Fast Suspension is a boutique French mountain bike suspension company. They offer a range of products that’s been growing steadily, from aftermarket tuning products for OEM suspension to their own rear shocks. While the word boutique may immediately make you think of big dollar signs, not everything they sell is expensive, and some products such as the Yari Up reviewed here provide a lot of value.
There are many different ways to buy a bike; some people buy the best bike and component spec that they can outright to save time. Other people will save money on the initial spend with a lower-spec bike and slowly upgrade it. A lot of new bikes are coming specced with the Rockshox Yari or Revelation fork, which is essentially a Lyrik or a Pike with a downgraded Motion Control (MoCo) damper. They’re great forks in their own right, but the MoCo damper, while robust and reliable, is fairly basic. The nice thing, however, is that the the less expensive forks are fairly upgradeable.
This is where Fast Suspension comes in. Their Yari Up is an upgraded compression damper assembly that simply drops into the fork to replace the standard MoCo damper to improve suspension performance without replacing the whole fork. Fast Suspension now also offers the Revelation Up. It’s the same damper but designed for the Revelation fork.
Why upgrade the Yari?
While the Yari is a great budget fork, there are a couple of characteristic traits that could use a little work. The first is that the fork dives under braking, which is not an ideal trait when braking on steep technical trails. The second is that they blow through travel and bottom out easily. Both of these elements are due to a lack of high-speed damping. The Motion Control damper only has a single orifice port that effectively controls just low-speed compression (with a high-speed blow-off valve).
While you can tune the progression of the fork using air pressure and volume (bottomless tokens), some people might prefer to use a damping-based approach, as this won’t affect the actual spring rate of the fork, and allows for more fine-tuning.
What does the Yari Up do?
The Yari Up is an aftermarket compression damper that provides three different compression adjustments for your fork. Designed to work well on e-bikes, it not only provides an externally adjustable low-speed, it also provides a mid-speed/mid-stroke adjust, and a fixed high-speed compression setting. Fast Suspension says that due to the extra weight of e-bikes, the mid-speed adjust is extra useful as it tunes out the dive associated with that weight. This is a problem for regular riders too, though maybe less pronounced, and so the damper provides a great solution for this. It’s worth noting that the high-speed damping is also tunable via the shim stack, which requires removing and disassembling the damper.
In short, Fast Suspension Yari Up is a more sophisticated damper, with damping over the entire range of compression speeds and much more control.
How do I fit it?
Luckily you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to fit the Yari Up, as it’s pretty much plug and play. It does require a little wrenching skill. All you need to fit is a 2mm allen key to remove the compression dial from the top of the fork and a 24mm socket to remove the MoCo damper. Simply pull the damper out and let the oil drain into the fork. Check your oil height according the manual that comes with the new damper, push it in and snug it up tight. Simple! It uses the same oil and oil volume as the MoCo damper, so no need to worry. If you’re not feeling confident, most local bike shops should be able to fit it for you relatively quickly and inexpensively.
How does it ride?
The most important question is, how does the new Fast Suspension Yari Up ride? In short, it’s better. The difference is certainly noticeable from the moment you hop on the bike, though it can be hard to put your finger on quite how at first. The damping feels of a better quality straight away. The fork feels more composed and controlled.
While playing with adjustments on the damper, I found that I didn’t touch the low speed adjust a whole lot, as I rarely did on the standard damper. It’s largely set and forget once you achieve a stable pedaling platform. The biggest difference is certainly the mid-speed damping and adjustment. I found that on steeper trails, previously the fork would blow through travel and pitch me over the front of the bike at inopportune moments. I now feel like I have a lot more control over that portion of the stroke and more support on steep sections and medium-sized hits, where I spend the majority of my time in terms of riding terrain and where my suspension usually sits.
The Yari Up certainly helps the fork feel a lot more bottomless, and not only does it allow you to tune the progression of the fork, it means you can use ALL of your fork travel more effectively. With the standard MoCo damper, the best way to increase the support on steeper terrain is to increase your air pressure or lower the air volume, however this lowers overall sensitivity of the fork. The Yari Up damper allows you to run a lower pressure for better sensitivity without blowing through your travel and losing mid-stroke support.
I found this especially useful on bikes that favor aggressive riders and that make the rider ride over the front end more. It allows you to push into the fork more effectively and confidently. The only real downside of this is that it can sometimes kick you in the butt if you’re having a slow day and riding off the back of the bike a bit. In that case, you have the option of the external adjustment to soften the fork up.
There is, of course, the option of dropping a Charger damper into a Yari/Revelation and turning it into a Lyrik/Pike. This is a more expensive option by a solid $100+ and I’m not convinced that the performance gain reflects the price. The Yari Up is certainly a more interesting option, and installation is much easier as the fork doesn’t require a full service to do it. My only real gripe would be that the dials are quite small and can be hard to turn when your fingers are cold.
Buy this damper if you want to upgrade your Yari. Maybe you’re an e-biker who is using too much travel, maybe you’re an aggressive rider with a tight wallet that needs that extra performance, or maybe you just want to go against the grain. Either way, this is a great option.
Price: $325CAD (about $245USD).