It’s not every day that Pace turn out a new fork, and rarer still that it’s one that single-handedly creates a new sub category of fork. But that’s what the RC41 Fighter has done. Essentially, this is an 150mm (6in) travel, single crown ‘all mountain’ fork with standard drop outs – three traits that are currently only found on the Marzocchi All Mountain line. With so much travel available it’s not going to be for everyone, as it needs a bike with geometry to cater for its 525mm length. The machined crown and chunky dropouts offset the swoopy organic lines of the carbon fibre sliders, and every tester commented on the stunning looks.
We were immediately impressed with the smooth action and steering precision. The smooth ride we expected, but the precise steering was a welcome surprise with such a long fork. The action of Pace’s air forks is quite linear and as we ran somewhere between a quarter and a third of the travel in sag, this resulted in us running well into the travel on medium-speed big-hit downhill trails. Some riders said they’d prefer more ramp-up towards the end of the stroke, as adding air to the fork as it stands simply makes it firmer throughout its travel. The only gripe we’ve had through the test was the level of oil weeping. On a dusty day the stanchions have been caked with oil and dirt, although dirt isn’t getting in. The bike we fitted the fork to was hung up over the weekend and on Monday oil had leaked from the top caps on each leg. The leakage amounts were small and performance hasn’t suffered, but we still don’t like to see this. Performance and looks are awesome and, for what it offers, it isn’t that expensive. So who’s going to want this fork? There are lots of lightweight 5-6in travel rigs out there now that can be ridden all day over terrain that has regular XC full sussers looking for another route. Hopefully, our leakage problems are more to do with the early nature of our sample because if they get it fixed the RC41 Fighter could find itself on top of the 2006 fork wish list.