Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rock Shox steps up their game in a huge way with the new Pike RCT3 fork and Monarch Plus RC3 rear shock!

Rock Shox made a splash back in April with their product launch resurrecting the beloved Pike fork and new Monarch RC3 rear shock. By now you have probably heard of the new Pike and how it has taken the suspension market by storm and is essentially the fork to have on your trail / all mountain bike. Features such as the 35mm stanchions, new Charger damper cartridge and RCT3 adjustment (open, pedal and lock) in a sub 4 lb. package makes for a fork that targets Fox's 34mm and 36mm designs. After a couple hundred miles and a weekend in Downieville I thought I would share my thoughts on the new suspension.

My Knolly Endorphin with 140mm of rear travel was the ideal platform for the Rock Shox Monarch Plus RC3 rear shock and Rock Shox Pike RCT3 150mm Solo Air fork. With it's confidence inspiring geometry, the Endorphin begs to be ridden hard through rough technical terrain which is ideal for testing out the new Rock Shox suspension.

The Pike looks great on just about every bike I have seen one on! The black stanchions really stand out and keep the front end looking really clean! Looks aside, the Pike is packed with tuning features that every rider can appreciate. The RCT3 adjustment (open, pedal and lock) work really well as I found that I kept the fork in the "pedal" position most of the time until I came up to a technical descent and really wanted to put the fork through it's paces. In the "open" position the Pike literally floats over whatever is in front of me as it really soaks up technical features and rough terrain while asking for more! Rock Shox's new Charger damper is really the crown jewel of the new Rock Shox Pike RCT3 in my opinion as it provides buttery smooth suspension that usually isn't synonymous with air suspension forks. Another great feature of the Pike is the low speed compression adjustment that allows you to dial in the fork when it comes to small bump compliance and controlling brake dive. Sweet!

Sag gradient lines on the right leg paired with an air pressure table on the left leg make setting up the suspension to your weight and rider preference really easy. And yes, Rock Shox includes shock pump and an extra set of oil seals and dust wipers for your first service, nice! Check out those beefy 35mm stanchions!

While many riders choose to run the shock that comes stock on their frame, there may be room for a significant performance gain by upgrading your rear shock. The Monarch Plus RC3 has proven this to me! While I was content with the performance stock Fox Float CTD rear shock that came on my Knolly Endorphin, I had no idea what I was missing! The Monarch Plus RC3 has the same (open, pedal and lock) compression positions of the Pike fork which is really nice as it is easy to balance your front and rear suspension based on the riding you are doing. Supple, plush suspension is the name of the game with this shock! Compared to what I was running, this shock feels more linear like a coil shock (without the weight penalty) but has no problem ramping up on big hits and getting you back up in the travel (thanks to Rapid Recovery). Akin to the Rock Shox Pike RCT3, the Monarch Plus RC3 also has sag gradient lines making setting up your suspension sag a breeze. I recently set up a client with the new Monarch Plus RC3 rear shock and here is what he had to say: "Set up and just back from first rip. Great call, transformed the bike. Love the shock!" Ken Nickel-Lane Alberta, Canada

In conclusion, a couple years ago I would've never considered myself a "Rock Shox guy".
However the amazing new Rock Shox Pike RCT3 fork and Monarch Plus RC3 rear shock have really changed my view on Rock Shox and I strongly feel as though they have hit a home run with this suspension combination. If you are considering building up a new bike or upgrading the suspension on your current rig, take a long look Rock Shox's new offerings. The Rock Shox Pike RCT3 forks have travel options ranging from 140mm to 160mm, with Solo Air (full travel) and Dual Position (drop the travel down 30mm) options that can accommodate 26", 27.5" and 29" wheel options.

If you have any questions about the Rock Shox Pike RCT3 fork or Monarch Plus RC3 rear shock, please conatact: 

Brian Waugh
Toll Free: 866-497-3624 ext. 204
International | Direct +1 510-529-3043