Here in this review, our customer Liam Hyland talks about swapping out his Cane Creek Double Barrel IL for a Rockshox Monarch Plus RC3. Liam breaks down his installation, setup, and riding impressions out on the trail. Read more below!
For a little backstory on why I decided to get the Rockshox Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair from Worldwide Cyclery, I wanted to upgrade the stock Rockshox Monarch R that originally came on my bike. The old shock only had a rebound dial that had 12 clicks of adjustment and since it wasn’t the debonair model, I couldn’t tune it to make it more progressive. But since this shock is pretty expensive, I didn’t initially jump to buy it right away. After my stock shock, I opted to go with the the Cane Creek Double Barrel inline shock. Mainly because I got a good deal on it and thought it was very cool that you could play with the high and low speed compression rebound separately. Additionally, I liked that fact that it was made it the USA. After mounting up the Cane Creek shock, I really liked it but overall I thought it felt slightly over-damped for me, my riding style, and the suspension kinematics of my bike frame.
Because of this, I decided to get rid of the Cane Creek Double Barrel inline and go with the Rockshox Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair. I decided to go with (MM) the medium compression and medium rebound starting setting that is based on the different kinematics of your bike. I mounted it up with ease then set it to have 30% sag and went on a quick ride around my neighborhood. The shock was in the open position at this point and when riding down an unpaved, washed out road, it bottomed out a few times. When I got to my house, I then proceeded to put in about 20% sag. This was not ideal because it really sacrificed small bump sensitivity while keeping the shock from not bobbing enough.I decided to take it to my local trail system only to find that it was blowing through its travel much more than I wanted whenever I hit small jumps or doubles.
After that day, I put in 4 volume reducer tokens that I had purchased online. I thought this was a perfect number to keep it from feeling too linear and jellowey while keeping it high in its travel. This process was very simple and super straightforward, I think Rockshox did a great job in this regard. When I hit the trails for the first time the shock felt amazing, it blew away any other shock I had tried before. On my local jump line with gap jumps of 15 feet, the shock felt very planted and composed with very little pedal bob, even in the open mode. In the open mode, it ate up all the roots and rocks with ease while also feeling springy and lively and not overly damped which I really appreciate.
I think it's awesome that you can service this shock all by yourself if you ever have a problem with it. The main thing I really like about this shock though is how springy/smooth and coil like it feels. Also it can take huge hits while managing all the small bumps with ease due to the the piggyback and debonair features. I only really used the trail mode when it was very flowy flat sections with very little bumps and lock out when it was long sustained fire-road climbs.
Overall I would rate this shock a 10/10.