2023 RockShox ZEB | Blister

Who’s It For?

The new crop of extra-burly single-crown forks, the ZEB included, is going to be best suited to folks on long-travel Enduro bikes, riding steep, fast trails, and hitting things hard. They do come with a weight penalty compared to their smaller-stanchioned counterparts, but the differences in stiffness and precision are real and worthwhile, and the ZEB et al come in longer-travel variants to better suit those sorts of bikes. [That said, we haven’t yet ridden the new 2023 RockShox Lyrik to see how it compares — hopefully we’ll be able to change that soon.]

As for the ZEB, specifically, the new one is a really good, very well-rounded fork that’s highly tunable and easy to adapt to a lot of different setups, and doesn’t have the notable shortcomings of its predecessor, particularly in terms of midstroke support. And especially for folks who have found the Fox 38 to be too lightly damped, the ZEB has a lot to offer. The Öhlins RXF38 is still the most supportive, firmest-damped fork in this class that we’ve tried to date, and is a great option for folks who are drawn in that direction, but the ZEB has better small-bump sensitivity.

Bottom Line

RockShox has done a great job of updating the ZEB. The new spring and damper are both notable improvements over the previous versions, the chassis is still great, and it all adds up to a very good, especially well-rounded fork (for its class) that it’s easy to imagine working for a ton of riders. The shortcomings of the prior-generation ZEB — particularly its lack of midstroke support — have been addressed very well, and RockShox has done that without compromising the fork in other areas. The ZEB has gone from “good, but with drawbacks” to truly great. And stay tuned for our review of the matching SuperDeluxe shocks (both the air and coil versions), coming soon.