RockShox Pike RCT3 29 Solo Air review$1,199.95

A new benchmark for hard-hitting trail forks

BikeRadar score4.5/5

RockShox have smashed their way straight to the top of the mid-weight, long-travel trail category with their all-new Pike.

Rather than following the 34mm stanchion path started by Bos (and followed by Fox), RockShox have stuck with the 35mm architecture of its big-hit Lyrik for the Pike. The result is confidently obedient wheel positioning, even in the 150mm travel version. Despite its length and strength, the Pike weighs in at an impressive 1,800g, which is around 200g lighter than its rivals – and the 26in versions are 40g lighter still. 

The Pike's performance is outstanding. RockShox have used a stronger-than-normal negative spring to give an extremely supple start to the stroke, and this translates into excellent small bump traction even on climbing turns or lurches up onto rock ledges – here it grabs and holds traction despite being largely unweighted. 

Start pushing hard at speed and the new Charger damper delivers outstanding control. You'll rarely push past half travel, which keeps geometry planted and predictable even through heavy compressions, but you never feel you're being cheated of travel either – cobbles, rocks and roots are sucked up without worry.

The original pike was a benchmark fork, and the new version is worthy successor:
The original pike was a benchmark fork, and the new version is worthy successor:

Wallop it properly hard and the Pike is super-composed, pushing the red travel marker right to the end without any spikes, hitches or a sudden slam into the buffers. The Rapid Recovery rebound circuit helps here too, re-extending as fast as possible through the deeper stroke before slowing through the top section – it means even the biggest pancake landings won't fire you off the trail. You can fine-tune its willingness to start moving simply and easily. 

The only thing the Pike won't do is flatter your ego (but reduce control) by slamming its travel indicator all the way to the top of the fork at the first sign of an impact. We'll take controlled travel over a trophy tidemark every time.

Pricing is reasonable compared to main rival Fox, which leaves reliability as the only question mark. Our test sets have been fine, but we've had reports of some prematurely dead ones – given how hard this fork encourages you to ride we're not that surprised, and we'll base our marks on our own experience, not hearsay. 

The Pike comes in 140mm, 150mm or Dual Position 150/120mm options (£850) and with standard 46mm or 51mm offsets to tune handling, plus 650B (27.5in) and 26in versions. Your first set of spares for self servicing are supplied in the box, which is a nice touch, and the new 15mm Maxle is a vast improvement on the old one.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

Related Articles

Back to top