RockShox Pike 454 Air U-Turn review£499.00

Tough fork that eats technical trails

BikeRadar score4/5

The RockShox Pike seemed an odd fork when it appeared four years ago, but now this tough trail bulldog is in its element.

It takes a few rides to really bed in, but Dual Air springs, externally graded U-Turn travel adjust from 110-140mm and ‘Floodgate’ compression damping make it easy to set up your ideal ride character. 

The Maxle 20mm QR is a stroke of design genius, too, making the Pike as tight-tracking and accurate as full-grown freeride forks. As long as you keep the threads clean, it’s super-simple and reliable to use. The overall result is the fork equivalent of the computer game ‘big gun’, letting you blow straight through technical sections that terrified you before.

Like the RockShox Revelation, there are times when you can outrun the ‘Motion Control’ damping on successive hits and end up bouncing a bit, but overall consistency and reliability is superb.

If you’re really worried, we’ve heard good things about the new Push upgrade damping, available from Tim Flook's TF Tuned outfit.

Pricing is actually higher than it used to be, but we don’t know anyone who’s regretted buying a Pike. If £500 is too much, coil versions are cheaper and smoother (but heavier).

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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