RockShox Yari RC
Wheel Size: 27.5”
Offset: 42 mm
Axle to Crown: 552mm
Blister’s Measured Weight: 2022g
Street Price: $550
Reviewer: 5’8”, 160 lbs.
Test Locations: Park City, UT; Oregon
Test Duration: 19 rides
The RockShox Yari RC is a new fork that shares a chassis with the recently re-released Lyrik, but brings a simpler Motion Control IS damper to the table instead of the Charger damper found in the Lyrik.
A number of bike manufacturers are offering models with the Yari, or a Lyrik, or a Pike, all in the same 160 mm travel configuration. Others are bumping up from 160 mm forks to the 170 mm or 180 mm options that are available in the 27.5” Yari – see the YT Capra as an example. It’s clear from these offerings that the Yari and Lyrik give brand product managers some options, and I was eager to better understand just what the Yari brings to the table.
Additionally, because suspension is a key component in terms of determining bike performance and the price jumps between bike models are much more significant than the price difference between the forks, it is useful to understand how RockShox places the Yari in relation to the Pike and the Lyrik.
I’ll aim to do that and answer some questions that jump to mind: Is it stiffer than a Pike? Does that matter? How does the damper compare to the more expensive Charger?
As with many of their forks, RockShox offers a plethora of options.
The Yari comes in 27.5″ , 27.5″ BOOST, 29 /27.5″+ BOOST, 29″, 29″+ BOOST configurations.
It can be had in gloss black, white, or diffusion (matte) black.
The air spring is available either as the fixed travel Solo Air spring, or a Dual Position Air spring that adjusts between 120 and 180mm of travel.
For 27.5” wheels, the travel options are: 120, 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, 180 mm
For 29” wheels, the options are 120, 130, 140, 150, 160 mm.
The Yari comes with a pretty typical 42 mm offset in 27.5”. In 29” or 27.5+ the offset is 51 mm.
RockShox took their 35 mm stanchion chassis from the Pike and beefed it up for their Lyrik and Yari forks. It has a taller and stiffer brace on the lowers as well as a bit less of the chassis sculpting that was done on the Pike for weight savings.
The dropouts are Torque cap compatible on all models. Torque cap is RockShox’s latest, greatest way to increase stiffness by using larger hub end caps. This is good and bad. It means that a standard hub is lost in the dropouts and doesn’t align with the axle which is frustrating. If you have a SRAM hub or a select range of alternatives that offer Torque end caps you can throw those on and they interface well with the dropouts and are said to stiffen up the fork. More than anything though, this feels like a push from SRAM to sell more hubs and wheels. I ran the Yari with a standard hub, so I can’t speak to the benefits of Torque end caps.
The rest of the chassis improvements though definitely do result in a fork that is stiffer than a Pike. Putting it on my Nomad made it It felt like my head angle had been steepened by half a degree or so in the turns. Steering was that much quicker.
Through the rough it also tracked better, deflecting less. I had never felt that the Pike was too flexy, but going back and forth between the two, the difference is very apparent when I push it. The increased torsional stiffness was most noticeable, but under heavy braking the fore-aft stiffness increase could be felt as well.
The stiffness does come at a cost, but it is modest. The weight difference compared to a Pike is 122 g, just over 6% of the fork weight. That’s significant, but on a 160 mm (or bigger travel) bike I’d take the stiffness of this chassis every time. I can’t say that I noticed the added weight in any way. To be clear, when I’m thinking of this comparison, I’m trying to isolate the chassis from the damper and thinking about the Lyrik vs. the Pike and not the Yari with its different damper.
For a 150 mm or shorter fork, where the stanchions overhang less and climbing is likely more of a priority, I’d think harder about sticking with a Pike because I expect the stiffness gains would be less meaningful.
I never noticed any detrimental effects to the added stiffness. There wasn’t a noticeable amount of additional noise transfer through the handlebars.
The Solo Air spring in the Yari is supposed to offer improved suppleness over the Solo Air spring that has been offered in the Pike.
In my riding experience, the difference was muddied a bit by disparate dampers, but as best I was able to tell I’d be inclined to agree.
Just like with most of the forks that RockShox is now offering, the Yari ships with 3 bottomless tokens that are easily placed in the fork by threading them onto the bottom side of the air cap. I ended up preferring to have 2 spacers in the fork, where I tend to use 3 spacers in Pike RCT3.
RockShox highlights that they’ve taken their old Motion Control damper and done more than just slap it into the new fork. They’ve added their Rapid Recovery Rebound feature to better imitate the quick feeling initial rebound that is a defining feature of the feel of their Charger damper. Additionally, they’ve tuned the high speed compression circuit to match the feel of the Charger damper.
All the marketing aside, the damping is not as supple as the Charger damper on my Pike, and it hangs up a bit on high speed hits. But, it is decidedly better than any other simplified, mid-tier damper fork I’ve ever used. The hang up is noticeable, but not bothersome they way it used to be on forks like the Domain.
Specifically on bike park trails where traction isn’t at the same premium as on natural trails it worked really well and the Charger damper is only subtly better. It doesn’t fumble too much in chop, but does suffer some there and in terms of suppleness and that manifests as more hand fatigue and a bit less traction than the Charger damper.
The one ‘discount’ damper that does beat out the Motion Control damper on the Yari is the damper found on the Pike RC and that is because it isn’t really a discount damper, but a true Charger damper, just with fewer adjustment knobs.
The Pike is less stiff, but meaningfully lighter by the numbers (less by ride feel though). There is a pretty clear use difference for me. If I have 150 mm or less travel, I’ll take the Pike because the stiffness benefits aren’t as clear. If I have 150 mm or more travel, I want the added stiffness of the Lyrik. Compared to the Yari, the choice is a little less clear. For a bike that will see a lot of lift access use, I’d prefer the Yari to the Pike RC, but for slower speed trail use, the superior damper of the Pike RC wins out for me.
I haven’t had a chance to get on the new Lyrik, but I’d be excited to now, after riding the Yari I found myself appreciating the chassis stiffness, but the damping wasn’t as good as the Pike I was coming off of. Combine a better damper with the stiff chassis and you’ve definitely got a winner.
26” Wheeled 20mm through axle RockShox Lyrik
Throwing back to the older series Lyrik with Mission Control damping (and stretching my memory a bit), the air spring on the Yari is definitely better, but the damping isn’t so different. Notably though, it is less adjustable. The stiffness is relatively comparable.
Stiffness on the Yari is relatively comparable to the current Fox 36 forks. The Motion Control damper definitely loses a step to either the FIT 4 or RC2 dampers in terms of adjustability, mid-stroke smoothness, and suppleness.
The Yari is a great new offering from RockShox that is particularly well suited to bike park use. If I were looking for a bike that would see a lot of abuse I would choose it over the Pike RC for its stiffer chassis, but for trail use, I’d choose the better damper of the Pike RC over the stiffer chassis of the Yari.
For someone riding a lot, paying for the Lyrik and its Charger damper makes sense as the difference is meaningful.