Editor’s Note: Our German sister site continues to review the RS-1 from Rock Shox, an XC fork which we introduced to you in this post- Click HERE. Now we have translated the latest from them in this Mid-Term update.

Rock Shox RS-1: Mid-Term- by Thomas Hebsetreit

In the intro, I covered the RS -1 and their departure from the Right – Side -Up system and other technical innovations in detail. Since then, this fork with the exclusive design has caused quite a stir everywhere it showed up – on and off the track.   This is no surprise since it is yet a very rare fork. There were two main issues that admirers were interested in – weight and performance.

Rock Shox

The Radon Black Sin test bike set up with the RS-1

The former we already discussed here. With a weight of nearly 1,600 grams, it should satisfy extreme lightweight fetishists but maybe not so much for those who like big jumps. However , given the performance listed below, the weight is very appropriate, and some amount of aggressive riding is okay. In fact, Rock Shox claims the RS-1 is by no means only aimed at XC- use. SRAM is, in fact, explicitly calling the RS-1 a ” Trail Race ” rated fork. The travel therefore ranges from 80 to 120 millimeters.

The spring performance of this fork can be summarized simply as “first class“. From the first meter, the ultra- sensitive response of the RS -1 was clearly noticeable and is truly remarkable for a XC race fork. Now about that stiffness. Whoever clamps the front wheel between their legs and turns the handlebars to twist the fork will initially become disillusioned with the  RS-1. Just as c_g had discovered,  I could see that the RS-1 can twist. It felt maybe a bit more twisty than the SID Race in comparison. The stiffness measurements of a large German trade magazine substantiate this observation.

15-RS-1-THBut take note (not to be said here would be a mistake !):  When riding, this torsional twisting is almost unnoticeable. Rather, the opposite is the case. So we are faced once more again with the question of how relevant laboratory  values actually are. Anyway, we were able to experience no restrictions in terms of torsional rigidity, even in XC racing. Riding the RS-1 along with the SRAM Roam wheelset, we felt at peace and noted good steering precision.

This is what I  felt repeatedly and had it confirmed on testing and training rides as well as during an MTB marathon and several XC races with the fork set at 100 millimeters of travel. Moreover, the braking stiffness is very high. No matter how hard you stop, no twisting or even tilting is felt.  Does the torsional stiffness remain even under heavy riders?  Yes!  c_g with his KUBIS 29 + bike and the same fork confirms this.

As mentioned in the intro, the RS-1 can be varied between 80, 100 and 120 millimeters of travel by means of spacers.  This must be done internally.


The RS-1 rebound adjuster is the red knob at the bottom of the fork leg.

10-RS-1-THIn addition, the RS -1 is easy to set up. Using the values that are printed on the small table on the fork, a rider simply pumps up the air chamber, and, after a few rides, depending on preferences, adjusts the air spring pressure slightly up or down. The rebound  is also set quickly, though the adjustment knob is a bit out of the way.  It could hardly be easier.  Even though the fork was brand new, it offered a convincing performance. In addition to the sensitive trail response, the RS-1 also handles many hard successive blows and does not pack up or feel stiffer. Also, the damper is so efficient that I could not easily lift the front wheel from the terrain, not even at race pace in moderately technical terrain passages. This increases the traction of the front wheel, clearly improving safety, and imbues a sense of confidence that you can always use for good in a race.

At the end of the travel the RS- 1 is progressive, so that the travel could be fully exploited. I found this to be true even though I had not spent a lot of time with calibration and probing of different setups. Hard braking sees the relatively new flagship of the house of ROCK SHOX handling things calmly – mostly due to the new Dig Valve goodness. Thus, the RS-1 tackles obstacles with little flash. The fork dispatches with trail obstacles without significant distortions and then lands with a beautifully soft response, as I have already mentioned.


After riding these days with many forks with lots of options and coming out consistently tired, the RS-1 shows itself a simple and very good-natured companion. A rider has only the option of the hydraulic X -Loc lockout to chose from. The lock mode is relatively tight, but still leaves slight vibration damping movements . Those who are familiar with the recent lockout system offers from ROCK SHOX  know that it is noticeably firmer. Racers will definitely appreciate the lock mode of the RS-1.

When installing or removing the front wheel you will need to change your habits. Due to the upside-down design, the Predictive Steering dropouts can easily twist with the wheel removed. The re-installation of the wheel requires the orientation of the dropouts with the hub and threading the disc into the caliper which makes the operation quite fiddly. This is strange at first, but it takes very little time with some practice. Obviously this is not quite as easy as with conventional forks.


Mid-Term Conclusion : The RS-1 has convinced me so far with an extremely high-performance and with awesome damping characteristics . The design and the price are very exclusive, but the performance sets the standard in the XC- class.  Whether the RS-1 can carry this very positive impression through to part 3 of our test is yet to be determined. Stay tuned…..


Thomas  Hebsetreit