Rockshox Monarch 4.2 air shock review£220.00

Viable alternative to Fox's air shocks

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Updated for 2008, RockShox’s top-of-the-line air shock is just as good as the ubiquitous Fox RP

We’ve been giving a range of Monarch rear shocks a hammering over the course of the year, and have been impressed with the adjustability, overall reliability and the subtlety they can add to even well mannered bikes.

The Monarch 4.2 has all the current RockShox damping technologies present and correct. There’s external rebound damping, floodgate and a floodgate on/off.

RockShox uses its SoloAir system to charge both positive and negative chambers through a single adjustable angle valve.

You can decide on the floodgate level depending on your riding and style and your bike’s suspension characteristics, set the rebound to your liking and go ride.

The shock is available in 152mm, 165mm, 190mm, 200mm or 216mm lengths, so there’s one for most modern bikes. You can also choose from three other models with progressively fewer user adjustments as the price drops.

The 4.2 could be lighter if carbon was used for the air can, like DT Swiss does on its XR Carbon model – but then the price would go up.

A trivial point: it would be nice if RockShox offered custom colour graphics for the air can (like it does with the new SID) so you could match your rear shock with your fork.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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