Rockshox Monarch 4.2 air shock review

Viable alternative to Fox's air shocks

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £220.00 RRP | USD $496.48
The Monarch is available in five eye-to-eye lengths

Our review

Monarch may be new heir apparent to the XC rear air shock throne
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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.

Product Specifications


Name Monarch 4.2 Air Shock
Brand RockShox

Additional Features Available in 5 eye to eye lenghts - 152mm 165mm 190mm 200mm or 216mm
Externally Adjustable Rebound Damping Yes
Spring Type Solo Air
Damping Adjustment External Rebound Floodgate
Spring Adjustment Air pressure