Mondraker Dune Carbon XR review

Jaw dropping performance from a wallet busting bike

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £6,599.00 RRP | AUD $11,313.00

Our review

If you have the money, it’s quite simply one of the finest bikes we’ve ever ridden
Skip to view product specifications

When a bike costs this much, it needs to be pretty special. In fact, it needs to be extraordinarily, jaw droppingly special.

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That’s where most spendy superbikes seem to fall down, but you’re going to have to trust us when we say that the new Dune Carbon XR lives up to the promise of its price tag.

Frame and equipment: mouthwatering chassis, uninspiring spec sheet

Mondraker’s Forward Geometry is, of course, present and correct on the Dune. At 630mm, a medium size has a top tube around 30mm longer than most of its rivals and the bike comes fitted with a dinky 30mm long stem, though 10 and 20mm versions are available should you wish to go shorter.

Related: How long can you go? Jon Woodhouse’s extreme geometry hardtail

Forward Geometry might feel a touch odd at first, but you’re in essentially the same riding position – just with more stability at speed thanks to the longer wheelbase.

The frame is a minor work of art too, incorporating lessons learned from the Summum Carbon downhiller to give a stiff and lightweight chassis. New, beefier bearings and collet fixtures hold everything in place firmly for a stiff and direct rear end.

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Inserts provide for an adjustable wheelbase:

Inserts provide for an adjustable wheelbase

The frame is single-ring only, which means the chainstay length is a respectably tight 430mm, but its flippable chips at the axle can take that out to 440mm. Press-in headset cups come with the bike and enable you to alter the head angle by one degree either side of the base 66 degrees, complete with alignment marks on the frame for accurate fitting.

It’s got be acknowledged though that as a complete package the XR – like other Mondrakers – doesn’t represent the best value on paper.

Fair enough, a big part of its cost is down to the suspension spec. Up front, the 170mm travel 36 Float RC2 is, in performance terms, the best single crown fork available – though compared with what’s out back, it’s almost the weak link. The new Float X2 shock is a triumph and syncs superbly with the supportive and taut 160mm of Zero multi link suspension.

Less impressively, the SRAM drivetrain is a mix of X1 and X01 rather than range topping XX1. In fairness though it works just as well and isn’t far off in weight.

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Mavic provides stiff wheels and sturdy rubber:

Mavic provides stiff wheels and sturdy rubber

The Mavic Crossmax XL Pro LTD wheels are a proven setup with spades of stiffness despite not being overly wide at 23mm internally. The front Charge tyre has acres of grip though you’ll need to be firmly awake when the enduro racing-focused semi slick Quest rear reaches its limits.

The 780mm own-brand, 35mm clamp diameter carbon handlebar feels harsh, and the SDG saddle that tops the Reverb dropper is ideal for any male riders looking to save money on a vasectomy. We’d also rather see some bigger rotors on the Guide RSC brakes for big mountain use, and while the carbon bashguard fitted to the chain guide mounts will fend off the odd blow, it’s unlikely to come out on top in a fight with Alpine rock.

Ride and handling: like sitting astride an avalanche

Those issues aside, set the bike down any gnarly and rough Alpine trail and it feels like you’re sat atop an avalanche. The build in pace is relentless and it constantly urges you go faster.

The tiny stem means lightning fast responses to wrestle the bike through the turns, helped by that substantial 780mm bar, when the trail gets really rugged.

Even then the Dune never feels stressed, and wherever you care to take it has a character that’s ruthlessly efficient and charmingly playful at the same time, with the length and slackness not dulling the fun.

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But it’s inevitably on the descents where this bike really smashes it:

Inevitably, it’s on the descents where this bike really smashes it

With high and low speed adjustable compression damping and a smooth and supportive stroke, the 36 fork is capable of chewing up and spitting out terrain that’s downright scary like it’s a trail centre blue.

Meanwhile the Float X2 shock’s EVOL sleeve and Kashima coating give huge sensitivity and with high and low speed adjustment for both compression and rebound damping, it’s possible to extract superlative smashing ground control. It’s simply a step beyond any other enduro shock and it sucked up epic descents without any hint of overheating.

There’s no climbing mode, but the back end gives a stable pedal platform and we never missed it. Indeed, the balanced suspension, roomy cockpit and very respectable 12.75kg mass mean that the Dune is something of a pleasure uphill as well as down.

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High and low speed compression adjustment is a plus on the 170mm fork:

High and low speed compression adjustment is a plus on the 170mm fork

We went for the slackest geo setting and only regretted that on the occasional steep ascent, when the front end needed weighting to prevent it hunting about.

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A bike that costs this much should be mindblowingly good. The real surprise is that the Dune Carbon XR actually exceeds that expectation.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Dune Carbon XR
Brand Mondraker

Available Sizes S M L XL
Rear Hub Mavic Crossmax XL Alloy Axle
Top Tube (in) 24.8
Seat Tube (in) 16.54
Chainstays (in) 16.93
Spoke Type Mavic Zircal Straight Pull Round
Brake Levers Sram Guide RSC
Stem Onoff Stoic FG 35mm
Shifters Sram Trigger XO1 11s X-Actuation
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth 31.6mm
Seat Angle 74.7
Saddle SDG Circuit MTN
Rims Mavic Crossmax Pro XL LTD
Rear Tyre Crossmax Quest XL Ltd
Rear Shock Fox Float X2 Factory Kashima
Rear Derailleur Sram X01 Type2
Bottom Bracket Sram GXP XR Sealed Bearings
Headset Type FSA
Head Angle 66
Handlebar Onoff Stoic UD Carbon
Grips/Tape Onoff Diamond Lock-on
Front Tyre Crossmax Charge XL Ltd
Front Hub Mavic Crossmax XL Alloy Axle Adjustable Sealed Bearings
Frame Material Dune Stealth Full Carbon Zero Suspension System FG
Fork Offset 4.4
Fork Fox 36
Cranks Sram XO1
Chain Sram PCX1 11s
Cassette Sram PG-1180 10-42t
Brakes Sram Guide RSC 180mm
Wheelbase (in) 47.95