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RockShox Pike Ultimate RC2 Review

Is RockShox new shinier Pike really the Ultimate mid-weight mountain bike suspension fork?

Rockshox Pike Ultimate RC2
(Image: © Rockshox)

Our Verdict

The RockShox Pike is a super-accurate fork delivering maximum feedback and consistent geometry

For

  • Enduro quality control at a trail weight with advanced tuning but simple set-up

Against

  • Shop around for best price.
  • Benchmark mid-weight trail tamer, gets more sensitive, controlled and comfortable but still stays super user-friendly

The mid-weight, mid-travel RockShox Pike has been around so long it’s often overlooked despite being the benchmark fork for the riding most people really do. Overhauled internals put Pike Ultimate right back front and centre for incredible trail control without excess weight and fresh graphics don’t hurt either. 

Rockshox Pike Ultimate RC2

(Image credit: Rockshox)

Design and chassis

In true ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it’ style the Pike structure hasn’t been changed, but then it wasn’t long since RockShox added the fatter tyre friendly wide-arch architecture so it didn’t need to be. The 35mm stanchions (same diameter as Lyric, Yari and Boxxer) allows the fork to track predictably, however, no matter how rough it gets, it doesn’t flutter or bind - even with a big brake rotor working hard. 

It’s the fork you’ll see RockShox riders use at Slopestyle and Speed and Style Freeride events too and that’s certainly not something all mid-weight forks can claim. Pike still comes in at a competitive weight, saving upwards of 200g compared to its bigger ‘Enduro’ brothers. It even stretches to 160mm options in 27.5-inch though you are stretching its ability to stay accurate at that point. 

Covering off other construction details, the Maxle Stealth 15mm bolt through axle is simple and reliable, there’s plenty of mud room for 3in tyres and there are short and standard offsets in both wheel sized formats. Ultimate gets an eye-catching silver finish option and metal foil graphics, too. 

Rockshox Pike Ultimate RC2

(Image credit: Roskshox)

Verdict

It’s the internal changes that transform the way it sticks to the trail, minimises glove buzz and keeps ride height super accurate for loading up, leaning in and launching with maximum feedback and consistent geometry. The Downhill and Enduro evolved Charger 2.1 damper combines with the large volume DebonAir negative spring for a super-fluid, glued-to-the-ground feel off the top. 

That’s enhanced by new SKF seals and Maxima Plush suspension fluid reducing stiction and noise while extending already-excellent service life. While sensitivity and reduced hand ache on longer, rocky/rooty/rutted descents are obvious, the Charger damper holds the fork mid-travel with superb poise. That preserves bike geometry, sharpens feedback and lets you work the front tyre super hard just like you should on a mid-travel trail bike. While it only dips deep if it really needs to, big-drop control is calm and ricochet free and while we were fine with the default set-up, you can easily add or remove volume spacers under the top cap to change spring rate. 

Pike Ultimate also comes in two Charger 2.1 options: RC2 with dialled in low and high-speed compression and RCT3 with a three-position (Open, Pedal, Firm) low-speed damping lever tuned further with a fine adjust dial but high-speed compression is fixed. You can also get detailed set-up prompts from RockShox Trailhead app if you want to get digital on your damper dialling.

Typically for RockShox, it’s the way the Pike still works really well with just the basic back of the leg pressure for rider weight recommendations and a ballpark damper set-up that makes it such a user friendly fork to use. If you can’t afford the Ultimate then we’ve been equally impressed with Pike Select models which get the same SKF seal and Maxima Plush upgrades matched to a simpler Charger 2 damper.

Tech Specs

  • Weight: 1860g (27.5in, 150mm travel, cut to fit 110mm head tube) 
  • Travel: 120-160mm 
  • Options: 37 and 46mm offset in 27.5in, 42 and 51mm in 29-inch