Thursday, June 30, 2011

Preview: Rock Shox Monarch RT3 2011

The elusive Monarch shock. Man ive been trying a long time to get my hands on this 2011 version, now I finally succeeded.
The first version I got was faulty, the shock had issues with compression and rebound, send it back in, and got a new version - faulty as well. You can imagine my frustration at this point. I finally got a working version, and are now setup to do some proper testing.

My initial impressions are positive, this shock has very good midstroke, and the most effective compression adjust ive ever had the opportunity to try. The low/mid/firm setting is really just that, way more efficient than the one you find on the Fox RP23.

On the downside, I think that the beginning stroke is a bit hard, and end stroke is very hard to reach. However, the compression-curve to the endstroke is satisfying liniear, so I have some issues even mentioning this "fault".

To be honest, Its hard and snappy initial stroke makes me feel like its more a XC shock, but its potent handling of big hits allways makes me doubt this very idea. This shock has a split personality.

The RT3 has a 3 way compression tune, a low-speed rebound, and an internal pre-set highspeed rebound. I went for the high volume canister.
(click to enlarge)
Officially the monarch has a spring curve that looks like this. The actual spring curve looks very different tho', I will post my study in the final review.
(click to enlarge)
Weight resembles a FOX RP23, size shown is a 216x63mm:
(click to enlarge)

So is this a XC shock with a high volume canister strapped to it, or is it a legit AM shock that takes whatever you throw at it. Stick around to find out in the actual review.


  1. Hi i have a monarch rt3 i was reading your thread especially the part about you having 2 faulty shocks first. I too think my shock is faulty it seams to "thud" on a sudden inpact at the begining if the compression stroke . Just wondering if you had any similar problems with your frist two shocks. Have sent to shock to rockshox who said they did a full service and rebuild but still is the same. Really fustrated now only rode bike one so far! lol

  2. Hi there. I dont think I have the same problem as you do, sounds like you got a compression fault of some sort. Does your shock use full travel? I do have trouble with the negative air spring, and the shocks leaks air as well when ridden hard : / Im slowly getting frustrated..again.

  3. With regards to the 'thud' problem, ive had the same issue with two of the monarch TL's, waiting on the shop to fit the 3rd. The problem ive had is the first 20mm of the compression stroke has no resistance, this results in a constant knocking everytime i pedal.
    The first had 30miles of XC riding and the 2nd less than 15miles.
    Its my impression from what the shop have told me, that theyve had a few returned and this might be an issue for Rockshox that is about to cause a recall. We will have to see on that one.
    My advice is if the shock is new or under warrenty then keep returning it to the dealer or Rockshox themselves to sort out.

  4. Hi there, thanks for the input. I actually just got the shock back from tuning and service at TF tuned, and so far its definitely an improvement. Shock feels better, and the shock stabilizes instantly in the first 20% of the stroke - it didn't before.

    Be sure to check out the (pre TF tuned) review as well.