Mondraker is the latest European bike company to jump into the US market. While it’s not exactly a household name, you may already be familiar with the Spanish brand from Danny Hart’s exploits on the World Cup circuit, or from its radical Forward Geometry.
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Mondraker was founded by Miguel Pina in 2001. The first production bikes were rolled out for the 2002 model year. Of the seven models, four were full-suspension mountain bikes.
“Mondraker developed alongside the early freeride movement, so there was always a focus on aggressive, gravity riding,” said Pina.
In the early years, the company positioned itself as a budget option for price-conscious consumers. As time went on, Mondraker transformed into a performance-driven brand, on par with the likes of Santa Cruz or Yeti.
Narrow in scope, broad in offerings
Since its inception, Mondraker has focused solely on developing mountain bikes.
While Mondraker limits itself to the singletrack set, its line covers the entire spectrum of mountain biking.
The company produces cross-country, trail, enduro and downhill models in aluminum as well as carbon. There are also off-road e-bikes and full-suspension children’s models.
What’s with the name?
Mondraker CEO Miguel Pina grew up reading comic books. When it came time to name his new company, he drew on the character of Mandrake the Magician.
“He could create things from nothing, which seemed like a good name for a new company,” Pina said.
Zero Suspension System
All of Mondraker’s full-suspension models rely on the company’s Zero Suspension System, a dual-link design that uses the upper and lower linkages to compress the shock. The shock is essentially “floating” between the two links. This arrangement gives Mondraker the ability to tune the suspension kinematics for a wide range of uses.
Mountain bike geometry has evolved at a staggering pace in recent years.
Long front centers paired with stubby stems have become the norm for modern mountain bikes, but this wasn’t the case when Mondraker rolled out its first ‘Forward Geometry’ models in 2012.
The Forward Geometry concept began with a desire to improve handling, particularly for aggressive, high-speed riding. Mondraker sought to achieve this by removing length from the stem and adding it back into the top tube. The rider’s position remained unchanged, but the handlebar was moved back relative to the steering axis, while the front center increased.
Mondraker has moved back from the early days of 10mm-long stems that had to be placed on top of steerer tubes, but the company still uses extremely long top tubes with very short, 30mm stems and slack head angles.
US Business Model
QARV Imports is bringing Mondraker to the US market. This Colorado-based importer also handles brands such as EVOC, Rotor, Absolute Black and Enduro Bearings.
Unlike Canyon, which brought its consumer-direct business model to the North America a few months ago, Mondraker will be sold through a network of independent bicycle dealers.
QARV will handle US warranty service and support and will also sponsor a US demo program.
Mondraker’s US website is live at http://www.mondraker.com/us.
Of the company's 58 models, 42 will be available in the US market.
The company expects to have bikes available for sale later this fall. Meanwhile, you can throw a leg over one of the 2018 models at a demo near you.