Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
With so many different styles of riding, each one demands a different type of suspension. This is why RockShox offers so many different forks. A staple in their line up is the SID fork, for XC racing and trail riding. Our friend, Adam, just put on a new SID. See what they think!
I’ll admit that I’m the quintessential “average man”. Average height, average weight, average income, average attractiveness, etc. I had an ego trip the day we covered averages in stats class because we were just talking about me the whole time! I’ve come to terms with the fact that this has extended itself into my biking life as well.
I will say that I can hold my own on any local trail and I have developed the necessary skills to go up or down any one of them and keep up on a hardtail while others are riding full squish. However, I’m not the kind of person looking to do ultra techy Sedona climbs or gnarly Whistler runs. I live in Idaho. And here, flow and XC trails are king. But just because I’m not sending the gnar doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a high-quality fork and that’s exactly what the RockShox SID Ultimate is. It’s the tip of the top, the cream of the crop, the crème de la crème.
The RockShox SID Ultimate is everything that I was looking for. It’s confidence-inspiring, supportive throughout the travel, has excellent small bump compliance, and it’s simple enough that even I can get it tuned up without having to spend hours watching YouTube, digging through MTB forums, or scrolling through FAQ sections. In a word, this fork is GREAT.
For most of my life, I’ve been riding the stock $50 coil SR Suntour forks that come on a lot of bikes. The only problem that I noticed with my fork (especially in the later years) was that it acted more like a rigid fork with just enough give to prevent me from breaking my collar bone on bigger drops.
I could never justify upgrading my fork because I never felt like my skills merited such a splurge. But it’s easy to have that mindset when you’re in grad school and can barely afford the Ramen gracing your table. But then BAM! I graduated and now I make money and that mindset is out the window! So I bought the SR Suntour Raidon air fork. This fork really helped me open up my riding potential. I was no longer getting jarred on the rough terrain and I was able to hold my line much better in the rock gardens. I learned how to adjust the air pressure in my fork and fine-tune the rebound. The additional weight initially made technical climbs harder but I overcame that in time and made a mental note that I would like a lighter fork in the future. The biggest downside to this fork was the small bump compliance.
Almost the exact opposite was true of my wife’s fork (we’re about the same height and dimensions so I steal her bike more than I should). Her bike has a RockShox Judy Silver on it and with some tweaks to the air pressure and rebound it’s ready for me to use any time.
Compared to the Raidon, the Judy Silver is lighter, has great small bump compliance, and has a better overall finish to it. When I was going on longer, more XC trails I would always try to grab my wife’s bike because the fork reduced my arm fatigue that much more. The biggest downside was that the Judy Silver was much more jarring on the rougher terrain. The bottom-out of the fork was harsh and the progression of the travel was too linear.
After several years to digest this information I wanted to upgrade my fork to something that could do it all. I wanted a fork that was lightweight, had small bump compliance, stiff stanchions, and a smoother bottom-out feel. I could have probably achieved this with the RockShox SID Select or Select+, but I wasn’t about to risk another several years on sub-par suspension. The way I figured it, if the top of the line couldn’t deliver then I’d have to face the ugly truth that the problem was in me and my riding technique or mechanical prowess rather than the components.
When things begin to get rowdy, the fork keeps up...It was more like frolicking on clouds than anything else.
Fortunately for me, I can put off facing the facts because this fork DELIVERS! Keep in mind that I’m the average man and I likely wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between GX and XX1 if I was blindfolded. I ride a hardtail and that means I focus a lot on what my fork is doing for me. The small bump compliance on this thing is buttery smooth. It simply absorbs all of the gravel and roots and dips that it comes across. When things begin to get rowdy, the fork keeps up. I was surprised to look down at my fork and see the red indicator all the way up at the top after the first big technical section I had ridden on this fork. I didn’t think I had even bottomed out. It was more like frolicking on clouds than anything else. I will say that I was hoping to feel more of a difference in the stanchion size but I just didn’t. I don’t think that my riding style and local trails challenge my fork enough to need the extra stability but I do feel more confidence on this fork when I’m going through rock gardens than I did on my other forks. Maybe that extra confidence is the stanchion size coming through and cheering me on. Just like I immediately noticed the weight of the Raidon fork I immediately noticed the weight of the SID fork, but in a good way. This thing is light! Front-wheel lifts aren’t even close to an issue with this fork and it goes a long way to helping my bike feel a bit more playful.
Overall, I have no regrets about purchasing this fork. It was a couple extra hundred dollars more than other alternatives that would have probably suited my needs just fine. But I don’t like “probably” in my work or recreation. So what I know is that this fork is good enough for the average rider and then some. I know that because that rider is me.