RockShox Pike vs Fox 36 – Which is the better fork?

When selecting a fork for trail or racing, you may be spoilt for choice with the variety available. Above the rest are RockShox Pike and Fox 36. Which of the two choices is the better fork?

A suspension fork sets bikes apart and helps to create plush or stiff riding based on user preference and expectations in trail and terrain.

I have been building my version of the best trail and enduro bike and I have reached a dilemma. Between the RockShox Pike and the Fox 36 fork models, I am yet to decide which one will offer me the best riding experience.

So, I enlisted the help of a pal of mine over at our local bicycle shop to help me get into their in-depth differences. Here is what I came up with.

What is the difference between RockShox Pike and Fox 36?

Model
RockShox Pike
Fox 36
Travel Options
120, 140, 150, 160mm
140, 150, 160mm
Weight
1860 g
1980 g
Damper
Low-speed compression
High/low speed compression
Chassis
35mm legs, 15mm Maxle
36mm leg, 15/20mm axle
Ease of use
Simple
Technical
Ride feel
Plush
Taut
Availability

RockShox Pike vs Fox 36 – How they compare 

Build 

Legs on Fox measure 36mm compared to 35mm on Pike fork. The Fox has an advantage in stiffness because it is designed with a through-axle held in place by pinch bolts fitted on either side. 

In terms of weight, the Pike fork is lighter than the 36 by about 100 grams. However, in the application, though both models use post brake mounts, a 30g adapter is needed to run a rotor on the Pike while the 36’s rotor is directly mounted.

With this setup, the weight difference is lessened to 70g. By switching the axle from the 15mm to the 20mm option on 36, more weight is cut off.

Using the Pike fork, there is a great convenience in the Maxle chassis which beats all benefits associated with the 36’s stiff design.

Pike’s travel length can be adjusted from 160m to 120mm by replacing the air-shaft with a shorter item that is specific to travel.

Another plus to the Fox 36 is that is compatible in use with the 15mm on the adapter and the 20mm. on the other hand, Pike features a 15mm Maxle which is less stiff and much faster in changing the wheel with no tools required.

Air Spring 

Both models are air-sprung and their spring curves are custom-tuned by using volume-reducers.

If you like to ride fast, you will benefit from adding spacers to create more ramp-up and mid-stroke support.

For less aggressive riding, use fewer volume-reducers which will guarantee the access of all available travel.

Riding steep technical trails on the Pike fork requires you to add an extra spacer to improve its performance regardless of the wheel you use or the travel you have.

Damping 

When it comes to damping, Pike has three modes to choose from while Fox 36 offers no lockout or platforms and opts to provide users with high and low-compression damping that is fully adjustable. 

If traversing through rocky terrain, you may minimize deflection by reducing the high-speed compression slightly.

To adjust the rebound control, increasing it by three clicks lowers the height of the front end. You can go through the entire range of adjustments by shifting from the open to almost fully closed.

When your setting is at two clicks to fully closed, you will benefit more in comfort but nothing much will change in height.

Pike has the RCT3 Charger damper offering a variety of open pedal and locked modes that enable fine-tuned adjustability in low-speed compression in an open setting.

Using the Rapid recovery system, the adjustable rebound damping is present in the beginning strokes but gets more fixed as the rider goes faster and accesses deeper travel. This system affords users quick recovery from big hits.

While the Fox 36 fork doesn’t feature any choice in lockout modes, it offers independent adjustments of high and low-speed compression damping and rebound functionality through the RC2 cartridge.

Altering the progression of either fork is made possible by removing the top cap and adding volume spacers.

Travel lengths are adjustable internally in 10mm for the Fox 36 and by setting the air shaft length to add negative air spacers. This effectively reduces travel from 160mm to 110mm.

RockShox Pike vs Fox 36 – A Comparison Overview 

RockShox Pike Review

This fork features a Charger 2 RCT3 damper which allows for multiple adjustabilities to accommodate varied preferences and the ability to ride any terrain.

It uses the debonair Spring which smooths out trails and minimizes the need for hard gripping providing plush and comfortable riding.

Fit with 35mm stanchions, the fork is stiff enough to give stable rides to users as heavy as 250 pounds or more.

The RockShox Pike was built for boost spacing which enables the addition or removal of material to make the fork more or less rigid.

Finally, it accepts 180mm rotors directly mounted on the caliper which eliminates the need for adaptors.

Pros 

  • Great riding experience
  • Multi-adjustable
  • Lockout functions well in climbing
  • Stiff fork

Cons 

  • Expensive maintenance

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Fox 36 Review 

Fox Factory 36 Float 27.5 Inches 160 Grip 2 Hi/Low Comp/Reb Black Gloss 15QRx110 Boast Conical Offset 44 mm 2021 Fork Adult Unisex
  • The 2021 chassis of this FOX fork has been completely modified to meet the requirements of the
  • An update was made to the Evol air spring and Grip 2 damper. As well as many innovations
  • Float Evol 2021 air spring offers increased sensitivity on small impacts
  • Grip2 cartridge allows you to adjust high and low speed compression and triggers with improved performance
  • Divers in 36mm with Kashima coating limit friction and have extreme resistance

This fork uses 36mm upper tubes for a stiff and rigid chassis. It features a FIT GRIP2 damper that is adjustable in four different ways and it has a sealed cartridge with Variable Valve Control.

You also have an alternative Pike fork that is fitted with a FIT4 damper that improves on fork’s sensitivity and mid-stroke support.

Axle configurations are possible and offered in 100mm or 110 wide Boost. The rigid chassis in performance may ping off rocks and roots.

The 36 has managed to find a balance between compliance and comfort as well as stiffness and responsiveness making a fork unlike any other.

Pros 

  • Long travel
  • Strong build
  • Varied adjustment possible
  • Plush and smooth riding

Cons 

  • Limited in color options

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Conclusion 

The Pike fork can handle anything you throw at it and affords users tons of adjustable options that make for a great ride across all types of trails.

Fox 36 is not built for comfort per se and is best suited for aggressive riders. Its chassis allows for direct, precise, and assertive riding keeping your bike in contact with the ground.

Verdict: So, which is better – RockShox Pike or Fox 36

RockShox Pike has an edge over the Fox 36. This is due to its abilities in fine-tuning the damper settings that guarantees optimum performance on every ride. Pike can hold its shape better and this gives you more confidence to push and ride harder.

FAQ                                                                                              

How do we protect ourselves from hits against the Bike?

Using the Rapid recovery system, the adjustable rebound damping is present in the beginning strokes but gets more fixed as the rider goes faster and accesses deeper travel. This system affords users quick recovery from big hits.

Where do I press to manage my fork’s rebound control?

To adjust the rebound control, increasing it by three clicks lowers the height of the front end. You can go through the entire range of adjustments by shifting from the open to almost fully closed.