RockShox Pike 426U: First Impressions

I was a little worried to begin with. I’d ordered a set of RockShox – and my previous experience with their forks hasn’t been brilliant: I had a 1996 Quadra Q5R, which needed to be ridden for a good couple of hours before it’d do anything that even resembled suspension.

Then there was the Judy in 2001 or so. OK, so it was a bit better than the RST Mozo Pro it replaced, but that’s not really saying much. Obviously I loved them at the time, but back then I hadn’t experienced anything better. This time around, I have.

So I bolted them to the front of the Prophet and away we went…

A few rides in and I’m really quite happy with these ones. They just sit there and do their job: they’re plush, they work and you don’t need to worry about them. They’re plenty stiff enough for me: I ragged the bike down the back of Leckhampton Hill, zigzagging across all sorts of ruts and gulleys and found no sign of any twisting or deflecting from the fork. It’s actually showing up a bit of flex in the bike’s swing-arm, which can twist noticably when you’re really pushing it. I wonder if I can get the Prophet MX’s bolt-thru swingarm after market…?

There’s a couple of nice features that I honestly never thought I’d find a use for. First up is the U-Turn system, which lets you wind the travel down from 140 to 95mm. This lowers the front of the bike significantly, which is superb for riding up the really steep stuff. It’s a bit of a faff, but if it’s a long, steep climb then it’s worth it.

Second is the lock-out. Now, most of the time I like to keep my forks active. After all, what’s the point in all that travel of you’re not going to use it? That said, it turns out that the blast home across town is much nicer with the forks locked. Accelerating away from the lights without the front of the bike bobbing like a buoy in a storm is just plain ace.

The Pikes aren’t by any means perfect though. I like the front of my bike to be quite high up (it’s to do with the fear of steep slopes) and these are somewhat shorter than the Marzocchi All Mountain 3’s they replace. No biggy, it’s just something I’ll have to get used to.

Slightly more concerning is the Maxle quick-release axle. It doesn’t seem to be especially robust around the QR and I’ve already seen one break there. Something to keep an eye on methinks.

I’ll take some pictures of them eventually. I’m just not really in a camera mood at the moment. Yes, that’s a really bad excuse.

3 Responses to “RockShox Pike 426U: First Impressions”

1. publicenergy

I got some Rock Shox Revelelations a few months ago after using Fox Talas for a few years previously and love them. I know a few recent Pike converts from the MTB Britain Forum and they have been well impressed with them.
It seems Rock Shox are getting things right these days.

2. gordon

after careful testing of the maxle, my advise is make sure you put a bit of lub on the threads, so they are always free moving and don’t stick…. and after you do up the QR, push the fork legs in towards each other to ensure that the maxle is tight enough!

3. matt

I’m waiting for a bike that turns from fully rigid singlespeed, to a multigeared bounce machine.,.. I think I’ll be waiting a while.. maybe I could get a sherpa to take my bouncy bike ot the top of the hills for me?

Glad you like the forks.