Pike with Avalanche Cartirdge

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.

Compression adjuster knobThe 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.Charger-Rebound-and-MidvalvSatisfied 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.charger bladder n2 sleeve sectAlso 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…


  1. ive had several avalanche products and upgrades in the past. top notch stuff, high quality, excellent customer service. a bit pricey…., but well worth it!

  2. so out of all the forks to make a damper for, they picked the one fork that pretty much everyone agrees already works better than all the rest, and made a $475 upgrade
    for it. Were there really that many folks just pining for a better feel to their already top notch Pike?

    IMO, If this makes the list of things you need to spend $400+ on, then you may have too much money.

  3. this is kind of like spending a bunch of money for a performance exhaust for your honda civic.
    will it perform better? Yes, but guess what y’all…it is still just a honda civic.

    civics and pikes are good, but they are not in the category of products to do such things to.

  4. Honestly you guys that have never ridden an avalanche product have no clue just how much better it will work. This is CUSTOM Valved for your weight and Riding style. Their Anti Bottoming system works amazing and the Mid valve keeps the fork from diving under heavy braking. I’m a Fan boy for sure but have been using avalanche on and off for over ten years and have never been disappointed with the quality or the tune. I have this in a 34mm fox ctd. I felt like fox Robbed me on that fork. I bought the cartridge kit from avy and now it is flawless. It has nice supple small bump compliance, stays up in the travel under braking and has Plenty of reserves for Drops and g-outs on the high speed. Fox Nailed the Chassis but botched the Damper. Avalanche to the Rescue.

  5. I have the Avalanche Cartridge. It is truly the best edition I have ever made to my mtb. It is just as big of a difference as cantilever brakes vs disc brakes or dropper post vs fixed post. My fork is unbelievably plush, but doesn’t dive in braking, or turns It takes big hits beautifully yet maintains wonderful small bump compliance.
    Folks who don’t know, just don’t know.
    If you are a big rider, than the AVA cartridge will make an even bigger difference to you. I have never had so much fun coming down Winter Park, Keystone, and Vail. I have also never had as much fun riding cross country. I have been riding for 15 years (since the RS Judy and Mag 21). I have had tons of forks. This is hands down, no question about it, THE BEST FORK I HAVE EVER RIDDEN.
    I can’t thank Avalanche for making my riding experiences so much better.

What do you think?