MBUK5 OUT OF 5
For the first time in 10 years, RockShox have given BoXXer downhill fork a total overhaul. This year, both the chassis and internals are completely new. It still has 200mm of travel and 35mm stanchions, but the lower legs have been re-profiled for more bushing overlap, in a bid to reduce stiction and give the stiffness required for 29in wheels and World Cup-speed impacts.
Longer stanchions have allowed Rockshox to make the new crowns completley flat (drop crowns are available aftermarket), giving maximum scope for bar height adjustment. Offset is dictated by the lowers rather than the crowns - 56mm for 29in wheels and and 48mm on the 650b version of the fork. A RockShox Maxle Stealth through axle is supplied to secure the 110x20mm hub in place. The overall weight of 2,590g (steerer uncut) is impressive for dual-crown fork.
The World Cup model heads up the 2019 BoXXer line-up. Internally, it's like an elongated version of the new Lyrik, with a DebonAir spring in the left leg and a Charger 2 RC2 damper in the right. In the past, we've felt a noticeable difference in suppleness between coil and air-sprung downhill forks, but this new BoXXer offers incredible sensitivity off the top. This is due in part to the increased negative air chamber volume. The big advantage of an air spring is that it gives total control over progression, and in this case up to six of Rockshox's grey Bottomless Tokens (spacers used to alter air volume) can be added to the positive air chamber. For the majority of our testing, we ran the fork with two - which still gave some ramp-up, but allowed us to make full use of the travel in the slow, wet, winter conditions.
You can adjust the fork's low and high-speed compression damping (LSC and HSC) using incremented dials on the top of the right leg. Beginning stroke rebound is controlled via the right-hand foot-nut. To allow the fork to move as freely as possible, we ram it with no HSC and four clicks of LSC (from fully open).
On the old Charger-damped BoXXer, there were times when it struggled to recover on repeated hits and could feel harsh, but the Charger 2 cartridge seems to have overcome this. The new fork transmits noticeably less trail feedback through the bar than its predecessor, and its tracking is superb. There are noticeable similarites in feel with Fox's 40 Float, and in our opinion, that's no bad thing. Not once did the BoXXer spike, dive or stutter, it really is difficult to fault.