Team MTBNJ Halter's
The Mondraker Foxy RR SL on top of Sourland Mountain. We're riding a 2018 Model Size Large, at 5'-10" it fits perfect!
Earlier this month I had an opportunity to ride a new 2018 Mondraker Foxy RR SL. This bike falls under the “enduro/all mountain” category with it’s slack geometry and 150mm of travel front and rear. Based on those specifications this bike certainly wanted to be ridden on some gnar. I figured a solid park for a thorough test ride in was my local spot, Sourland Mountain Preserve in Hillsborough NJ. I went into the ride short on time with an open mind to get a quick pedal in aboard this machine. Had a blast on this bike during my test ride and came away pretty impressed with how the bike rode and felt.
Mondraker bikes are just beginning to come state side. They originate from Spain and are fairly popular in the UK and Europe. Halter's Cycles in Montgomery NJ will begin selling them in 2018 and were kind enough to loan me this demo.
This bike is all carbon and features some pretty graphics and as Mondraker's top of the line model it's spec'd out with a list of great components.
Over the years Sourland Mountain earned a reputation as a notoriously difficult park to ride due to the unforgiving nature of it’s massive rocks and technical terrain. This is of course how the park rides in dry conditions. Now when the rocks and roots are wet, that challenge is elevated up quite a few notches. So how does adding snow to the mix sound? To many this may not sound like the best place to test a bike, but to me these are ideal conditions. Slick and challenging conditions can really show whether or not a bike has good geometry and suspension settings regardless of how the components are spec’d out. A good bike is something you’re going immediately to feel comfortable on. When you feel comfortable on a bike you feel confident in what it can do, and therefor what you can do. This confidence equates to speed and smile factor.
Due to the upcoming weather forecast that week and my schedule I was incredibly pressed for time. All that was needed to set the sag and tire pressures. The Mondraker manual recommends 30% sag, I bled some air out of the fork and shock till it looked "about right." I was towards the tail end of a bunch of lucky test pilots, so I figured the fork and shock were already dialed in. Last thing was set my tire pressures to 22f/27r rear and I was off. No time to tweak the lever positions or fine tune the seat height. Just ride!
Long wheelbase and stretched reach, the Foxy puts you in a great position to attack the trail. Frame shape and excellent dropper post makes for a fairly low standover height when you're looking to take on slow speed tech
I set out in the woods and began pedaling up the “ridge trail” to “maple flats trail”. A rocky and rooty climb starting near the main parking lot. The ground was fairly wet, semi slick but not really muddy. Immediately I noticed how much traction this bike had, even traversing wet diagonal roots the rear tracked pretty straight and no slips. I navigated the techy single track as I made my way over to the pipeline climb on the maple flats hitting some of the A lines including a steep 5’ roller down wet tree roots. First thing I immediately became aware of is how comfortable I felt on this bike. I was fired up to see what it could do.
Going up the pipeline trail, a super steep climb the 1 x 12 eagle X01 drivetrain was appreciated with that big ‘ol granny gear. Rear end had plenty of grip, only limiting factor on this climb was that the pipeline trail had hardpack ice/snow from all the hikers going up and down after a prior snow storm. Grip was limited on the steep stuff resulting in the rear tire spinning, which is no fault of the bike’s due to the trail conditions with hardpack snow. Other sections of trail I was able to get up some techy rock climbs without issue. It’s still a 150mm bike, but with the suspension geometry and steep seat tube angle at 70.5 degree actual (75 degrees effective) it climbed really good considering it’s long travel and geometry. Good enough to get you up the hill to the fun stuff.
SRAM XO1 Eagle 12 speed drivetrain
The Foxy has 150mm travel front and rear and strangely doesn’t ride like a long travel bike. For comparison I own and ride a 2015 Specialized Enduro with 160mm travel front and rear. My enduro feels soft and you definitely notice the squishy suspension absorbing your power under hard pedaling. The foxy tricks you into riding akin to a short travel 120mm bike. Under hard acceleration the suspension firms up and the bike lurches ahead. The front end provides lots of feedback and felt spot on when pushed. Even through the forks have 34mm stanchions, the front end felt just as stiff as the 36mm monsters that you have on a more “enduro” bike such as the Cannondale Jekyll. Coming over some large rocks at slight angles, there was no noticeable flex. The beefy 35mm diameter handle bars certainly helped too. Line choices can either be precision threading around obstacles or simply to motor right over, good options!
The rear end features short 425 chainstay lengths which makes for snappy handling and quick direction changes despite the bike’s long wheel base and fairly slack 66 degree head angle. Manualing over larger obstacles came easy at speed, and a little surge of power on the pedals easily lightening the front end enough to get over some of the larger rocks on slow speed tech. Suspension had some pop too, loading up the bars and pedals I could loft it easily over some downed logs, big roots and rocks as I navigated Sourlands.
The Foxy RR SL features 425mm chainstays and plenty of clearance for wider tires.
The Foxy runs Maxxis tires a 2.3” High Roller II Front and Ardent 2.4” Rear. A few times I trailed the rear brake harder than I should've into some high speed corners to get an idea how the rear tracked. When the tires began to let go the slides were pretty linear and easy to control. Wishing I had more time and better conditions to really push it more in the corners. In the turns the bike provided ample feedback and was very forgiving. The Foxy begs to be pushed and for you you to explore your perceptions of what a bike can do.
Yes, 150mm travel, slack rake, long wheelbase it’s no surprise this bike rips on the downhills. Not much to say here, it’s what this mountain bike is designed to do. I rode this bike through some the rocky minefields that exist in wonderful abundance at Sourland Mountain over towards the Red Trail area. The Foxy ate up the chunk and asked for more on the downhills. I had a lot of fun on the DH segments. Due to the sun setting I didn’t have much opportunity to session some more of DH trails and additional runs in. Despite this what I saw was impressive. I launched the bike off some of small kicker jumps on the trail and landed softly and with compliance. I was still able to pop the bike over the bigger features at speed with ease. Combine the rugged downhill prowess with the suspension that doesn’t rob you of your pedal energy, I’d think this would be a great rig for enduro racing.
During cornering I typically run my outside leg on the six o’clock position on the outside crank relative to the corner and rest the inside of that knee on the frame. It’s a habit to maintain “good form”. Only thing that was slightly annoying on this bike was the rear suspension linkages tendency to hit the inside of my knee during cornering like this. I couldn’t identify if it was simply hitting the linkage or feeling the linkage moving over the bumps. Minor annoyance. Linkage is also tightly assembled which can stretch out your post ride cleaning time quite a bit. These are two little things that are far from being a dealbreaker, just a minor things for me to nitpick on. In my opinion the rear end of the bike feels super compliant, great pedaling and climbing. It’s a positive trade-off for the bulky solid design.
The Foxy RR SL Runs a Fox DPX2 Factory connected to an impressive Carbon Linkage. A removable plastic mud flap in front of rear tire prevents debris from accumulating above the bottom bracket.
If you’re looking for a fun bike to compete in enduro races on and occasionally hit up the bike park I’d say this bike fits the bill. Phenomenal trail bike as well. This can handle anything on the Northeast. After the test ride I reviewed the data and discovered that a few of the DH segments I rode my times were a mere 30 to 40 seconds off my all-time PR’s. All this on a bike I’ve never ridden in the snow. Rock on!I was very fortunate to ride their top of the line Carbon Model which will be out of the price range of many riders. They offer over 4 different spec’d out Carbon frame Foxy’s a varying price points. Big thanks to Jason @ Halter’s Cycle in Montgomery NJ for the opportunity to take this great bike out!
Check them out:
Thanks for reading!
Great time riding this rig! If you're in the Market for a great 150mm machine and something unique definitely check one out!