Review: RockShox Revelation RCT3

Updated for 2014 with a Solo Air air spring (only one adjustable air chamber), the 2015 is unchanged and is available in every wheel size and travel options to please most trail riders.

The addition of a Solo Air spring saves a few grams over the previous dual air spring and does away with the need and ability of adjusting two separate air chambers on either end of the fork stanchion. Although, at first accused for dumbing down fork tuning, the result has been a smooth, stiction-free ride with minimal set up time. With the new Solo-Air design, a small dimple on the wall of the inner leg allows air to bleed from the main air spring to the negative spring, automatically balancing the two pressures. While Dual Air allowed for a good deal of flexibility in tuning, most people arrived at fairly evenly matched pressures in the negative and positive chambers. Solo Air does just that with one less valve and no chance of getting it wrong.

 


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Motion Control 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 firms 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.

 

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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)

 

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.

 

A tapered (1.125" to 1.5") head tube and 15 mm through axle are standard spec, with RockShox's trademarked Power Bulge and 15mm Maxle Lite adding extra stiffness to combat flex in the lowers.

 

On The Trail


At this point it's maybe good to point out that I'm not a race snake and like a plush, supple ride that soaks and absorbs as I ride along the way. Other riders will feel differently about the three Motion Control settings and may use them more often than I have up to now. In fact, typing this I can't remember when last I used the firmer two settings on any fork that I have ridden the last couple of years.

 


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As usual, I left the fork in the fully open mode and adjusted the low speed compression to fine-tune the firmness. The lock setting is very firm and close enough to completely rigid and I have only used it once or twice doing some intervals on tar or gravel district roads. The middle "Threshold" setting does a good job to limit bob under heavy load, but is not a setting I would use often as it rids the fork of small-bump compliance. Whilst there is a learning curve to fine-tuning the RCT3 damper, initial set-up is easy, thanks to guides on the fork. An air pressure chart gives starting PSI measurements, travel & sag indicators on the stanchions and fast & slow rebound directions are displayed on the fork.

 

The Revelation’s buttery smooth responsiveness is immediately noticeable with only it's bigger brother (the Pike) feeling smoother from the off. The fork is lively at the top of the stroke giving it a nice "pop" and ensuring that small bumps are dealt with in a smooth manner. This translates into a front tyre that tracks well around corners or berms. To help mid-stroke support, I added 6 or 7 clicks of low-speed compression damping to sit up more.

 

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The only real negative is the fairly linear feel through the travel. It can be countered through tweaking a combination of the settings, but it does take some time to get it right.

 

Verdict


It's a tough challenge building a complete trail fork. A middle child of sorts, it has to be the best of many worlds. Light enough to compliment shorter travel (120mm) trail bikes, but stiff enough to rip trails on 150mm single track slayers. It needs to have good small bump sensitivity and, at the same time, not dive through its travel or flex when the speed picks up or the terrain turns technical.

 

With the new breed of super capable and slack 150mm - 170mm 27.5" and 140mm - 160mm 29" Enduro / All Mountain bikes, the Pike has it's place. Anywhere between that and the XC / Marathon focused SID, the Revelation is more than comfortable and capable, regardless of wheel size. And that is no mean feat. While the Pike has been getting all the attention and praise, the Revelation has quietly been getting on with business. Unlike some of the competition, the Revelation has to be pushed quite hard before it starts reaching it's limits and is more than happy to go where most riders will take it. When you ride the Revelation you quickly realize what an incredible feat it is for a manufacturer to hit all the nails on the head.

 

Shipped as standard in the box with the fork is an extra seal service kit and high pressure shock pump. They really have thought about everything

 

RRP: R9,600

 






23 Comments

Captain Fatbastard Mayhem, May 06 2015 07:06

Lekka, Boet!

cadenceblur, May 06 2015 10:39

Nice review!

LazyEnduroRider, May 06 2015 01:00

Having run one for over a year (the 2014 model), I concur with what's been said.

 

It's a very good all-round performer and has only two negative aspects:

 

- Solo Air has a slight top-out clunk compared to a Dual Air setup. Practically it's not a biggie, but if it's set up firm (see next point) it tends to be noticeable in climbing situations when there's very little weight on the front wheel and you're riding it at the very top of the travel.

 

- It could do with more progression adjustment at the end of the stroke, like the Pike. When hitting really big stuff, it tends to bottom pretty quickly so needs to run fairly high pressure to counter this. Mine is set up in Open mode with full LSC to prevent diving, which reduces small bump sensitivity, especially at the firmness I need to run it to prevent smashing all the way through the travel on big jumps and drops. 

 

Besides for the above, it's a stellar performer!

DanielJhb, May 06 2015 01:51

Great review 

Iwan Kemp, May 06 2015 01:56

Lekka, Boet!

 

Nice review!

 

Great review 

 

 

:thumbup:

Brawler, May 06 2015 02:01

I concur.

 

Briefly ridden one and it was super good.

 

Unless you jumping the bigger stuff or are particularly heavy it is a great trail fork. A lot of people overlook it and go for the super cool 'Pike' when in reality it is overkill. My 2c, could be wrong.

niterider, May 06 2015 06:41

Martin, if your Pike is bottoming on big hits, you need to add another volume token.

 

I don't really understand why anyone would choose this fork over the excellent Pike? The weight difference is tiny. Is it just cost? Once you've ridden a Pike through a rock-garden or very rooty section of trail, you'll never want to ride a 32mm fork again. The difference is huge.

DubbelBuys, May 06 2015 07:31

Lekker forks indeed!

 

I am using the dual position on my "retired" Shova.

Never really use the low setting, but got the DP at a steal so went for it above the solo air.

Capricorn, May 06 2015 07:49

Martin, if your Pike is bottoming on big hits, you need to add another volume token.

 

I don't really understand why anyone would choose this fork over the excellent Pike? The weight difference is tiny. Is it just cost? Once you've ridden a Pike through a rock-garden or very rooty section of trail, you'll never want to ride a 32mm fork again. The difference is huge.

 

i didn't find the difference huge, at all. But I have this feeling it all comes down to the year model of the Revelation. I came off a 2013 Rev, and it was utterly brilliant. Same small issue that Martin Hattingh experienced in terms of having to up the air pressure to mitigate fork dive. But zero fork flex, took the big hits without problem: its a monster posing as a light trail fork.

Now that it has rapid recovery, i think it will be an even better fork, as that was the one thing i could definitely feel switching to pike.

But having to increase air pressure in the Rev is more a problem with RS' very light sprinkling of compression damping. If I hadn't sold my Rev, I would have modified the compression damping, same way I fixed my Boxxer with its crap lightweight compression damping. was bliss having proper mid-stroke support without having the nasty loss of small bump compliance that comes with increased air pressure.

 

But yoikes, that price of the new Rev!

LazyEnduroRider, May 06 2015 08:34

Niterider, with bottoming I'm referring to the Revelation, not the Pike. The big brother feels like it has much better compression damping in that sense, and of course the token adjustment which you've pointed out.

 

Capricorn, I reckon you're right about the two being fairly close, but with the Pike:

  • Damn, that stiffness through super gnarly stuff! (as Niterider has said)
  • The small bump sensitivity is better by just enough of a margin that it gives you that "this is real deal!" feeling.

flamer, May 07 2015 07:42

I've got an old (2010) fox 32 Talas. Pisses me off how noodley it is on the downs. Climbs fine for my skill or lack thereof. Is this revelation gonna be as bendy than my fox despite similar width stanchions? Is it simply a much better damper package, or is it much stiffer too?

Iwan Kemp, May 07 2015 07:47

At 150mm the Revelation is noticeably stiffer than the 32 Fox. 32 Fox starts getting noodly at 130mm on a 27.5" or 26" bike and from about 120mm on a 29".

 

Obviously depends how hard you ride and the terrain you're riding.

bodger, May 07 2015 10:37

I've got an old (2010) fox 32 Talas. Pisses me off how noodley it is on the downs. Climbs fine for my skill or lack thereof. Is this revelation gonna be as bendy than my fox despite similar width stanchions? Is it simply a much better damper package, or is it much stiffer too?

I had a 650b Revelation 130mm on my trail bike for 6months then it sprung a leak in the damper and I swapped it out for a 2014 Fox 32 120/140mm Talas while the Rev was in for warranty.

The talas is great in that at 120 it is perfect for climbing and basic trails and at 140 it gives a nice slack HA and a bit of extra plushness coming down but the Revelation is far stiffer. I noticed it right away on Helderberg trails and miss the accurate tracking of the Rev everytime I hit a rock garden or something really bumpy.

The only differences I can see between the two is the crown (the Rev is much more beefy) and the powerbulge on the lowers of the Rev. The fact is though that something RS is doing is really working well and its not adding much weight either.

Capricorn, May 07 2015 11:06

 

Niterider, with bottoming I'm referring to the Revelation, not the Pike. The big brother feels like it has much better compression damping in that sense, and of course the token adjustment which you've pointed out.

 

Capricorn, I reckon you're right about the two being fairly close, but with the Pike:

  • Damn, that stiffness through super gnarly stuff! (as Niterider has said)
  • The small bump sensitivity is better by just enough of a margin that it gives you that "this is real deal!" feeling.

 

 

full concur with the latter point: it's really really good. In fact, its so good, it can be annoying because it compresses that easily in the first few mm of stroke, it feels like the headset is messed. Then you push and pull on the bike to try and find this 'loose' thing, given alles the evil eye, only to realise the fork is compressing a few millimeters very very easily. excellent small bump compliance.

Headshot, May 07 2015 03:24

I have a dual position 160 mm Pike 26" fork. The stiffness is mind blowing compared to a fox 32. My brakes suddenly felt much stronger and the bike tracks and steers much better than a thinner fork.

 

I don't have the tokens option but have found the fork copes pretty well with drops and steep stuff. Without access to Tokai I havent tested it properly tho.

 

I  did bottom it out once quite hard on a fast high drop I landed to flat and that made me think I either need to up the low speed comp or find a way to make the airspring more progressive?

 

Any suggestions?

LazyEnduroRider, May 07 2015 04:21

I  did bottom it out once quite hard on a fast high drop I landed to flat and that made me think I either need to up the low speed comp or find a way to make the airspring more progressive?

 

Any suggestions?

 

Buy or somehow otherwise get hold of bottom-out token and plonk it in, that's how you make a Pike more progressive.

Capricorn, May 07 2015 04:55

Buy or somehow otherwise get hold of bottom-out token and plonk it in, that's how you make a Pike more progressive.

 

one of these days, i'm gonna fix RS's crappy compression damping...

 

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Headshot, May 07 2015 08:35

Buy or somehow otherwise get hold of bottom-out token and plonk it in, that's how you make a Pike more progressive

 I wish its a dual position so no go...

awesme, May 07 2015 09:05

anyone know of some good Rockshox SID XX reviews?

 

 

G

Captain Fatbastard Mayhem, May 07 2015 09:38

I wish its a dual position so no go...


What about checking to see if you can buy the normal assembly and switch it out for the do?

Capricorn, May 08 2015 08:36

 I wish its a dual position so no go...

 

other than what Caputain is suggesting, either increase air pressure, or modify the shimstack in the compression assembly.

Headshot, May 08 2015 11:25

What about checking to see if you can buy the normal assembly and switch it out for the do?

Yep, heard you can buy them separately. thing is I use the dual position a lot - turns the bike into a real all rounder, so not keen to go that expensive route yet. More air and running more low speed comp will suffice if I need it I think. Just wondering if anyone had heard of any other tricks.

Captain Fatbastard Mayhem, May 08 2015 12:42

Yep, heard you can buy them separately. thing is I use the dual position a lot - turns the bike into a real all rounder, so not keen to go that expensive route yet. More air and running more low speed comp will suffice if I need it I think. Just wondering if anyone had heard of any other tricks.

there's someone overseas who has machined a token fr the DP. I haven't seen any additional details (yet) but it is an option...

 

Don't know how it affects the DP functionality yet, as I haven't read enough on it. But it is an option to consider.