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King of the hill.
With just over six inches of customizable travel and 35mm stanchions, RockShox's Pike RCT3 Dual Position Air 160 Fork earned its place as king of the hill for long-travel 29ers. The burly stanchions are backed up by the fork's tapered steerer tube to fight deflection under hard braking, aggressive cornering, and emergency maneuvers through lines that look a little more frightening halfway through than they did at the top.
The lowers are also reinforced courtesy of RockShox's Power Bulge design, which increases the amount of room for oversized bushings for a stiffer wheel-to-fork interface. The resulting chassis tracks so well that RockShox felt confident in outfitting the Pike with a lighter weight 15mm Maxle Lite quick-release thru-axle to help keep the weight down for climbing at the highest levels of competition.
The Dual Position air spring gives you the option of tweaking travel by 30mm. You can run a shorter stroke for improved handling while taking advantage of the fork's low weight on climbs. Extending the travel to its full, glorious six inches practically lays the red carpet across rock gardens and chutes for rallying down gnarly descents. For all that flexibility, we may actually be more excited about the sealed Charger damper, which houses the damper oil in a seamless, extruded bladder for an airtight seal. This minimizes the chances of air bubble contamination to provide unparalleled damper consistency, especially during the long, heavy runs the Pike RCT3's huge travel excels on. The rebound circuit maintains a high ride with RockShox's Rapid Recovery technology — really just a shim stack that keeps the fork on the up-and-up without sacrificing a controlled rebound stroke.