RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir shock review£468.99

Still one of the finest, and most user friendly shocks

BikeRadar score4/5

The Monarch is a classic for good reason. Sag markings and simple, intuitive controls make it a cinch to get set up. This RC3 Debonair version uses a huge negative chamber, giving (almost) coil-spring levels of sensitivity in the beginning stroke, before ramping up smoothly after sag to prevent wallow.

Combined with volume spacer bands, this means mid-end stroke support is easy to tune to your needs, so the lack of compression fine-tuning is no barrier to performance if you choose the right base setting. 

The ‘Rapid Recovery’ rebound tune means a more flexible shim stack, which recovers faster from deep in the stroke before slowing down to avoid shooting too far past sag.

The RC3 Monarch is a benchmark set-and-forget shock
The RC3 Monarch is a benchmark set-and-forget shock

This works a treat with most frames, though aggressive riders who want to fill it full of volume spacers will benefit from the firmer ‘Medium’ rebound tune, as we chose, or it can come up too fast after hard landings.

Rebound consistency on long DH runs is mid-pack and it feels slightly less sensitive than the DVO or Float X2 under direct comparison. 

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Seb Stott

Technical Writer, UK
Seb is a geeky technical writer for BikeRadar, as well as MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines. Seb's background in experimental physics allows him to pick apart what's really going on with mountain bike components. Years of racing downhill, cross-country and enduro have honed a fast and aggressive riding style, so he can really put gear to the test on the trails, too.
  • Age: 24
  • Height: 192cm/6'3"
  • Weight: 85Kg/187 lbs
  • Waist: 86cm / 34in
  • Chest: 107cm / 44in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep!
  • Current Bikes: Focus Sam 3.0, Kona Process 111, Specialized Enduro 29 Elite
  • Dream Bike: Mondraker Crafty with Boost 29" wheels, a 160mm fork and offset bushings for maximum slackness.
  • Beer of Choice: Buckfast ('Bucky' for short)
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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