Product Review | RockShox RS-1

By far one of the most asked about products this year on and off the race track was what I thought about the new RockShox RS-1. This should come as no surprise, as the RS-1 takes the traditional looking fork and literally turns it upside down.  After logging close to 3,300 miles on the RS-1 over the duration of the 2015 riding and racing season, I figured it was time to digitally scribble some thoughts down.

Simple. Clean. Effective.

Lovely shade of team issue colors

I’ll be honest here. My first go-round with RockShox was a few years back with their SID.  Did this fork work?  Sure. Did it work the way I wish it would have for my riding and racing here in Colorado? Not really. The SID was super firm and didn’t feel like it was getting much travel. I like a plush fork and rear suspension. Plus, the set up with + and - air chambers was kind of a pain in the a**

Pushing the RS-1 hard at the Firebird 40 in Eagle, CO

The chunkier it gets the more excited the RS-1 becomes.

Moab Rocks Stage Race / Photo by Eddie Clark  Media

Fast forward a few years and Topeak-Ergon USA strengthened its great relationship with SRAM, putting the team on the full SRAM ‘package’. This is where the RS-1 comes into play for the 2015 and also the 2016 season.  I was excited to try this new fork, and stoked we got the chance to use this new suspension design, as I feel RockShox nailed it on the head with what I would call their best xc/endurance fork to date!

32mm legs

Predictive Steering Hub

Scratch-free lowers

Enough blabbing, lets get to the details.  First off, let start with all the positives of the RS-1.

Ridiculously good looking.  The RS-1 is sure to make any bike a ‘looker’ at your next race or mtb ride. Pretty much every ride I did this year, some comment about the RS-1 was made.  There is nothing else visually like it.  It’s a piece of the future….now.

Stiff.  Stiff in the best ways possible.  I’m referring to lateral stiffness here folks.  The giant 32mm legs allow you to stick your front wheel where ever you damn well please with precision and confidence.  Combined with with the boosted Predictive Steering Hub and you have a fork and wheel combo that allow you to point-n-shoot where ever you please.  Terrain such as that found in Moab, Sedona, and St. George is where the stiffness of the RS-1 shines. Note: the RS-1 fork and Predictive Steering Hub are BFF’s.  They need each other in order to work.

Plush.  Like I said earlier, I like my suspension plush. The RS-1 basically translates into a XC fork with the heart and soul of a Trail fork.  If you are a RockShox fan or user think of the RS-1 as the XC version of the Pike.  The RS-1 found on the Topeak-Ergon issued Canyon LUX bikes were all set to 100mm of travel.  All 100mm is used on the RS-1…and it feels like you are getting more. With the inversion of the fork, the legs are always lubed up. This translates into a smooth running fork in events that last 1 hour or 16 hours.  Start to finish, the RS-1 keeps its ride quality consistent.

Low maintenance.  I rode two RS-1 forks this season. One on the hardtail. One on the full-suspension.  Both forks were only overhauled once. I had them overhauled just for the fact I had access to SRAM Support at an event.  Did they need it?  Not really. The RS-1 simply just worked like butter all season.  It’s never complained, no matter what I put it through.

Cosmetics. The RS-1 took a beating all season. Cosmetically, it still looks amazing. When the RS-1 was first made public, the commentary coming from the public was “the lower legs will scratch too easily.” That was not the case.  Between the six RS-1 forks that Topeak-Ergon USA used during the 2015 season, no lowers were scratched or replaced.

Independent legs

Great hub, but only for the RS-1

I really don’t like to dig for negatives with products.  Even with what I am about to say, these really aren’t even negatives as far as the performance of the product.  This is pretty much me just pointing out a few things I wish would change to make the product a bit more enticing to all of you reading.

Freely moving legs.  Each leg on the RS1 moves freely when the 15mm Maxle and wheel is removed.  The lowers twist and move up/down individually.  As you can imagine, this makes front wheel and tire changes tricky.  Maybe this will change in the future.  Maybe not.  With some practice, wheel removal and installation becomes easier. Just be warned, it takes some getting used to.

Predictive Steering Hub.  The hub is designed to work with the fork.  No hub, then you are out of luck. Same goes for if you have a spare front wheel with the PSH, it will only work on the RS1, no other fork on the market.  As a system, the hub and fork are amaze-balls!  Each on their own, you are left wondering what the hell is missing.  On the positive note, hub durability during season was good.  Only one bearing set was changed in 3,300 miles of personal use.

Cost. The RS-1 isn’t cheap.  It retails for $1865 with the hub. That is a good chunk of change. Hopefully the RS-1 technology trickles down to some lower price points in the future.

Overall, RockShox turned some heads in 2015 with the launch of the RS-1.  If you are seeking trail bike fork qualities for your xc/endurance bike, you want the latest fork suspension technology, and you want a fork that will draw attention among your local mtb scene, the RS-1 should now be on the top on your “To Get” list.

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