The Crafty is Mondraker’s plus-sized alternative option to the fantastic Foxy and its unique Forward Geometry handling lets you really push the high-volume, high-velocity advantages too.
Faster in the rough
Plus tyres are a whole new story of pros and cons, but the bottom line is that they go faster the rougher it gets and our final blast down the rocky, rooty trails of Peille saw the Crafty vanish off into the distance leaving regular 29ers in its wake. That syncs with our latest head to head testing on other bikes/tyre formats, and our opinion is certainly getting more positive the more we ride plus.
The over-15kg weight is a definite acceleration- and altitude-gain issue. Traction is outstanding though, so you can winch up crazy steep and/or rough slopes if you’re patient.
The super short stem makes for sharper handling than on many plus machines
The combination of super-quick reactions from the barely-there stem and massive baseline stability from the extra long wheelbase means the steering is more involving and alive than the sludgy feel of most plus bikes we’ve ridden and braking traction is amazing if you do overstep the mark.
Smooth suspension pairing
Despite the thin walls necessary to keep weight bearable the Maxxis tyres survived a ton of rock abuse throughout testing. The super-smooth Yari and Monarch Plus shock combo gives excellent control of hits bigger than the tyres absorb too, though compensating for their untamed bounce in the rebound settings isn’t easy.
The rougher the downhills get, the more your companions are likely to be eating your dust
You’ll definitely need a knobblier front tyre for off-piste riding if you're reading this in the UK though, and that will dramatically reduce rolling speed. Literally a handful of psi can also make the difference between terrifying untamed bounce and hovercraft-smooth but totally numb trail-smothering.
A 157mm Boost back end restricts the current hub choice and you’re getting a 1x10 speed-crawler cog drivetrain not ‘proper’ 11-speed with no dropper post, but it’s keenly priced for a plus-bike.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.