Mondraker hasn’t altered the radical Forward Geometry of the Mondraker Foxy R for 2017, but it gets a stiffer frame, the latest Fox shocks and a dual-ring transmission for a visceral and versatile ride.
The all-new frame uses a slimmer tubeset with a far less pronounced hump behind the head tube and a 148mm wide Boost back end for increased stiffness. The Zero suspension system still works through the angular open-basket seat tube, compressing the shock between the two linkages rather than stressing the mainframe, and falls into the virtual pivot category. An external bottom bracket (BB) and external cable/brake hose routing keep servicing simple.
Mondraker has clearly got XC riding in mind with the decidedly European spec here. Fast rolling, big volume Maxxis Ardent semi-slick tyres gift easy speed whether you’re cruising or charging, and a double chainring plus wide-range cassette mean even the steepest climbs won’t beat you. The Fox 34 fork and Float shock are tuned for an efficiently firm rather than flowing action too.
Mondraker Foxy R ride and feel
While longer, lower, slacker has been a universal mantra for geometry updates on most aggro bikes for several years, Mondraker’s Forward Geometry still has a unique feel. That’s because while the reach is massively long (45-60mm longer than the other bikes on test), the head angle is the steepest on test.
Add the super-quick steering of the 30mm FG stem and a steep effective seat angle pushing you forward, the initial sensation of stretched but nervy can be unsettling at first. In fact, whenever we jumped on to the Foxy from other bikes it felt like it had a travel-adjust fork that someone had forgotten to re-extend.
It doesn’t take long to realise that even while the steering might be more active and agitated, the super-long wheelbase gives it hugely stable handling. As sketchy-moment trust rockets, the light steering comes into its own for micro-adjusting lines to milk as much traction out of the trail as possible. That’s a good job as the semi-slick tyres start sliding early, particularly on the front.
The tightly controlled feel of the Fox suspension also gives a consistently firm edge to carve corners on and with bodyweight shunted forward it’s surprising how hard you can push the small side knobs before they start to slide out predictably.
That short fork feel and steep seat angle do pitch you forward right into the thick of any impact action on rock heaps or speed-choking root spreads though. That conspicuously supportive mid-stroke means that even though you can force the travel indicator right off the rear shock — even when running cross-country levels of sag — it struggles to suck up blunt force trauma. That obviously impacts its ability to carry speed through staccato trail debris and the upper linkage bolts actually shook loose on a long downhill, although they stayed tight once reinstalled.
If you’ve got the skill to pick the bike up and pump it through rollers and boulders or scythe round the upper lip of berms with the brakes open, then you can use its precision and rich feedback to skim maximum speed out of the trail. This confirms the Foxy R as a pilot- rather than passenger-oriented machine, but the adjustment period after hopping off other bikes I was testing at the same time was often filled with thoughts that the Foxy XR, with its longer travel fork, slacker head and more aggressive front tyre, would feel significantly better.
While freehub pick-up is slightly slow and weight is a little high, the Zero suspension is super-stable and efficient under the lumpiest pedalling onslaught. The Boost back end means the narrow stance lower linkage and open basket frame design don’t noticeably affect power transfer.
Add fast tyres and it never struggled to run with the pack when the hammer went down or keep things easy when the trail went up.