SEA OTTER CLASSIC 2010 – What with trail bikes getting lighter every minute, there’s no time like the present for a lightweight long-travel shock.Â Building on the SID name and heritage, Rockshox looks to be launching just that…probably in time for Interbike if we were gambling folk.
Not only is the SID gaining some length, but it’s adding a thru-axle!Â Looks like little SID is finally growing up, and we’re betting a tapered headtube can’t be far behind given the uses a 120mm fork is likely to see.Â Complimenting the new fork is a new Monarch RT3 shock spotted on the same bike, which has updated features versus the current model.
Make the jump for more pics and info…
The new SID RLT carries over the Motion Control platform damper and a dual air setup, power bulges in the lower legs and 32mm stanchions.Â What’s new is that 15mm Maxle thru-axle and the lowers get what appears to be a larger, more sculpted arch, both of which should help stiffen up the lightweight magnesium body.
Judging by the laser etched sag markers, the SID RLT looks like it’ll be internally adjustable from 100mm to 120mm (the current SID forks are adjustable from 80mm to 100mm using an internal spacer).
The crown on this prototype has the same controls as the SID Race, and in fact the silver graphics match the current SID Race exactly, which makes us think this is based on that model, which weighs in at 1475g and has both straight and tapered steerer tube options.Â Oh, and peep that little brake cable guide…it’s actually a mounted clamp rather than the small nubs on the current models that require a zip tie to hold things in place.Â Nice.
The Maxle thru-axle should keep things stiff, but adds a bit of weight over the 9mm QR…we’re guessing this fork will come in around 100g heavier.Â Any more than that and it’ll be bumping up against some of the Reba models, which kinda defeats the purpose.
The bottoms on the fork legs are flat on this model, whereas they’re slightly angled down from back to front on current models, which could mean there’s something new in there…not that we want to start any rumors.
The Monarch RT3 prototype has a few key differences versus the current Rockshox Monarch 3.3.Â First, the rebound knob (red) has moved onto the same spindle as the rebound lever.Â On current models, it’s inline with the shock under the mount.Â This new position should make it much easier to get to, especially with full finger gloves on.
The other big change is that the air valve is now fixed, it doesn’t swivel.Â Of course, given that all three Monarch 3.X models on their website are listed as OEM (not available for aftermarket) only, chances are you’ll have to buy a bike that comes with this shock to get it.Â The 4.2 is the only version offered in the aftermarket.
That MM logo could mean it’s getting Motion Control compression damping, which would give it a place on more race/performance oriented bikes that otherwise are relying on something like Fox’s ProPedal (According to RockShox’s tech service department, their shocks don’t have any sort of platform compression damping at present, although that’s basically what their Floodgate is supposed to be, usually shortened to “Gate” on their forks, like above.Â Their website isn’t much help in deciphering the difference, either).
UPDATE: OK, just talked to Sander Rigney, Rockshox product manager, and here’s the deal: The Monarch shocks have Floodgate control, not Motion Control (sorry, James), allowing you to set the amount of platform before the blowoff moves the shock into supple, bump eating motion.Â The Blue knob sets that between max and minimum, and the settings are equivalent to the platform settings on Fox’s ProPedal.Â It’s not a lockout, which is not available on the Monarch line.Â The MM logo is the type of tune on this fork, and RS has various little codes for different factory tunes, all of which are done based on the bike they’re going on.Â Also, said but not exactly voiced was that Monarch will likely continue to only have an aftermarket option at the high end of it’s range.Â Judging from these pics, the level of control isn’t changing, just the placement of the dials.Â If current model features carry forward, the aftermarket version will likely have an on/off switch for the Floodgate.
SIDE NOTE: For the record, since I had to ask, too, here’s the deal with Motion Control:Â Part of what makes up Motion Control is a compressible spring tube that essentially looks like a piece of Swiss cheese rolled into a tube…holes throughout, although they’re nice and symetrical.Â When a MC-equipped fork is locked out and you hit something, the tube will compress slightly, giving up to 10mm of travel depending on the model, so that the fork can continue to track well while still providing the efficiency you were trying to get by locking out your fork in the first place.Â What’s crazy is that on high end forks, the compressible tube is made of titanium.Â It’s Delrin on other models.Â Now we know.
The rebound knob will likely continue to adjust the beginning stroke rebound, with ending stroke rebound characteristics set at the factory.
The canister on this one also mimics the shape of the Monarch 4.2 shock, which is slightly larger than the 3-series Monarchs.Â A bigger canister typically means less ramp up at the end, and what would be really interesting is if they’ve made space for a secondary chamber like in their new Vivid Air or the Trek-specific Fox DRCV shock.Â We’re just sayin’, that would be sweet…
Look for new product announcements in mid May at Rockshox’s press camp in Durango, CO.Â We’re checking our mailbox daily for Bikerumor’s invite.