Avalanche Downhill Racing has a long history of offering premium tuning services and after market kits for mountain bike forks and shocks. So it’s no surprise that they recently began to offer several tuning kits for the new Rockshox Pike.
The first kit is a $375 Open Bath Cartridge and Adapter Kit. The whole shebang drops in and replaces the stock damper assembly, but not before it’s custom valved and setup for rider weight, ability, and riding style. That may seem like an extreme upgrade, but Avalanche promises this is the best performance modification you will ever do to your fork. That’s a bold claim considering the high praise virtually every rider and media outlet has levied on the Charger damper since it’s introduction.
The tuners at the company also agree that the Charger damper is good, but they feel a few key areas could be improved. Namely the believe that the pedal/lockout-knob needs more tunability, so they’ve converted that knob to serve as a independent high speed adjuster for better descending performance.
An additional (but optional upgrade) with the new damper is a Hydraulic Anti-Bottoming System (ABS), which allows better fine tuning of the end of stroke bottoming resistance. The base kit will set you back $375, but factor in another $100 if you’d like Avalanche to perform the installation. Read more here.Satisfied with the Charger Damper but want to take performance to the next level? Avalanche is also offering a replacement compression valve and rebound kit for the Pike. The advantage to this kit is that it enables you add an adjustable midvalve and offers a more effective way of tuning the high speed damping without affecting low and mid speed performance. It’s also a touch cheaper at $229, then dropping in the Avalanche open bath replacement cartridge.
As Rockshox uses the same size 20mm cartridge and 6mm shim ID as Avalanche, the retrofit is simple, and gives users access to the wide array of preexisting mid valve shim kits, etc.. the company already offers. You can learn about all the details here.Also in the works is an optional nitrogen sleeve for the Charger Damper, which the company claims eliminates cavitation and improves high speed damping performance.
Avalance Racing makes some pretty bold claims on their website, but they offer very good rational in their FAQ section, so we’ll abstain from making a judgement till we have the opportunity to test the cartridge. Have you had an opportunity to use their products in the past? If so, let us know how they worked in the comments…