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What is black, chubby and fully user serviceable?

Fat vs skinny, black vs gold

Fat vs skinny, black vs gold

To give just a little bit more stick to this dead horse, I was never quite happy with the stock Fox ctd factory trail adjust boost valve kashiblingbling (puh) shock on the Stumpy. A wallowy but yet spiky compression feel and a rebound that felt either too fast on big compression or too slow in the beginning of the stroke, supplemented by severe heating issues and more or less lockout in midstroke during longer descents have me suspecting that it might need service or something. I did an air can service, including new seals, but to no avail. It will be interesting to see if a proper service and Push tuning can sort it out. I refuse to believe that everyone can ride with such crappy performance without complaining. Or am I just overly sensitive? Might well be, I’m used to big downhill shocks or Bos, maybe I am just spoiled.

Anyway, after a lot of looking around at last I got my hands on the very elusive Rockshox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir 2015 (seriously, who comes up with these names?) with the silly proprietary Specialized mounting system. For under 350€, it seems to represent very good value indeed compared to the competition; The Fox Float X is north of 700€, and so is the Bos Kirk (and out of those two, I know for sure which one I would blow my money on). The new Marzocchi 053 S3C2R (seriously? That must be the worst name for a rear shock ever, or at least since the Roco that everyone misspells as the name of a sing long retired old male adult film contributor with a very specific niche) is around 500€ which is right in between, but reliability is unproven, availability is nil and performance unknown.But it looks sharp.

Not that any of this matters, since for us stuck with Specialized and their proprietary mounting there is only the choice between a Float CTD, the Monarch+ or trying to bodge together the CTD with a stock FloatX, apparently Mojo can do it but total price is like two or three Monarch+, so why bother.

There we go, Monarch Plus it is. Mounted on the bike, and with 11 13 bars in the air can (160 188 psi for those of you who are still imperial) I get a nice 33% sag. (I had to edit the pressure figures, as it turns out that the negative chamber is huge and by the time they had equalised and everything was in balance I had added air four times in half bar increments). The car park bounce test in the open setting suggests a lively feel with nice progression towards the end stroke, but of course extensive trail time is needed to say anything proper. If I can just leave my cold behind and become a proper functioning person again, I might even do some back to back tests with the ctd to see what is what. Maybe tomorrow…