I've been running Rockshox Pike forks on my trail bikes for 3 years now. I love the performance and reliability and for a while they were the only fork to get but these days DVO, Fox, MRP and even Manitou have some pretty cool offerings and are doing a great job of forcing the mighty Pike off the top step. If I could have any complaints about the Pike, it would be a chatter type stutter when the fork is hovering around its fully extended travel area...you know, when the wheel drops into holes or you are weightless punching over a root bed. I have always been wanting a more supple feel in this area, so when I spied the Vorsprung Luftkappe Rockshox upgrade for Pike, Yari and Lyrik forks I pounced on my laptop and ordered one to go.
So what the hell is it? Where on earth does it go? I'm going to try and explain it in laymans terms so you get it (and so I don't look like a right twat). If i was a suspension guru do you think I would be blubbering on about absolute shite and pretending I'm something I'm not? If I even had half a brain I would probably have a real job and actually get paid. Anyhoo... dribble aside, here we go.
The Luftkappe is a piggyback air chamber that screws onto the air rod to add more volume to your existing negative air chamber. There is no valving, just a hole in the seal head to allow air to pass through. Where does it go? Well the only room available in your fork is in the positive air chamber, so it goes there. So what does it do to the positive air volume? Well it, makes it smaller, so to compensate you need to take one or two of your Rockshox air volume spacers out. Brilliant. Most of us run 2-4 volume spacers anyway so this isn't an issue.
To clarify.... Imagine you have a space ship which you thought was big enough, but as you are in space and have nothing to do you end up getting jiggy with a promiscuous crew member and next thing you have all these kids running around with nowhere to play. So you build another room and attach it to the outside of the ship and then cut a hole in the wall through to the new room so everyone can spread out. There's so much space out there that the difference to the Cosmos is negligible and everything just works so much better, ahhh...now you get it!
So in a nutshell, the negative chamber (which was quite small) is now bigger, and the positive chamber (which was too big so had volume spacer tokens in it to make it smaller) is just the right size.
In the real world this means there is a more sensitive and easier piston travel as the seal head passes from the negative to positive pressures which gives these benefits...
- Coil-like feel
- Larger negative air chamber
- Lower initial spring rate
- Increased sensitivity
- Improved mid stroke support & control
- Superior bump compliance and traction
- Reduced hand fatigue
- Reduces required compression damping
- Retains Bottomless Token compatibility
Does it work? Hell yeah! My pike has a more supple feel over choppy terrain and I can definitely notice a more linear ramp up with less mid stroke nothingness and a smoother softer end stroke ramp and bottom out. If you have researched Vorsprungs Corset upgrade or have even fitted one to your rear shock then you know what I mean. It's the same concept. If it didn't work then Fox wouldn't have made their own version (Evol) and Rockshock theirs (Debonair).The Yari and Lyrik have a bigger negative air chamber than the Pike so the change won't be as noticable as with the Pike but still a very beneficial upgrade I would imagine.
It's easy and fun to fit. if you know how to pull your forks apart to change your oil bath then you are almost there. A 10mm shaft clamp (Vorsprung can sell you one with the Luftkappe kit) and torque wrench are a MUST and in 30-60 minutes you are good to go.
If that freaks you out then CJ Suspension have the kits in stock and you can send your forks there for a quick turnaround.
Before I get myself in any more trouble and you realise that I have no idea what on earth I am talking about, it's best you look at a real website to see real bike gurus explain it for real. Visit the Vorsprung site to have a proper look