I spent the first part of this year onboard the fantastic Mondraker Foxy, so when the 29er version of the same bike arrived at Singletrack Towers I was quick to claim it as my own.
Would the Foxy 29er offer the same agility and stability as the smaller wheeled bike, could the larger wheels and a slight increase in travel make an already fast bike even faster? Continue reading to find out.
The slender top-tube and forward geometry are distinct Mondraker traits meaning you’ll never hear a Mondraker bike being compared to a Session. A Mondraker looks like a Mondraker, and what a look it is!
Arguably it’s Mondraker’s Forward Geometry which has helped push the brand to the forefront of modern bike design, and to a certain extent, push the whole mountain bike industry into the “long, low, slack” battleground.
For the 29er version of the popular Foxy, Mondraker has taken it’s proven long reach and slack head-angles and combined them with a shorter offset fork. A shorter offset fork helps to keep steering fast and accurate while maintaining a slack head-angle. It might sound like marketing hoodoo, but there is a distinct difference in feel between a short and regular offset fork, but is one better than the other? Personally, I don’t think so, and it’s more a personal preference with the feel of the bike rather than a performance enhancement.
What do I mean by a “Short Offset”? Well, a standard offset is 51mm, a short offset in the case of the Mondraker Foxy 29 is 44mm. Offset’s get even shorter though. Whyte, for example, offers a 37mm offset on the new Whyte T130.
Due to Mondraker’s generous sizing, I opted for a medium sized frame rather than a large. A medium Foxy has a reach of 470mm, my own personal bike is a large and is only 5mm longer. As well as being suitably long, the Foxy 29er is fashionably low, with our test bike boasting a short 420mm seat tube, so there’s plenty of scope to upsize if you wanted and run a super long dropper.
All 4 size options, S,M,L, and XL have a 66 head angle, 75.5 actual seat post angle and all run the same length 435mm chainstays.
Some brands decide to shave a few mm off the travel when they start to offer a 29er versions of a current 650b bike, but with the increase in wheel size, Mondraker has also increased suspension travel. The rear still uses Mondraker’s Zero Suspension system but now has 150mm of root taming travel, while the front travel moves up to 160mm.
There are a few more tweaks to the new frame. There is significantly more clearance between the chainring and the frame on the 29er when compared to the 27.5in version, not that I had any issues with clearance but it is good to see that this has been improved upon.
The option to adjust wheelbase has been removed on the 29er version of the Foxy, and for some reason Mondraker has used the hardest plastic on the planet for the chainstay protector, creating a shockingly noisy ride. You’ll want to wrap this with an old tube or cover it with some softer material before you even ride the Foxy 29er unless you enjoy riding a bike that sounds as though it’s about to rattle itself apart.
There are some nice changes in the specification of the new 29er Foxy too. I mentioned in my review of the 27.5in wheeled bike that the stock Fox 34 fork was a little on the skinny side, so I was happy to see a Fox 36, albeit a Float FIT GRIP model, plugged into the front of the bike.
I much prefer the DT Swiss E1900 wheelset on this new bike too. A 30mm internal rim width is what you expect to see on an enduro bike of this calibre.
Mondraker has also gone for a full SRAM drivetrain on the Foxy Carbon R 29. A 1×12 Eagle system, with matching chainset and a pair of 4 pot calliper brakes all look great on paper but take a closer look and you’ll see that it’s all entry level kit.
The SRAM Eagle drivetrain comes in the form of SRAM NX, and the brakes are entry-level SRAM Guide T 4 piston brakes. Fine for a bike of £2000 but they look out of place on a bike costing £4,499.
I’m also pretty disappointed to see that the same Onoff Pija dropper post has been used on the Foxy 29er. It’s a great performing dropper, but it only has 125mm of drop on our medium sized test bike. L and XL bikes get a longer 150mm and the size S has a 100mm drop. I would like to see 150mm minimum to make the most out of the low standover.
Mondraker’s own brand double butted 6061, 780mm handlebar is the same that was on our previous Foxy test bike and while it might not have any fancy branding it’s a very comfortable bar. Holding the handlebar in place is an Onoff Stoic FG 30mm stem.
So, how does it ride?
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Would it shock you if I told you that this 160mm/150mm travel 29er enduro bike with progressive geometry is fast? No, thought not. Riding the Foxy 29er fast is easy, I believe anyone could climb on board, point the slack front end where they wanted to go and let go of the brakes. The Foxy will handle the rest, trampling rocks and roots into submission while gaining more and more speed.
It doesn’t steamroller over terrain, it’s more of a monster truck. You know, one of those big wheeled, long travel, 1500bhp, ladder framed vehicles that crush cars, wheelie at the blip of the throttle, and can hit 60 in under 3 seconds. So, extremely fast, and capable, and great for saving you when you overdo things a little.
The Foxy 29er is so fast and so calming that sometimes you’ll hit a section at such a speed you won’t really understand how you managed to get through it. It’s almost like the bike is doing everything for you.
Now that last statement is either going to excite you or completely turn you off. Some riders just want to get through a section as fast as possible, smashing all the Strava KOM’s on their loop and leaving the trail shell-shocked, and for those riders, the Mondraker Foxy R 29 is the bike for you. If however, you want to go fast, but also enjoy the bits in between, hopping from rock to root, pick your lines and playing around a little more, then the Foxy might not be the one.
It is possible to ride the this 29er slower and be a little more playful with line choices, but the geometry isn’t really suited to travelling slower.
Matching the overall speed of the bike is the fast steering, short offset fork. Whereas the 27.5in Foxy needs a little more ‘body English’ to get it around corners, the 29er is more direct and has a more responsive front end. This snappy steering trait makes the bike incredibly fun when riding steep chutes at speed. Take things easier, or too slow though and you’ll find yourself turning in to familiar berms too early, and tripping yourself up.
Oh, and it climbs pretty well too! Just as I found on it’s smaller brother, the Foxy 29er will winch it’s way up long climbs with ease, but things get a little tricky on more technical climbs.
I pointed out issues with the headset bearings and stem on my previous Mondraker Foxy review, but this time around both items didn’t give me any trouble. I did, however, run into an issue with the SRAM NX Eagle rear derailleur though, which appears to struggle in very muddy conditions.
After one very dirty ride, I discovered the NX mech would jam into the higher gears, which I thought could have been a clogged cable, but a fresh one didn’t remedy it. I discovered that it was the mech that jammed, and after a good clean and lube, it went back to normal.
Lower end SRAM brakes also require a little more consideration than the higher end models. You’ll find that once the pads wear to a certain level that the bite point on the lever comes very close to the bar. We’ve come across this quite often and find fresh pads fix the issue.
3 Things I Love About This Bike
- The stability and speed are second to none.
- The frame is a thing of beauty. Well, made, great design, simply stunning.
- Extremely effective suspension, with a great platform for pedalling and pumping.
3 Things That Could Be Better
- The 125mm dropper post is far too short.
- The build kit is way off for the price of the bike. I’d expect GX Eagle and higher end brakes at the very least.
- Noisy backend. You will want to purchase a good quality chainstay protector. The stock one is hard and creates a lot of noise.
If you’re after the fastest way to get from A-B while constantly accelerating and never once touching the brakes then the Foxy 29er is the bike for you. I literally have never ridden this fast before, the 29in wheels cause this bike to gobble up everything on the trail, all the while accelerating faster and faster and faster.
The amount of travel means that riding the Foxy 29 fast is quite a calm and composed affair. The stability and composure give the feeling of time slowing down, you start to realise that you’re not touching the brakes as often and you’re clearing sections that you might never have before.
If I was to race in an enduro then the Foxy 29er is the bike I would choose. Slow speeds and calmer trails aren’t what this bike is about.
- Frame // Foxy 29 Stealth Air full Carbon 150mm travel
- Fork // Fox 36 29 Float FIT GRIP EVOL Performance, 160mm
- Shock // Fox Float DPX2 LV EVOL Performance
- Hubs // DT 370 15X110mm / 12x148mm
- Rims // DT Swiss E1900 Spline 29, 30mm internal width, 28 spokes.
- Tyres // Maxxis Minion DHR II 29×2.4 Front &Maxxis Aggressor 29×2.3 Rear
- Crankset // New Sram Eagle DUB Boost DM32t
- Rear Mech // New Sram NX Eagle -Horizon Type3 1x12s
- Shifters // Sram Eagle Trigger right 12s
- Cassette // SRAM Eagle, 10-50T
- Brakes // Sram Guide T, 200mm rotor front 180mm rear
- Stem // OnOff Stoic FG 30mm
- Bars // Mondraker double butted 780mm
- Seatpost // OnOff Dropper Pija internal 1x Lever, 125mm Travel
- Saddle // SDG Fly MTN
- Size Tested // Medium
- Sizes Available // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
- Weight // 13.940 kg/ 30.73lbs
|Product:||Foxy R 29|
|Tested:||by Andi Sykes for 2 months|