RockShox Unveils 2020 Suspension Lineup, Charger 2.1 Damper and the MegNeg 17

Get the inside line on the RockShox Signature Series, a damper update that makes a difference, and a new way to fine-tune your RockShox air shock.

As spring rolls in and mountain bike race season gets underway, you've no doubt seen some Pro riders running "Ultimate" versions of RockShox products. They look flashy as can be, but what's the story? Today we're pleased to bring you the details.

The RockShox "Signature Series" refers to their line of premium suspension products, including SID, Lyrik, Pike, BoXXer, Deluxe, Super Deluxe, and Reverb product families. For the forks and shocks within the Signature Series, you'll also note some naming changes for the new model year.

Rather than denoting the damper configuration in the name (i.e. Lyrik RC2, Deluxe RT3, etc), RockShox will now refer to their products as Select, Select+, and Ultimate in a simpler-to-understand good-better-best naming structure. Bottom line, from here on out remember that "Ultimate" equates to the premier version of a RockShox product for any given year – just like SRAM already does with their line of disc brakes. Don't get too lost in the nomenclature. The real story is what's inside...

Charger 2.1 Damper Update

It wasn't long ago that the Charger 2 damper came out. It was a big deal, bringing with it some notable improvements to RockShox's bladder-based design. Even so, RockShox knew they could do better. As you'll hear in the interview below, the redesign introduced some characteristics that weren't ideal. So, what did RockShox do? They got to work, doing countless data acquisition runs while changing one thing at a time to figure out where the feedback was coming from. It was a big undertaking, but it revealed some areas for improvement. Consolidating this feedback and testing resulted in Charger 2.1.

Charger 2.1 Features

  • Less high-speed compression - A redesigned shim stack helps limit the impact of high-speed hits and harsh braking bumps, equating to more control and less fatigue. 
  • More low-speed compression - A different needle shape allows the fork to ride higher without added harshness. This adds more control to fork movement and reduces potential diving.
  • New piston wearband - Better oil flow management through the piston provides better damping control. In the previous version a leak path existed at the rebound piston, though it would only occur during occasional side-loading of the damper during aggressive riding. 
  • New rebound piston - It features a new rebound needle profile and flow path changes to allow for more high-speed flow but more low-speed control.
  • New SKF rebound shaft seal - This decreases friction by 30% at the rebound shaft.

Charger 2.1 Technology Deep Dive

Listen in as we chat about the update, data acquisition testing, Pro rider involvement, and finer damper details with Jon Cancellier, RockShox Product Manager:

If you’re an aggressive rider who is willing to take the time to tune you’ll find a serious performance boost with MegNeg.

Initial Impressions

Vital MTB has had limited seat time on both the 2020 Lyrik Ultimate and MegNeg air can, and our initial finding is that our Transition Patrol test bike has never ridden better.

In short, the Lyrik Ultimate offers an altogether smoother ride experience. When you're light on the bike with the front wheel skimming across rocks and roots, for example, there's very little chassis movement or interruption in terms of pitching the bike forward or backward. It's also pretty telling when the fork is doing its thing during successive hits under braking. The suspension action is notably better than the previous fork in this instance with more control on tap throughout the stroke.

Thanks to the damper updates, high-speed compression has been lessened dramatically. Fully out on the previous damper is roughly equivalent to two clicks in on the new fork, so it's possible to run this new damper with much less high-speed compression right off the get-go. Many riders ran the high-speed compression setting all the way open on previous forks in search of comfort, and the new damper design and needle profile address this in a big way. This will be nice for lighter riders especially as it rids the front end of occasionally jarring, rough sensations through the bars.

The friction reduction has equated to more wheel on the ground time, better tracking, and the opportunity to add more damping for more control when pushing hard. Rebound control on the bike is also really nice right now. It's just land, eyes up, game on. No more hesitation as the bike quiets itself before getting to the next section. The bike now has a "you can do no wrong" kind of thing going on and it's a nice improvement all around.

When asked to look back through the past 3-4 years and rank the overall package in terms of quality of ride improvement, Jon Cancellier responded: "I would say this is probably the biggest step we've made yet."

Stay tuned for more. We know you're jonesing to hear all about that MegNeg ride experience...

In the meantime, visit for complete details, including product specs, weights, and pricing.

Photos by Paris Gore, Sven Martin, and RockShox

View key specs, compare products, and rate RockShox in the Vital MTB Product Guide.


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