Mondraker Foxy R review£1,595.00

Supple Spanish flier that's well worth checking out

BikeRadar score4/5

This full suspension machine from Spanish giant mondraker is a sweet-handling singletracker with some Iberian individuality

Mondraker are new to the UK scene, but this is an impressive debut. The Foxy R exhibits supple, consistent four-bar traction and good big-hit manners. It's handling and geometry belies the bike’s weight.

However, its supple suspension means it squats under power without Pro Pedal back-up.

Ride & handling: easy street

Once a startling clang from the first drop was sorted, the rest of the ride quickly impressed. The short stem and short top tube make the Foxy feel lively and keen to chase lines, and offset the natural character of the head angle. It’s not as full-on raked-out as the Marin, but it’s certainly got a nice freeride vibe about it.

While the bar has a great sweep and low-rise shape to it, it could definitely do with being wider – we spent all our rides with our hands hanging off the ends to gain a bit more leverage.

In line with the easy feel, the suspension settles into its travel very easily. The 190mm RP2 shock comes with maximum compression tune, but there was no trace of the spiking we had from the similarly equipped Mongoose Teocali on the first descent or when we started properly flying it off drops.

In fact, despite the extra damping, it’s got a very fluid trail tracking feel for excellent traction and connection at all times. Again, this makes the Mondraker a natural bike to lean back and let fly off drops, and it’ll move around easily in response to bodyweight shifts, whether you’re pushing it into corners or just shrugging it from line to line.

It handles square-edged bumps such as step-ups and boulder clouts better than the single-pivot bikes here. It doesn’t disturb pedalling rhythm either, so we never felt we needed to back off the gas if the trail got ugly.

The downside of this is that you can feel the back end squat and squelch under power, so you definitely need to get the Pro Pedal lever flicked across if you know you’re going to be getting the torque down hard. The soft, pedal-neutral action also dulls the sense of direct feedback from the rear tyre, so you’ve got to trust that supple traction rather than being able to feel it.

There’s also a noticeable amount of yaw and twist from the back end and forks once you really start stamping on it or shoving it sideways through corners. The same slight flex gives a lovely lively feel when you’re whipping it from corner to corner on tight singletrack though, and it rarely felt like a 30lb bike when we were getting our groove on.

Frame: up-to-date hydroformed classic configuration

The Foxy frame follows the classic four-bar layout, but with some modern twists in there to bring it bang up to date. For a start, it’s running a relatively slack 68° head angle for extra descending stability. The top tube also swoops super low, so your crotch won’t get a battering if you have to straddle it in a hurry.

The butted tubes get the full hydroforming treatment, with the big kite section down tube giving an almost complete wrap on the back of the integrated headset head tube. Long plate gussets carry the rocker pivot and bottom end of the shock, while a clamshell strut buttresses the extended seat tube.

The back end is built up from square section tube with some neat CNC detailing on all the knuckle junctions and cross bridges. The back end of the rocker link gets a mortice joint at each pivot, and there’s a slim shaft between the two plates to tie them both together.

Matt army-green colouring complements the Foxy’s purposeful looks and, with cartridge bearings all round, finishing is as good as we’ve seen on many frames the same price as this complete bike.

There’s reasonable mud room, neat cable routing and just enough room to squeeze in a medium bottle. Make sure that you rotate the seat clamp the ‘wrong way round’ before you start  though, because if it’s facing backwards then it’s very likely to smack into the rocker link at full travel.

As for the suspension design itself, four-bar/FSR/Horst link systems are regularly talked about, but rarely explained. Basically, it’s a suspension system that uses a pivot on the chainstay just ahead of the dropout, then another link between seatstay and mainframe to modify the axle path.

They’re protected by a Specialized patent if you want to sell in the US, but several other companies use them under licence or just avoid selling in the States.

Equipment: good spec for fast cross-country riding

As we’ve said, there’s a bit of flex from the fork tips, but otherwise the ’08 Fox Float is beautifully damped for a long-travel trail fork, if short of full-on freeride confidence.

We’re a bit surprised to find Mondraker has gone with the extra weight of the heavy-duty Blaze crank on a bike that doesn’t really demand that much reinforcement. Otherwise, the SRAM gears are suitably punchy for aggressive XC work, and Formula’s ORO disc brakes are our favourite feel-rich trail anchors by far.

The own-brand OnOff gear is well shaped for the job, although from experience hubs like these are likely to last less time than the Shimano rollers on other bikes. We were impressed with the Intense System 4 tyres, too – fast-rolling yet grippy in a wide range of conditions, they’re a great match to the bike.

Summary: well worth hunting down

Mondraker has taken a classic trail bike layout and brought the geometry right up-to-date to create a supple trail bike. It’s not the stiffest or most purposeful pedaller, but if you’re after a well-designed alternative, the Foxy is well worth hunting down.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

Related Articles

Back to top