The initial launch of the RockShox Pike looked to be a death knell for the predecessor of the 27.5in RockShox Lyrik RCT3 Solo Air 160 Fork, ousting it from its throne atop the enduro and all-mountain domains. Now, the Lyrik is back with a vengeance and a host of chassis updates to go toe-to-toe with the Pike to regain its crown.
The key differences between the Pike and the revived Lyrik lie in the body, which enjoys a general reinforcement throughout. The 35mm stanchions are similar to the Pike's, but they beef out more at the crown. The crown itself is also sturdier, as are the lowers, and the overall effect is a noticeable gain in stiffness. If you often find yourself questioning the prudence of your line selection, then you'll appreciate the Lyrik's stiff, confident tracking as an alternative to constantly correcting lines in the middle of terrain features.
The Lyrik also has a larger negative chamber than the Pike and a new SKF cartridge seal that nets a claimed reduction in friction and an increase in intervals between servicing. Since it's running the same Solo Air spring as the Pike, we can only assume that the seal and chamber changes are responsible for the Lyrik's smooth initial stroke. It's got an uncanny ability to stay on top of successive, small bumps and alleviate brake dive — both of which it does better than the Pike.
RockShox preserved certain elements of the original Lyrik that made it the favorite to begin with, including the RCT3 Charger damper, Fast Black coating, and Solo Air shock design. Depending on whether you're climbing up or dropping in, the fork's settings can be dialed by the three-position RCT3 switch, which lets you choose discreet amounts of lockout for bigger hits, trail terrain, or cross-country speed. RockShox's Rapid Recovery feature indulges the Lyrik's terrain-gobbling tendencies by keeping recovery between hits short, so you'll always have that cushion, even during multiple successive bumps.