on the small number of reviews I had read on the new Grip2 Damper. A parking lot test seldom tells the story for how the fork is going to perform on the trail, so off we went, giving the Fox engineers the benefit of the doubt.
My initial impression while riding down the trail is this is the most supple Fox 36 to date! The chatter I usually felt on the RC2 damper was dealt with significantly better by the Grip2 damper. Moving into the faster part of the trail I found the fork to be riding low in the travel, getting sucked down into multiple compressions, and generally feeling soft. I added 2 more volume spacers (already having 2 from the factory), but still did not find the feel I was looking for. I then backed out the high-speed rebound 2 clicks and the low speed rebound 2 clicks as well. I gave it another go and still felt like the fork was sitting into the travel a bit far.
I always make big adjustments to suspension when testing as often small adjustments aren't enough to determine if the direction you are heading is correct. Over adjust in either direction to determine if that's the feel you are after, and fine tune from there. Also, I never make more than one adjustment at a time. I went up 12 psi on air pressure (started at 85) and the fork felt great.
I can confidently say this damper is a massive improvement over the RC2. The added mid stroke support and ability to track rather than deflect really helps keep the bike settle in corners and does not necessitate the rider micro adjusting the weight to compensate for deflection. I found the recommended compression settings to be good and did not make any adjustments to them.
I have a lot more time on previous iterations of the Rockshox Lyrik, so the setup process was much quicker. I always run 4 volume spacers with 93 psi. Full open low-speed compression and rebound 8-9 clicks from closed depending on the trail. On steeper trails, I run faster rebound and a click or 2 of low-speed compression to help keep the front of the bike up. I always run the torque caps with the Lyrik, they make a very noticeable difference in front end stiffness and really help the winding/unwinding feel you get in cornering and off camber sections. I feel they make the bike hold tricky lines much better. Sam Hill seems to agree. The Lyrik feels buttery smooth out of the box and requires minimal to no adjusting to get along with.
Most of my testing came on my home trails in Simi Valley, CA. Very rocky, loose and fast trails. Big compressions, square edges and lots of them. I've never had ANY shock from ANY manufacture last me over 3 months out here. Between the summer temperatures, length of the runs and sheer abuse on suspension and rims, it is a suitable place to test bicycle equipment.
The first thing I noticed on back to back runs is the Lyrik has a fairly noticeable spiking sensation compared to the Fox 36. This was mainly felt in square edge single impacts when the fork is at full extension. The sensation is also felt in multiple square edge impacts or holes that would be large enough to grab your wheel if you were moving too slowly. The Grip2 really ate these sections up and never had that spiking or "kicking back" feeling.
In the off-cambers and corners that were rocky or choppy, I felt more confident on the Lyrik. It really holds up in its travel well and is very resistant to twisting or winding up and gives the confidence to commit and let the fork do its thing - I think this is due to the torque caps and a more “buttery” or “free” feeling air spring.
Under hard braking and in steep sections both the forks perform equally well. The Fox feels like it achieves this more with the damper and the Lyrik with the air spring. Previously I felt the Lyrik was easier on your hands and forearms than the Fox. This is no longer the case. The Lyrik hasn't got worse in this area, Fox just got better. The lack of spiking/ kicking back from the Fox 36 saves your hands and arms in the roughest sections.
|RockShox Lyrik RC2||Fox Shox 36 Grip2|
|Wheel size||27.5" / 29"||Wheel size||27.5" / 29"|
|Travel options||150mm - 180mm||Travel options||140mm - 180mm|
|High-Speed Compression||5 Clicks||High-Speed Compression||16 Clicks|
|Low-Speed Compression||20 Clicks||Low-Speed Compression||12 Clicks|
|Color options||Gloss Black / BoXXer Red||Color options||Matte Black / Gloss Orange|
|Upgrade options||None||Upgrade options||Factory / Performance Elite|
In loose rocky sections, I feel like the Fox really excels. There is a section of trail near Fraizer Park, CA, where it's a 75-yard section of steep completely loose baseball size rocks with a very soft, powdery dirt base. We often joke that our bikes "teleport" or "copy and paste" side to side in this section. This is where I really noticed the sensitivity of the Fox, and possibly the most profound difference in the two forks reducing the lateral "teleporting" of the front end, resulting in a more controlled feeling, especially in unpredictable terrain that can move underneath your tires.
I found in a few instances when the trail is very steep, fast and extremely chunky/square edged the Fox would get stuck down in its travel, transferring the weight to the front end and causing the bike to feel out of control. The conditions had to be very specific for this to happen, but I could replicate the feel multiple times on one section of trail. I figured out how to lessen the feeling of the fork getting stuck down by speeding up the high-speed rebound but then the fork felt less composed in high-speed g-outs. This is a trade I was willing to make, but not the setup of my dreams.
Overall, these forks are nothing short of amazing. Picking between these forks comes down to rider preference, there really is no wrong decision. Both products have won EWS races and are capable of being ridden at the highest level. Hopefully, my time on these products and resulting feedback helps you make an informed decision on what to spend your money on. Here are some of my biggest takeaways after riding both of these forks.
-Easy to setup and buttery smooth out of the box
-Torque caps provide solid feel in rough sections
-More confidence on this fork in off-camber corners that were rocky/choppy
-Noticeable spiking sensation on square edge bumps
-Doesn’t track small and medium stuff as well as the 36
-Easier on your hands and arms in rough sections
-More controlled feeling in unpredictable terrain
-Harder to dial in to get the perfect set-up (some people like all of the adjustability whereas I would rather have minimal set-up, especially on race days.
-Felt stuck down in its travel in some sections of the trail