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  1. #1
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    My Unbiased Rockshox Pike Review

    Rockshox Pike RCT3 26" Fork Review >> Mountain Weekly News

    Here's my non-media version for anyone wondering looking for a real world short-term review.
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  2. #2
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    My Unbiased Rockshox Pike Review

    This further validates my Xmas wishlist.
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    I wish they made a 26" 140mm version. It looks like the Pike is only 5oz heavier than a Factory 32 Float at 140mm, but I read somewhere that you can't just put in a spacer to reduce the travel, but have to replace the cartridge. Nice review!

  4. #4
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    Nice write up. Wonder when the updated Lyrik will show?
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser View Post
    Nice write up. Wonder when the updated Lyrik will show?
    Thanks. I wonder what the future of the Lyrik will entail since there is some overlap there. Will the Lyrik become a lightweight 170/180mm fork [for riders looking to split the difference between the Pike and the Totem] instead of a 160/170mm fork? The Pike is so capable I'm not sure they need another 160mm fork. Though the Lyrik certainly has its merits and its avid followers, I'm betting a 160 Pike would suit the vast majority of riders looking for a 160mm fork. It's just that good. I really wonder what they'll do with the Lyrik down the road.
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  6. #6
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    Good review (although it's hard for me to be totally unbiased when I've just forked over $1K+ for a fork). Sounds like the Pike is all that and them some. Can't wait to try one.

    I wish they made it a little easier to adjust travel. I'd love to have this fork available at 130mm for a potential Solo build. I hate 32mm forks and all the bikes on my short-travel 650b/29er wish list seem to come with them.
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  7. #7
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    nice review with good details!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    I wish they made it a little easier to adjust travel. I'd love to have this fork available at 130mm for a potential Solo build. I hate 32mm forks and all the bikes on my short-travel 650b/29er wish list seem to come with them.
    It is actually. You can buy the 160mm Dual Position model which can be run at 160mm or 130mm.

  9. #9
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    Does anyone know the axle to crown measurements on the new Pike? When I hit up the intoweb to find it, I always seem to come across the old version.

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    Should be:

    26 160mm - 542

    27.5 160mm - 552

  11. #11
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    I get 570mm with my 29er 160mm version (just measured it). Probably +-2mm or so. Stock is listed as 571 as I recall.

    As far as the compression damping in the review above; I find myself using quite a few more clicks than two. I find during hard downhill I have to increase to around 5 or so, otherwise it will blow through the hard hits and scalloped switchbacks/berms. It doesn't make it ride harsher, it actually makes it smoother. I found the same in super-chunky terrain a few weeks back too. The thing is you gotta be pushing pretty hard for this to be the case, but if you like riding the chunky/nasty terrain at speed, this helps IMO. If it's a slower uphill I like to back off the compression to nearly zero, or if it's real mild trail riding I might have it around 1-2, but on the downhills with significant drops and hits it seems to help to have a few more clicks in there. It doesn't get harsh on the sharp stuff, just helps it deal with successive hits much better and keeps you from feeling like you are being pitched forward as much on every hit. In the jump-park area with the bigger doubles and tabletops (15-20 feet or so) it helps to have a few more clicks past the 5 even, more like about halfway. Again, it keeps it from diving on the harder impact and from absorbing too much of the launch/lip, which I find helpful.

    Two tokens and about 50-55psi was just right for my 160 (prolly 165 with pads/helmet) weight. Was using full travel within 5-10mm on bigger drops/jumps easily, but the last amount of travel got very progressive, as it should.

    I don't think I'm abusing the fork at this point, not casing the jumps or landing all screwed up, but on the other hand it's pretty crazy to think I'm riding a 4lb fork and it rides like it does. Pretty amazing if it holds up.

    The most amazing thing about riding this 29er "all-mountain" bike at the ski resort is that after riding downhill I don't feel like I'm fighting the bike or at any kind of disadvantage. It feels like you just had a bunch of fun downhilling, instead of cursing and swearing to yourself about how you should have gotten a DH bike. I remember trying to ride a DH bikes with the 5th element rear shock and the cv/t valve opening up juuuust a little late with each impact, translating into a crappy harsh ride that just didn't absorb stuff. Then there were the marzocchis that had such poor low-speed stability due to archaic ported low-speed compression blowing off to crude semi-shimed pistons. At certain speeds some of these things worked, but if you pushed some of these bikes downhill you quickly got into speed ranges where the stuff didn't work, and the faster you went the worse the stuff worked. The pike is definitely a big part of my current bike and it doesn't do this at all, it keeps working beautifully as you go faster and push harder. That is reassuring and just amazing.
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  12. #12
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    Nice Review! You mentioned in the review not feeling the need to add any volume spacers... What is your riding weight if you dont mind?
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  13. #13
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    Sounds like a great fork, I would love to have one, but with no 20 thru, I can't justify re-lacing or buying a new wheel....argghhh!!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kan3 View Post
    It is actually. You can buy the 160mm Dual Position model which can be run at 160mm or 130mm.
    Are you certain that the fork performs normally in the lower position? With some dual-position forks, the damping is altered (might even say compromised) in the low position and it's only usable when climbing.

    Quote Originally Posted by LowLow View Post
    I wish they made a 26" 140mm version. It looks like the Pike is only 5oz heavier than a Factory 32 Float at 140mm, but I read somewhere that you can't just put in a spacer to reduce the travel, but have to replace the cartridge.
    One would think that RS is very busy building additional forks that have this new damper. I'm sure they picked this size for a reason, maybe expected volume/demand, so whatever is the next biggest segment they will attack next.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I get 570mm with my 29er 160mm version (just measured it). Probably +-2mm or so. Stock is listed as 571 as I recall.

    As far as the compression damping in the review above; I find myself using quite a few more clicks than two. I find during hard downhill I have to increase to around 5 or so, otherwise it will blow through the hard hits and scalloped switchbacks/berms. It doesn't make it ride harsher, it actually makes it smoother. I found the same in super-chunky terrain a few weeks back too. The thing is you gotta be pushing pretty hard for this to be the case, but if you like riding the chunky/nasty terrain at speed, this helps IMO. If it's a slower uphill I like to back off the compression to nearly zero, or if it's real mild trail riding I might have it around 1-2, but on the downhills with significant drops and hits it seems to help to have a few more clicks in there. It doesn't get harsh on the sharp stuff, just helps it deal with successive hits much better and keeps you from feeling like you are being pitched forward as much on every hit. In the jump-park area with the bigger doubles and tabletops (15-20 feet or so) it helps to have a few more clicks past the 5 even, more like about halfway. Again, it keeps it from diving on the harder impact and from absorbing too much of the launch/lip, which I find helpful.

    Two tokens and about 50-55psi was just right for my 160 (prolly 165 with pads/helmet) weight. Was using full travel within 5-10mm on bigger drops/jumps easily, but the last amount of travel got very progressive, as it should.

    I don't think I'm abusing the fork at this point, not casing the jumps or landing all screwed up, but on the other hand it's pretty crazy to think I'm riding a 4lb fork and it rides like it does. Pretty amazing if it holds up.

    The most amazing thing about riding this 29er "all-mountain" bike at the ski resort is that after riding downhill I don't feel like I'm fighting the bike or at any kind of disadvantage. It feels like you just had a bunch of fun downhilling, instead of cursing and swearing to yourself about how you should have gotten a DH bike. I remember trying to ride a DH bikes with the 5th element rear shock and the cv/t valve opening up juuuust a little late with each impact, translating into a crappy harsh ride that just didn't absorb stuff. Then there were the marzocchis that had such poor low-speed stability due to archaic ported low-speed compression blowing off to crude semi-shimed pistons. At certain speeds some of these things worked, but if you pushed some of these bikes downhill you quickly got into speed ranges where the stuff didn't work, and the faster you went the worse the stuff worked. The pike is definitely a big part of my current bike and it doesn't do this at all, it keeps working beautifully as you go faster and push harder. That is reassuring and just amazing.
    I'm not sure if its your intention or not, but it seems like you're making an awfully big assumption on my riding style. I have charged it fast through super chunky/nasty terrain at speed. I didn't find anymore than 2 necessary, but each person should experiment with what they feel comfortable with. It's a personal setup thing, really. I merely pointed it out to comment on how good the fork is at not blowing through its travel, even with very little compression damping. Your setup (29er, 160mm travel) is completely different than my setup, so it's not apples to apples either. My bike might also have a more rearward weight bias. I tend to be really light on the bars and float/lift the front end over stuff rather than just plowing into it. There are just too many variables. I didn't find the need for more than 2, even when going fast through very rocky terrain (I took this thing on the Continental Divide) or hammering it in the bike park. Now I don't hit 20 foot doubles on this bike, so if you need it there so be it, but that's quite a bit beyond the fork's intended usage.

    Awesome that you're loving the Pike and shredding it as hard as you are. I hope it holds up for you given you're a bit beyond its intended usage. I still feel more comfortable on my downhill bike in the bike park, if only because I don't want to beat up on my "daily driver" too much.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickbm3 View Post
    Nice Review! You mentioned in the review not feeling the need to add any volume spacers... What is your riding weight if you dont mind?
    210-215 depending on how much I'm carrying. Pack can get pretty heavy on backcountry rides. I've used all the travel but haven't felt a harsh bottom out yet. I will keep experimenting and see, but for all around riding it doesn't seem necessary yet. I do have a dedicated downhill bike for the park, so if you're doing consistent big jumps and drops with it you might need em.
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    Quote Originally Posted by motochick View Post
    Sounds like a great fork, I would love to have one, but with no 20 thru, I can't justify re-lacing or buying a new wheel....argghhh!!
    Yes, unfortunately, there is that. I wish the 15mm thing hadn't taken off. Just didn't really see a need for it. But unfortunately it's here to stay and the future for forks in this range (until they develop some new "standard"). At least most wheels have convertible axles these days (which ironically takes away most of the weight savings). For those who do have the option, I can emphatically say the Pike is one stiff fork, even with 15.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Good review (although it's hard for me to be totally unbiased when I've just forked over $1K+ for a fork). Sounds like the Pike is all that and them some. Can't wait to try one.

    I wish they made it a little easier to adjust travel. I'd love to have this fork available at 130mm for a potential Solo build. I hate 32mm forks and all the bikes on my short-travel 650b/29er wish list seem to come with them.
    FYI, I got my Pike for $833 and free shipping from Universal Cycles with coupon code VIP15. That's the cheapest I saw anywhere. Stock goes up and down, but they're getting em in pretty quick it looks like.

    If I was really looking for nits to pick, I would say that maybe the stanchion coating could be more durable. I had a slow speed uphill tip over into a rock garden when I couldn't make a steep rocky climb. I missed my footing when trying to dismount and tipped over the bike. It put a few scratches in the stanchion coat despite the bike not hitting the rocks very hard. Now this may have happened on another fork (though it hasn't happened to me before), and scratches are just much more noticeable on a black stanchion, so I didn't feel it worth mentioning, but there you have it. I think the coating may scratch a bit easier than other Rockshox and Fox forks I've used. Due to it being a sealed damper, it's not going to let oil escape, and I made sure to file down any burrs so the seals won't get damaged. It might let a tiny more dust in, but we'll see when I service it. Doesn't seem to be an issue, though I was a bit deflated when it happened on something so stupid on a brand new fork.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    Yes, unfortunately, there is that. I wish the 15mm thing hadn't taken off.....
    Baeck, since you're on a 26, have you looked into if the Lyrik lowers will work on the Pike?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    Baeck, since you're on a 26, have you looked into if the Lyrik lowers will work on the Pike?
    I have not. All my wheels have interchangeable axles. My guess is no due to the redesign with the different damper and seals used. Happy to answer any other questions though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    I have not. All my wheels have interchangeable axles. Happy to answer any other questions though.
    I gotz me own on that Tallboy Mine is the non-adjust 150 w/ 46mm rake.

    Running 3 tokens but w/ super low pressure (40psi for my 175 nekkid weight), and the LSC and 3-position switch wide open. I want the thing beyond soft for climbing in the chunks, then use the middle position on the downs. It's a GREAT pair to the Monarch Plus!
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    ^ Spam bot fail. Quote his post and you'll see what I mean.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    I gotz me own on that Tallboy Mine is the non-adjust 150 w/ 46mm rake.

    Running 3 tokens but w/ super low pressure (40psi for my 175 nekkid weight), and the LSC and 3-position switch wide open. I want the thing beyond soft for climbing in the chunks, then use the middle position on the downs. It's a GREAT pair to the Monarch Plus!
    Interesting you prefer to descend in the mid setting. I like full open, but I think I run somewhere between 70-80 PSI. I'll have to look I can't recall. I really want a Monarch Plus to replace my RP23, but can't find them in my shock size for my bike and nobody has 2014s yet. Where did you get yours?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    Interesting you prefer to descend in the mid setting. I like full open, but I think I run like 70-75 PSI. I'll have to look I can't recall.
    I get into a lot of situation during climbs that bounces me off my line. The front end on the TB is so light in the steep ups that the rear traction and torque can lift the front really easy. The mid position w/ no LSC is pretty good on the downs for me since I like to roll my turns front to back as I enter/exit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    Are you certain that the fork performs normally in the lower position? With some dual-position forks, the damping is altered (might even say compromised) in the low position and it's only usable when climbing.
    Rockshox claims that running in the shorter travel mode makes no compromises to damping. Someone would have to offer first hand experience though to back that claim up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    I get into a lot of situation during climbs that bounces me off my line. The front end on the TB is so light in the steep ups that the rear traction and torque can lift the front really easy. The mid position w/ no LSC is pretty good on the downs for me since I like to roll my turns front to back as I enter/exit.
    I hate flipping levers and can't remember to do so even when I try.

    I corner differently on my 29er hardtail, but on my Pivot I tend to just stuff the bike into the corners and lean hard as I can, looking for any little bit of raised part of the trail to use as a berm whenever I can.
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    Do you have any experience on a RC2DH Lyrik? Any thoughts between the two?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikkosan View Post
    Do you have any experience on a RC2DH Lyrik? Any thoughts between the two?
    Nope, only ridden the older Lyriks. Sorry.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    210-215 depending on how much I'm carrying. Pack can get pretty heavy on backcountry rides. I've used all the travel but haven't felt a harsh bottom out yet. I will keep experimenting and see, but for all around riding it doesn't seem necessary yet. I do have a dedicated downhill bike for the park, so if you're doing consistent big jumps and drops with it you might need em.

    Nice review!

    I may have missed it, but what PSI are you running?
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  30. #30
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    My DPA Lyrik feels the same in either travel position. There are some smoother rides that I never switch it out of 130mm mode.

    And I didn't realize the Pike came in a 160mm version. That would obsolete all but the 170mm Lyrik.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser View Post
    And I didn't realize the Pike came in a 160mm version. That would obsolete all but the 170mm Lyrik.
    Unless you want a 20mm TA
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    Unless you want a 20mm TA
    I think that's a non-issue unless you have a front wheel that you can't adapt.

    My Pike 26" Pike 150mm feels stiff laterally and fore-aft than the Lyrik it replaced.

    I was a bit skeptical initially, but enough other early reviews convinced me to buy one, and riding it has convinced me they were right.

    Anyhow- about your being able to swap the lowers - whenever my Pike needs an oil change/bleed, I'll screw around with the Lyrik lowers and see if it's doable. I'm sure someone out there will beat me to it though - plenty of riders out there with both forks at this point. The best thing about them, IMO, is the 6mm non-QR Maxle can be used. I love that thing, and wish they had versions for their other forks. Far prefer it to having the QR lever sticking out.
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  33. #33
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    The lyric has a real good damper, even though the pike is the "next thing". If you were going to ride hard with more days at the DH resort or shuttling, probably get the lyric. If those days will be limited, then go for the pike. The pike is pretty amazing, but the lyric is a solid fork.

    20mm vs 15mm front axles is a non-issue. I've been using 20mm axles for years and while it'd be nice if they kept 20mm as the standard, just having a through-axle and how the fork grips it is where you get most of the benefit, whether it's 15, 17, 20, or 24mm won't make any appreciable difference. In my experience the crown needs to be beefy or have a feature like the 1.5 steerer to prevent fore-aft flex and torsion, the stanchions need to be big enough to do the same, and so on. My shiver SC had a 20mm axle and it was pathetic. If there's any lack of stiffness that one would feel, it would be due to the thickness of the lowers, stanchions and design of the crown.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    I really want a Monarch Plus to replace my RP23, but can't find them in my shock size for my bike and nobody has 2014s yet.
    You are going to love this shock over the RP! I had a Pushed RP on my bike and got a stock MP RC-3 to replace it. It completely changed my bike for the better. I don't like playing with levers cuz I always forget to flick them for the down, so I run mine in the mid position all the time. It has really improved my technical, chunky climbing.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by motochick View Post
    You are going to love this shock over the RP! I had a Pushed RP on my bike and got a stock MP RC-3 to replace it. It completely changed my bike for the better. I don't like playing with levers cuz I always forget to flick them for the down, so I run mine in the mid position all the time. It has really improved my technical, chunky climbing.
    Good to know. I'm keen to try out a Monarch Plus once the 2014s become available in my shock size. Bike shop said earliest ETA might not be until November. I know they made some changes to it for 2014 so looking to see if it's as good as the new Pike.
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    Nice review, I rode my sons Intense Tracer 275 with the Pike 160 for a few days and compared to the 2013 Fox 34, Rockshox nailed it much better out of the box in all areas. The 2014 Fox has been revalved so it might be on par with the Pike. Anyone ride the newest Fox stuff ?

  37. #37
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    FYI, I found the shock pump that came with my RS 2014 Pike to be 10 PSI higher vs an older and reliable Fox pump I have used for many years. I will not rely on the RS pump gauge or by sag measurement taken in my garage. Took my pump on a ride and adjusted by feel. I am 185lbs. Running 3 tokens, 70psi (using Fox pump). Using full travel on moderately hard hits. Will probably settle at 75psi. (140mm, 29er, Solo Air).

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTP View Post
    FYI, I found the shock pump that came with my RS 2014 Pike to be 10 PSI higher vs an older and reliable Fox pump I have used for many years. I will not rely on the RS pump gauge or by sag measurement taken in my garage. Took my pump on a ride and adjusted by feel. I am 185lbs. Running 3 tokens, 70psi (using Fox pump). Using full travel on moderately hard hits. Will probably settle at 75psi. (140mm, 29er, Solo Air).
    True. The RockShox shock pump just looks like a rebranded catalog pump. Other than color and branding, it looks pretty much identical to Performance Bike's model. It's not the best, but it's fine if the PSI isn't what you expect so long as you use the same pump every time and adjust sag properly. I have several others I use but the included one works and it's still nice that they do include one for people who don't have one already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    This further validates my Xmas wishlist.
    What he said although I wish xmas was sooner as who wants to wait!!!

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTP View Post
    FYI, I found the shock pump that came with my RS 2014 Pike to be 10 PSI higher vs an older and reliable Fox pump I have used for many years.
    FYI - They've been like that (RS reading 5-10 psi higher than Fox's pumps) for years. Not sure why that is but as long as you use the same brand pump for reference, and make notes of where your settings are with which pump, there's no issue.

    Cheers,

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  41. #41
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    My honest review
    I have just bought a new bike, jumped on the 27.5 inch wheels and pikes bandwagon. I did not set out to do either of these, just so happens this is the bike my race team have provided me with for this season.
    i have done a few rides now.
    Anyway the forks: my previous forks were fox 36 floats (2011) that had the low & high speed compression settings (cant remember model for some reason).
    back to the pikes
    Stiffness: excellent, i was quite surprised by this, did not notice any flex in comparison to my floats.
    1st ride i did on these forks i rode some quite fast but fairly rough hard pack, (not big impact rocks but rough ground) and i found at 25% sag i was blowing straight through the travel especially when pumping rollers and dips etc.
    So next ride put a bit more air in and went down to 20% sag, but had the same issue again, just felt like i was using all the travel a little too easily. Im not a big guy at about 180 lbs 5ft 10.
    3rd ride i added two of the air spacers in that came with it, seems to ramp up a bit better now, but not as much as the old floats, but by lowering the sag to under 20% and using much more pressure than my recommended weight i have lost a little of the small bump plushness. I would say they do not feel quite as nice as my floats (which i have tuned the compression settings on), but there is not much in it.

    Summary, lighter than my 36's
    feel just as stiff
    Almost but not quite as plush feeling to me, would prefer them to ramp up more, although compared to a 32 or a 34 they are more progressive.
    some people live more in one minute than others do in a year
    Ride on!

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    If you were going to ride hard with more days at the DH resort or shuttling, probably get the lyric. If those days will be limited, then go for the pike. The pike is pretty amazing, but the lyric is a solid fork.
    Exactly what I needed to know. I'm a R2D2 Lyric now and intending to build a 27.5 rig so I can't do a Lyric. There will be plenty of lift riding done on this bike so it sounds as if I'll need something a bit more stout, which points to the X-Fusion Metric. I've only ridden a pike briefly and while it did feel incredibly supple I couldn't help but wonder if it would hold up to park riding like my Lyric.
    Overland : Hayduke : Hightower : Corvus : Piolet

  43. #43
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    I have read a lot of Rockshox Pike RC Reviews but yours was the most enjoyable and engaging. I agree wholeheartedly on the points.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Good review (although it's hard for me to be totally unbiased when I've just forked over $1K+ for a fork). Sounds like the Pike is all that and them some. Can't wait to try one.

    I wish they made it a little easier to adjust travel. I'd love to have this fork available at 130mm for a potential Solo build. I hate 32mm forks and all the bikes on my short-travel 650b/29er wish list seem to come with them.
    Should be able to get it to 130 mm since they are shipping with Pikes on new 5010's. Airshaft maybe. I run my Solo at 140 mm and it feels great.

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