Increased volume air spring sleeves aren’t new. The clever bit about DebonAir is that rather than a single chamber design that just adds volume to the positive (impact absorbing) air spring, the retrofit sleeve also increases the volume of the negative (stiction fighting, initial movement helping) air spring.
The larger volume negative chamber reduces the load needed to start an upgraded Monarch or Monarch Plus shock moving by up to 25 percent. That’s a big difference in small bump absorption and the responsiveness of ground following compression and extension movement. This increases comfort when you’re cruising but also boosts traction in the first 30 percent of the stroke.
The larger main volume also means a more gentle spring progression rather than a sudden ramp up towards the end of the stroke. That’s caused mid-stroke wallowing problems with other increased volume shocks, but RockShox’ damping balance still keeps the shock impressively on point.
The screw-on sleeve increases traction and sensitivity without overwhelming the damper’s ability to control it
This means great corner railing support and successive hit absorption without the shock having to return to higher in the stroke to regain meaningful control. It’s also improved the comfortable big hit appetite of our Giant Trance 27.5 host bike.
The result is a more supple, high traction start, better-balanced mid-stroke and long drop composure than any other air shock we’ve tried, including Fox Float and Float X units.
The sleeve refits to any 2014 Monarch (RT3, RT, R, RL, XX) or Monarch Plus (RC3, R) shocks as well as 2013 Monarch RT3 shocks. Most of the volume increase occurs at the seal end so it doesn’t affect shock/frame fit as much as Fox’s Large Volume eyelet design can. You can buy pre-fitted Monarch RT3 or Monarch Plus RC3 with similarly great performance.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.