Mondraker’s Forward Geometry concept of a long front end and short stem for ultimate control and stability has won fans among those who’ve ridden the bikes – but their love-or-loathe looks have kept others at bay. The new carbon Foxy (we tested a mid-range RR build a few weeksand found a few finishing-kit niggles) is aiming to change that.
Frame and equipment: no more ugly duckling
Using the same geometry and layout as the proven alloy model, the carbon frame has beautiful lines. The top tube looks far nicer without the pronounced bulge and the moulding where the seat and down tubes merge is incredible – the BB shell hangs on a boom and is ultra stiff.
The rear triangle is stiffer and stronger than the alloy version, and the Zero suspension platform – which delivers 140mm (5.5in) of bob and jack free travel – runs on improved bearings. Internal cable routing keeps things tidy, and a neat BB shell protector is fitted to the ISCG mounts in case the chain derails.
Mondraker’s proven Zero dual-link system puts out 140mm (5.5in) of rear wheel travel
The XR comes with a bar-mounted remote lever to lock out the 160mm (6.3in) travel Fox 34 TALAS CTD fork and matching rear shock. Though useful, it’s a clumpy unit and adds two more cables to the already crowded cockpit. A SRAM XX1 11-speed drivetrain is matched with powerful Formula T1 brakes. CrankBrothers Iodine 3 wheels in black and gold complement the frame finish nicely and are set up tubeless with huge-volume 2.4in Maxxis Ardents. Finishing kit includes a Fizik Tundra 2 saddle, RockShox Reverb Stealth post and own-brand ONOFF grips, carbon bar and, interestingly, 30mm stem – the shorter 10mm version is now an aftermarket product.
Ride and handling: familiarity doesn't breed contempt
With its familiar layout, we felt instantly at home on the Foxy Carbon, though the 30mm stem does make popping the front end up harder than on the alloy XR with its 10mm stem.
The 1kg weight reduction over the alloy bike makes it feel very lively on the trail. The same stable and assuring feel is there, but it really encourages you to work the terrain for every ounce of speed. The frame sucks up minor buzz, but out-of-the-saddle cranking reveals just how torsionally stiff it is. Mondraker’s designers have done an excellent job.
The carbon Foxy is a livewire on the trail
The Zero suspension platform delivers a plush and progressive feel that works so well it frustrated us seeing the Fox dual remote system – it’s simply not needed. On the plus side, the latest 34 fork is far more supple than its predecessors and ramps up well at the end of its stroke.
The SRAM drivetrain worked flawlessly, and the Formula brakes offered huge stopping power – though we found the pads rubbed and the lever shape wasn’t liked by riders with small hands. Despite being flexy, the CrankBrothers wheels behaved themselves and are still running true – though the fast-rolling Maxxis rubber wasn't quite grippy enough for moist autumn conditions.