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First Look – RockShox 35 Forks

The new RockShox 35 Forks quietly launched this week without much fanfare, so we’re here to tell you what you need to know! The 35 is a new budget fork added to the bottom of the RockShox 35mm chassis* Fork range. Including OE forks the range now lines up from top to bottom:
  • Lyrik RC2
  • Lyrik RCT3/Pike RCT3
  • Lyrik RC/Pike RC
  • Yari RC Charger/Revelation RC Charger
  • Yari RC/Revelation RC
  • 35
*A 35mm chassis indicates the the stanchions, the part of the fork that slides in and out of the lowers is 35mm external diameter.

The 35 fork utilises broadly the same chassis and DebonAir air spring as the Revelation and Pike models of the last few years, with a Motion Control damper available in crown or remote configurations. Offsets are offered in 37 (27.5), 44 (27.5 & 29) and 51mm (29), we’re bringing in the 37 in 27.5” and 44 in the 29” flavour.
Like its more expensive siblings the 35 also runs the 180mm rotor mount for direct mounting rotors, and like its more expensive counter parts is rated to 220mm for max rotor size (more on that later in the year).
The biggest information you need to know on these though is the price! The new 35 is a genuine budget option for all mountain terrain. With the new 35 options it’s reduced the starting price for all our full suspension bikes to under £2000 again, something we’ve not seen for a while.
If you want to get our incredible build standards, our award winning customer service, our exceptional ride quality and even better value than ever, the 35 delivers that for you.

Specification Summary (For Bird Bikes)

  • Motion Control damper
  • DebonAir Air Spring
  • 37 & 44mm offsets
  • 130mm & 150mm in 29 (2272g)
  • 140mm & 160mm in 27.5 (2259g)
  • Fast Black uppers
  • Maxle Stealth
  • Diffusion Black lowers & crown
  • Available May 2019, pre-order today.


RockShox, DebonAir and Motion Control are trademarks of SRAM Corporation. All images Copyright of SRAM.
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Ella Conolly wins the U21 category of the Enduro World Series riding her Bird Aeris 145!

Ella Conolly joined the Bird Cycleworks race team after she won her category at ‘Ard Rock enduro riding a Bird Aeris 140.  She then posted the fastest overall female time at the Tweedlove enduro race aboard her brand new Aeris 145.  Here’s her story from her first Enduro World Series (EWS) race in Finale Ligure.

Three months ago I was on the start line of my last XC World Cup. Having decided that cross country wasn’t where I wanted to be, I made a late season switch to enduro with the help of Tracy Moseley. After a few weeks of racing in the UK I was then given the opportunity to enter the final round of the 2017 Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure. Who could say no?! My goal for this trip was to keep it fun. Enjoy riding my bike, not put too much pressure on myself and to decide if enduro was something I’d like to peruse in 2018. The last thing I expected was to be coming home having won.

Me and my Bird Aeris 145 at the top of the ‘Nato Base’ in the days leading up to the EWS


A week before practice was due to start I packed up my Bird Aeris 145 into a bike bag (with lots of padding to keep her safe during the flight) and started the journey. After a long drive, a taxi, a flight, a bus and two trains along with a lot of lugging bags around I arrived in Finale. This gave me a few days to get used to the loose, rocky, dusty trails (a huge contrast to the Scottish mud) and to fuel up on plenty of coffee, pizza and gelato. Once I was out there I met up with a couple of other British girls who have been racing enduro for a few years now; they gave me endless advice the whole trip and were so patient with my constant questions.


The race consisted of seven stages split over two days. Stages 1-3 were ridden the first day and stages 4-7 the second day. These included of some of the best trails I’ve ever ridden and often I found myself grinning ear to ear whilst still trying to concentrate on the stage. During the two days of practice, uplift is permitted on tarmac sections of transitions to help get to stages. On race day the 50 or so kilometres had to be ridden without uplift which, in the hot Italian sun, felt like a pretty epic day out on the bike with some of the transitions taking almost 2 hours. Luckily the Bird Aeris pedals just as well as it descends which made the long distances way more enjoyable. There was then the added pressure of having start times for each stage. This wasn’t something I’ve had to consider before and I completely misjudged the pace I needed to ride the transitions, going at more of an XC race pace rather than conserving my energy for the stage, which I’ve now discovered takes a toll after that distance!

Race day 1

Stage 1 was from the highest peak in the area and descended almost all of the way back to sea level. At 8.5km it was by far the longest stage I have ever raced and I found it really physically demanding. Over this distance there was real mixture of trail; tight corners, rocky river beds and some proper fast sections interspersed with the occasional uphill sprint. In practice we stopped regularly to look at especially technical sections as well as giving our bodies a rest. But come race day there was no stopping. By the time I was a couple of kilometres into the stage my body was really starting to complain. Hands, feet, legs and arms were all screaming and my primary concern became staying on the bike. After a couple of silly crashes up the top I settled into a bit of a rhythm and before I knew it I’d completed my first Enduro World Series stage.


Getting to the top of stage 2 meant a long pedal. With every corner turned we were presented with another long stretch of uphill fire road. Thankfully the rest of the stages were considerably shorter than the first, all coming in at under 3km. Stage 2 consisted of a lot more rocks and had the most vertical drop per kilometre. Oh my I’ve never had such bad arm pump in my life! I was so relived to get to the bottom without stalling on any rocks.


Stage 3 was the final stage of the first day and ended almost back in finale. The top section was fast and flowy but this quickly turned into some seriously tight, dusty corners on a steep hill that got more and more washed out with every rider. Towards the bottom there was one awkward set of steps to navigate down before the final few loose, rocky flat corners.


We then had a short pedal along the road into finale where we were given our times for the day. Much to my surprise I was sitting in second only trailing by 9 seconds. Going into the second day of racing it was all still to play for.


Some of the U21 girls enjoying a well deserved ice-cream after day one of racing. The grin on my face in this photo was a characteristic that stuck the whole trip. What a fantastic group to ride with!

Race day 2

Waking up on Sunday my body was tired from the two days of practice and one race day we had already completed but I couldn’t wait to get out and try and claw back those precious seconds.

To get to the top of every stage on Sunday there was an alpine style climb up the road. Without fail, every transition that day had beautiful views of either mountains or sea as we snaked our way up into the mountains which distracted from the constant uphill gradient. Stage 4 picked up where the previous day had left off; more rocks! This time we were faced with some more rocky sections of trail, littered with boulders and mixed in with some smooth single track.


Stage 5 was probably my favourite stage of the event. It was fast and really required me to push my comfort zone in terms of how much I was prepared to let the brakes off. Every now and again the gradient of the trail changed sharply and we found ourselves sprinting up a hill. At the end of the stage there was an awkward corner that caused me a few problems as my bar clipped a tree and proceeded to tip me over the bars.


The penultimate stage of the race was something I’d have expected to find in an XC race. Stage 6 started off on a downhill gradient with a few rocky sections but quickly flattened out and turned into a full on pedal. I used the frequent uphills to my advantage, making full use of my fitness from the years of XC training, putting a fair amount of time into the other girls. At the end of the stage there was no time to recover- it was straight back on the bike to pedal up to the final stage of the day.


At the top of stage 7 there was a mix of different emotions. Some were obviously very relived to only have one stage standing between them and a relax on the beach. But I didn’t want the day to end!

The top of the final stage started with some corners on a fairly gentle gradient which required one final sprint before opening up into the last technical section of the day. Here we were rewarded with an amazing view of the glistening gulf of Genoa. The crowds lining the final part were insane which certainly carried me down the steep track better than I thought I’d ever ride it. If you’ve ever seen photos from the EWS in Finale I can guarantee one would have been of this ‘iconic’ view of the last section of DH men with the sea in the background.


Having reached the bottom of the final stage I honestly had no idea if that days efforts had been enough to secure my second place or move up into first. The ride along the coast to find out was nerve racking. But, knowing I’d enjoyed every second of riding over the past few days, I had already achieved my primary goal. The sense of achievement in just completing an event like that is massive.

Riding through mountains felt like a proper adventure which I absolutely loved.

On handing in our timing chips I couldn’t quite believe it. My name was on the timing screen in first place.



Later that evening me and my Bird stood proudly on the podium. This bike took everything the EWS threw at it and I had 100% confidence in it all weekend.

I think it’s safe to say my first ever Enduro World Series was a success! I’m still absolutely buzzing and cannot wait to do more. Plans for the 2018 season are already in process…


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We are super excited to announce the Bird race team for 2017! Morvélo Bicycle Apparel design and produce some of the coolest riding kit on the market right now. We make the coolest bikes and we have some talented riders to pilot them to victory!


The team riders for the season are:

Francie Arthur – the 2016 Southern Enduro Champion will be racing on the Aeris 120 competing in all rounds of the Southern Enduro, certain rounds of Pedalhounds and Welsh Gravity Enduro, together with other events.


Charles Griffith – the 2016 Southern Enduro Champion and one of the fastest youth riders on gravity based courses in the country. He will be racing the Aeris in all rounds of the Southern Enduro, certain rounds of Pedalhounds, local DH events and possibly some rounds of the British Downhill Series (the Aeris is a versatile bike!)


Tomas Kupstys – the 2016 Southern Enduro Champion will be racing the Aeris in all rounds of the Southern Enduro and Welsh Gravity Enduto, certain rounds of Pedalhounds, local DH events and others.


Josh Cutts – up and coming youth rider will be racing the Aeris in all rounds of the Southern Enduro, certain rounds of Pedalhounds, local DH events and others.


Ambassadors – we have number of great riders (well maybe not all great, but great ambassadors!) wearing the Bird-Morvélo race jersey this season, racing Senior, Master and the Vet’s categories. Heckle them loudly when you see them!


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Everyone needs a new bike day now and again.

Its not so long ago, just a few weeks in fact, that I broke my arm racing at the Welsh Gravity Enduro Series. While the healing process has been quick enough, and relatively painless all things considered, it’s still fairly weak, and the range of movement I have right now is somewhat limited.

Me, broken.
To help me get back on the bike, I decided to build up myself an AM to keep in the van, ready to snatch a ride whenever the opportunity occurs. For this type of endeavour the hard tail is the weapon of choice, ride-rinse-ignore-repeat. It just has a certain bombproof-ness that suits a winter ride that a full suss will never match. While this probably doesn’t sound so unusual to most people, you might be surprised to hear I don’t personally own a bike right now. At least not a whole bike, and certainly not one that is readily available. I split my time between Bird HQ and the far north east of England where I live, and I really only ride whatever happens to be available from the demo fleet, or any prototypes that are lying around. For the last 3+ years since Bird started I’ve never actually owned a bike, 100% complete, that I could call my own.

The Mean Green Machine

Deciding to correct this anomaly in my life, I set about building the mean green machine. Its based around a standard spec AM with a few tweaks to make it my own, and I thought I would share it with you.
I decided to go with a medium, an unusual choice given my penchant for longer bikes, but the limited range of movement on my arm, combined with wanting something for quick blasts when I could meant a medium suited me better right now. Size is an interesting thing, we often get asked “what size should I buy?” and while we try and offer the best advice we can, it is ultimately a personal preference. I can easily ride a large AM as well as I can a medium, but on this day, a medium was just the better choice for what I wanted.
I decided that this build would be stealth black and green, mainly because I had some green hubs that I’d had made for me knocking about, but also because the stealth black is a bit of a labour of love for me, having spent a long while getting just the finish I wanted from the paint-shop, so it seems only right I went with that.

The Mean Green Machine

The Specification

Everything starts with the specification when we build a bike for a customer, and for me it was just the same. I decided to go pretty high end on this one, throwing caution into the wind and instead making the very best AM I could from the parts I had available.
  • Bird Zero AM – Size M, Stealth Black
  • RockShox Lyrik RCT3 160* SA, Stealth Black
  • SRAM Eagle X01 drivetrain
  • SRAM Eagle X01 Carbon cranks, 34T
  • Hope Stainless BB w/GXP conversion
  • SRAM Guide RS Brakes
  • SRAM Centerline 200/180 rotors
  • RaceFace Turbine R 35 Stem, 40mm
  • RaceFace Next SL 35 bars, 760mm, green
  • RaceFace Half Nelson grips, grey
  • Cane Creek 40 headset
  • RockShox Reverb Stealth 170mm, left hand under bar
  • Fabric Scoop Race Saddle, Ti rails
  • One Up Bash Guard
  • RaceFace Chester composite pedals, green
  • Prototype carbon rims, 32mm internal
  • Custom made hubs, 142/12 & 100/15mm, 28h, XD driver, green
  • DT Swiss Competition spokes w/Pro Lock Squorx brass nipples
  • Maxxis Shorty 2.5WT Exo TR Maxx Terra up front
  • Maxxis DHR2 2.3 Exo TR Maxx Terra out back
  • RockShox Maxle Ultimate, 142/12
* The Lyriks are currently 160mm, but unlikely to stay that way. I will probably chop out the air shaft for a 150 or maybe even 140mm air shaft, but I figured I would try a 160mm hard tail out to see how it goes before doing that. Testing whenever we can is part of our ethos in order to find out what works and doesn’t. I should point out that running a 160mm fork on your AM will invalidate it’s warranty!

The Build

First thing to do was make some wheels. If you ever fancy building your own wheels, I can strongly recommend you build them with carbon rims. Building carbon wheels is ludicrously easy compared to aluminium rims. The stiffness of the rims means its very easy to get them straight and round with minimal effort. Whereas an alu rim will deflect and go egg shaped relatively easily with moderate variations in spoke tension, a carbon rim defiantly wants to stay true and round unless you really mess it up.
The rims I used are some new 32mm internal rims from one of our manufacturers. I’d specced them up with an ‘enduro-proof’ layup, blending strength where its needed with some weight saving where its not, to give a stiff, strong rim that was not too heavy. We’ve broken enough rims here at Bird to know what needs to go where, or at least I think we do. They could be lighter, but I wanted them to last. Paired with 28 DT Swiss Competition spokes per rim, they are a cost effective, mid weight option, perfect for this build. Brass double head DT squorx pro-lock nipples finish off the build. These nipples are perfect for carbon rim builds, and I had the rims custom drilled to ensure that not only were the nipple angles exactly as I wanted them for my hubs, but that building from the back, as is the best way, was a cinch. Thanks to Dan for doing me some nice technical drawings just for the hole drilling! It’s all about the details…
The hubs are made by a small machine shop in Taiwan, that specialises in high end hubs.

Sometimes to get what you want you need to go the extra mile.
They are based on a standard DH offering the hub co. makes, but I had them machined out to save weight while keeping the nice big bearings, and adjusted for a 12 and 15mm axle 🙂 I would normally go straight to Hope for my hubs, but they won’t supply me green ones, and I wanted green, so custom it was. These come in around 30g lighter after all the extra machining than a pair of Hope Pro 4s too, which is a bonus. The quality of the manufacture is excellent, and the sealing is first rate, so I have high hopes for these. My one gripe is that while I asked to trim the flange width a little to save weight, I should have done my homework a bit better, as the DH-spec flanges on these hubs are still very fat, and that means the spokes don’t sit perfectly in the holes, as the J Bend is a little too abrupt to work its way round the flange thickness, but thats a small complaint I guess. Next time I will fix that up.
Weight-wise the wheels run at just over 1750g for the pair. Not the lightest wheels I will ever build up, but they certainly feel like one of the stiffest I’ve ever built, and they should last forever!


Wheels built, the rest of the bike is of course a breeze. We build alot of bikes here at Bird, everyone built by us to order, so assembly is pretty much a doddle. There’s a few steps you probably don’t realise we do though, before a Bird gets assembled, including:
  • We tap every BB shell again, no matter how good it looks, to ensure that its clean and ready to have the BB fitted.
  • We tap the ISG05 tabs, and the maxle threads
  • We check the seat-tube ream
  • We check the facing on the head-tube and BB to ensure its perfect
  • We inspect the paintwork end-to-end to ensure its chip and mark free
  • We check the alignment of the bike to ensure it is straight, and the brake mounts are straight too
You’d be surprised what you’ll find on many bikes if you look closely. In my lifetime I’ve seen some real doozies from big manufacturers, leaving me scratching my head wondering “how on earth does this stuff pass QC?”, here at Bird, even our personal bikes get proper quality control before they leave the workshop, and yours more so (I must admit not checking the paintwork on my own bike 🙂 ).

Parts Highlights

The highlight of this build for me has to be the Xo1 Eagle. SRAM’s new 12 speed groupset. Its a joy to use and offers a massive 500% range from a single shifter. It really is a game changer. The shifting is so precise its crazy, and the adjustment you get from the shifter brake combo is huge too, allowing you to easily set up the shifter just right for you. With 2 horizontal positions, about 45 degrees of fore-aft rotation, and an adjustable downshift lever, the SRAM set up on X01 is about as good as it gets. The shifting is incredible, so quick and smooth its like its not happening, and the 12 speed cassette weighs very little for its size. OK so its expensive, but when you see the detail thats gone into it, you start to understand why.

160 party up front, all serious out back. The X01 Eagle drivetrain provides some real XC capability.

The machining on the X01 (And XX1) cassettes is mentally intricate.
One thing you probably don’t know is that Eagle cassettes run narrow-wide rings on the biggest two cassette cogs. This is to eliminate the dropped chains from back / slack pedalling as far as I know and have experienced, and it works. Oddly, although it probably shouldn’t you never experience a mis-match between chain and cog either. The chain finds it’s paired thick-thin quite happily with every shift.
Drivetrain selected, the rest of the parts are an easy choice, balancing weight and strength at every opportunity. I decided to go big on the rotors as the Guide RS brakes offer excellent modulation even on the biggest rotors, and went in for the 170mm reverb as well, something with my stumpy legs I can’t normally quite manage, but given this is a medium AM I could just squeeze it in.
A first for me was composite flat pedals. I used to be 100% clipped in, but overtime I have begun to appreciate the benefits of flat pedals paired with good shoes. This time of year I am running FiveTen Freerider Elements, a shoe I can’t say anything bad about, other than there’s no black & green version. Paired with the Chester composite pedals its a great combo. The Chester is light and had a good size platform, and runs a screw in pin and nut system, which is great as it means that you can loose a pin through smashing it out and still pop a new one back in no hassles. The Chester isn’t the grippiest pedal I’ve ever run, but to be fair, I find the grippiest ones a bit weird to ride on, offering so much grip that you struggle to adjust your foot position when you’ve got it somehow in an awkward position. I actually prefer the ‘medium’ grip of the Chester I think.

Plastic Fantastic. Composite (Posh word for plastic) pedals are becoming increasingly common on the trails, and for good reason.
Other parts of note might include the One-Up Components Bash guide. Again an often asked question is “Do I need a chainguide?” The answer is both yes and no. No, because chain drops are a rarity nowadays with the various thick-thin chainrings we supply, but yes, because even that is not 100% reliable, especially as the ring wears, but more important is the ‘bash’ part. The chainring on those X01 cranks is expensive. Very expensive. It runs at £87 RRP. That’s not a typo. OK, so if you run X01 Eagle you’re likely aware of its running cost, and thats not an issue for you I guess, but chainrings, especially on low-BB bikes like ours are exposed to all kinds of nasty rock and log strikes that will turn your lovely chainring into a pringle in a heartbeat. The investment in a bash guard, with the added bonus of a silent, friction free top guide to go with it is a very sensible one. It weighs next to nothing, never wears out and might save you a fortune in chainrings.

An expensive chainring protected by an inexpensive bash guide.
Other little tweaks just for me include using a second clamp for the right brake. Maybe I have short thumbs, maybe I am weird, but I prefer splitting up my Reverb remote from the brake in order it can be closer to the grips. It’s just a nicer position for me to use, meaning everything is where it should be, although the aesthetic purists will of course hate it 😉

Bucking the trend with a second clamp for the Reverb/Brake combo
Up front its a RaceFace triple whammy with a Turbine R 35 stem in 40mm, Next SL 25 bars in 760mm width, and Half Nelson grips. Is this the perfect set up? Maybe? The Turbine R is probably not a stem you’ve heard of, I think its OE only, but its actually an Easton Haven stem with RaceFace logos. The Easton Haven is probably the nicest stem thats come out from any manufacturer in modern times, made only better by putting RaceFace logos on it (RaceFace bought Easton a few years back so its no surprise they’ve begun to migrate Easton’s MTB range over to RaceFace and leave Easton to focus on the road side). I’ve plumped for a 40mm here, as the medium AM would be a touch short for me if I went smaller, but we do now stock the strap-the-bar-to-the-steerer 32mm length too. A dinky stem indeed and fitting for our long reach short stem philosophy. If I could change anything I would add maybe 15mm to the Next SL bars, as 760mm is a touch narrower than I am used to, having ridden Sixc and Atlas so extensively over the last couple of years, but its still a good size, and I will happily trade the extra length I could get from a Sixc bar for the feel and weight saving to be had from a Next SL on this bike.

Can different logos make a product better? Yes they can.

The First Ride

I won’t bore you with telling you how awesome this AM is. If you’re reading this then you probably know one of two things:
  1. You own an AM and you know its awesome
  2. You know I am a founder of Bird and so unlikely to say anything bad 🙂
Either way, extolling the virtues of my new bike is probably pointless, so instead, I will tell you how I feel about it. Its so nice having a bike thats genuinely mine again, I can’t really say. Its a labour of love, built over about 6 months when you take into account the hubs and rims, which I am 100% happy with the outcome. This bike will provide me smiles for miles I am sure, and thats the way it should be. Whether you buy a stock bike, custom build or do something between the two, there’s always a Bird that will put a smile on your face and remind you why you ride.

First ride day is special no matter how many bikes you build.
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Tech Talk: Tuning Air Forks With Tokens

When RockShox introduced the revamped Pike, they brought with it Air Tokens. They were not the first to allow you to adjust the air volume of their forks, but they were the first to make it mainstream. Those innocuous looking little red plastic blobs that shipped with your fork started a revolution. 2 years on, the little red blobs are grey, and pretty much every manufacturer has something doing something similar in their forks now, but what are they for and why should you care?

Second time luckier. The Pike Mk2 was the one that changed it all.

Why Should I Care?

You should care because if you’ve not messed around with the air tokens in your fork, you’re probably not getting the best performance you could. Its a very cheap and easy way of transforming your suspension to behave in a way that suits you and your riding style, without the expense of custom tuning.

How an Air-Spring Works

To understand what the tokens can do for you, we need to first understand how an air spring works. A normal* coil spring exhibits behaviour known as being linear. What this means is that the spring inside a coil fork will require the exact same force to move it 10% of its travel whether its at the start or end of its travel. On the other hand, an air spring exhibits whats known as progression. Progression means that the air spring will require less force to move it 10% of its stroke at the start of its travel than the end. There are other forces at work such as stiction (STatic frICTION) and damping, but the spring is the basic mechanism of making your forks bounce, and so deserves your attention.
* Progressive coil springs do exist, achieved through using variable coiling, but we’ll not worry about that now.
To put that in simple terms, imagine you are loading weights onto the ends of your bars to compress your forks. You might need 100KG to compress a fork from 0% of available travel to 50% of its travel, but you might then need 200KG to get through the second half of the forks travel. So you needed 300KG of weight on the bars to get from fully extended to fully compressed, but:
100KG of that got you half way 200KG might have got you 4/5ths through The final 1/5th of the travel needed another 100KG In practice what this means is that the deeper into your travel you get, the more the forks resist compression. Useful to prevent big bumps eating too much travel when you have nice small bump compliance, and vice versa useful to prevent you having to run too much air in order to hold the forks up, killing your small bump sensitivity.

What Do the Tokens Do?

Tokens reduce the volume of air inside your fork. This links to the important concept that the increase in spring rate (the progressiveness of the air spring) relates to the reduction in its volume as it compresses, in relationship to its total volume. Sounds complicated? Its not so bad. What it means is that the progression is relative to how much you reduced the volume by as a percentage, not the actual volume lost. So we think of 50% of the air spring volume, not 50 cubic centimetres.
The tokens take up space that would other wise be filled with air, and hence part of the air spring. Say your fork had 100mm of travel. With no tokens in, using all your travel might have used 60% of the available air volume, squeezing all the air into the remaining 40% space. If you added a couple of tokens, the fork might now use 80% of the available air volume in compression, squeezing the air into the remaining 20% of space. Its this adjustment in the relative volume of the air spring that changes to progressiveness of the fork.

May the Force be with you, and progressive.

My Forks Have Tokens in From The Factory. So I’m Done Right?

Probably not. The factory installed tokens are there to adjust the base spring volume from what it would be at the forks maximum possible travel version, to the one you have bought. By adding tokens, the manufacturer is attempting to correct the air spring progression so its roughly the same feel whether your fork is 120mm, or 180mm travel. Put another way, without a good slug of tokens a 120mm fork would blow through its travel so easily it would be basically useless, assuming of course it is a RockShox 120mm fork based on a 180mm chassis like a Lyrik or Yari. With each step down in travel (10 or 20mm) the manufacturer will add another token to compensate for the air volume, but that doesn’t mean its right for you.

When Should I Use Tokens?

This is the million dollar question, and the one to which there is no real definitive answer, but here’s some useful guides as to when tokens might be needed, or maybe need to be removed**.
Scenario 1: You set your sag properly, and the forks feel great on the small stuff, but even moderate trails, rollers and berms are using all of the travel in the fork. Solution: Add token(s) & maintain fork pressure. Scenario 2: You’ve got the forks running sweet when they are deep into their travel, holding you up well and using their travel at just the right rate, but they feel harsh on the small stuff, and the bar buzz is killing you. Solution: Add token(s) & drop fork pressure.
Scenario 3: Your forks feel great at the start of the stroke, but you’re rarely reaching full travel, possibly as little as 50% travel.
Solution: Remove token(s) & maintain air pressure.
Scenario 4: In order to get a decent amount of travel from your forks you’re running them so soft that you have used 30%+ of your travel just getting to sag point.
Solution: Remove token(s) & increase fork pressure.
** Removed? WTF? All I ever hear is people telling me to add more tokens!? Well tokens are a double edged sword, too few and you risk blowing through your travel or running your forks too hard, too many and you’ll never get full travel from your forks. Its worth considering both adding and removing tokens depending on what you want to achieve.
A quick note on ‘maintaining air pressure’. Above I list 3 air pressure options, drop, add or maintain. Maintain doesn’t mean literally keeping it exactly the same, but rather that the pressure you’re running is about right, and its the progression in the spring thats wrong. Changing the spring progression using tokens will effect the fork across the whole of its travel range, so some tweaking of the pressure might be needed to compensate, but its not the main factor at work here.

OK, I’m Sold. What do I Need?

There are four basic things you’ll need to make the magic happen.
  • A socket or good quality spanner to fit on the air top cap. A decent wide adjustable (30mm) spanner is fine for occasional use. It might fix something around the house too.
  • A token compatible fork as found on almost all the Bird bikes. See below for the RockShox compatible fork options.
  • Some tokens suitable for your forks. You probably received some with your forks or bike, but you can always buy some more here:…
  • A good shock pump. Specifically one good shock pump. You may own more than one. When testing your set up, always us the same pump. Even the same pumps from the same brand can yield different results when using two pumps. Its always best to stick with a single pump as no-matter how inaccurate, its likely to be consistent, which is the main thing. Its not actually important whether it reads 100PSI but its actually 120PSI. What counts it that when you pump it to 100PSI its the same pressure as the last time you did that.

RockShox Token Compatible Forks and Base Settings

The following chart shows the travel options for each RockShox token compatible fork, and how many tokens you should expect to find under the top cap should you open it up.

How many tokens did your fork some with?

A Rough Guide to Get You Started

As I mentioned earlier, there are no hard and fast rules on the use of tokens. Every one is different and what suits you might not suit someone else. However, as a starting point, I would recommend for the average weight, average trail rider:
  • 32mm Chassis Forks (Revelations etc.) – As from the factory.
  • 35mm Pike Forks (RC & RCT3) : +1 token for every 20mm away from the max travel of the fork (160mm on a 27.5) + 2 tokens.
  • 35mm Yari and Lyrik Forks : +1 token for every 20mm away from the max travel of the fork (180mm on a 27.5) – 1 token.

Recommended tokens shown in blue.

So How Do I Do This Then?

OK, so you’re going to go for it! Good stuff. Here’s the guide from RockShox on how to do it, but don’t worry its not hard.

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