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RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air 130 Fork - 27.5in - 2017 $
Bat outta hell.
If you say a 5in fork can’t really handle aggressive riding, you should check your math, because the 27.5in RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air 130 Fork can take care of itself just fine, thanks. Its travel lines it up squarely with other modern trail forks, so while it’s not a raked-out enduro monster, it’s right in your wheelhouse if you like to mix up long climbs and fast descents.
Part of this wizardry comes from the venerable RCT3 damper, which lets you select discrete amounts of lockout for high-speed pedaling, chunky climbing, and peppery descents. When you’re opened all the way up, the Rapid Recovery system eagerly gobbles up small bumps like a dog with pizza left on the coffee table, so you never feel like the ride is harsh or your fork is bottoming out.
At the same time, the designers at RockShox made the Solo Air 130 both lighter and stiffer than its predecessors by hooking it up with a Maxle axle, which somehow weighs less and handles more torque than a traditional axle, and the infamous oversized Power Bulge leg and bushing, which endow the fork with enduro-level stiffness at an XC weight.