This is Pace’s new 80mm (3in) travel cross-country fork. It weighs 1.42kg and it’s used by the Specialized XC team, including recent Commonwealth gold medallist Liam Killeen. You can tell it’s made by Yorkshire company Pace because it features their signature carbon hollow form sliders and rear-facing arch – a detail pioneered by Pace well before Manitou did their Reverse Arch.
The cast magnesium dropouts, bonded to the lower legs, are a minor work of art, and the stanchions are made from 7050 T6 alloy and sport a black hard anodised finish. The cold-forged, heat-treated and CNC’d crown is hollow and it has ovalised arms to help make it one of the stiffest and lightest on the market. A new wet lube system with double lip seals and a foam lube ring also keeps the stanchions sliding smoothly, with zero breakaway force required (i.e. no stiction).
A positive air chamber combines with a negative coil spring to provide a plush, fluid, coil-like ride but with a nice ramp-up to stop the fork getting bogged down at the end of the compression stroke. Pace also introduce their bar-mounted Soft Start lever, which locks the fork out for smooth trail or road riding but features auto blow-off to start the fork moving again if you hit anything rough.
We’ve ridden the RC39 XC hard for several months and we can now say it’s the best performing cross-country fork available.