Settled on the air spring tweaking, I then did the same thing with the compression damper adjustment, while riding in the Open setting. I rode the same descent about 6 times, moving the damper one or two clicks each lap. With the range of damping available, you can make this fork feel either extremely loose, or ready for a pumptrack. It’s impressive.
About 5 clicks from full closed (out of 14 total), the fork began feeling pretty harsh to me. I was riding a pretty rough descent and started getting my front wheel bounced around. I settled pretty much right in the middle of the range, and ended up with a smooth ride that felt very reactive, yet very supported and controlled. While the fork never really dives, it also gets the hell out of the way when you really nail something. Low speed compression damping is nothing new, but up until the last few years, very few systems have really worked as advertised. This one does.
I read one review of this fork that claimed it was unfair to compare a 150mm trail fork to a DH fork, but in this case I think it’s entirely justified. That’s because it works better than most dampers on DH forks. About the closest comparison I can come up with is that it mimics a dialed Fox 40 RC2 damper. Overcoming the threshold on a hard hit is just as smooth. To be honest, the damper on the Pike feels more refined.
I can’t wait to see this damper and token system dispersed out into all of RockShox’s other air forks.
BTW, DON’T DO THIS (REALLY, DON’T)
Wanting to really test the dual position air Pike, I dug into a giant parts list from RockShox just to see if there was any one piece that I could buy to make this fork a dual position model. I did find a dual position air spring listed. It’s sitting in the fork right now, and has about 20 rides on it. I figured I might as well pass along some information I got from someone at RockShox regarding doing this.
The dual position air forks (for some reason only available in white) have a small dimple on the interior of the air side stanchion. There’s a small exchange of air between the negative and positive air chambers when the travel adjust is used, and this dimple allows a re-equalization of the two chambers as the main piston passes it. Without the dimple, the negative chamber continually charges when the travel adjust is used. I haven’t seen this happen yet, but having learned about it, I have no doubt that it will eventually happen.
On that same parts list, RockShox has two different crown/steerer/stanchion options for replacements, one a dual air and one a solo air. So they definitely are different. Considering the dual air system only drops the fork 30mm, there’s really not a whole lot gained on steep climbs on a slack bike in my opinion. But just a heads up, if you want the dual position air fork, buy the dual position air fork. Maybe one day they’ll even offer it in black.
RockShox has absolutely set the standard in trailbike forks with the Pike. That’s not news at this point, but I’m absolutely throwing my hat in the ring of those who have said it before because I wholeheartedly agree. With the combination of the tunable air spring, the damper that does exactly what it’s supposed to do, chassis rigidity, and an impressively low weight, the Pike is a winner.