We’ve spent a lot of time aboard Mondraker’s pedal-powered mountain bikes and even reviewed their eCrusher last year. Based on our experiences, we figured the Mondraker would have the same, long and aggressive feel with a slightly harsh suspension platform. While the same Forward Geometry still applied, we were very impressed with the way their Zero Suspension platform performed. Gone is the typical pedal feedback and harsh chatter on square-edge hits. Instead, the new Mondraker Crafty R smoothly handles obstacles and keeps us moving forward smoothly and efficiently.
At a little over 54 lbs, the Crafty R is a bit on the portly side, but the suspension, performance, and on bike feel left our riders feeling like the bike weighed less than it actually did. When we first pulled the bike out of the box to build it, we were a bit taken back by the hefty feel and began taking guesses as to where it would stack up on the trail compared to other, lighter bikes. On the trail, those concerns were lessened a bit.
The Crafty’s suspension feel is undoubtedly smoother and more supple than others in the Mondraker trail bike line, yet it retains that poppy, fun feel we love about Mondraker’s bikes. Despite the weight of this e-bike, we were able to reach for gaps, bunny hop obstacles, and get over anything we needed to.
One downside to the weight on aggressive descents or more playful, jumpy trails is that our upper body got a bit more fatigued. Long, steep downhills required more muscle to manage, and the extra mass was noted when yanking the bike into alternate lines. The upside to that is incredible traction! Even on wet days, we were able to point the Crafty at wet roots and off-camber sections of trail with total confidence that the meaty Maxxis tires would hook up.
When it came time to pedal back up, we found the Mondraker Crafty was more than ready to put in the miles. Mondraker’s Forward Geometry theory means that the Crafty’s long front end maintains traction on steep climbs. If you climb lots of tight switchbacks or trails where room is sparse, this bike will make you work. We rode a size large for the testing and had riders from 5’11 to 6’4 ride this bike comfortably. The reach on our large is 490mm with a 1,265mm wheelbase.
Pedaling the Crafty was quite natural thanks to the feel of the Bosch CX system. Compared to other bikes in our test fleet, riders aboard the Mondraker often found themselves towards the front of the pack on the climbs. It seems the motors assistance just barely edges out some of the others we’ve been on. As we mentioned above, this was our first Kiox-equipped bike. We were quite excited since it’s the new flashy stuff. However, we were concerned about the reality of having a big delicate screen mounted on the top of the stem in such a vulnerable position.
Bosch designed the system to have an easy breakaway design, which does work nicely; however, that also leaves it susceptible to getting lost in a wreck, or when mounting it on certain bike racks. We ended up damaging the tabs on our unit, so the connection to the pins wasn’t as it should be. We ended up having to tape or rubber band the unit down to keep contact and power supplied. Needless to say, that’s an issue we imagine most mountain bikers won’t want to deal with.
Our next complaint with the Kiox is the need to charge it independently of the bike. We were unaware, yes, our fault for not reading the manual, that the Kiox display needs to be charged as it doesn’t receive power from the on-board battery. Though we wish it did because if you forget to charge the screen up and it runs out of battery, your bike will shut off.