First Impressions: RockShox Lyrik

Two days with SRAM's updated long travel utensil

The Lyrik might look just like a Pike, but it boasts an all-new, beefed-up chassis.

The Lyrik might look just like a Pike, but it boasts an all-new, beefed-up chassis. Photo: Adrian Marcoux

Located in the heart of the Selkirk mountains, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Nelson, British Columbia, Retallack Lodge offers a fully inclusive lodging experience and guided shuttle services on its constantly growing network of natural and machine-built trails. With a combination of off-road vans and a heli-assist (or hike), riders can enjoy up to 6,000 vertical feet of descending in a single run, making Retallack the perfect place to get some runs in on RockShox’s new Lyrik.

Retallack offers breathtaking views of the Selkirk mountains from its masterfully built, high-alpine trails.

Retallack offers breathtaking views of the Selkirk mountains from its masterfully built, high-alpine trails. Photo: Adrian Marcoux

The morning of the first day was dedicated to creating a baseline for testing the Lyrik, with four runs on the unfamiliar trails on our own bikes and current setup. For me, it was a Trek Remedy 29 running a 140-millimeter Pike up front. After lunch, everyone’s fork had magically been swapped out for a brand new Lyrik, and the real testing began.

While we were enjoying a nice home cooked meal at the lodge, SRAM mechanics painstakingly swapped each editor's fork out for a Lyrik. Photo: Adrian Marcoux

While we were enjoying a nice home cooked meal at the lodge, SRAM mechanics painstakingly swapped each editor’s fork out for a Lyrik. Photo: Adrian Marcoux

RockShox Lyrik Ride Impressions

I was set up on a 160-mil Lyrik, the maximum travel offered on the 29-inch platform. We’ve already published tech and pricing info on the Lyrik, and the cost-friendly Yari, which you can read about here, so I’ll dive straight into my riding impressions: The increased stiffness of the Lyrik over the Pike was instantly detectable, even with the 20-millimeters of extra travel. Simply put, the fork just feels stout and robust under the rider, reacting to steering input quickly and accurately. The Lyrik may look just like a Pike, but the added material on the crown, stanchions, brake arch, and lower legs makes this fork ready to brawl with the most aggressive riders around.

The Lyrik is designed for hard chargers like Kenny Smith. Photos: Adrian Marcoux

The Lyrik is designed for hard chargers like Kenny Smith. Photos: Adrian Marcoux

SRAM took the liberty in swapping out the end caps on the front hub of the SRAM Rail 40 wheels to the recently announced Torque Caps, which increase the surface area of the interface between the hub and fork dropouts. To be clear, the Lyrik and any other Torque Cap compatible fork is also compatible with normal 15-millimeter thru-axle hubs. I have yet to test the Lyrik back-to-back with and without these caps, so it’s still unclear how much of the added cornering responsiveness is in this interface, and how much is in the chassis. However, the chassis is almost certainly responsible for the fore-aft stiffness of the Lyrik.

The Chassis may look similar to the Pike from afar, but there's no doubt that fore-aft flex is vastly reduced. Here, you can see extra material in the brake arch. Photo: Ryan Palmer

The Chassis may look similar to the Pike from afar, but there’s no doubt that fore-aft flex is vastly reduced. Here, you can see extra material in the brake arch. Photo: Ryan Palmer

Besides being more burly, and being offered in longer travel options, the Lyrik performs just like a Pike. It uses a similar Charger damper to the one that helped bring Pike to it’s star-studded status over the past couple years. It also uses a very similar air spring, tunable with Bottomless Tokens to control ramp-up, but it sees a couple upgrades as well. Taking from the Boxxer, the Lyrik’s rebound shim stack can be adjusted by the user, and upgraded SKF wiper seals keep the elements out and lubricant in.

The Lyrik equipped Remedy 29 poses before dropping into a 6,000 foot descent. Photo: Ryan Palmer

The Lyrik-equipped Remedy 29 poses before dropping into a 6,000 foot descent. Photo: Ryan Palmer

Like the Pike, the Lyrik rides nice and high in its travel while remaining buttery smooth and responsive to low-velocity small bumps. The rebound stroke does a good job of recovering quickly from large hits without an uncontrolled pogo-stick feel. At the time of this test, the Lyrik was not in full production, so there’s a small chance that minor changes could be made between our test fork and the one that you might get when the fork becomes available in October 2015.

So what kind of rider is the Lyrik built for? Well, it’s about a quarter pound heavier than a Pike of the same travel, but it’s also available in longer travel options. Click here for specs. A quarter pound isn’t a lot, but weight-weenie trail and all-mountain riders may be put off. If you’re a super-aggressive rider, and you find yourself pushing the limits of your Pike or Fox 34, the Lyrik may be just what you’re looking for. If you love the feel of Pike, but want 170 or 180 millimeters of single crown suppleness, or you’re looking for a stiffer long travel 29er option, the Lyrik might be for you.

The Lyrik helps the author hold his line on this extremely narrow ribbon of ridgeline singletrack. Photo: Adrian Marcoux

The Lyrik helps the author hold his line on this extremely narrow ribbon of ridgeline singletrack. Photo: Adrian Marcoux

It'd be impossible to publish this post without at least one shot of the helicopter. Photo: Ryan Palmer

It’d be a crime to publish this post without at least one shot of the helicopter. Photo: Ryan Palmer

Retallack's trail crew builds ripping singletrack on the most exposed and harsh terrain. Thanks guys!

Retallack’s trail crew builds ripping singletrack on incredibly exposed and harsh terrain. Thanks guys!

Related:

First Look: New Rockshox Yari and Updated Lyrik

Tested: Rockshox Pike