Who invented punk rock? Was it the Sex Pistols or the Ramones? It's an endless and pointless debate. How can you "invent" punk rock anyway? It's not an object like a light bulb or a Squatty Potty. It's an evolution in philosophy.
And there's no more influential philosophy in the mountain bike world right now than the "longer, lower, slacker" doctrine. But who invented that? In North America, we tend to credit Kona Bikes and their 2014 Process lineup, but very shortly before that, Spanish brand, Mondraker came on the scene with their 2013 Factor, Foxy, and Dune, each with some pretty progressive geometry even by today's standards.
These bikes were likely why Mondraker became a relatively well-known brand here in the states, despite never having set tire on American soil. But that's about to change. Colorado-based wholesale distributor, Qarv (pronounced like 'carve' but much edgier) will be importing a wide range of Mondraker's bikes for 2018.
Two recent immigrants to the U.S. market, YT and Canyon, went with consumer-direct retail models. Despite this trend, Mondraker will be sold exclusively in brick-and-mortar bike shops. This is going to make it more difficult for them to be price-competitive with both foreign and domestic brands who sell online. Mondraker wants their customers to benefit from the support a shop provides, so they will be sold in shops. It's a risky move, and one that actually costs Mondraker some profit per unit sold on the back end. But they're confident the bikes will speak for themselves. We got a close look at the models they'll be bringing to the states, and here are some of the highlights.
The Dune is Mondraker’s 160-millimeter rear, 170-front travel 27.5-inch-wheel enduro offering. Like all of Mondraker’s full suspension bikes, it’s held up by their Zero suspension system, which floats the shock between the two rocker links. This gives Mondraker another element of control over the leverage curve. And they use that control to tune in a ride that’s more supple off the top and more firm in the mid-stroke. The parallel-link Zero concept yields minimal chain growth, meaning Mondraker’s bikes are meant to stay active while climbing. The frame has some welcomed features like a bottle cage mount within the front triangle, standard ISCG 05 mounts, and a 73mm threaded BSA bottom bracket.
The steep seat angle means the Dune is likely to be no slouch on the climbs. The 66-degree head angle is intentionally moderate for a bike like this. Though you can slacken it with optional fixed offset headset cups, Mondraker believed that with such a long bike, there is such thing as too slack. The chainstays are also adjustable with unique flip-chips at the rear axle. And of course, this bike is long. The 452 millimeter reach that Mondraker considers a small, could pass for a large in other brands.
We spent some time riding the Dune Carbon RR pictured above near Qarv’s Colorado headquarters, and you can hear our thoughts HERE. The RR model goes for $7800, and there’s also an R level below it for $6200 and an XR above it for $9400. If that’s too rich for your blood, there’s always alloy.
The alloy Dune offers the same travel and suspension kinematics as its carbon brother, but comes in at $3700 for the base-level Dune pictured here, or $4600 for the Dune R. Both offer more price-conscious component packages, but neither skimp on durability. In fact, the geometry numbers imply that the alloy versions are ready for a tad bit more abuse.
The alloy Dunes don’t feature the adjustable chainstays or head angles that the carbon Dunes do, instead they split the difference. They also add a hair more reach, especially to the XL, which is a double-take-inducing 515 millimeters. The alloy Dune still offers a bottle mount, ISCG 05 tabs, and the same 73mm threaded bottom bracket.
That makes a total of 5 enduro models from Mondraker, but their mid-travel trail bike might qualify for the category itself.
The Foxy is labeled as all-mountain with 27.5-inch wheels and 150 millimeters of travel front and rear. It features the same Zero linkage and adjustable geometry as the Dune. The Foxy Carbon RR SL shown here uses Mondraker’s Stealth Air carbon, which will save up to 350 grams. Stealth Air carbon is not simply higher modulus carbon. Some spots in the Stealth Air construction do use fancier materials, but the goal was to save weight without making the ride too stiff, so the weight savings is done mostly through a more complex layup process.
Compared to the Dune, the Foxy’s geometry was not tamed to match its shorter travel. It’s got the same 66-degree head angle, a lower bottom bracket, and a significantly longer reach. If the 425-millimeter chainstays are a little twitchy for you, the Foxy carries over the same dropout flip chips. And it still offers ISCG-05 mounts, a threaded bottom bracket, and an in-triangle bottle cage.
We recently spent a day dropping almost 9000 feet on the RR SL, and you can read our impressions HERE. And this model goes for $9100, so they’d better be good impressions. There’s also the standard carbon RR for $5350, the R for $4400, and an alloy model for $3500. One of the most interesting bikes in the Foxy lineup though is definitely the XR.
The Foxy Carbon XR is an interesting way to offer a subtle half-step between the Foxy and the Dune. The Foxy Carbon XR uses the same frame as the rest of the carbon Foxys, but adds 10 millimeters to the front travel and opts for a coil shock in the rear.
The XR configuration slackens the head angle a half degree, raises the bottom bracket by 4 millimeters, and essentially shortens the reach by 6 millimeters. That’s a small price to pay for riders who need a trail bike that can take some heavy hits. The price they’ll literally pay for the Foxy Carbon XR is $6300.
The Dune and Foxy will likely prove to be Mondraker’s flagships during their invasion of the U.S. while the Summum DH bike will add a little extra firepower to the fleet.
Recently piloted by Danny Hart to a 3rd place podium at Mont-Sainte-Anne, the Mondraker Summum is the bike many Americans think of when they hear the name Mondraker. It gets the same Zero linkage concept as the Dune and Foxy, and more exaggerated geo adjustability. The 205-millimeter rear, 203-millimeter front travel sled comes in two carbon models priced at $9400 for the Summum Carbon Team or $6800 for the Summum Carbon Pro pictured above. Or, for the privateers and park rats out there, the alloy Summum and Summum R go for $3900 and $5300 respectively.
The reach measurements on the Summum aren’t quite the outliers that those of Mondraker’s trail bikes are, but its geometry looks just right as it is. Those needing change can lengthen the chainstays by 15 millimeters, and the head angle can adjust by a full two degrees in either direction.
The Summum is getting seen on a few podiums these days, but for those on the XC circuit who want to pedal their way to the top, Mondraker offfers the aptly named Podium.
Mondraker doesn’t make road bikes, but if anything comes close, it’s the Podium. The flush-mounted stem looks like something off a triathlon bike. In fact, the same aesthetic has been used on Look bikes, a triathlon and time trial powerhouse. There are a few different lengths available for the Podium stem but just one rise, so if you want to adjust the height, you’ll need enough steerer tube to do so. The seatpost diameter is 27.2 millimeters and there’s routing for an internal dropper cable.
Mondraker applied a more moderate version of its Forward geometry concept on the podium. It’s still the longest XC hardtail on the market today, but Mondraker didn’t want to rock the rather traditionalist XC boat too much, so the Podiums are built around 80-100-millimeter stems. The frame uses a PF30 bottom bracket and Boost spacing, and the seatstays are given generous flat oval shapes to offer the Podium some vertical compliance. The Carbon R model you see here goes for $5100, and there’s a Carbon RR above it for $6700, and a standard Carbon below it for $3800, all of which using Mondraker’s high-end Stealth Air carbon.
The Podium is all-business, but Mondraker also makes a hardtail that likes to party.
The Vantage is Mondraker’s take on the new breed of aggressive hardtails. It’s got an alloy frame, 140 millimeters of front travel, and, as a bit of a surprise, 27.5-inch wheels. Most bikes in this category would run 29s, but Mondraker isn’t most bikes. If you know what you’re getting yourself into, a bike with such aggressive numbers and such small wheels might be a lot of fun.
With a 66-degree head angle, 425-millimeter chainstays, and Mondraker’s signature long reach, the Vantage is as modern as hardtails come, though it’s only available in aluminum for now. This is the RR version, which goes for $2800, but there’s also an R model that goes for a flat $2000.
These are just the highlights among the Mondrakers coming to the U.S. Check out mondraker.com/us for the full lineup.