The Rockshox Pike has been one of the most, if not the most popular forks since it was revamped 5 years ago. The big brands have been battling for supremacy for years. Here in this review, Lucius Bell tells us about his Rockshox Pike RTC3 29er 130mm travel fork he has mounted to his all-new Kona Process. Check it out!
First, a little bit of a background. Everyone has a dream bike, that mythical unicorn that only exists on the pages of Pinkbike or clearing gaps on RedBull TV. That chained bear we see driving away in the back of a lifted Tacoma as we enter the local park lot. Well, guys and gals I finally got the chance to build my dream bike (with the semi-reasonable budget my wife has allowed). Coming off a steel Salsa El Mariachi 29er, I knew I wanted to stay with big wheels and mid travel for a full suspension ride. Riding here in North Carolina with its drastic mix of downhills at Pisgah, the rolling trails of USWWC, and Lake Norman State Park I knew I needed something that could handle anything I threw at it. The frame was an easy pick for me (the epic Kona Process) but I was having trouble finding the right fork for it. I was running a Fox 32 CTD on my Salsa but knew I needed something beefier on the Kona. The Fox 36 seemed like a good fit but all my buddies said to look at the RockShox Pike RCT3 for my front end weapon of choice. The Kona did come with a Monarch RCT3 in the rear so why not take a look. My goal was to have a super stiff and responsive front end, all while keeping a smooth and plush ride at maximum downhill velocity. All my research showed that the Pike with its super stiff platform and easy setup would be right up my alley. Quality was also my concern but years of Internet troll abuse of the Pike showed it was built like an 80s Toyota. I was kinda on the fence between the Pike and Fox 36 until I caught the Black Friday sale at Worldwide Cyclery. With great information/customer service from the Worldwide Cyclery team (more on them later), the Pike was on her way.
To my surprise, the RockShox Pike came with a few wanted extras. Spare service seals kit and a blackened sticker kit were all included in a very tough package. The installation into my Cane Creek headset was a breeze with minimal effort. Fast forward 2 weeks and BOOM the rest of the bike was ready to go. After a few pumps to the recommended PSI and a slight adjustment of the rebound, down the trail I went. The first thing I noticed was how plush the Pike was at speed. The dampening reaction was much more than I expected. Roots and rocks that would usually toss me off center passed under me like I was cruising down the sidewalk. I messed with the low-speed compression adjustment and rebound but I really don’t know what I was doing. The Kona stayed glued to the ground but I could pop the bike up with a quick flick of the hips at any time. The Pike could also be preloaded for some sweet airtime immediately without hesitation. Honestly, I didn’t spend much time on adjustment since the travel was already set at what I wanted. I could probably try a few different settings with the rebound and psi but I didn’t feel like I needed to. Small bumps to large hits all seemed to be soaked up by the Pike fork with no effort. Almost like it was overkill for my needs but maybe I just needed to man-up on a few things. Overkill was what I wanted. I tried the pedal setting out while cruising down the dirt roads and on a few climbs. It seemed to help with efficiency but I caught myself leaving it wide open most of the time. I guess I like the plush feeling since I came from a hardtail. No more tail kicks! All in all, I can only give the Pike RCT3 an A+ rating. It rides smooth, feels light, looks nice, and was at a great price. After my first few rides, I decided to put all of my SLX components back on the Salsa and upgrade the rest of the Kona (new wheels, drive, dropper) so my pics are kinda limited.
I know this is a product review but I felt like I needed to thank the Worldwide Cyclery crew for their assistance. I had an abnormal shipping request due to travel and home location restrictions. The Worldwide Cyclery crew was very helpful in this situation. Just ordered a X-Fusion Manic dropper and GX Eagle through them and my shipping needs were also quickly customized. Thanks guys!