The RockShox Pike RCT3 29 is simply the best trail fork we've found
The RockShox Pike is available in three wheel sizes and a ton of travel options. You can also choose between the fixed-travel Solo Air, and the adjustable Dual Position, but you can also change the travel of the Solo Air forks by purchasing a different spring assembly. This is a great feature if you’re planning to move the fork to another frame down the line.
All Pike forks can be custom-tuned using Bottomless Tokens; RockShox’s name for volume reducers. The owner’s manual includes printed recommendations for how many tokens can be run in the various models, but if you ride harder, or want to increase the progression, we recommend adding a token, as we found this really helps prop the fork and stop it diving through the mid-stroke under braking on steeper trails.
How to fit bottomless tokens
The RCT3 model has rebound adjustment, a low-speed compression dial and three-position preset compression (Open/Pedal/Lock) adjuster. Of all the forks, it’s one of the easiest to set up, and once we’d dialled the sag and added a token we never touched it again — to say it’s fit and forget is an understatement.
On the trail, the Pike is totally unfazed. It has excellent small-bump sensitivity, but it remains unruffled on big hits and through rock gardens. The fork soaks up stutter bumps without breaking its stride, and the Fox 34 is probably the only other that comes close in performance riding rough, jagged terrain. One criticism is that the fork can creak a little and the overall finish isn’t as durable as the Fox 34.
In terms of price, the RockShox Pike RCT3 and Fox Float 34 are pretty close, with the 34 probably having the edge when it comes to damping performance and control. However, the Pike is available in a wider range of options, it’s stiffer and we feel it has better small-bump performance. It’s a doddle to set up, and easier to work on. It’s a close call, but the Pike just edges it on usability and stiffness.
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