Mondraker Foxy RR 29
Tested by Nic Hall & Drew Rohde
Photos by Samson Hatae & Drew Rohde
Mondraker has been on the leading edge of mountain bike design, and the Foxy RR 29 is no exception. They have been writing the book on long and low bikes, a philosophy they call Forward Geometry. We got the Foxy RR 29 for a long-term review this summer, and our test period culminated at the Trans-Cascadia race in Washington.
Like other Mondraker bikes, Foxy 29 RR is masterpiece of engineering and aesthetic design. The continuous top tube to chain stay line is one of the best things I have seen this year. The carbon tube profiles are unique, the geometry is ultra-modern, and the colors are dialed. Even on the stand, this bike oozes speed and refinement. Mondraker’s Foxy 29 RR is the Lamborghini Aventador of the bike world. I wanted to love this bike before I even rode it, but that doesn’t mean it rides as well as it looks. Let’s dig past the good looks.
Mondraker’s Forward Geometry is aimed at moving the rider to a more balanced attack position over the front of the bike. The Spanish bikes have very long front ends with slack head tube angles and reduced offset forks. We couldn’t take this bike out without being stopped and people asking to throw a leg over it. Every rider we met was in disbelief that our test bike wasn’t an XL after commenting how long the bike felt and looked.
Our size large Foxy 29 has a monstrous 654mm top tube, 490mm reach, 66-degree head tube angle, 48.66-inch wheelbase and 44mm fork offset. The numbers bolster the bike’s intended purpose, going fast and feeling stable. It will either make you love it or, not. While many brands have started adopting this long front end philosophy, we believe that it does offer a specific experience that will not suit all riders or regions; think SUV and sports cars.
The suspension is a refined version of Mondraker’s Zero Suspension system, which is a type of virtual pivot where the shock is attached to both the top and bottom of the rear triangle via links. The top link has a carbon bridge, that Mondraker claims adds damping. In our experiences virtual pivot point bikes have inherent pros and cons; some people love the pedaling efficiency and stiff feeling rear end while others, like Drew, constantly critique the hang-up and harsh feeling when hitting square-edge hits like rocks and roots. But, every rider has their own riding style, suspension preferences and local riding terrain that will make their ideal bike much different than another rider’s in a different region.
Mondraker specs the Foxy RR 29 with SRAM Code R brakes, a Fox 36 Fit4 EVOL fork and Fox DPX2 shock. DT Swiss E1700 Spline rims on DT 350 hubs are a bombproof choice for the wheelset and SRAM’s Eagle 1×12 drivetrain handles the torque.
When it comes to climbing, the DH-biased geometry bit back. The seat tube is relatively steep at 75.5 degrees, but I never felt centered over the pedals. Those same geometry numbers that help the bike feel stable and confident on vertical descents manifest themselves as a wandering front end when the trail points up.
My new mistress wasn’t out of tricks yet though, the subtle touches bring you back to her. An integrated and removeable rear fender is masterfully placed to keep dirt and rocks from gunking up your rear shock. Overmolded downtube and chainstay protectors are cleanly designed and work well. Big ‘ol Enduro bearings in the main pivots keep things stiff and smooth. The rear brake has a unique post mount design on the inside of the chainstay that reminds us of a custom motorcycle design. And, did I mention the lines on this bike?
The normal clichés of dedicated cross-country bikes do not come to mind when recalling my time spent climbing on the Mondraker Foxy RR. Once the wheels stop spinning at mach speed and you begin crawling uphill, the bike wants to wander all over the trail. I found myself walking sections I normally pedal because I was having difficulty keeping the bike on line.
On lower aspect climbs, like those around Bend, Oregon, the bike pedals well and wandering is limited. At just a hair over 30 pounds, the stiff chassis responds to changes in direction and power quickly. But as with anything, the geometry on the Foxy 29 RR is a give and take relationship. I never felt that I was on top of the pedals and fully engaged in an efficient climbing position, yet the bike still accelerated quickly when I needed it to.
What the Foxy takes on the climbs, it gives back double on the decent. Laser sharp precision in steep, strait shoots and the ability to carve high-speed turns are the highlights of the ride. The bike truly rewards riders who focus on the forward part of Mondraker’s Forward Geometry. We found that putting our chest over the bars really makes the bike come alive.
Tight switchbacks are an area the Foxy doesn’t love. It takes some time to learn how to get this bike around sharp corners and play on its strengths. If you live in an area with lots of hairpin switchbacks, you may not find the long front end to be ideal.
The rear shock was a bit of a conundrum for the test riders; compression needed to be fully open along with deep sag (35%) to avoid harshness, but those settings also led to some harsh bottom outs and pedal strikes. With the addition of a few volume spacers and quite a few test rides, we were able to settle on a tune that worked pretty well. A downside of the suspension design is some inherent rigidity and lack of compliance on high frequency, high speed bumps. We feel that a coil shock would eliminate some of the issues we faced with the air setup.
We rode this bike on trails at Whistler and Mt. Bachelor bike parks, the Trans Cascadia and plenty of trails in between. High-speed confidence and stability are uncanny aboard the Foxy. If you make every ride a race run, you will love the stiff and connected feel. The Foxy gives its passenger a lot of feedback and if you return with input of your own it will treat you well. If you are looking for a smooth, plush feel that you can sit back and relax on, this probably isn’t the bike for you.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Foxy 29 RR truly stands up to the name, it is one of the best looking bikes on the market, with a build to match. Without a doubt, the Foxy gives you immense confidence due to the stability and long front end. We loved the bikes stiffness, playfulness at the rear wheel and the ability to have pinpoint precision at speed. The penalty for the downhill security is a wandering front end that makes you work on steep climbs and a front end that is tough to swing around tight switchbacks. It is not a plush or supple bike but if you live to put down race runs, then the Foxy is ready to run! Just like a modern supercar, the Foxy is built for speed and has the design to match. We would feel comfortable taking this bike anywhere; it has the ability to handle anything you throw on the descents and since our weekly riding location doesn’t have tons of braking bumps or switchbacks, we can live with its shortcomings.
Weight: 30.28 lbs (w/ pedals)
Frame: Stealth Air Carbon; 150mm
Fork: Fox 36 Float Fit4 EVOL 15×110, 44mm offset
Shock: Fox DPX2; 150mm
Brakes: SRAM Code R
Handlebar: Onoff Stoic Carbon; 780mm
Headset: Onoff Saturn
Saddle: SDG Fly
Seatpost: Onoff Pija; 150mm
Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle; 12s
Stem: Onoff Stoic; 35mm
Hubs: DT Swiss 350
Rims: DT Swiss E1700 Spline
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHR II and Aggressor; 2.4/2.3
Bottom Bracket: SRAM DUB BSA
Cassette: SRAM XG-1275; 10-50t
Cranks: SRAM X1 Carbon
Derailleur: SRAM X01 Eagle; 12s
Stability at Speed
Snappy and Stiff Rear End
Rear Shock Tune
Low Speed Climbing
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