RockShox Pike RCT3 Fork: 27.5+/29": Rider Review

I've been building up my perfect (to me) hardtail over the past few months (based on a 2019 Kona Honzo), and this Pike RCT3 120mm fork is my crown jewel on a nearly complete project...I have a few more bits I'll add down the road, but with MTB season in full force around here, I'm gonna ride this now, and upgrade the last bits later. :-)

I have owned or test rode various forks over the years from Fox (a couple of versions of the 34), Rockshox, (the Recon, Sektor, Bluto, Reba & Revelation) and Manitou (the Machete & Mastodon fat fork)...Rockshox has always been my favorite (for many reasons) and this Pike is no exception.

If you're in the market for a new suspension fork, be sure to check out this blog on how to upgrade your fork.

Rockshox Pike RCT3


So, why did I choose this Pike specifically? Here are a few things that really steered me towards it.

  • The Charger 2 RCT3 Damper, this fork has SO much adjustment, I'm still tinkering with the various settings, but I am certain there has GOT to be a setting for virtually any rider, and any terrain (with the exception of maybe extreme downhill stuff, but that was never this forks intent).
  • The Debonair spring, this fork smooths out the trails so much, I find that I'm not squeezing the grips as hard now that I have this fork...My old fork was nowhere near as plush, and as such it would beat me up pretty bad, and I found myself hanging on more than actually riding.
  • The huge 35mm Stanchions, I'm a large rider @ 250+ lbs, and to be honest, forks with 30-32mm stanchions just feel like they flex too much under larger riders, this Pike is rigid and instills confidence pushing hard into a berm, or coming in for a “not so pretty” landing...something I'm intimately familiar with.
  • To access the bottomless tokens you can now use a cassette tool instead of needing a special socket (or a modified socket), this is a HUGE improvement, thank you Rockshox!
  • These last two things may seem minor, but to me they actually helped make my final decision. This fork was designed specifically for boost spacing, so Rockshox could add (or remove) material in places that make this fork more rigid than the previous Pike AND come in actually lighter. Also this fork accepts a 180mm rotor while direct mounting the caliper, no silly adaptor if you're currently running a 160mm rotor up front, you'll need to grab a new rotor too.

Now...any review has the potential for negatives, and with this fork, there are NO negatives (in my opinion), but I did find one minor annoyance/gripe. SRAM has designed this fork to work with their “Torque Caps”, now if you've got these torque caps installed on your front hub, then this becomes a HUGE positive, as it make putting the wheel on SUPER easy, and according to SRAM it makes the interface between the hub and fork even more stiff....however if you don't have the torque caps it's a little more difficult to line up and install the axle, it's by no means “hard” and not having torque caps doesn't mean you can't use this fork, I just felt it was worth mentioning.

Now, that said, I currently don't have the torque caps for my DT Swiss 350 hub, but I intend to buy them, to me the increased stiffness & ease of wheel install makes it worth it.

Rockshox Pike RCT3


Installation of the fork was pretty straight forward and took me maybe 30 mins, but I have the correct tools & the needed skills to do the job, if you're unsure about doing it yourself, I seriously suggest you have your local shop do it.

Included in the box was the fork, and a new Maxle Ultimate, also included in the box was a Rockshox sticker, a few bottomless tokens (how many is based on your fork travel) a new star nut, the manual, AND a set of stealth fork decals, I left the standard decals on the fork, but if you're into that stealth black on black look, you can do that with the new decals. Note: there is NO shock pump included, so if this is your first air fork, you'll need a shock pump too.


As far as the trails I ride? They are just your basic Midwestern singletrack, no huge mile long climbs, and no 15+ minute downhill flow runs, but there are a TON of short punchy climbs, roots & rocks for days, and enough jump lines to get yourself into trouble, this Pike has performed flawlessly on every single type of terrain I've thrown at it. I think it would be a winner on pretty much any trail.

Final Thoughts:

I cannot recommend this fork more highly, it is a PERFECT trail fork that can do anything you throw at it, it's got a silly amount of adjustment potential, it's the plushest fork I've ever ridden, it can handle some pretty wide tires (I have the 27.5+/29er 120mm model), the maintenance (when needed) is a snap, and dare a say it's actually priced pretty decent, yes it IS expensive, but when you look at what you actually get, then compare that to the prices of comparable forks from other brands, the Pike stands out as a clear winner with a ton of value for the price.

Now, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Worldwide Cyclery in this review, I have had some of the best customer service anyone could ask for when dealing with these guys, they are a class act to be sure, and they have set the bar pretty high.

WWC stocks some of the best MTB gear in the business, and their pricing is very good, add that to the fact that every person I've ever chatted with there is knowledgeable and passionate about mountain biking, all adds up to a top tier shop, I've never been steered wrong when looking for product recommendations. Thanks, Guys, YOU ROCK!

Rockshox Pike Fork

July 08, 2019

Customer Review › Fork › Pike › Rider Review › RockShox › Suspension ›

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