Four years ago, RockShox debuted the revamped Pike, a fork that helped set the standard for how a trail / all-mountain fork should perform. The Pike's popularity saw it spec'd on an incredibly wide array of bikes, everything from aggressive hardtails all the way up to 160mm enduro machines, and for good reason – it was smooth, reliable, and easily tunable to suit anyone from a beginner to a seasoned pro.
When the Lyrik burst back onto the scene in late 2015 it began to replace the Pike on some of those longer travel bikes, thanks to its stiffer chassis and the fact that it was available with up to 180mm of travel. For RockShox product manager John Cancellier, the introduction of the Lyrik meant that it was time to revisit the Pike and transform it into a fork that sat squarely in the 'trail' category.
RockShox Pike Details
• Charger 2 damper
• Boost spacing
• Clearance for up to 2.8" tire
• New DebonAir air spring
• 180mm direct brake mount
• Travel: 120-160mm (27.5"), 120-140mm (29")
• Weight: 1841 grams (140mm 27.5" model)
• Available: April 2017
• Price: $875-1000 USD
The name may be the same, but the new Pike has seen significant updates in order to shave weight and improve its performance, all without losing sight of the traits that made it so popular in the first place. There's a revised Charger damper, new Boost-specific lowers that provide room for up to a 2.8” tire, and even the amount of effort it takes to turn the compression dial has been altered. The travel options have also changed slightly, with a maximum of 160mm for 27.5” wheels, and 140mm for 29” wheels.
A cassette tool is now used to remove the air spring's top cap.
The amount of force it takes to turn the three position lever has been reduced, making it possible to run a handlebar mounted remote.
Charger 2 Damper
The latest version of the Charger damper still uses an expanding bladder to handle the oil that's displaced when the fork is compressed, but the shape of the sealed bladder has been changed. Similar to what was first seen on the new SID
, when the fork is fully extended the bladder is in an hourglass shape, which creates more room for oil expansion within the confines of the stanchion tube.
Bleeding the damper (something RockShox recommends doing every 200 hours) is now easier than ever, with a port halfway down the cartridge that accepts the same fitting used for a Reverb dropper post. The new bleed procedure does require removing the damper completely from the fork, but on the plus side, you don't need to take any knobs or small parts off – it doesn't look seem like it will be too much of a hassle.
A look inside the new Charger 2 damper.
The amount of effort it takes to turn the compression knob has been reduced, an achievement that makes it possible to run a handlebar mounted remote. Although remote lockouts aren't that common in North America, apparently there's a sizeable demand for them in Europe, and now thanks to the reworked damper, RockShox can heed those cries.
The result of turning that compression dial has also been changed, with a new compression tune that's intended to make the middle setting more usable. Previously, the three settings felt like they could be classified as Open, Firm, and Really, Really Firm. Now the difference between the open and the middle setting isn't as drastic, making it more feasible to use it for more than just fire road climbs or spinning on the road out to the trailhead.
Along with the new compression tune, the rebound tune was also updated. RockShox added a greater range to the circuit, which means lighter riders should be able to achieve the rebound speed they want without needing to have the fork custom tuned.
The Boost-specific chassis has room for up to a 2.8" tire.
No adaptor is required to run a 180mm rotor.
The outer appearance of the new Pike isn't drastically different from its predecessor, but the arch does have a more angular shape, and there's now clearance for up to a 2.8” tire, providing plenty of room for riders interested in experimenting with different widths. Whatever your feelings on the subject, Boost spacing is here to stay, which is why the new Pike is designed specifically around that standard – it simply didn't make sense to redesign the lowers for two different axle spacings. The lowers were also modified so that the air volume remains consistent no matter the wheel size. In other words, if you normally run two tokens in a 27.5” Pike, you'll run the same number in a 29” bike, something that previously wasn't the case.Ride Impressions
Rather than traveling to an unfamiliar location in order to give the new Pike a try, this time I was able to get in two solid days of riding in on my local trails in Bellingham, Washington. A 140mm 29” version was installed onto a Trek Fuel EX, and after setting the air pressure and low speed compression it was time to ride.
The verdict? The new Pike felt nearly identical to the old one, and that's a good thing. There was plenty of support to keep the front end from diving when dropping into steep sections of trail, and enough suppleness to take the edge off when plowing through tangled webs of roots. Did I notice the increased negative spring volume? Honestly, I didn't, but keep in mind that the trails were saturated by the previous week's rain storms - when your tires are sinking into the soft ground it's tough to accurately judge a fork's breakaway force. All the same, the fork delivered the predictable, familiar performance that I've come to expect from a Pike. It's one of those forks that just works, with minimal fussing around needed to get it dialed in. I did give the middle compression setting a try a few times, and found that it was indeed much more usable - on the previous Pike I rarely used that setting, reserving it for smooth climbs, but now I can envision using it for more rolling terrain or technical climbs, and switching to the fully open setting for the descents.
Once we get our hands on a Pike for a long term review we'll take a deeper dive into exactly how it feels on the trail, its durability, as well as how it stacks up against its competition. For now, the takeaway is that the new Pike hasn't lost any of the traits that made it so desirable in the first place.
Wait, There's More...Return of the Revelation
The new Pike may be stealing the spotlight, but there's another fork in the lineup that's going to become a common sight in the near future – the Revelation. Similar to how the Yari is the more wallet-friendly version of the Lyrik, the Revelation is positioned as a less-expensive Pike. Revelation Details
The lowers are the same as the Pike's, but the Revelation uses straight walled aluminum for its 35mm stanchions, rather than the tapered wall aluminum found on the Pike. The Revelation also relies on RockShox's Motion Control damper rather than the Charger 2. Those cost saving measures do incur a slight weight penalty of roughly 110 grams, but they also allow the Revelation to retail for around $300 less than the Pike.
• Motion Control damper
• 35mm stanchions
• Boost spacing
•Travel: 120-160mm (27.5”), 120-140mm (29”).
• Weight: 1951 grams (140mm, 27.5")
• $650-720 USD
Many of the features found on the new Pike will also carry over to the Lyrik, and along with the Charger 2 damper, the Lyrik receives new top caps, and clearance for up to 2.8" tires.
• Charger II damper
• Boost-only chassis, 2.8” tire clearance
• DebonAir air spring
• Up to 180mm of travel for both 27.5” and 29” models
• MSRP: $1030-$1180 USD
The RS1, RockShox's eye-catching inverted fork aimed at the XC / marathon crowd, gets a Charger 2 damper as well, along with a new 130mm option for 27.5" wheels.
• 100-130mm (27.5"), 100-130 (29")
• Charger 2 damper
• Tapered carbon steerer
• Weight: 1573 grams (120mm 27.5")
• MSRP: $1680-1750 USD