Tested : Pete’s Rockshox Lyrik Ultimate Review.

The very top of Rockshox’s analogue, all-mountain offering, the Lyrik Ultimate sports the latest in suspension tech from the damper veterans.

Can the Lyrik Ultimate win the race between it and Pete’s long term test Santa Cruz Hightower stock fork, the top tier Fox 36?

Photos by Pete Scullion.

Key features:

  • 35mm stanchions
  • Charger 3 damper
  • Debonair+ air spring
  • Buttercups vibration dampers
  • Ultimate Bushing Package
  • Pressure Relief Valves
  • SKF wiper seals
  • Maxima Plush Dynamic lube
  • £1,069.00 RRP
  • SRAM.com

As the Ultimate moniker suggests, these Lyriks are the best of the bunch when it comes to Rockshox’s all-mountain offering, unless you’re after some Flight Attendant action. Occupying the space between the Pike and the ZEB with a 35mm chassis, the Lyrik comes in 140, 150 and 160mm offerings, the longer of the three seen here.

You get the DebonAir+ air spring, touted as holding the fork higher in the travel than previous offerings; Charger 3 damping is now handled by an IFP with high and low speed compression adjust and a single rebound adjuster, SKF wiper seals Maxima Plush Dynamic lube, more bushing overlap and Buttercups. The latter are designed to tune out vibrations you might otherwise feel through your hands, aiming to reduce fatigue.

Compared to their 2021 offering, these Lyriks have seen a fair overall in almost every aspect. The crown and lowers are all new, with the latter sporing pressure relief valves. Charger 3 replaces the seal cartridge of Charger 2.1, stiffness goes up a claimed 20% and the DebonAir+ spring replaces the older DebonAir spring. No stone unturned.

The standard for which these will be tested against, in effect, is the Fox Factory 36 fitted to my long term test Santa Cruz Hightower. These felt right the moment I swung a leg over the bike, and some minor damper changes have followed as the speed increased. Supple in the chatter, providing plenty of mechanical grip, without blowing through or lacking support. They’ve been impressive.

It does seem odd to me that this Lyrik Ultimate lacks any separate high and low speed rebound adjustment, and the Flight Attendant model doesn’t give you any more adjustibility in this department. At this end of the price point, you’d hope for all the fine tuning options. It remained to be seen if Rockshox had got the rebound tune right.

Setup was straightforward and the lack of sag markings on the stanchions weren’t too problematic as the air pressure ratings for weight are stickered to the air spring side leg. I opted to start the forks at the high end of my weight bracket and go from there. 65psi to start, rebound two clicks faster than they came from the box, high speed compression fully open and low speed five clicks from fully open.

In the car park, the forks felt soft, almost too soft, but who rides a 160mm fork around a car park anyways? Once out on the trail, the first thing I noticed was that they sung they same tune as the Super Deluxe shock. Fast and supple in my chosen settings, providing plenty of ability to take the hits without feeling wallowy or unsupportive.

Before long I’d be winding up the speed and was very much appreciating the DebonAir+’s ability to stand tall in the travel without feeling firm. This was especially apparent when it got steep and even more so combined with repeated big hits. The lack of separate rebound adjustment hasn’t held the forks back any either.

I would feel no need to adjust he settings from this point. I’d done my homework before heading into the hills and they rewarded me for it. Low speed chatter was tuned out beautifully, and the medium to big hits taken in their stride before recovering well for the next hit.

Finding anything wrong with the Lyrik Ultimate’s wasn’t easy, but then you’d hope a fork of this calibre would stand up to some serious riding, and that it did. They were more than a match for the 36s they replaced, and I’d be damned if I could separate one from the other in terms of performance.

What do we think?

The Rockshox Lyrik Ultimates do exactly what they intend to do, give you plenty of damping and support on the front of your bike in the hills. They’re anything but cheap, although few top-tier forks are, but they’re worth every penny.

We love:

  • Confidence-inspiring ride
  • Composed damping
  • Air spring ride height
  • Stiff without being harsh

Could do better:

  • We can’t think of much

You can check out the Rockshox Lyrik Ultimate over on their website here.