With the new Charger 3.1 damper, RockShox are giving their fork portfolio a promising update. The aim is to improve both the fork’s control and response. Alongside the new damper, the American component colossus has also released a wide range of upgrade and tuning kits. Here’s all the details, and our first riding impressions.

For model year 2025, RockShox introduced several updates for their Charger 3 damper, which was introduced in 2022. Back then, the change from a bladder to an internal floating piston (IFP), a new air spring, and clever features like ButterCups, were a big step ahead for the American suspension specialist. The main focus was on achieving a finer response and better control on the trail. With the new Charger 3.1 damper, RockShox are building on previous technologies and incorporating feedback from World Cup riders, magazines and end-users. The aim is still to reduce stress on the hands and improve control on the trail. At the same time, RockShox are also introducing new air and coil spring shocks, which we have already tested for you here.

The Charger 3.1 damper in detail

As already mentioned, the new Charger 3.1 damper unit is based on the current 3.0 version. If you want to know more about the concept around the 3.0 damper before reading this review, you might want to skim through this article. The aim of the new Charger 3.1 damper is to reduce the amount of compression damping throughout the system, as well as to improve the adjustability of both the high and low-speed circuits. That’s because many riders – including the majority of the ENDURO editorial team – tend to leave the compression dial fully open with the current 3.0 damper.

In the low-speed segment, the oil flow ports are now bigger thanks to wider bores in the Head Valve, increasing oil flow by 68%, which in turn results in less compression damping in the fully open position – i.e. a plusher ride feel. This also required RockShox to use a bigger piston rod, along with oversized shims to cope with the increased oil flow. In contrast, the damping in the high-speed circuit has been increased by means of a larger shim stack to provide more support. To cope with the increased oil flow in the system, the IFP’s now uses a stiffer steel spring too, which should also provide more control and a more consistent feel.

To reduce friction, RockShox also adapted the bushings of all three forks in all variants – all the way from the Basic to the Ultimate flagship model. The look of the high-speed compression dial has also changed slightly, with thicker lines making it easier to understand how many clicks of damping you’re running. The number of clicks remains the same.

Alongside the new damper, the Pike fork also gains a new air spring. The top cap has been hollowed, which should increase the air volume of the negative chamber, and thus improve the fork’s response behaviour.

Charger 3.1 models and prices

The most obvious innovation is the ZEB fork, which is available in “electric red” and has been around for some time. The Lyrik keeps its familiar green look, while the Pike is still available in the stylish silver finish. Suspension travel is the same and all models are also available as aftermarket components. Prices for the Ultimate model range are € 1,249 for the ZEB, € 1,199 for the Lyrik and € 1,169 for the Pike.

What’s really cool is that RockShox offer a wide range of retrofit kits that allow you to upgrade or fine-tune your existing fork. For example, you can get a Charger 3.1 RC2 damper kit for € 386, which allows you to upgrade your fork to the latest damping technology, provided you have the suitable chassis. However, the upgrade involves a rather complex service procedure, so it makes sense to get it done with your next 200h service. If you already own a fork with a Charger 3 damper, you can get a piston upgrade kit for € 80, though again this is probably best to combine with your 200h service.

In addition, RockShox now offer a shim tune kit for just € 32, which includes two compression tunes, three rebound tunes and all the necessary tools. The lighter compression tune and medium rebound tune correspond to RockShox’s standard fork settings. The rebound tunes are useful for particularly light or heavy riders as they increase the adjustment range. For example, heavy riders who use high air pressures in the fork have to fully close the rebound damping, as the compressed air in the chamber already generates a faster rebound speed. This means that they usually only have a few setting options at their disposal before running out of options. For light riders – or kids, for example – it’s the other way round, with insufficient air pressure to overcome the damping.

The new Charger 3.1 damper on test

Before you hit the trail, you should take your time to set up your new RockShox fork. To do this, you can use both the pressure recommendations printed on the fork’s lower legs, and RockShox’s Trailhead app. This was thoroughly revised for the launch of the new fork line and is meant to provide a better user experience and easier product search. On top of that, RockShox added a few practical new features, including the option to save your settings. The recommended settings of the Trailhead app are an excellent starting point for initial setup, so we recommend using those, and play around until you find your sweet spot.

We had the chance to test the top-tier Ultimate versions of the Pike, Lyrik and ZEB models over a period of several weeks, bolting them onto our trusted test steeds. Both with the Lyrik and ZEB, the basic setup settings remained unchanged over the previous model. The new Pike, on the other hand, requires a slightly higher air pressure due to the updated air spring. While, in principle, the Charger 3.1 is only marginally different to its predecessor, the differences are still noticeable on the trail. For example, we set the low-speed compression dial mostly in the middle position, whereas with the previous 3.0 variant we were riding primarily in the fully open setting. Nevertheless, the fork feels more sensitive and is easier on your hands compared to its predecessor. Mid-stroke support, which allows you to pop off ledges, is still good and enables the fork to sit high in its travel even in steep trail sections.

The same applies to the high-speed compression, which also felt most comfortable in the middle setting, although there was no noticeable difference on the trail. The main difference will be for riders at the higher or lower end of the weight spectrum, who will benefit from the larger adjustment range – we mainly rode the old Charger 3 unit in the fully open setting.

Our conclusions about the NEW Charger 3.1 damper

RockShox quickly took all the feedback on board and made fine adjustments to their damper. The updates are consistently positive and improve not only the ride feel but also the adjustability. RockShox also offer all the necessary update kits at a fair price, giving tech nerds the opportunity to fine-tune their fork to their individual needs.


  • Wide applications range
  • Improved sensitivity
  • Many upgrade kits


  • None

For more info, visit RockShox’s website.

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Words & Photos: Peter Walker

About the author

Peter Walker

As editor-in-chief, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!