New 2010 RockShox Monarch & Ario Mountain Bike Shocks

BIKERUMOR.com 2009 SEA OTTER CLASSIC COVERAGE: Video coverage from the SRAM press lunch continues with a full run down of the 2010 RockShox Monarch and Ario rear shocks.

2010 rockshox monarch mountain bike rear suspension air shock with dual air lockout and sag gradient marks shown at 2009 sea otter classic

Rockshox has broken their suspension development into teams, and the rear suspension team is the largest group among them.  They seemed genuinely excited about what they’re working on, and they’re making a big push to get their stuff spec’d on brands as OE.

Along those lines, the 2010 Monarch gets expanded OEM tunes, which suggests you really will be seeing them pop up on a lot more 2010 bikes, but the big tech news is they now have a Dual Air version with some nifty adjustment features.  Check the video for info straight from the source, then hit ‘more’ for photos and details…

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One of the niftiest features is a swiveling and twisting negative air valve.  It has a detented swivel valve that rotates around it’s mount point, or you can depressurize the shock and rotate the whole section around the air can body.  This allows for easier installs, access and set up by letting you move the valve away from any frame bits that may hamper access.

The biggest technical innovation is the addition of a Dual Air model.  This combines an air main spring with an air negative spring.  The benefit is that you can use higher pressure in the negative spring to induce small bump compliance for a supple feel, then let the compression damping worry about the medium and large hits.  Prior to this setup, Rockshox had to balance compression with small bump performance with a compromise in compression damping…now it’s got the best of both.

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Rockshox also updated the lockout to provide a more solid on/off feel, but tuned it with a bypass valve for really big hits.  They claim it locks it out sufficiently to provide a solid pedaling platform, but it’ll take a hit if necessary.  The new Ario shocks, below, share this lockout feature.

2010 rockshox ario mountain bike shock full suspension air with remote lockout

The 2010 Rockshox Ario shock is in production now and should be available soon.  It’ll initially come in three models, the 1.1, 2.1 and 3.2.  The remote lockout version, based on the 3.2 will come about a month or so later.  The Ario is intended to have performance on par with the Monarch, but intended for mid-level performance bikes starting around $1,000.  It uses the same damper body and air can as the Monarch, but loses some of the bells and whistles like sag markings, swivel valves (and negative air adjustment, for that matter).  On-the-trail feel should be similar, though.

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Features for the 1.1 (right) and 2.1 include:

  • 1.1 – Non adjustable beyond the amount of air you put in it.  Mainly an OEM part, tuned for the specific bike it’s going on at the factory.
  • 2.1 – Adds rebound adjustment (the red knob under the eyelet), but no lockout.  Also OEM only.

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  • 3.2 – Shown on right, the 3.2 adds a lockout lever to the mix.  This one’s available aftermarket for about $225, and comes in all popular eyelet lengths to fit most any frame.  Weight is 210g for 165mm eyelet length.
  • Remote Lockout – coming soon, simply moves lockout control to the bar.

It’s worth noting that the remote lockout for the Monarch, the way I understood it, will allow control of the compression damping from the bar, from loose to locked.

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