RockShox SID RCT3 Solo Air 2016 Forks


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[Nov 30, 2016]
Gordon M
Cross Country Rider


This fork is very tunable and unbelievably light weight. It is a full pound lighter than the fork that came stock on my bike and now the front end is very lofty. Parts for this fork are cheap and plentiful. Servicing is easy.

It has three modes of operation: 1) open (braap!!), 2) low speed compression damping/pedal mode (adjustable), and 3) lock-out (suspension still moves a little bit in this mode). In addition, this fork has rebound damping adjustment (more on this later).

Open mode is smooth and precise on those fast XC trails. A real pleasure.

Low Speed damping/pedal adjustments can be made while on the move. This makes pedal mode usable on many types of terrain.

Lock-out mode still has a little give, which I like as the fork will still compress in the event of a hard hit at speed on an unexpected large rock or failure to wheelie over an unexpected rut. Personally, I don't like my fork to lock-out rigidly -- I like the little bit of give. Lock-out is still plenty rigid.


This fork can get a little bouncy in the rock gardens, but I realize that it could still use a little tuning. I have the rebound damping set to one click below maximum damping (slowest rebound). I don't feel like this should be the case with such an expensive fork, but I realize many factors could be in play here, including frame geometry, my weight, tire pressure (increasing it helped a little), etc.. The design team for this fork cannot control these factors. I am going to try changing out the fork oil with something of different viscosity. I'm confident this will fix the problem.

About me: I'm 6'1", 170 lbs with long ape arms (which is why I need the XL frame).

Great fork, but not cheap at normal price. I got it for an incredible price. I can really feel the difference between this fork and the original one that came on my 2010 Specialized Rockhopper. Its much lighter, smoother, and more precise than my old one. I had to shorten the travel length from 120mm to 100mm and install two bottomless tokens, but this cost about $50 in parts/oil and was easily done in an afternoon after work -- not a big deal. With my frame geometry, I'm much happier with it at 100mm travel. I think I have 2mm more offset with this fork and have noticed a slight improvement in steering. Steering on my old setup was a little too twitchy for my tastes, so I'm happy about the improvement.

Shaving a full pound of weight off the front end with this fork made the front end much more lofty and its now a lot easier to ride/manual up the technical stuff that might have things like big round boulders or steps.

I give 4 stars overall and for value because of the bouncy behavior in the super rough stuff. An $800 XC fork should be able to function well in this terrain after some mild tuning. I am of the opinion that the customer should not have to think about changing out the factory fork oil. However, not being a suspension expert, I only deduct one star because I could probably try tuning it a little bit more, like perhaps changing the damping oil to something else. I also realize that this fork was designed with tunability in mind, and oil could be one of those things that is included in the set of things to be tuned. So, only one star deducted -- not a big deal, just a different in opinion between the engineers at RockShox and myself. Still a great fork.

BOTTOM LINE: I am very happy with this fork and glad that I can tune it and look forward to perfecting it. I would definitely buy it again or recommend it to a friend. This fork is not for riders who want a plug-and-play fork. This fork is for riders who want to learn about (or already understand) the inner workings of forks and don't mind some tuning. The tunability makes the SID RCT3 an excellent choice for riders who want to re-equip older bikes with a newer modern fork.

I'm looking forward to getting approximately another decade out of my bike with this fork.

Similar Products Used:

RockShox Dart 3 SL (coil spring, hydraulic damping, turnkey lockout).

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