Search

Search GovVelo.com

    Mondraker Mountain Bikes: A Review

    You might've heard the Mondraker name in the world of mountain biking. If you haven't, don't feel bad. While they're not a universally known brand, Mondraker has been around for over 20 years and they've had an outsized influence in the world of mountain biking. Who pioneered modern frame geometry with slacker head angles? Mondraker. Where do you find hyper efficient dual link rear suspension? Mondraker. What brand is ridden by the most elite riders in the world? Mondraker. Yup, you're getting the idea. Basically, the geniuses at Mondraker were 5-6 years ahead of the curve.

    Our first real introduction to Mondraker was a few years ago at what turned out to be the last hurrah of what was once the biggest industry trade show in North America, interbike in Reno, NV. We were at the dealer's demo event being held at the Northstar Ski Resort, just on the California side. We'd seen the brand before, but hadn't actually done anything other than gawk at the seriously sexy bikes. This time, we got to ride them, and oh, what a ride it was. When you demo 20+ bikes at an event and only one is memorable enough that you still think about it years later, you know you just experienced something special.

    The first thing that strikes you is that the bikes are long compared to others, and look plain fast. Then the factory rep starts telling you a few things about the bikes, Foxy's this time around, and that when you're out riding the mountain trails, to get the best ride, because of the Forward Geometry concept, you need to do the opposite of what you're used to, and that's to keep the front fork loaded. Huh? Yes, keep it loaded he says so stay more forward than you normally would, that's how they're designed to be ridden. Ok, music to our ears as we're flat landers and aren't used to this big mountain stuff anyway.

    With the pedals on and the suspension all dialed in, off we go to the lift that'll take us to the top. Just riding to the lift is already attention grabbing. This is going to be good. On the lift we get, up we go, and disembark. With our rides under us, we take a short crossover trail to get to the line we want to take. Already pure fun and so different than we're used to with other longer travel bikes. We stop to take a picture of the bikes and the gorgeous view (it's really the bikes though).

    Finally, it's time to take them down the mountain. What bliss. Light, nimble, efficient, precise and such a joy to ride. Oh, and yes, the factory rep was dead on when he said to keep the front fork loaded. Uphill sections? No problem with the efficient suspension, the excellent steering, and the planted feel of the bike (no wheelies going up a steep bit). We make it down with a grin from one ear to the other. Time to decide wether we bring them back and ride something else or sneak another run in. Yeah, that didn't take long to decide, we're already heading to the lift line for another round.

    That's how a demo ride from back in 2018 is still at the top of the memory heap.

    The Lineup

    Now that you've had an admittedly fan-boy introduction, let's talk a little bit more about the bikes in Mondraker's lineup. While historically they're probably most recognized for their downhill bikes, they make top notch bikes in every mountain bike category. That includes, downhill, enduro, cross country, and some awesome e-bikes and kids mountain bikes (if you're looking to set your kid up with a mountain bike that's fully spec'd and simply a smaller version of your ride, Mondraker has you covered).

    Downhill

    This can be summarized with one model, the Summum. It's what Mondraker is most known for and is what you frequently see the world's best downhill riders on. They're incredible machines that are designed to do one thing extremely well, and that's bomb down big mountains.

    Enduro

    Mondraker breaks this up into two categories, super enduro, and enduro/all-mountain. Both use the Foxy platform with the Super Foxy falling into the super enduro category with a longer travel over the more enduro/all-mountain oriented Foxy. Both bikes take Mondraker's downhill expertise and put it in a package that is suited for going anywhere on big terrain without compromising performance.

    Cross-Country

    Also known as XC, this is where Mondraker has the bulk of their lineup with the F-Podium, Podium, and Chrono models. The F-Podium and Podium models are the highlight in the category with the F-Podium being it's full suspension version of it's no compromises hardtail sibling, the Podium. In the top-end spec, the Podium Carbon RR SL, is a weight slaying 7.8kg (17.19lbs) racer that will give you zero excuses to not be on the podium (pun intended).

    These bikes are short to mid-travel mountain bikes that have a singular purpose: an uncompromising racing machine. Think of them as the well mannered exotic sports cars of the mountain biking world. With their incredibly light carbon fiber frames and excellent component specs, they have crazy acceleration, feel planted to the trail, and are an absolute blast to ride.

    We're HUGE fans of both the F-Podium and Podium. They're some of the best bikes on the market, if not the best, and will not disappoint if you're looking for that extra edge.