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Looks like this whole 38-millimeter fork thing is here to stay. It’s all but taken over the enduro sector, it’s the go-to for full-powered e-bikes, and it’s hogging the spotlight in every shred edit south of a dual-crown fork. But that’s the thing, the Fox 38 and RockShox Zeb are the most glamorous forks in each brands’ lineup, and have glamorous price points to match. If a bike manufacturer needs to spec something lower-priced, they’ve had to downsize to the Marzocchi Z1 or the RockShox Yari. Which is fine. Their 36 and 35mm stanchions were good enough under the majority aggressive riders for about a decade. But apparently, it wasn’t good enough for RockShox, who has resurrected the value-focused big-hit Domain fork and bumped up its chassis to be a more affordable alternative to the Zeb. The main differences are the heavier 6000 series stanchions instead of the Zeb’s 7000, netting a claimed 2,540 gram weight, 260 grams heavier than the Zeb. It’s also got the lower-tech Motion Control damper versus the Zeb’s Charger 2, but just like the Yari, you can upgrade to a cutting-edge Charger 2 damper in the Domain for $330.
The Domain comes with either 150, 160, 170 or 180mm travel, each in either 27.5 or 29-inch setups. All come with a 44mm offset and 200mm-specific caliper mounts, but can, of course, be bumped up to 220 or 203. There’s 2.8 inches of tire clearance, though that may get a little tighter if you opt for the short fender that bolts onto the brake arch.
The arch has been shrugged forward to make more room for the fender, as well as for new thicker head tubes. Speaking of which, there’s also a 1.8-inch tapered version for the OEM e-bike market that hasn’t really caught on yet, but we get the sense that this means it’s coming.
Aftermarket, the RockShox Domain costs $550. Considering what this fork is capable of, and how closely related it is to the Zeb, whose bare-bones model goes for $700, that’s pretty impressive. But the most exciting opportunities for the Domain is in the OEM market. Bringing the price down and the quality up in mid-range bikes is a mission that too many brands neglect. Like SRAM’s investment in the GX drivetrain, the Domain is an investment in riders who aren’t spending $6,000 on a new bike every year. It’s a big, 38mm step in the right direction.
Find it at rockshox.com/domain