The Mondraker Foxy XR is definitely one machine that stands out in the crowd. With its unique hunchback long top tube, light weight compact rear triangle and zero reach stem set–up and aggro angles it’s built for high tempo, all–action riding…
From Dirt Issue 137 – July 2013
Words: Sam Jones. Photo by Steve Jones.
For me the Foxy XR is a beauty. Black with gold and white decals, Fox Kashima coated suspension, Crankbrothers Iodine black and gold wheelset. It’s a good looking bit of kit. But it’s not about looks, and I’ve been searching for the ideal weapon for local riding which consists of handmade downhills uplifted or spun out to the top, whatever the mood. Natural trails are the name of the game and the 140mm trailbikes of a few years ago have simply been outclassed by our new terrain. A modern trail bike for local (south east Wales) riding leans more towards 160mm, yet 160 is often slightly too much. That’s why the Foxy with its stable geo’ seemed to fill that need. Not only that, the ‘Large’ Foxy XR fits me perfectly.
It took me a while to get my head around the Mondraker though. It felt as if I would have knee to bar contact. But out on the trails, all is forgotten. As I climbed uphill I was pretty taken aback at how the front kept planted, if anything that’s one of its strengths. Dropping into the trails due to a 1225mm wheelbase and slack angles, the XR feels more like a downhill machine than anything else. On fast flowing singletracks, it powers along holding a line perfectly stable. It’s a crazily confident bike at speed, the acceleration is good and the position centralised.
But it’s as soon as you hit rough ground where the going gets tough, where reality hits home, and as much as the Fox 34 160mm takes the punch up front the reality is that you’re on a 140mm bike, which personally, I think is its down fall – a great bike let down by not enough rear travel. The same has happened on some 29” bikes I’ve ridden lately – you carry a cartload of speed and stability into terrain then get slammed in the rear for doing so. I’m now wondering if the Dune was in fact the bike to go for. Is the geometry a bit too big for its boots? Maybe, but the standard Foxy never felt brilliant out back. This bike’s environment is in and around tight trees and singletrack, and for a 140mm bike it lacks a bit of spark through the tight going. What we’re missing is hard evidence however and next month we’ll be doing timed runs which will reveal if this is a feeling or fact. A massive step in the right direction and I still love riding it.
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