The RockShox rear shock range from SRAM is large and encompasses shocks for many different bikes from cross-country race machines to trail bikes to downhill brawlers. Here we run through everything you need to know about their range from the Deluxe model to Super Deluxe, Monarch, plus coil and air versions too.
Everything you need to know about Rockshox rear shocks
We run you through each of the models in the RockShox rear suspension range so you know what bike the shock is for, which specs they come in and which one is best suited to your needs. Either scroll away or hit the link below to jump directly to that shock. If its Rockshox forks that you really want to know about then click here.
The Deluxe shocks in the Rockshox range are more entry level, trail shocks although there is a great deal in variation in specifications and features as you move from the Select to the Ultimate shock. They are designed to be lightweight shocks with similar damping qualities across the entire range. All shocks in this range are available with a standard or trunnion mount (runs on bearings rather than bushes). These shocks us the new 'metric' sizing which is a new set of sizes for rear shocks that have been agreed upon by several suspension and frame manufacturers.
The base model shock is the Deluxe Select, it uses the brands' DebonAir spring and you can adjust the rebound damping. The damper type is listed as 'R' indicating the rebound adjustment. Inside there's the new Maxima Plush damping fluid which is said to reduce friction and silence damper noise. This fluid is also meant to perform better at all temperatures for a more consistent feel as the shock heats up. The stanchion features markings so you can easily set the level of sag. Shocks also come in metric sizes which aims to simplify the sizing of rear shocks for frame manufactures and increase bush overlap inside the shock to improve durability.
The Deluxe Select+ shock comes with much of the same tech as the Select, it uses the DebonAir air spring and Maxima Plush fluid, you still get the sag setting markings on the stanchion and again, its available in metric sizes and you get rebound damping adjustment. The difference here is the addition of the compression climbing switch (open/closed), flick this lever to closed and it adds low speed compression to prevent the shock moving so much when climbing. Flick the switch to open for descending.
The Deluxe Ultimate steps the features up a notch. As well as rebound damping adjustment there is also low speed compression adjustment dial allowing the rider to add damping at their required rate. In addition, there is also the open/closed climb switch as on the Select+ shock. The shock uses Rockshox RCT damper. As you'd expect it also gets DebonAir air spring and Maxima Plush fluid, you still get the sag setting markings on the stanchion and it's available in metric sizes. You can also get this shock with the hardware to fit it with a remote bar lockout instead of the lever.
The Deluxe Nude shock was developed with the Scott team to provide riders with a super light rear shock with three modes (Descend, Traction and Lock) operated via the blue dial. As per normal the red dial deals with the rebound damping It benefits from the DebonAir air spring, sag markings, and metric sizing. Rather than options of shock tunes, its available with a medium rebound and medium compression tune and its a trunnion-mount shock only.
- Claimed weight - none listed
This is essential a shock from the Monarch range but using metric sizing, therefore, benefiting from increased bush overlap and decrease friction by the use of new seals. It still uses the DebonAir air spring and well as rebound damping adjustment the shock gets a three position lever climb switch which Rockshox says keeps the bike higher in its travel when engaged. The three positions are open/pedal/lock. Again the shock is available in a standard or a trunnion mount.
- Claimed weight - none listed
Super Deluxe shocks follow the same hierarchy as the Deluxe shocks with spec options using the Select, Select+ and Ultimate names, with these shocks getting a 'piggyback' reservoir for more oil volume. The Super Deluxe range of shock will be most commonly fitted to more enduro orientated, harder-hitting bikes with 140-160mm of travel. Here the 'piggyback' distributes the compression damping between two circuits which allowed the engineers to refine the feel making the shock more sensitive. Rockshox says that being able to split the compression loads allow them to refine the feel of the shock creating a more sensitive shock in the initial stroke making it feel more supple. More oil in the system also leads to less heat build-up, heat can reduce damping force so the shock speeds up when hot, therefore a piggyback can keep a more consistent feel and more consistent performance too. As well as this, keeping the IFP and damper charge (usually nitrogen) away from the main body of the shock there can be less heat build-up over a long descent which would otherwise change damping characteristics.
In addition to this, the Super Deluxe range is available as an air shock or a coil shock, both in a range of specifications.
The base model shock is the Deluxe Select, it uses the brands' DebonAir spring and you can adjust the rebound damping, the damper type is listed as 'R' indicating the rebound adjustment. Inside there's the new Maxima Plush damping fluid which is said to reduce friction and silence damper noise. This fluid is also meant to perform better at all temperatures for a more consistent feel as the shock heats up. The stanchion features markings so you can easily set the level of sag. Shocks also come in metric sizes which aims to simplify the sizing of rear shocks for frame manufactures and increase bush overlap inside the shock to improve durability. You can add or remove volume reducers tokens to tune the feel of the shock further.
The Super Deluxe Select+ gets all the features of the above shock but with the addition of a lever to move from an 'Open' position to what Rockshox call 'Threshold', preventing the rear shock from compressing until there is a significant bump impact or downward force. The damper type will be listed as 'RT' indicating there is rebound adjustment and that Threshold lever.
As above, but the Super Deluxe Ultimate also features external low speed compression damping adjustment. It also benefit from something Rockshox called 'Counter Measure' which they say reduces the breakaway force of the shock to near zero pounds, increasing sensitivity of the shock. Counter Measure is effectively a negative spring working in the damper rather than the air chamber, it balances the IFP (floating piston separating high pressure nitrogen champer with the oil on the other side) pressure, eliminating the force you might otherwise need to initiate shock movement. The damper type is listed as RCT, indicating rebound, compression and threshold features. Lastly, you can also get this shock with hardware fitted for a remote lockout (threshold) lever on the bars.
The Super Deluxe Ultimate DH is basically a Super Deluxe Ultimate shock but it does away with the Threshold lever as downhill racers won't be making use of it. The shock still gets rebound and low speed compression damping adjustments.
Using coil rather than an air spring, Rockshock aims to bring the consistency of a coil spring shock to trail and enduro bikes. This entry level coil shock gets the same 2-position threshold (Open/Pedal) lever, plus there is external rebound damping adjustment when in the open mode. This shock still benefits from the 'Counter Measure' tech as described in the Super Deluxe Ultimate shock section. Again these shocks are all in metric sizes (a new set of sizes for rear shocks that have been agreed upon by several suspension and frame manufacturers) and they all use Maxima Plush Fluid to reduce friction, silence damper noise and give a consistent feel in all temperatures.
The steel springs for the shock are available in 50lbs increments from 350lbs - 650lbs (length dependant).
- Claimed weight without spring - 393g
This shock gets the same features as the Super Deluxe Coil Select but, as is the theme with the other Select+ shocks, there is the addition of the threshold lever to give the rider the option between an Open and a Pedal (or Threshold mode). An option that will be put to use on some enduro bikes where riders are climbing as much as they are descending.
- Claimed weight without spring - 389g
Without sounding like a broken record, the Ultimate version of the Super Deluxe Coil shock has all of the above features with the addition of a low speed adjustment dial. You can also get this sock with hardware fitted for a remote lockout (threshold) lever on the bars.
- Claimed weight without spring - 406g
Finally, the DH version of the Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate is the same as the regular Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate but without that Threshold Open/Pedal lever.
- Claimed weight without spring - 441g
The SID range is Rockshox premium cross country range of forks and shocks. They all got a revamp for 2021 where two brand new, lightweight shocks were added to the collection. To find out more about the details of the new range, click here. Both the SIDLuxe Ultimate and SIDLuxe Select+ are rear shocks built to pair with SID SL and SID forks. RockShox says the shocks have a new weight focused XC design that at 227g is lighter than other rear shocks available. Rockshox says they have managed to make the shock lighter by keeping it small with a low air volume as well as not featuring a rebound knobs or dials to tune the damping, for that you'll need an Allen key on this shock, keeping the weight low
The SIDLuxe Ultimate shock gets 'Counter Measure' tech, a Debonair air spring, plus there is a range of adjustments including rebound damping, low speed compression damping and a lockout switch that can be operated by a remote lever, as such the damper is listed as RLR (rebound, low speed, remote). Interestingly, Rockshox differentiates this 'lockout' lever from the threshold lever on other shocks, with the service manual indicating that this is indeed a lockout that prevents the shock from compressing at all.
Plus there is sag gradient measurements, metric sizing, trunnion mounts available plus they use the same Maxima Plus fluid as the rest of the range. There will also be a SIDLuxe Select + shock available but it looks like that is OEM only (available on bikes bought as a whole bike from the manufacture) and is not able to be bought and retrofitted to you cross country bike, for that you'll need to buy the SIDLuxe Ultimate. We'll bring you more details as they emerge.
Monarch is the model name for the shocks that were around prior to the Deluxe and Super Deluxe range. These aren't built in metric sizing but are still available to buy as there are still bikes being ridden that don't conform to the new metric standards. There's also no Trunnion mounts here, that is saved for metric shocks and the Deluxe/Superdeluxe range. The letter suffix to the name of these shocks gives clues to the features and adjustments to be found, e.g. RL for rebound and low speed compression dials.
Throughout there are DebonAir air springs and those sag gradients again on the stanchions.
There are also 'Plus' version of the shock which indicates that the shock has a 'piggyback' reservoir.
The Monarch R shock is the entry level inline shock (no piggyback), the R denoting that there is rebound adjustment available. You can't fit volume reducer tokens to this shock either making it a simple and not highly adjustable shock.
Taking a step up in the range and you'll find the Monarch RT inline shock, this gets an Open/Threshold lever and rebound damping adjustment too. Remember the Threshold setting on that lever prevents the rear shock from compressing until there is a significant bump impact or downward force as opposed to a lockout. Think of it as an Open mode and a pedal mode for more efficient pedalling.
The Monarch RL is essentially the same shock as the Monarch RT but instead of an Open/Threshold lever, this one gets an Open/Lockout lever. In the lockout mode the shock resists any compression.
The Monarch RT3 gets the same DebonAir air spring and rebound adjustment dial but this shock gets a three position lever giving the rider the choice of open, threshold and lockout.
The Monarch Plus R shock is the first in the range with a 'piggyback reservoir'. Again, there's a DebonAir air spring and rebound damping adjustment available. The piggyback, like on the Super Deluxe shocks are designed for longer travel and harder hitting bikes where the shock might be expected to perform consistently over longer rougher descents. The advantages of the piggyback reservoir are explained here in the Super Deluxe section of text.
The Monarch Plus RC3 gets that three-position open/pedal/lockout lever plus a rebound damping dial. There are two versions of this shock, one with a DebonAir air spring and one featuring the lighter SoloAir air spring.
The Vivis Air R2C is predominant a downhill shock with an air spring (for the coil version see below). There is just one version of this shock which gets high and low speed rebound adjustment plus a low speed compression damping dial. There's no threshold or lockout lever because this is a downhill shock so it's presumed the rider won't be pedalling this shock a long way. Inside the shock gets the Counter Measure tech to reduce the breakaway force needed. There is a Twin Tube Solo Air spring which was designed to help control ramp up at the end of the stroke.
The Vivis R2C gets all the same features but instead of using an air spring it uses a steel coil spring making it a little heavier than the above shock. Again this is a shock for downhill and freeride bikes designed for ultimate traction on long-travel bikes.
Tech terms glossary
A new set of sizes for rear shocks that have been agreed upon by several suspension and frame manufacturers. Also allows the addition of 'trunnion mounts' to the range (see below). The aim of metric sizing was to simplify the sizing of rear shocks for frame manufactures and increase bush overlap inside the shock to improve durability.
Shock uses bearings in the top eyelet rather than bushes.
This is the premium air spring that RockShox offers. It uses a higher volume self-balancing negative air spring relative to the standard Solo Air design to offer reduced breakaway force for better small bump compliance and a more linear starting stroke.
RockShox is the only company to anodise sag markers onto their fork legs and shock stanchions to ease setup. All of their forks - except budget ones - have this feature. Very welcome it is too.
Solo Air spring
This is the standard air spring seen on RockShox forks and shocks. It's called Solo air because you only need to add air to a single valve and the spring will equalise the negative chamber by itself. At one point, they had a Dual Air spring that required you to do this via a second valve, hence the name.
Counter Measure is effectively a negative spring working in the damper rather than the air chamber, it balances the IFP (floating piston separating high pressure nitrogen champer with the oil on the other side) pressure, eliminating the force you might otherwise need to initiate shock movement.
'A piggyback reservoir distributes the compression damping between two circuits which allowed the engineers to refine the feel making the shock more sensitive. Rockshox says that being able to split the compression loads allow them to refine the feel of the shock creating a more sensitive shock in the initial stroke making it feel more supple. More oil in the system also leads to less heat build-up, heat can reduce damping force so the shock speeds up when hot, therefore a piggyback can keep a more consistent feel and more consistent performance too. As well as this, keeping the IFP and damper charge (usually nitrogen) away from the main body of the shock there can be less heat build-up over a long descent which would otherwise change damping characteristics.
We'll be keeping this article up to date as the Rockshox range changes and evolves. If you have any questions about these shocks then pop them in the comments below and we'll do our best to get back to you.
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