Rock Shox Pike RCT3 Suspension Fork Review (2014)


Not exactly a new-comer in the suspension fork class, Pike comes with a different concept and state of the art technology, in order to place itself as the best enduro fork available. And not only does it aim to be number 1, it actually is! Sometime ago, about close to 2005, the 140mm-travel Pike went extinct, but all for the best of it, because it pays a good lesson to the Phoenix myth, as it came back with a force that’s bound to change mountainbiking world order.

Jumping over the initial exhilaration triggered by the Pike, you can notice the 35mm stanchions, size identical to that of the Boxxer, therefore very strong and 1mm thicker than Fox’s Talas Factory. It further implies a high degree of frontal stiffness that you can fully feel in the case of this 160mm-travel fork. Actually, it must be one of the most sturdy forks I’ve rode so far. Before going on, it’s worth mentioning that the Pike RCT3 has versions for all the 3 major wheel sizes.

Elegance also characterizes this fork, the crown’s and stanchion’s shapes being nothing less than works of natural art, carefully molded like the wind does with sand. Indeed, there is also a functional catch in this case, this particular shape acting as an enhancer for both stiffness and strength. On the right side you can find the SAG indicator, and also the lock-out and rebound settings.

Tuned with the right amount of pressure, I set off towards demanding trails, with lots of ups, downs, bumps, rocks and so on, just to find out how much can the Pike take. No challenge I threw at it wore it out, and it seemes the Pike goes along very well even with drops, mainly thanks to the Rapid Recovery system, an innovation which, as the name spells it, helps it recover in no time. The difference is that it doesn’t do it in a brutal manner, allowing some rebound, but just as much as neccessary in order to be up to the task of absorbing shocks the very next moment. This also goes for larger bumps, the system aiding sensibly the fork.

Pike is also very sensitive, with the stanchions smoothly gliding along, making you want to lean on it even when not moving, for the simple pleasure of it. Nothing to add in the case of turning, either.

In order to make things simple, on the right arm sits a command with 3 options: open, pedal, lock. It’s a feature found on other forks which deliver good performance too, open being recommended for descending, pedal for light uphill and flat terrain, and lock for climbing.

As a conclusion, the new Rock Shox Pike messed up my view of the currently offered forks. It leaves behind the Fox 34 Talas Factory by a lot, this being said by an owner of no less than 3 Fox forks. It’s weight is acceptable. Functionality raises the bar in this class. The MSRP of 989 euros is a further reason to aim for this fork, while the Solo Air version’s price even reaches 790 euros. The Dual Position version claims more from your wallet, but allows shrinking the travel from 160mm to 130mm. But both versions are tough and handle with no trace of problem a 200mm rotor. Why in the world doesn’t it just write on it: Simply the best?