ROCKSHOX PIKE RCT3 FORK | |
The newest generation is light, supple and stiff
In 2013 RockShox set the standard for how a single-crown trail fork should perform when it came out with the Pike. Over the last few seasons our test riders have been impressed with both its performance and durability. Last spring RockShox unveiled a redesigned version of its acclaimed fork, featuring a new chassis and damper, in hopes of making an already solid fork even better. Needless to say, our test riders were more than eager to get their hands on the new Pike for a full trail shakedown.
Tech info: One of the goals for the new Pike was to make it more purpose-orientated for trail riding, with travel options ranging from 100–160 millimeters for the 27.5-inch version. Keeping the Pike in the trail category allowed RockShox to redesign the chassis to shed some weight but not compromise on stiffness. The new chassis has clearance for up to 2.8-inch tires and enough room for riders to run a fender without having to worry about getting debris and grit stuck under the arch. With the Pike leaning towards trail riding, the Lyrik will be doing the heavy lifting on the all-mountain and enduro side.
At the heart of the Pike is the new Charger 2 damper with a more tunable low-speed compression adjustment and DebonAir air spring, giving riders better small-bump compliance. The DebonAir spring and Charger 2 damper sit inside of stout 35-millimeter stanchions mounted to a tapered steer tube and magnesium lowers. The updated damper uses three settings—open, pedal and firm—doing away with the lock setting that RockShox used on its previous-generation Pike. RockShox updated the bleed port for the damper, and it is much easier to access, making maintenance a much quicker process. New for this Pike is the ability to run a remote with a two-position damper for riders hoping to use this fork for racing.
RockShox opted to only offer the new Pike with 15×110-millimeter spacing. Retail price for the RCT3 that we tested is $875 with a weight of 1784 grams.
On the trail: We installed our test fork on a Trance Advanced 2 that we have been using for other suspension tests this year. Setting up the Pike, we used the Air Guide on the lower leg and set the pressure to 75 psi for our 150-pound test rider. We opted for five clicks of low-speed-compression to get a feel for the new tune and several clicks of rebound. The fork came stock with two Bottomless Tokens, which we left in for most of our testing.
It took us a couple of rides to get a feel for the new air spring, and we ended up dropping about 8 psi. This slight change in air pressure made a big difference, giving our test riders a healthy amount of small-bump compliance. Our lighter test riders were impressed with just how supple the new Pike felt off the top of the travel.
The new chassis proved to be just as stiff as the previous generation’s, not giving us any unwanted chatter under hard braking or on steep, technical bits of trail. On long, successive hits, the Pike was supple and active, proving that it was ready to tackle the rowdiest bits of trail confidently. With the Pike in the “firm” setting, we had enough support to stand up and pedal hard out of the saddle without any excess bobbing or compression.
The Pike of old was a major standout when it was released in 2013. Revamping a product with such a strong reputation can be a challenge. The new Pike is lightweight, stable and supple, proving that RockShox was able to redesign an already awesome fork effectively.
• Improved small-bump compliance
• Lighter than previous generation
• Remote compatible
• Plenty of tire clearance
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