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First Ride: 2018 Mondraker Foxy Carbon RR SL

A big trail bike for big trails

When I was invited to ride the first Mondrakers to be available in the U.S, it was the long-travel Dune that I was most excited about throwing a leg over. But after spending equal time on the Foxy, I am no longer so sure.

Before we climb into the Foxy hole, I’ll cover a little background about Mondraker for us ugly Americans who aren’t familiar. The Spanish brand has been around since 2001, but they really broke out in 2013  when they introduced Forward Geometry. In a nutshell, Forward is the “longer” part of the “longer, lower, slacker” geometry trend that is driving bike design these days. Being such early adopters, Mondraker has a year or so head start in the concept’s evolution, and the Foxy is definitely evolved.

The 150-millimeter front and rear travel 27.5-inch bike is up against some stiff competition. These bikes are expected to pedal as well as trail bikes, but the long, slack numbers on the Foxy imply that it’s primarily down to go down. In fact, it’s even longer and just as slack as Mondraker’s 160/170-millimeter enduro-oriented Dune. That seems like a perfect combination for a rider like me. I like to go for extra credit jumps and slides wherever possible, and a bike like the Foxy should lend itself to that perfectly.

At 6’2″ I normally ride XL-sized bikes, but I wasn’t so sure on the Foxy. I ended up on a 500-millimeter reach large, and I had no complaints, but the philosophy of Mondraker’s Forward Geometry tells me I’m not out of the range of the 520-millimeter reach on the XL. And that’s the beauty of modern frame design. Both sizes would be plenty low for me to fit a 170-millimeter dropper post on, so it’s up to the rider to decide which bike suits their needs.

And riders have a few price points to choose from. In fact there’s a carbon Foxy starting all the way down at $4400 and an alloy one at $3500. The $9100 RR SL model we rode was a treat, but in the world of consumer-direct sales, riders have high standards for low prices. Mondraker has opted only to sell their bikes through brick-and-mortar shops. They value the support that riders get through bike shops, but other brands might be able to squeeze in carbon rims at the same price point. The XTR brakes are a nice touch, as is the Fox Factory DPX2 rear shock. My only complaint might be the 2.3-inch tires.

Looking to exploit the agility that came with the moderate travel, I made the most out of the large-sized Foxy I chose. The 425-millimeter chainstays helped make it as flickable and agile as bikes with less travel. The terrain we were on offered countless mid-sized round rocks to be rolled, jumped, or stabbed off of, and the Foxy seems like it was born to be woven through and over the boulder-fields of Colorado. I was hesitant about stiffness given the razor-thin-profile of the top tube, but its stiffness and tracking ability matched those of longer travel bikes. Enough so that I think it deserved 36-millimeter stanchions up front, but that’s what Mondraker made the Dune for.

Bikes this playful are generally in shorter travel categories. Models like the Evil Calling or the Santa Cruz 5010 are usually the go-to trail bike for riders who like to party. And on the other side, bikes like the Trek Remedy are supple and long-legged. The Foxxy sits somewhere between the two. It favors aggressive riding and creative lines while still having a decent amount of travel to handle some extra speed. The hits would occasionally get pretty hard when I put the Foxy in high-velocity rock gardens, but I chalk that up to being used to 29-inch wheels.

Just like the rest of the Mondraker lineup, the steep seat angle and long top tube make it an agile climber as well. Probably the longest hour of my entire year was spent traversing a brand new, barely benched-in trail halfway down Pike’s Peak, and it was a suffer-fest of off-camber punches and awkwardly placed logs. On a shorter travel bike, I’d likely have had to get off and walk, but the Foxy was supple enough to keep me on the bike and efficient enough to keep me moving.

The Foxy nails the long-travel trail category, but stays lively in the process. It’s refreshing to see that new brands are still coming up with unique things to offer, even if they sometimes come from overseas.

mondraker.com/us

Related:

Mondraker makes the leap to U.S. sales

First Ride: Mondraker Dune Carbon RR