While it might seem like they’re a relatively fresh name on the scene, Spanish company Mondraker Bikes has actually been kicking around since 2001. The brand is likely best known for its exotic-looking full suspension bikes and the radical ‘Forward Geometry’ concept. Forward Geometry has evolved dramatically since it was first developed in 2003, and has gone on to set the new-school geometry trend for almost every other mountain bike company out there. While daring at the time, the idea of pairing a super-long top tube to a super-short stem has been mirrored by countless other bikes, and is now commonplace amongst bigger mainstream brands.
In recent years, we’ve been seeing a lot more Mondraker bikes on UK soil. A lot of that has to do with the company’s sponsorship of the British Bullet and current Downhill World Champion, Danny Hart, who has been prominently displaying the Mondraker flag from the top step of the World Cup podium this season. In addition to Danny’s efforts, the Spanish brand has been delivering some highly regarded full suspension and hardtail mountain bikes that seem to have captured the eyes of British riders. We got the chance to check out Mondraker’s 2017 line at the Birmingham Cycle Show to see what’s new from the Spanish trendsetter.
One of the freshest bikes from Mondraker is the Crafty+. As you can probably tell, it’s a full suspension mountain bike that comes equipped with chubby 3.0in wide Maxxis Chronicle tyres to add a little more squish and a little more grip compared to the Foxy trail bike it’s based upon.
That characteristic hump on the Crafty+ top tube isn’t just a distinguishing aesthetic feature, it’s for function too. Because of the enormously long top and down tubes used for Mondraker’s Forward Geometry design, an extra brace is required at the head tube to help stiffen and strengthen the longer front triangle. Opinion is somewhat divided on the hump, but it certainly makes the Crafty+ an unmistakeable bike.
The Crafty+ features 140mm of rear travel, and is built around a hydroformed alloy tubeset with modern All Mountain geometry. Along with the chubby tyres, it’s a bike that’s designed to inspire confidence and stability on really rough and gnarly trail surfaces.
Like other Mondraker full suspension bikes, the Crafty+ runs the ‘Zero Suspension System’ out back, which comprises a solid rear triangle and two small linkages that dictate the rear wheel path.
The rear shock is driven from below by the lower linkage, and is compressed from above by the rocker link. This supposedly offers more tuning capabilities for Mondraker. If anything, it delivers a compact and neat arrangement that looks the goods. BOOST 148x12mm rear thru-axle spacing is employed out back, which helps Mondraker to build the Crafty+ with 438mm chain stays while providing clearance for the chunky Maxxis 3.0in wide tyres.
Neat forged alloy linkage on the Craft+ also serves as a lower driver for the Fox rear shock. Note the threaded bottom bracket in the above photo. We can hear the cheers from mechanics from here!
The rear end on the Crafty+ is a one-piece affair, with an additional brace used behind the seat tube that helps to strengthen the rear triangle. Even with a 3.0in wide tyre, there’s masses of clearance for mud and gunk out back.
There are two models of Crafty+, both of which are built around the same alloy frame and 140mm rear suspension platform. But while the regular model features a 140mm travel fork, the Crafty+ XR throws on a chunkier Fox 36 fork with 160mm of travel, to help slacken the head angle out to 66.5-degrees, while extending the wheelbase further for added descending stability. With those kind of numbers, this looks like it could be a very fun enduro machine.
Not actually a geometry flip-chip. The captured nut is offset in the frame to minimise twisting forces from the upper seat stay pivot, so it’s a design for strength, not for flipping and adjusting the bike’s geometry.
The blue bike behind the red Craft+ XR is the Crafty+ R. It uses the same frame, but has a 140mm travel fork instead. Price is £3999 for the XR model, and £3199 for the R.
Another new option for 2017, the Mondraker Factor+ takes a similar platform to the Crafty plus bike, but shrinks down the travel a bit to create a lighter and tighter trail bike. This guy features 120m of travel out back, and is offered in two models like the Crafty+. The Factor+ XR runs a longer travel 130mm fork and will be selling for £2799, while the regular Factor+ R gets a 120mm travel fork and will sell for £2399.
Forward Geometry is present on the new Factor+. All Mondraker mountain bikes that run Forward Geometry are built with a 35mm stem, whether it’s a Small, Medium, Large or X-Large frame size. Mondraker’s theory is that every rider should have the same steering, regardless of their height.
Love it or hate it, that characteristic hump on the top tube helps to increase strength and stiffness for the head tube. Check out how beefy it is on the Factor!
The Zero Suspension system is present on the Factor+, with 120mm of travel controlled by two small alloy linkages. The rear shock is squashed from both linkages. Being a trail bike that’s equipped for longer distance riding, the Factor+ gets longer chain stays than the Crafty+, with a 450mm rear centre length helping to keep the bike stable on the climbs.
Mondraker offer two ‘Enduro’ bikes: the 160mm travel Dune, and the 140mm travel Foxy. The above model is the shorter travel Foxy, which has been incredibly well received in its latest iteration.
Available in both alloy and carbon versions, this Foxy XR is absolutely stunning with its flowy carbon tube shapes. The Foxy range kicks off at £2599, and runs up to £6699 for the top-spec option you’re looking at here.
Being the ‘XR’ model, Mondraker have spec’d this particular Foxy with a longer 160mm travel fork on the front. Normal Foxy models get a 140mm fork to balance out the rear travel, but otherwise share the same frame and rear suspension design. With the bigger fork, the Foxy XR runs a head angle of 66.5-degrees and features a long wheelbase courtesy of the Forward Geometry design. As an example of just how long this bike is, a Medium Foxy XR gets a 635mm top tube length and a reach measurement of 478mm, which is more akin to other brands X-Large frame sizes. However, that short stem helps to bring the grips in closer to the rider, so you’re not stretching out just to reach the bars.
Stubby 35mm stem is stubby. Mondraker also offer a 10mm stem, which the original Forward Geometry bikes came out with. However, that design possibly proved a little too radical for the market, and so Mondraker have since refined the concept into what you see here. Dig the idea of a super short stem? Then you can buy the 10mm stem from Mondraker and simply size up in the range: if you normally fit a Medium, just buy a Large frame size and run the stubby 10mm stem. Simple!
Solid rear triangle offers heaps of stiffness. Also of note in the above image is the integrated rubber armour for the drive-side chain stay tube, and a small mudflap that shields the rear shock from the rear tyre. Short 43cm chain stay length helps to keep the Foxy XR nice and nimble, and all without Boost spacing – just regular ol’ 142x12mm thru-axle on the back here.
Tidy alloy rocker linkage begins its life as two forged pieces of alloy, before being welded and machined into one structural piece.
And we couldn’t pass through the Mondraker booth at the Cycle Show without photographing Danny Hart’s World Championship winning Summum Carbon! What a stunning bike this is up close, where you can truly appreciate just how enormous that wheelbase is. All patriotic and that too. Cheers to a spectacular win Danny!