Rock Shox Monarch RT3 Air Shock: Lightweight XC/All-Mountain racing oriented rear air shock: 215g. SoloAir spring system: single Schrader valve, dual chamber air spring with self-regulating negative pressure. Hard anodized, 28mm aluminum...
Strengths: ~ Good weight, at 265g(184x44)
~ Very plush, at 30% sag
~ 2015 internals now gives you that bottomless feel
~ 3-position lever rotates a full 360 degrees
~ Small bump sensitivity, with excellent midstroke
~ 10 click rebound dial, for fine-tuned damping
~ Fast Black shock body smoother than Gold Slick anodized finish
~ Easy, DIY rebuild and service
Weaknesses: No SRAM Full Sprint compatibility
One of the very best. SRAM keeps outdoing themselves with the Monarch series, year after year. For 2016 - this XC/Trail shock has now come full-circle, with the Debonair high-volume can upgrade for Magic Carpet plushness and bottomless tokens, for insane adjustability. Once you dial this baby in....it feels like a coil spring, instilling confidence and a set of balls like you never thought you had.
I tried them ALL....I still keep coming back to this one.
Similar Products Used: ~ BOS Vipr 2
~ DT Swiss ODL X313
~ Fox Float Re:Aktiv
~ Fox Racing EVOL
~ Fox Float DRCV
~ Fox Float RP23 CTD
~ X-Fusion 02 RL
~ Cane Creek DB Inline
Bike Setup: Trek Superfly test bench bike - XX1, carbon everything imaginable
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: June 22, 2014
Strengths: Not much pogo bob (when it actually works).
Weaknesses: Failed to hold air, failed to travel, not plush.
The first one failed to hold air after a few hundred miles. It went from 130 PSI to 90 PSI each ride, and I only weigh 160 pounds and don't do big drops (or little ones). Then I got it rebuilt. It came back without the percent lines on the piston that I liked to help me adjust to the appropriate PSI. After a few hundred more miles, it failed to provide any travel at all. It's like a hard-tail with some extra weight. Two rebuilds in less than two years...I'm not impressed.
Similar Products Used: Fox Alps 5R. Worked almost 10 years before replaced.
Bike Setup: Motobecane Fantom DS Team.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: May 25, 2013
Strengths: Great platform, plush when it needs to be, solid when it should be.
Weaknesses: Doesn't hold air that well.
I bought this to replace an RP23 which I felt was too mushy. The RP23 was a L-L tune, and I'm a heavier rider. I bought the Monarch direct from Titus, so it was factory tuned for my el guapo (med-med tune), which may be why such a huge difference. It has the 3 settings, which sound like it's similar to Fox's CTD. I leave it on Trail setting unless it's a wicked shuttle, and it handles all that I throw at it. It climbs great even in that setting. I don't notice any pedal bob unless I get out of the saddle and really crank it. I recently rode in Moab for the first time, Monarch RT3 in the back, RS Lyrik coil in the front, and the bike ate it up like a champ. In 3 straight days of hard riding, the only thing that broke was I wore a hole in one of my gloves. But Rock gardens at top speed, no prob, bigger drops than I've ever done before, no sweat. Great set up. My ONLY complaint, is that I notice the shock doesn't hold air that well. With the RP23, I would check the pressure in the shock a couple times a month, and I would maybe lose 5lbs, if anything. This shock I have to fill up weekly, as it bleeds 15-20lbs. However, I'm riding harder than I ever have, so that could be it, and not the shocks fault. Either way, I'm very happy with it, and not going back. I'm a bit of a clyde, and this and a coil fork is the best setup I've found for me doing Enduro/All Mountain style riding. Cheers.
Similar Products Used: Fox RP23, Manitou (cant remember model)
Bike Setup: Titus El Guapo, Heavy Trail/AM setup.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: April 8, 2013
Strengths: Comes with a pump and new seals for the first rebuild, can be serviced by oneself if one wishes to do that, can also be retuned by oneself if desired, excellent pricing, excellent weight, the 360 degree lever travel with set positions at 120 degree marks
Weaknesses: Some people have reported noise issues with little milage (not clear what year those complaints pertain to), the '13 doesn't appear to be able to be Pushed as of this writing (might be a neg for XC racers).
I installed a '13 Rockshox Monarch RT3 (6.5 x 1.5 with the MM S 320 tune) on my trusty 2005 KHS XC 604 (had installed a coil shock a few years ago), and wow does this shock work beatuifully! The open and locked modes feel no differant from my old shock. But having the pedal mode is a revelation - feels locked out on the street, but fully active off road - no need to flick the lever. Small bump compliance in pedal mode is excellent thoubh it is slightly firmer then with it open. Don't let that scare you off, it's hardly noticable, even out on the trails. The only thing I'm not sure about is the rapid recovery rebound, I've never had probem with the old rear shock packing up on me, and I adjusted the rebound to be about the same as what I set the old shock to. I do know that this shock just swallows the bumps and hits over and over effortlessly.
Strengths: Set up, mid-stroke support, platform, rebound
Weaknesses: None yet.
Struggled with a RP23 on a Pivot Firebird; felt like there was no mid-stroke support, blew through travel too quickly, not enough rebound and pro-pedal felt like it was doing nothing. If I matched my fork with the shock, my fork was set up too soft for my liking. I don't know if my shock was in need of a rebuild (which could be the case), but I thought I would try the Monarch RT3 mid-tune just to give it a shot. Very satisfied with it. Feels like it should with supportive, progressive, positive travel. The biggest surprise is how well the platform works on this shock; it's almost a full lockout.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: November 6, 2012
Strengths: Looks, weight, performance, price.
As another review said, knowing the type of suspension is important. It comes in three different tunes. I chose a med. tune for my bmc trailfox. Around 30% sag. After break in, this thing got really smooth. While riding, switching between the three firmness settings is awesome. Intuitive and effective. The adjustable rebound also increases with the three lever positions. Comparing it to my rp23, It's sort of like having a setting between full open, and pro pedal. It came with a rebuild kit and pump. Awesome!
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: September 16, 2012
Strengths: pedal thresh hold,looks nice,easy to set up
Weaknesses: sticky,bottoms out to easy,rebound does not fully work
lots of bad reviews and most are correct
245 psi and cant get it to sit any better than 30% ( i weigh 15 stone), sits into its travel to easy,no small bump or traction,bottoms out very easy,sticks down and after only a few rides the blue thrash hold leaver leaks air..... its back to the shop with this shock to see if i can swap or get it repaired but if i can't then im getting a coil. not pleased,had high hopes as i love rockshox forks and there the best for what i do but this shock is so bad i cant ride my mega properly
Strengths: The platform settings work very well and are quite distinct.
Feels almost as good as the coil DHX 5.0 it replaced.
Feels much better than my Fox Float RL.
Comes in black or white!
Fits my bike.
Weaknesses: Hmm... I've got nothing.
I guess it could be cheaper and come with swag.
This shock has been awesome on my 2005 Santa Cruz Heckler. It feels almost as good as a coil, has a usable range of platform, and is light. I bought the high volume can, and I added some plastic to reduce the volume. It works like a charm!
Similar Products Used: Fox DHX5.0 coil
Fox Float RL
Fox Float R (Pushed, but broken)
Fox Float R (not Pushed)
Marzocchi Roco R coil
Manitou Swinger 4way
Bike Setup: 2005 Santa Cruz Heckler (large)
Rockshox Lyrik coil u-turn w/ Mission Control on the front
I weigh about 190, and shock has 180 psi with some plastic inside the high volume can to reduce the volume. Rebound is set at 3 clicks from full fast. I usually run the shock with the lowest platform, but I will use the other 2 clicks on roads and climbs. It keeps the back of the bike riding higher, which makes keeping the front end low a bit easier.
Strengths: light, great value for money so far, bike feels very lively because of reduced weight and firm platform, awesome to pump every ounce of speed out of a flow trail, feels great in medium speed technical terrain riding, linear positive feel (unlike dhxA, which felt like it blew thru travel then piggyback stops a bottomoout), drastically improved climbing due to both weight and platform, and last but not least LOOKS
Weaknesses: its not very plush; just a little too much air and I'm riding a hardtail. I'm not a great basis for comparison on that aspect given the other shocks i ride and my bike setup. even so, I only find it lacking on very chattery stuff at top speed, but not more than i would expect for what it is
I'm mainly writing this review to share my experience that this shock took a pretty significant time to brake in for me. I would otherwise put this in negatives, but I've heard that the longer it takes to brake in a shock the better long term durability. Hearsay really, but could be some truth to it. Anyways after a good handful of rides, with fast, rocky tech sections included, mine really started behaving like a quality air shock should. Neither of my fox shocks had to brake in quite like that. At first I was thinking "What is going on with this thing!?!?", and I thought someone might find this warning helpful.
oh and make sure you get the right tune for your bike's suspension rate
overall im really glad i got this VS. spending to fix my DHXa's rebound damper...its a whole different bike now when i swap between the coil and air shocks so more versatile. i didn't notice the rear der thing other reviewers noted but i ride the fast, tech trails in western NC and had to force myself to stop listening to my rear der slap around like a little b
Similar Products Used: fox float, dhx air. now i swap between the RS monarch and an elka stage 5
Bike Setup: 170mm fox float slack'd with an angleset on a banshee rune. 1x9 with chainguide. rs reverb. chromag bars cut to 750, etc...sees a lot of climbing
a Cross Country Rider
from Atlanta, GA, USA
Date Reviewed: October 26, 2011
Strengths: Great shock that is relatively light weight
Easily to switch positions
Weaknesses: Valve spins if cap is too tight
Sag is a little off in my opinion
I read the other 2 reviews above and decided to try this shock out because the Fox Float RP23 had such bad reviews, I like to research as much as possible and the Fox seemed to have a lot of issues and needed rebuilding quite often.
My initial setup with adjusting the sag seemed way to stiff at 20% and it was almost where I would want the stiffest setting to be. Sag is much better at 30% line indicated on the shock, I personally like just going by the psi. The shock pump which is included is very nice but you loose 10 psi when disconnecting so inflate an extra 10 psi.
As the other reviews I did notice that the shock is quieter and there is less chain slap than before with my float R. The gate adjustment is easy to switch while riding and it gets great wheel contact when set in the medium or high setting. Climbs great and is a smooth shock.
a Cross Country Rider
from san clemente, ca
Date Reviewed: September 3, 2011
Strengths: reasonably priced, solid, light, good features.
Weaknesses: none so far.
When linkage bolt snapped, local shop drained by brain-fade. So, I decided it was time to get away from the frankenstein proprietary set-up. Reviews of RP23 make it seem like fox is doing better controlling the market than making solid product, so I went with Monarch tuned by PUSH. Like my fellow reviewer, oddest experience with this shock is noise reduction. very composed at-speed over the bumps. what happened to the chain slap?! with the float r, the whole rig rattled on descents and (without brain) impossible mechanical bull-like pedal bob in the climbs. sram/rockshox deserves credit for a well-controlled rear shock. smooth operator with gate fully-open and still decent climbing characteristics. with gate at med, climbing is very solid and composed. You can do better on pricing away from PUSH, in which case the shock would be 5 chilis on value.
Similar Products Used: fox float r with specialized brain fade
Bike Setup: '06 stumpjumper fsr pro, sram x.0 rd, xtr front, talas rlc fork, sram 9 shifters (most is so old, who cares?)
a Cross Country Rider
from Pagosa Springs, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: July 23, 2011
Strengths: Plush, wide range of adjustment, strong shock for heavy riders, good bump compliance......
Weaknesses: none as of yet
Just switched over from a fox vanilla coil to the rt3. Ride quality has greatly improved.... smoother and quieter. The first thing I noticed was how much quieter my ride was( I assume this is due to lack of chain slap). Stoked. Not a full lock out but reeeaaaalll firm with zero bob. Power transfer is tripled. Makes my riding experience much better. I would definately recommend this shock as an alternative to the rp23.Gets 5 chilis on value cuz I got the hookup.Gets 4 for overall cuz I havent run this shock long enough to know how this thing will hold up.Good trail shock