The 55 RC3 Ti has quite a few tunable settings, although any of the alterations (outside of the air preload), only make minor and subtle changes, at least in direct comparison to an air fork. The RC3 cartridge (right leg) has adjustments for rebound, air preload, and hi and low speed compression.The rebound adjuster is on top of the leg, and the air preload is in the middle of the rebound dial, while the high and low speed sits on the bottom, and one dial does the adjusting for the high and low speed, with both compression curves crossing in the middle for ease of set up. On the top of the left leg is the coil preload. I set the rebound in the middle (13 of 27 clicks), the compression half way to soft (3 of 11), and the coil preload all the way soft (1 of 28).
As I stated earlier, the changes are fairly subtle, but they do allow some tunability for rider requirements, whether that is personal, terrain or bike specific. One huge gripe is that the dials are sharp and difficult to turn (2011 have different dials), and they have too many clicks. The air preload is really meant for big riders, although I did play with it to alter some fork dive when I was doing a trials type riding. Even small amounts of air, such as 5psi make a huge difference, but it really castrates and chokes the stroke, so be careful with its adjustment. It is also a pain to add the air, since a nefarious cap covers the air slot, and then a special adapter is required for your shock pump. The good part is that the fork really doesn’t need any tuning, and it runs just fine in all the default settings.
When the fork is out on the trail, sweetness abounds, as it rolls with the punches when it’s needed, and then sits quietly in the background, and I mean quiet, as this fork hardly makes a sound throughout its travel. The smoothness and linearity of the fork significantly reduce hand and arm fatigue, as you are not subjected to sudden impacts due to stroke ramp up. The titanium coil offered up a neutral gait, and I especially liked the feel in the mid stroke, which comes into play in my favorite rock gardens. The Nickel coated stanchions not only look good, but they are durable, scratch resistant, smooth and have low stiction. One of the deficits of a coil fork is that it weighs slightly more than its air counterparts, but the wonders of a coil certainly make up for that gap. I never felt nor noticed any flex in the fork, it was a stout master.
Weight (uncut) – 2469.6 grams
QR20 – 122.9 grams
Crown to Axle – 547mm
The new QR20 axle system was easy to use after you got the hang of it. Just open the QR lever (which is free floating), and there is a notch in the 20mm axles end piece, in which you engage the lever to loosen or tighten as required, and like any QR, leave it slightly loose since the lever will do the last portion cinching it down tight. It reminds me of the way the DT Swiss RWS works. Once tightened down the QR20 offered plenty of security and stiffness, and I never had any issues with anything loosening up.