Pace RC38 Airforce - Bike Magic

Bike Magic - Mountain Bike News, Videos and Reviews. Keep up with the latest Biking Gear, Events and Trail Guides at BikeMagic.


Forks (Suspension)

Pace RC38 Airforce

A day in the life of a Pace RC38 Airforce fork…

Yeah – we’ve got one. We’ve ridden it… It works… More later…

Test notes:

  • Lock out means it’s Inchfield Road compatible.
  • Adjustable positive and negative spring run at quite low pressure.
  • High speed damping seems rather, er, high, but we’ll wait to see how they bed in.
  • Disc brake only on this version. Canti bosses are available but must be specced at time of build as they are bonded onto the fork leg and won’t pass over the dropout.
  • We had trouble with the lockout. I’ll read the manual tonight. I think it’s something to do with cable tension on the thumbshifter thing.
  • Rubber cover fell off the thumbshifter and I can’t tighten it onto the bar hard enough – needs a rubber strip or something.


We’ve been riding these forks hard since they arrived and we’d been having mixed feelings about them. They didn’t seem to be working as well as we wanted. They felt gritchy and stiff and weren’t impressive. So after a while, after moaning and grumbling, we did what we should have done earlier. We got hold of a Pace air pump and checked the pressure in the fork (it was wrong – we’d meddled with it) and we also greased the fork with the Pace grease gun.

Instant improvement that just keeps on getting better!

The ride was transformed with supple smooth travel that is like the Pace action we’re used to. We should have regreased weeks ago, but perhaps in our favour, the lack of grease made the bearings bed in faster – don’t try it at home though.

We also got the lockout working, and though the little lever is still stiff in action, it’s much more predicatably and stays locked on or locked off when you want it to. We couldn’t stop the stainless steel band that holds the shifter on from slipping until it was packed out with a bit of spare plastic. However, the lockout feature’s great benefit when you’re hauling a high gear up a steep hill or doing some tarmac work – though it’d be nice if the locked out position wasn’t at full fork extension, to sharpen up the handling a bit – you don’t ride the fork with suspension fully extended, so why should you have to when you ride it rigid!

Some testers have noted that the forks don’t feel quite as solid as an Evo 3 – undoubtably the lack of a rear brace makes a difference there, however with a good front hub in, and the QR done up tight, the ride is still on a par with any other manufacturers fork on the market.

We’d have to draw your attention to the fact that this is a short-travel fork, for hardtails, and isn’t a lighter version of the Evo3, which would still be our first choice for trail riding.

Definitely worth a look to complement a classy hardtail or short travel suspension bike for the rider that’s concerned with weight and speed.


Another two months on, and the forks have really started to work superbly. They’ve been greased well now, though not stripped down, the bearings have bedded in properly and they seem to hold pressure very consistently (presumably a function of having a good grease coating to the air seals). Performance is excellent – I crashed (literally) through some stuff this afternoon that I was really surprised they soaked up. Though other testers have mentioned lack of rigidity I find them perfectly adequate on my 853 steel bike.What has most surprised me is that despite them being marketed firmly as a performance fork they really don’t seem to be compromised for proper trail use. The seals are first rate. The action is superb. They are light. I thought there’d be some drawback with them being a “Race” fork. There doesn’t seem to be. All up I’m extremely impressed, and that’s some turnaround considering I really didn’t get on with them at first. They’re still on my bike which is some honour, considering I’ve got other forks to test, including a set of Evo IIIs sat in a box.

They ARE only getting 60mm of travel (not the 63mm stated) though that may be hidden as -ve travel, thinking about it for a second. But the quality of that action is superb.

Excellent fork. Really good. They’re a justifiable alternative for the rider wanting a light fork, with no real drawbacks.

Rating: 5/5


Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.