2021 Rockshox Pike | First Ride Review

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Getting rad in the field!

We’ve had a new Pike, in a 29in x 150mm flavour, for a few weeks now and, despite chunky riding being out of the question for the last couple of weeks, our local trails have enough lumps and bumps to be able to give us some good first impressions on a fork that’s obviously a Big Deal for RockShox. So, read on for our 2021 Rockshox Pike first ride review…

When our pre-release Pike sample arrived, I had to find a chunky enough bike to test it on. A 150mm 29er fork is a serious bit of bump mitigation. Luckily we had a Norco Sight on hand. With 29in wheels and a 160/140mm suspension set up, it was close enough to what I needed and the half degree increase of head angle from running a slightly shorter fork wouldn’t turn the 64° head angled beast into a twitchy monster.

Unboxing the new Pike forks, you’re met with a very classy look, as befitting a flagship product. The 2021 RockShox Pike Ultimate has the top-end spec, starting with the shiny silver finish (Cyborg silver? Shinier… Cylon silver? Still shinier… it’s like a chrome C3PO silver). The fit and finish is excellent and I took great delight in adjusting the Charger Damper dial – the smooth motion in between indents is very sensual. Anyway, the finish is great and the installation was simple enough. The Pike does come ready for SRAM’s oversize Torque Cap hub end caps, which makes for a super stiff arrangement if you have them. And if you haven’t (like we didn’t on the Sight) then it’s a bit of a faff to get the wheel in every time. We know what RockShox’ answer will be to solve that…

The suggested pressures (down about 5psi from the 2020 Pike forks) are hidden on a sticker on the inside of the fork leg and hard to see now that you’ve wrestled the wheel in. Luckily, the excellent Rockshox Trailhead website will take your serial number and weight and give you a recommended starting pressure and rebound settings. For me it was around 83psi and ten clicks back of rebound. This initially felt reasonably firm on a car park test but once on my local test loop, the small bump feel was excellent and helped to dispel and fears I had of the fork being over hard.

2021 RockShox Pike First Review

Chunky gravel, cobbles and the farmer’s half-brick trail repairs were soaked up very well and I did begin to wonder if the fork might end up being a little soft for the descent. I was wrong to doubt, though, and the fork started eating up the bigger bumps at higher speeds.

Chunky gravel, cobbles and the farmer’s half-brick trail repairs were soaked up very well and I did begin to wonder if the fork might end up being a little soft for the descent. I was wrong to doubt, though, and the fork started eating up the bigger bumps at higher speeds.

The previously reviewed, Norco Sight

(Note – This is all relative to the current pandemic situation though, the local brtidleways behind my house are doable on a ‘cross bike if you’re careful, so I wasn’t going for air time and canyon gaps…)

There was initially some harshness on some of the bigger bumps, but a couple of clicks back on the Charger Damper’s High Speed Compression knob (ooh that action!) solved that completely and I didn’t really have reason to touch the settings again. The fork does seem to ride higher in the travel and on persistent steppy rocks, there always seemed travel available. It does this without sacrificing the small bump stuff too, which is a very cake-and-eat-it situation to be in.

Did anyone order the ham? Chipps hams it up for the sheep.
The shiny silver is very shiny

Overall, I’m very impressed with the 2021 RockShox Pike, given the slightly short time frame and limited test conditions available to us. However, given that I’ve been running a 2020 Pike on my main bike since late last year, I can’t see that opinion changing much. We don’t have the UK price for the upgraded airshaft will cost for owners of 2020 Pikes (and earlier too, it will work for several years of Pikes and Revalations) but in the US it’s around $40 or so, and I’m sure it will be an affordable and noticeable upgrade for riders that don’t get to swap out their forks every year. Now, many riders can benefit from RockShox’ continual tinkering.

More details can be found on rockshox.com

After a bigger fork? Check out Andi’s 2021 Lyrik First Ride review here…

Review Info

Brand:RockShox
Product:Pike Ultimate 29 x 150mm
From:rockshox.com
Price:£869
Tested:by Chipps for Two weeks

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