Interview: Mondraker’s Gerben Monnink

By What Mountain Bike | Saturday, August 4, 2012 7.00am

Recently, Mondraker’s Gerben Monnink chatted to What Mountain Bike about design philosophy, the Zero suspension system and where the company’s bikes will be going next…

On the difference between the Tracker R and the Factor

“The difference is mainly the frame. It’s our new SAT Square alloy technology frame. That means we’ve followed the ‘square angled’ look and characteristics of our Stealth tubing, used on the Factor and other double suspension bikes in our range, but simplified it a bit to target a lower price point. The kinematics and geometry of the Tracker are exactly the same as those on the Factor.”

On the importance of the £1,500 trail bike market

“Our core philosophy is to create high-performance bikes; that’s where our passion for mountain bikes comes from. Essential for us is to come up with new ideas, new concepts… And carry on developing our bikes, optimising platforms, geometries, suspension and so on.

“It’s interesting in this case, however, to implement certain features of our high-end bikes into a more affordable platform (Tracker) and target a bigger group of end users. The £1,500 trail bike market can be huge, but there is a lot of competition. The balance between price and performance is extremely important in this segment and I think, on the whole, the Tracker platform’s balance is pretty good.”

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The Mondraker Tracker R is an entry-level full susser priced at £1,499 

On the development of the Zero suspension system

“The Zero was first designed for the 2009 enduro bike, the 160mm Dune, and got further developed towards our downhill bike, the Summum, in 2010. From day one we were convinced that our Zero system would work well on any full suspension bike. 

“It took us some time to optimise the system for all platforms – changing the kinematics, the sizes of the shocks, the positions and sizes of the links, the ratios and so on – but eventually we managed for 2012 to equip all our full suspension bikes with Zero, from the 100mm marathon bike – the Lithium – up to our downhill monster, the Mondraker Summum.”

On the possibility of Mondraker’s inline stems featuring on trail bikes

“For sure, that’s the future. Our new geometry, which we call FG (Forward Geometry), is something that will last. Not only that – we are sure many others will follow.

“I think there’s a misunderstanding that most people think this concept (a much longer front centre and inline stem) is meant for more gravity-oriented bikes. That is completely wrong! In fact, you will see Forward Geometry on different platforms for 2013. A FG trail bike with a longer front centre plus an inline stem will give you exactly the same ‘trail’ riding position as on a regular bike, but will give you more confidence and allow you to carry more speed.”

Mondraker's radical new layout involves a tiny stem and a longer top tube to suit it:

Mondraker's radical new layout involves a tiny stem and a longer top tube to suit it

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On the new technology that will make the biggest impacts in the next few years 

29er carbon bikes are already a reality – two years ago people in Europe were still discussing whether a 29er really made sense. Today, the market (for certain bike types) really goes towards 29er, and 26ers are losing a considerable part of the cake. 

“2012 was the first season that Mondraker presented 29ers in the range, but for 2013 you’ll see a lot more. As for 650b, we are definitely testing some prototypes…” 

An abbreviated version of this interview was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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