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Ah I gotcha, hadn't noticed that Pete had the stanchion sizes backward (Sid Ultimate - 35mm, Sid SL - 32mm). Could be some placebo, but I think the Sid SL is plenty stiff at that 100mm stroke. New 32 SC is much the same -- far better than the old one.
That's an interesting point about the Sid Ultimate bushing overlap problem. I had heard from RS that the issue was a sizing problem of the bushings on the initial few runs, and that it didn't have to do with the overall design of the fork. Totally believable that lack of overlap contributes to the ovalizing of the bushings. You can definitely feel that on the Sid Ult -- it has a lot more bushing bind off the top than a Pike, even if the stiffness in the middle and end of the stroke is pretty darn good.
As my old boss used to say... a fork is much more than travel and stanchions. CSU, bushings, wheel interface, and of course damper and airspring play a massive role.
Interesting that you've been seeing assembly issues in the '22 Fox stuff, I have not opened any of the standard 34s but the Stepcasts I've worked on have been put together really nicely, no need for that out-of-the-box service. The closer spacing on the tubes and beefed-up stanchion arch seems to play pretty nicely, too. Wouldn't say it's a ton stiffer than the old 34SC but it's certainly no worse; and small bump sensitivity is improved with that change to the Fit4 damper valving.
Agreed that a more aggressive setup demands a full-blood 34, Pike etc. (Mattoc?) Witnessing all the bushing issues on the Spur, Epic Evo and other slacker downcountry bikes has made me nervous.
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