Weight: 325 g / 11.4 oz.
Damping: Hydraulic with IFP, External Rebound, 3 Position Compression Lever
- 222 xx 66mm (8.75×2.6″)
- 216 x 63mm (8.5×2.5″)
- 200 x 50 or 57mm (7.875×2.0 or 2.25″)
- 190 x 50mm (7.5×2.0″)
Spring: Solo Air
Spring Adjust: Air pressure via single Schrader valve
Shaft Material: Aluminum
Shaft Diameter: 9mm
Body Material: Aluminum
Body Finish: Clear hard anodized with sag gradients
Upgrade: Over R: 3 position compression adjuster
Options: High Volume air can; Color Options: White, Black
Ever since I’ve been riding my Turner 5.Spot, I couldn’t escape the feeling that the bike wasn’t being “allowed” to work to its full potential. Any heavily marketed suspension system (that a frame builder spends far too much money promoting) relies heavily on what the spring and damper are doing in the equation. All the veepeedeedubquadcrap in the world doesn’t mean a whole lot if it’s crippled by a shock.
“Crippled” might be a little rough for how the stock Fox damper feels on the 5.Spot frames, but super-high-frequency chatter still felt like it could be opened up a bit in how the bike was working. Plus, I blew the damper on the thing within the first few months and had to order a second shock from Fox, which was promised to be the same tune. But I’ve had enough “special treatment” from shock tuners telling me what I really want that, when I got a replacement, it didn’t surprise me that it was shimmed with an even harsher compression tune. It just kind of pissed me off. So now it was really time to try something else.
After some discussions with friends and a nice feller from Turner bikes, it sounded like a lot of folks were really digging the Rock Shox Monarch Plus RC3. In fact, everyone I’d talked to said this was pretty much the shock for this frame. After digging into the tuning for a bit and almost a full summer season riding it, I absolutely agree.
The RC3 takes a nod from some bigger non-trail bike dampers and does one thing important: It puts more stuff inside. That extra ding dong on the body is filled with something that makes 15-minute sustained descents all the more enjoyable: more damper oil. That means is the overall temperature of the oil in the damper circuit stays a little cooler because there’s more oil to heat up for a given number of cycles. Most XC/trailbike/all-mountaineering shocks focus hard on weight savings, and oil and the space to store it means weight. This little guy bridges the gap a bit between total priority on performance and priority on weight. Oil gets thinner as it gets hot, and that means it can pass through damper ports and shims quicker. I’ve gotten so used to compromised rebound damping on long descents with air shocks, I’ve kind of just come to accept it as a given.
When I got the shock, Colorado Springs was half on fire, with most, if not all, of the employees at the RockShox base there under not only workplace evacuation threats, but looming danger to their own domiciles. When I realized that I’d gotten a shock most certainly not setup for the frame I’d intended to put it on (in terms of air spring), I certainly gave the guys a pass. Sometimes real life just gets distracting, ya know?
Like Fox, there’s a bit of selection when it comes to air sleeve size: There’s a small and large configuration, and I got the large. But a quick call to RockShox left me with the impression that I’d no doubt find some rubber band spacers in the outer sleeve. See, RockShox does something really cool: They make this large-volume air can but also make some red rubber bands that fit on the inner sleeve to cut down on that volume. So, yes, if you have a small can, and a large can, and want something in between, it’s all yours. Fox offers some plastic ring equivalents, but you’ve got to remove the full air can, not just an outer sleeve, to install them, and there are only three of them. (It takes about eight RockShox rubber bands to fill the outer sleeve of a Monarch can, for reference.) Don’t even ask me how a small, medium, or large spacer on the inside of a Fox can compares to god-knows-how-many rubber bands in the outer sleeve of a RockShox can…just know that there’s a little more precision with the RockShox system.