By Richard Lane
If you have read part one or you’ve been following the PMBA series, you’ll know that I’ve been using my race ready (out of the box) long termer to… well, race on. It has been my first Mondraker and it’s fair to say, I’ve had a jolly good time on it. [pip pip! – Ed]
The Foxy is Mondrakers trail/all-mountain bike – it’s not dubbed as a enduro bike, although it is more than capable. It has 140mm rear travel, using Mondraker’s Zero suspension system, that can be pedalled all day, up and down. Honestly? It’s not a XC climbing goat – but it can climb with the best of the long, low, slack (I felt I had to write that bit, just because those are the buzz words) bikes I’ve ridden and that my riding pals ride.
Because of the pierced seat tube design, it can only accommodate a shock with a single air sleeve (no piggybacks here), which is fine in 80% of situations, but it did start to get baffled a bit in the Alps. Credit where credit is due though, I was racing 20 minute stages flat-out and it wasn’t just the shock starting to struggle! My arms were getting so pumped that I couldn’t remove my bottle from the bottle cage at the bottom of some stages, and I had to deploy the dreaded two finger braking – I’ve not had to do that for a while. Any way, if you want to run a shock with a piggyback – or a Cane Creek Inline for that matter – you’d need to have a look at the Foxy’s equally sexy bigger brother the Dune.
The Special Edition is race ready on paper – but naturally I took the opportunity to change, tweak and bin some stuff, to make it my ideal bike, and I’ve been living with it for the best part of a year.
First off, I stripped out the Easton EA70 XLs. I wasn’t having issues with freehubs, bearings, rims or spokes; I swapped them out purely because I found the internal rim width too narrow for the 2.4″ tyres I wanted to run, especially at the low pressures I prefer. The EA70s have an internal rim width of 20mm; when pushed hard into turns with a tyre between 25-28 psi(ish) it was easy to start to roll the tyre. I changed them out for a pair of DT Swiss EX1501 Spline wheels with a 25mm internal width, which made all the difference. Taking things one step further I’ve also been running a pair of Easton Heist 30mm rims too. Having the extra internal width gave my 2.4″ tyres a great voluminous profile and it’s allowed me to comfortably run 20-25 psi in the front, with a couple of psi more in the rear (I’ll be posting a separate review of these soon). The 2016 Foxy XR is now coming specced with the EX1501s, and I’ll take my hat off to that decision. Good call Mondraker!
The Foxy loves to get moving; it accelerates quickly and – like I’ve previously said – you can find speed with confidence on any trail, thanks to the long wheelbase and front centre. I often get to that bum-clenching point were I needed to rein it back, quickly! I had no issues with the Formula brakes that were specced, but with the EWS entered and a Alps trip I wanted that little bit more from my stoppers. The tool free release system on the hose made removing the internal routing for the rear brake hose easy, and enter my beloved Shiamno Zee four pot brakes. They can stop a charging elephant, or me when I’m out of control (which is a lot). The heat dispersion is much better and I just like the feel of the levers. The only maintenance these bad boys have had is one bleed (after the Alps) and a change of pads. What more can you ask for?
To help improve the shifting, at the cassette end I inserted a 16T in place of the 15 and 17T sprockets (17T had already been removed for the 42T extender). I also removed the long cage from the XT mech and replaced it with a OneUp RAD cage.
This greatly improved shifting. The shift up from the 13T to the 16T and on to the 19T was much smoother; although I still miss the 15 and 17T. And after a while I also swapped out the E13 extender and replaced it with a Wolf tooth 42 big ring. I didn’t expect to notice much of a difference but I was quite surprised. The Wolf tooth felt stiffer (it didn’t drop the chain down under pressure whilst climbing steep power climbs), and the shift up felt smoother. This could have been due to the E13’s wear – but it was noticeable nonetheless.
Although not really necessary I’ve also added a Gamut Trail SXC guide and a RockGuardz downtube protector. This last has taken a bit of a beating; being knocked off by numerous rock strikes. It has some pretty big chips out of it – which would have been in the carbon downtube if it hadn’t have been there.
Living with the Foxy has been a true pleasure. It’s a rocket ship that likes to rip – and it excels on steep natural trails. It has nice balance in the air; I have finally built the confidence to hit jumps and drops I used to shy away from. As I’ve previously said, I find this bike one of the most attractive bikes out there and if I had it (which unfortunately I don’t) I’d put my money where my mouth is.
The suspension is due a service but other than that the only maintenance I’ve done is tyre changes (there’s been lots of those), brake bleeds and one gear cable change. Which as far as internal cabling goes was a dream. A full outer runs down the inside of the downtube to a nice sized port, which is covered by a bolt on cover/guide. Unbolt that and I could pick the new outer out easily.
One thing that has become a bit worn is the rear drop out bolt. The axle came loose a couple of times during the early stages of testing, so I cranked it down – which meant I needed a allen key to help undo it. This rounded the bolt a little; it now could do with being replaced. But happily you can get these from Silverfish for £10.95. Oh, and I’ve bent some mech hangers. But they were easy to replace and were absolutely rider error.
The only thing I’d now change is the shock tune, but this is a personal thing. I want it to ramp up a little more near the end of the stroke and have slightly better small bump compliancy. The 2016 Foxy is now stocked with Fox’s Evolve shock, which is better on small bumps due to it’s larger volume – and you can fit volume reducers to help it ramp up near the end of it’s stroke. So all good.
How to sum up my last nine months on this bike? I have loved everything except the crashing. The long wheelbase is confidence inspiring, and the Foxy loves to be pushed as hard as you dare in the steeps. It takes some riding position adjustment to get the most out of it, but if you are used to riding in an aggressive, more forward position, this won’t take long. The Zero suspension system works beautifully; the position is great and, essentially, when the bike goes back I’m going to feel like I’ve had a limb removed. It’s ace.
|Product:||Foxy Carbon XR Special Edition|
|Tested:||by Richard for|