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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Long Term Report: Rockshox Pike Charger Damper (leaking Pike damper solution)

One of my clients has a Rockshox Pike with the longest use that Ive seen gone thru my little suspension shop. We are doing it's 1st year service. The client is a once a week rider with multiple trips to Snow Summit bike park last year.

Seals are ok, although we are replacing them. Lower bath fluids are ok. The Charger damper though, not so good. It's making a squirting noise and is totally infiltrated with air. Although the bleed is a lot simpler than other sealed cartridges, I am not impressed. Most FIT carts will last over two seasons before needing service. Even then, I usually only go in as a matter of preventive maintenance. I'm going to do a bleed, but if the bleed doesn't last, I'll start recommending a full rebuild of the damper.

Bicycle accessory Bicycle part Bicycle frame Bicycle Rim

EDIT: Solution to the problem.

Amazon.com : NSD Cartridge Seal Head for Rockshox Charger Damper Pike Boxxer : Sports & Outdoors
 

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Five5hot
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What's the repair cost for the damper? Will the whole damper need replacing? I just saw that it'll cost around $256 for one, yikes!

Looks like my next fork will be a Fox 36.
 

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What's the repair cost for the damper? Will the whole damper need replacing? I just saw that it'll cost around $256 for one, yikes!

Looks like my next fork will be a Fox 36.
I doubt the fox will be much different as they also use a bladder. It's to bad everyone seems to be moving away from the easily serviceable cartridge units. Was cavitation ever really a huge issue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I doubt the fox will be much different as they also use a bladder. It's to bad everyone seems to be moving away from the easily serviceable cartridge units. Was cavitation ever really a huge issue?
The Pike service kit is like 45 bucks, which includes main, air spring and damper seals. I'd could do a full rebuild including air spring damper for about 125 plus the kit. A regular shop would probably charge around 200.
 

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Check the listed service intervals for this fork. One year is way to long for a service.
Fox's Fit carts ingested bath oil and blew the bladder all the time. The quest for lighter forks causes forks to flex, and the damper flexes with them. This causes the lower seal head to leak. With lots of bath oil, the damper ingested oil. With little bath oil (5ml, RS), they ingest air. It's all part of owning a high end suspension product.
Take care of your fork, and it will be fine.
 

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A little bit off topic but ... one of the reasons I switched from Fox to RS Pike was how easy it was to bleed the RS charger damper (epicbleedsolutions.com sells a great kit).
I like to do as much as I can on my bike and components myself and being able to do a damper bleed was a huge plus.
The Fox FIT was always a little beyond my comfort level and I'd have to send in my fork for service beyond an oil change in the lowers.
Another plus for those of us in Canada: RS parts are a breeze to order online. Online stores in US/UK will not ship Fox parts to Canada.
 

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Bang - jaw hitting the floor.
1/week is say 50 rides and if that is way too long I am guessing 25 rides is right? This is hugely disappointing and I just bought a Pike. I am a design engineer and I would be embarrassed to knowingly let a product like this go to the field. Statistically, some will fail in half that time some more but likely it will someday fail in the middle of a ride....bottom line this cannot be justified as a benefit of a high end product.
Anybody got beta on what parts are getting damaged or is really just leak by? I think Avalanche sells a beefed up cartridge ...maybe that is the ticket. Anybody with experience to share on how to and what to beef up to get this thing to run longer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
the only people who I've seen actually needed a damper servicd every year or more are people who ride about 100 miles a week.

I get strange looks from people when I tell them to come in every 50 hours. I just strongly recommend for folks to service their suspension once a year.
 

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B I think Avalanche sells a beefed up cartridge ...maybe that is the ticket. Anybody with experience to share on how to and what to beef up to get this thing to run longer?
Avy do one of two things. One option is to fit a new compression and rebound piston with their own tune to the existing Charger cartridge. The other is their own open bath cartridge.

The latter obviously solves any issues with the Charger, the former I doubt it, whilst they do fit new seals, they're more of the same type as fitted originally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

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Very common on the pike yes, the sealing of the lower seal head rebound shaft is not very good at all.
If it's sucking air through the lower seal head, then it is getting more compression damping from the rebound piston than from the compression piston.

I don't see this as a sealing issue. I think it's a damping issue. If the top compression piston does the compression damping (as it should) then the oil under the rebound piston by the seal head shouldn't see enough vacuum to suck air in.
 

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^^^ I like it too, but wonder if somebody in NA has something similar?

Or when NSD will be setting up an NA shop?!
 

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If it's sucking air through the lower seal head, then it is getting more compression damping from the rebound piston than from the compression piston.

I don't see this as a sealing issue. I think it's a damping issue. If the top compression piston does the compression damping (as it should) then the oil under the rebound piston by the seal head shouldn't see enough vacuum to suck air in.
You can make oil come out of the charger damper by wiggling the damping rod, this has been noted by plenty of people. I have seen them where the lower leg lube is filled full of damper oil but the damper itself has no signs of a leak and it bleeds up and tests ok. Its down to the lower seal head, specifically the seal between the shaft and the head itself.

I have another in shortly for a service so I will try and get some pictures.
 

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SS Pusher Man
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the only people who I've seen actually needed a damper servicd every year or more are people who ride about 100 miles a week.

I get strange looks from people when I tell them to come in every 50 hours. I just strongly recommend for folks to service their suspension once a year.
That would mean every 2.5 weeks of riding. :skep: :madman::madman:
 
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