Review: RockShox Pike

Calling something a game-changer is most often just marketing talk, but when RockShox released the new Pike in 2013 it did just that - it changed the game. Along came a fork that seemingly offered it all at a time when Enduro racing was booming.

RockShox Pike 2.jpg
A tapered (1.125" to 1.5") head tube and 15 mm through axle are standard specifications, with RockShox's trade marked Power Bulge and 15mm Maxle Lite adding extra stiffness to combat flex in the lowers. The fork's chassis makes use of 35mm stanchions with a hard anodized black finish (this is different from the BlackBox-only DLC or limited BlackGold treatment), and sturdy looking lowers that feature more material on the disc side where the forces are higher.

 

The RCT3 damping allows the choice of three settings, adjustable with the flick of a switch. Open, Threshold (extra resistance in the beginning of the stroke but not locked out), and Lock-Out. The Lock-Out setting is not a complete locked out and only serves to firm things up. Low speed compression can be tuned with eleven clicks of the black dial on top of the blue Motion Control switch, while high speed is pre-set.

 

Rapid Recovery rebound damping, first introduced on the Monarch shock, helps increase the fork's ability to track the terrain by riding higher in it's travel. By speeding up the end of the rebound stroke, Rapid Recovery allows the fork to recover faster from bigger hits keeping the fork from packing up over continual bumps. A slower beginning rebound stroke keeps the fork from "bucking" as it returns to full extension. Incorporated in this is independent damping circuits, allowing separate rebound speeds for big hits and small ones. A user-adjustable, bottom-mounted red knob controls the beginning-stroke (small-hit) rebound, and a factory-set ending-stroke (big-hit)

 


RockShox Pike 6.jpg

RockShox Pike 3.jpg


With Rapid Recovery rebound damping comes the new Dig valve. Dig is short for digressive tuning, which means there are lower flow rates at lower speeds, with an increase in the rate as the speed rises. This offers a pedal friendly damping rate at lower speeds and smooth damping curve on bigger hits, which should greatly improve the damping out on the trails. Leaving no stone unturned, the Dig valve’s shaft is crafted from aluminium rather than the previous chrome steel saving 5g in the process.

 

RockShox Pike 7.jpg

 

Damping is taken care of by the new Charger cartridge, a fully sealed design that uses an extruded bladder to avoid air mixing with the oil, instead of the long standing Mission Control unit found in the BoXXer and previous generation Lyrik. The success of the Charger has seen it added to the new Lyrik and it has also been spotted in BlackBox-spec BoXXer forks at World Cup races, meaning we'll likely see it used soon across the board on RockShox's high-end products

 


On top of all that, RockShox include their Bottomless Tokens – plastic spacers that reduce the air volume to create a more progressive spring rate. Bottomless Tokens allow riders to easily custom tune their RockShox fork’s air-spring performance to best match their own riding style and preference. Adding the easy-to-install Bottomless Tokens changes the air-spring curve to resist bottom-out after a big hit, giving aggressive riders the power to attack the trail harder. Removing Bottomless Tokens makes the air-spring curve more linear, enhancing suspension feel for certain types of terrain or trail condition and ensuring riders who are less front-end aggressive benefit from 100 percent of their fork’s travel.

 

RockShox Pike 4.jpg

 

The updated Maxle Lite now features a thread-in and clamp design instead of the previous expansion dependent design. This makes it much easier to use and comes with an added level of assurance.

 

Specifications:

  • Travel150/160mm - 26", 130/140/150/160mm - 27.5", 120/130/140/150/160mm - 29"
  • Wheels26", 27.5", 29"
  • Axle to crown542mm - 26"/160mm travel, 542mm - 27.5"/150mm travel, 551mm - 29"/140mm travel
  • Weight1835g - 26” , 1861g - 27.5” , 1876g - 29”
  • DampingCharger Damper (RCT3)
  • SpringsDual Position Air, Solo Air
  • AdjustmentsExternal rebound, low speed compression, 3-position compression (Open/Pedal/Lock)
  • SteererTapered aluminium
  • CrownForged, hollow 7050 Aluminium
  • Upper tubes35mm tapered wall aluminium, Fast Black
  • LowersMagnesium, 15x100mm Maxle Ultimate, disc only
  • Max rotor size200mm
  • Colour optionsBlack, Diffusion Black, White
  • Suggested retail pricingR17,500 (depending on model)

 

On the Trail


When I first rode a Pike, I was amazed at how good it felt straight out of the box. Even on the first ride there were zero signs of stiction and I managed full travel without knowing where or when it happened.

 

RockShox Pike 5.jpg

 

Hammer it through chattery, rough, rock riddled sections and you'll be surprised by just how much the Pike can deal with, and the amount of composure and support it does it with. Trails like these highlight just how smooth and supple the beginning stroke is.

 

Thanks to the Rapid Recovery rebound circuit, the Pike tracks well on hits on quick, successive hits, using only the necessary amount of travel and recovering well even after big, fast compressions. This makes rutted or loose rocky trails easy to navigate at full speed.

 

The Pike shows no sign of flex on full throttle or with a fist full of front brake, but I'm sure there are several riders out there who can push a 160mm bike hard enough to run the Pike into the red, but for those the new Lyrik should do the job.

 

The hard anodized black finish has proven itself to be as tough as nails and holds up very well to wear.

 

RockShox Pike 8.jpg

 

Verdict


Over the last 2 years we have ridden several different models in the Pike line-up, on several different bikes. Each and every time it was only a joy, whether on a 29" or 27.5" bike, anything from 130mm to 160mm, fixed or dual position.

 

Take some time play around with the settings and you will have a fork that will get you through and over any terrain. Its reputation as the go-to fork is well-deserved.

 

Pros

  • There isn't a bad model in the range, regardless of travel, settings and wheel size
  • The current benchmark
  • Changing settings to get it to your liking takes a couple of minutes
  • Service kit included in the box is a nice touch
  • Servicing is easy enough to tackle as a DIY
Cons
  • Needs some tweaking and playing around with tokens to get it to your liking
  • The stock progression will be too linear for most
  • The competition is snapping at its heels






47 Comments

rouxtjie, Jan 25 2016 03:39

have to agree with this review...one amazing piece of kit my pike is

 

Great performance that is serviceable, and tjoonable without a needing a masters in fluid dynamics.

AlanD, Jan 25 2016 03:45

Sjo, R17500....i could get a whole new bike for that price.

Cptmayhem, Jan 25 2016 03:54

Sjo, R17500....i could get a whole new bike for that price.

Sadly, that's the USD talking. Top end models are around $ 1,100 or so. So - at the current ROE, we're being screwed. 

 

Pretty much on par with competitor offerings in terms of pricing, with Fox and DVO being even more expensive for their top end offerings.

Thermophage, Jan 25 2016 04:03

Sadly, that's the USD talking. Top end models are around $ 1,100 or so. So - at the current ROE, we're being screwed. 

 

Pretty much on par with competitor offerings in terms of pricing, with Fox and DVO being even more expensive for their top end offerings.

Very glad I upgraded in October! :|

But even then the Pike was around R13500...Not that I got one of those though ;)

MarcBurger, Jan 25 2016 04:11

At the rate of the rand, the R17.5K is just future-proofing the article. For at least a week or two.

A few months time it will be "Yoh, under 20K, bargain".

Tatt, Jan 25 2016 06:59

Upgraded from a Revelation to a Pike 3 weeks ago. It is amazing, and yes I got stung almost R17k for it..

 

Tom

Bizkit031, Jan 26 2016 05:48

Where did you get those spokes?

Iwan Kemp, Jan 26 2016 05:55

Where did you get those spokes?


wheelbuilder.com

They are DT Swiss Aerolites. wheelbuilder have stock of all lenghts and only took a couple of weeks to get them here from the states.

dirkieuys, Jan 26 2016 07:15

Where do you get these tokens?

rouxtjie, Jan 26 2016 07:23

Where do you get these tokens?

CRC

Iwan Kemp, Jan 26 2016 08:36

Where do you get these tokens?

 

Your LBS will be able to order from Cape Cycle Systems who are the RS agents in SA.

Brawler, Jan 26 2016 10:01

Where do you get these tokens?

 

They come in the box. Even my complete bike came with them.

Andrew Backstrom, Jan 26 2016 12:33

Not sure why I read this great review. I think we all knew how great it was going to be. My article would have gone something like this, RS Pike it is awesome. The End

Headshot, Jan 26 2016 12:43

Thank goodness I splashed out on one of these early last year. About R8k aus Deutschland aus. 

 

I have the travel adjust version which I love. I bottomed it out once on a dh track during an enduro but discovered I had too little air in it. Since then, all good.

 

Just done a lower leg oil change - easy peasy with seals still perfect and oil hardly dirty after ten months. 

rouxtjie, Jan 26 2016 12:49

Thank goodness I splashed out on one of these early last year. About R8k aus Deutschland aus. 

 

I have the travel adjust version which I love. I bottomed it out once on a dh track during an enduro but discovered I had too little air in it. Since then, all good.

 

Just done a lower leg oil change - easy peasy with seals still perfect and oil hardly dirty after ten months. 

gooi two tokens in, then the ramp at the end will stop you from bottoming...but still have double thick creme freche in the beginning 

Thermophage, Jan 26 2016 12:53

gooi two tokens in, then the ramp at the end will stop you from bottoming...but still have double thick creme freche in the beginning 

Or you could have bought a Mattoc Pro and turned a knob :P

Headshot, Jan 26 2016 12:55

gooi two tokens in, then the ramp at the end will stop you from bottoming...but still have double thick creme freche in the beginning 

its the DA version so normal tokens dont fit. Anyway, I am quite happy with the ride as it is!

rouxtjie, Jan 26 2016 01:01

its the DA version so normal tokens dont fit. Anyway, I am quite happy with the ride as it is!

oh...as you were :)

Cptmayhem, Jan 26 2016 01:01

its the DA version so normal tokens dont fit. Anyway, I am quite happy with the ride as it is!

They do. You just have to drill the central hole out to 10mm, then they slide right on to the shaft. 

rouxtjie, Jan 26 2016 01:02

Or you could have bought a Mattoc Pro and turned a knob :P

but then you have a ride with a manitou and life is too short for that.

 

 

Your play

Thermophage, Jan 26 2016 01:04

but then you have a ride with a manitou and life is too short for that.

 

 

Your play

No comeback to that :P

But must conclude I am loving mine like hell :D The reverse arch is also great at keeping muck off the stanchions ;)

cadenceblur, Jul 29 2016 09:25

hi

 

 I have a set up query -  I am finding my pike to be quite "harsh" at high speeds or on terrain that resembles "sink - plaat" (if that makes sense). 

Pressure is in line  in terms of sag etc. and I have no issues on medium to larger hits, rebound is currently in the middle - should I slow it down a bit? - I am on the heavier side.

Currently running two tokens as per factory.

Cptmayhem, Jul 29 2016 09:29

hi

 

 I have a set up query -  I am finding my pike to be quite "harsh" at high speeds or on terrain that resembles "sink - plaat" (if that makes sense). 

Pressure is in line  in terms of sag etc. and I have no issues on medium to larger hits, rebound is currently in the middle - should I slow it down a bit? - I am on the heavier side.

Currently running two tokens as per factory.

when was the last time you serviced it?I found mine had to have a service as the oil in the lowers had run out (only 5ml in there) which caused it to lose all small bump sensitivity. One service and an oil change, and problem gone. 

cadenceblur, Jul 29 2016 09:30

when was the last time you serviced it?I found mine had to have a service as the oil in the lowers had run out (only 5ml in there) which caused it to lose all small bump sensitivity. One service and an oil change, and problem gone. 

It's a brand new fork.

Cptmayhem, Jul 29 2016 09:34

It's a brand new fork.

get it checked out anyway - oil level may not be to spec. If it's harsh, but your pressures & sage are correct, chances are that's what the problem is. Give Droo a call at Stoke and chat to him about it. It shouldn't be harsh. 

 

Also - may just need to settle in a bit. But best get it checked out by someone who knows a thing or six. 

 

084 584 5959

 

Opens at 10 on Fridays, according to the info online.