As part of my recent trip to Moab in Utah I was introduced to another of SRAM’s new releases (read Ed H’s story on the BoXXer changes here), the DebonAir addition to their Monarch RT3 and Monarch Plus RC3 rear shocks. This is an air can upgrade with increased air volume to both positive and negative air chambers for a more linear spring curve, with the result – according to RS – being a softer, more easily actuated initial third of the shock stroke.
In fact, RockShox go as far as to promise exactly 25% less force needed to initiate movement, with the desired effect being a more supple shock over the small bumps that the first third of the travel of a shock has to deal with – which should give more grip and of course a smoother transition into the shock’s working range. As RockShox themselves put it, “The connection between your bike and the terrain will be seamless, as your DebonAir equipped shock absorbs every little hit without any harsh feeling on your body. A shock so soft, you can push way harder.”
Does it work? Is it really better than Monarch without DebonAir? Well at this point in time I’m not really in a position to comment on that as, despite what you may read elsewhere on the internet from SRAM’s Moab Trail House, it would be impossible to comment on the shock’s subtleties without back-to-back testing against the same Monarch without DebonAir. We at Dirt will let you know once we’ve done just that, but can hazard a guess that RockShox’s engineers have most likely got it just right.
Available in May 2014, the DebonAir can will be standard on 2014 Monarch Plus RC3, optional on Monarch RT3, and also available as an upgrade for any 2014 Monarch or Monarch Plus and 2013 Monarch RT3.
Heading out on a ride of Moab’s famous Porcupine Rim trail – one of the testing grounds for RockShox products. I can certify that any product capable of dealing with the endless succession of square-edged rocks in the upper reaches and loose-as (technical term) trail conditions down low must be pretty good.
We don’t have a UK price as yet, but the upgrade kit will be €104.21 (precisely), Monarch RT3 DebonAir 2014 €324-347, and Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir €444.