RockShox Monarch RT3 Shock: Rider Review

Our "Rider Review" article series features honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for. 

There are 3 main contact points on a bike, handlebars, pedals, and saddle; for the later, there are only a couple items that can make the ‘old butt dyno feel what’s going on. The tires and the rear shock. For someone who likes to keep the rear end lively during training, but in check for racing, there are few shocks better than the RockShox Monarch RT3. Check out this customer review to learn more!

Rockshox monarch rt3 rear shock rider review

Straight out of the box I noticed a few things. The first is that RockShox provides a 50-hour rebuild kit WITH the new shock. Not only is this a helpful reminder (I’ve been known to let shock rebuilds fester for some time) but also a value adder knowing that I won’t need to seek this out when the time comes. One of my main reasons for purchasing the shock aside from performance (more on that later) was the ease of service. Disassembly is a breeze and adding and removing volume spacers did not even require completely removing the shock from my Rocky Mountain Instinct, a bike with a tricky rear triangle disassembly that makes removing shocks a pain. The shock comes with ‘0’ volume reducing bands installed from the factory, so 2 were added for my 190 lbs self who occasionally races cross country on this bike, but mainly enjoys getting fast and loose on the trails surrounding Fort Collins.

Rockshox Monarch RT3 rear shock review


This has 3-positions to control the firmness (Open, Pedal, and Lock-out). The ‘pedal’ setting is only necessary for the most punishing of fire road climbs, and with volume reducers in place, the pedal bob is minimal climbing in the ‘Open’ position.


Riding the shock is a night and day difference compared to the custom-tuned Fox CTD unit supplied with the bike. Ample support exists throughout the stroke encouraging you to leave the dropper post lowered and deploy a few powerful pedal strokes to monster truck over obstacles. The Monarch RT3 remains calm and composed over jaw rattling rock gardens and seemingly suctioned to the ground in the loose chunk. Each click of rebound provides noticeable differences in feel compared to the Fox unit as well. Once set to my preferences the shock has excellent bottom-out resistance on both technical, sharp-edged, downhills and drops as well as pumping on flowing sections with my full body weight.

Rockshox monarch rt3 rear shock rider review

Build Quality

The build quality compared to the Fox unit is noticeable. Although the RockShox Monarch RT3 and Fox CTD are separated by a few production years the RockShox can is sturdy, stiff, and tolerances are perfect. Adding clicks of rebound has a positive clear ‘click’ in feedback, and moving between firmness positions is done with a good amount of resistance before the dial ‘chunks’ directly into the desired setting.

Final Thoughts

I highly recommend this shock to any trail riders and ‘descent’ oriented cross country racers. This was a no-brainer upgrade to an aging frame with a rear shock that had been through multiple rebuilds. It has completely woken an ‘older’ trail bike up and modernized the performance of the suspension.

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October 20, 2019

Rear Shock › Rider Review › RockShox ›

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