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Rockshox Monarch BASIC set-up & tuning guide

Terra's picture

By Terra - Posted on 12 June 2014

G'day all,
Here is a BASIC Rockshox Monarch RT3 rear shock set-up and tuning guide that I put together for anyone who needs it.
No info came with my bike, nor in any online manual, so I compiled a basic set of notes. It's just a SIMPLE starting place for playing around with your suspension set-up. Based on a 2012 model but it will probably help for other models. I originally posted it on mtbr and got some rep/thanks, so also posting it here for the locals...

You can find it here:

Hope it helps.

hawkeye's picture

Could I ask a favour please and get you to edit the link to include the "http://www." bit at the front? It's a PITA to copy to the browser address box using a mobile device. If you can do that it becomes clickable.


hawkeye's picture

Good article. I find the 30% sag mark is about right for the RT3 on my Scalpel. Previously with Fox shocks 25% was what worked. Took me awhile to relax about this.

For info, the platform lever positions on my MY2013 unit differ. 4:30 is open. 7:30 is platform and 12:00 is locked.

Not sure about others but I haven't found the following to be true:

It is inevitable that you will lose a tiny amount of air as you unscrew the pump.  Thus when you measure the pressure next time it will be a little less than what you thought you put in.

There is actually no loss when I unscrew the pump. By the time you hear the hiss the valve is closed and the sound is the air escaping from the pump hose. The reason the dial is down slightly when you reconnect is air escaping into the pump hose from the shock to equalise pressures.

It isn't necessary to add a little more when inflating to compensate for this shift. In fact doing so can make that small 5% adjustment more difficult to achieve than it needs to be.

At least that's how it works on my cheapo Giyo shock pump bought from Torpedo7.

Otherwise, a very helpful piece. Thanks for the links to tuning services.

Terra's picture

G'day Hawkeye,
I think someone else fixed the link with the http? It seems to be clickable now.

Yeah a bit of a change in sag can alter the bike for the better. It's interesting how we will stick with 'what we are told' rather than experiment and improve things. Again, that's why I wrote the guide so people can have a play and hopefully improve their bike.

These modern FS bikes are sooo damn capable. But also they are extremely sensitive to set-up - get it right and the bike is transformed. If you spend a few grand on a top bike, it makes sense to get the most from it.

Regarding the pump and air loss, you could be right about the 'apparent' loss being due to equalising when you put it on again - that makes sense. I'll edit the article to suit. Thanks for the feedback.

Flynny's picture

Yep hawkeye is right. The "loss" of pressure you see when you put the hose back on is just the air from the cylinder equalising withthe air in the hose.

When setting rebound Ilike to stand beside the bike push down on the seat with as much weight as I can and then let go suddenly, I want to get it so the rear wheel just leaves the ground when I unweight it. For just about every dually I've owned (XC AM and DH with various shocks) I've got that at about 3 or 4 clicks in from minimum.

Compression is going to depend on the trail and the conditions.

Again I find I'm usually a few clicks in from minimum but will slow it down If the main concerns on a trail are the bigger hits or if it's wet (not sure why it feels better but for me it does).

The urging to write every thing done is definately the engineer in you:) I tend to just remember the settings and go by feel.

Also when first setting up a new bike or fitting a new shock I like to take the shock pump with me and find a short bit of trail I am use too that offers a good feel for the types of trail I usually ride.

I set the shock using the basic rules of thumb and bounce tests but then turn it back a couple of clicks and ride the short section. Bump it back up a few more clicks and ride it again. See what feels good. adjust and ride.
Big tip though is to do 1 thing at a time. ie fiddle with the rebound until it feels good then play with the compression.

Terra's picture

Thanks Flynny,
Article has been updated to suit the 'air loss' issue.

Not just engineering - you should see my patient records Smiling
But seriously I find that recording everything with the bike is really important at the start - to learn what works for you. Once you have a good base set-up and become familiar with the setting changes it is not so important.

If people are getting the most from their MTB toys the world is a happier place!

pembo6's picture

Thanks very much Terra. I'm going to be setting mine up tomorrow. So this is perfect timing.

My model is different to te example.

When setting the sag, do I need to put the blue lever on lock, unlock, or pedal ? I think unlock is the open setting (lowest compression setting? Most plush setting?).

Or does it not matter?


hawkeye's picture

Use the most plush setting. That would be the "unlock" graphic.

Terra's picture

Yeah use which ever is the most plush when setting the sag. Did a quick google and I'm guessing that 'unlocked' is 'open' or 'minimum' compression.

It matters because when you set the sag you want to minimise any damping effects or stiction (static friction) in the system. Thus it can more easily settle to show the true sag.

Stiction in the suspension is the reason you have to do two sag readings then average them. The first reading where you gently get on the bike, and the second reading where you push down and let it slowly come up (whilst still sitting on bike).

These two readings will be different because of stiction in the system. In a perfect world with no friction/stiction both readings would be the same.
Hope that helps.

pembo6's picture

Yeah. That makes sense.
Thanks for the help.

Cotic Tony's picture

A useful article, I've had my Monarch about a year now & it's set up almost identically to how you describe although it took a fair while of trial & error to get there. Your guide should help others get the best out of their shock far more quickly.

I like the shock but I've noticed that it feels very different from say an RP3 when trying to set it up in a car park, also the platform settings are not that noticeable unless riding. The RCT Revelation fork settings act the same way.

I had an air loss problem at one point but new "O" rings on the outer can sorted it out.

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