Mondraker Crafty R on a mountain

Mondraker Crafty R E-Bike Review

Words By Drew Rohde | Photos by Jesse Polay

Now in its third generation, the Mondraker eCrafty R, or Crafty, has been a surprising treat for us. The bike’s updated suspension kinematics, e-bike optimized suspension, and Bosch Performance Line CX motor give it a very competitive ride in the all-mountain e-bike category. Sporting 150mm of rear-wheel travel and a 160mm of front wheel travel, the Mondraker Crafty R held up for some hard-charging rides on the rowdiest trails we’ve ever ridden on an e-bike.

THE LAB

Mondraker specs the Craft R with a quality level group without going overboard, leaving the top of the line components for their flagship Crafty RR model. At the core of the Crafty is Bosch’s Performance Line CX motor powered by a 500Wh Power Tube battery. The battery is easily accessible under a cover on the top of the downtube.

Mondraker Crafty R bosch cx pedal system with dirt

The Mondraker Crafty R was our first experience riding with the Bosch Kiox display unit. Although we loved the bright and informative screen we ended up breaking the tabs, and once the unit’s connectors come loose, the bike powers off. Also, it’s just another piece of equipment that needs to be charged, and we were surprised to learn that the bike’s on-board battery doesn’t charge the unit. We learned the hard way once that screen goes dead, so does your bike.

A large Bosch selector sits on the left side of the handlebar and offers easy to find buttons and allows for smooth navigation between power modes and information on the display screen. It is a bit large, in our opinion, and we didn’t love the look of it, but it did work fine, and even though we expected to bump it with our knee, it stayed out of the way just fine.

rear view of the Mondraker Crafty R pedal system

The Bosch unit spins a Race Face Aeffect bike crankset with 165mm crank arms. SRAM NX 11-speed drivetrain comes spec’d on the Crafty R and ran smoothly during our test period. Being able to control the high speeds one can achieve on the Crafty is important, and we’re glad Mondraker opted to run Shimano’s 4-piston brakes and large 203mm rotors front and back.

Cockpit spec consists of Onoff headset, Stoic stem with a Mondraker double-butted handlebar, SDG Bel-Air 2.0 saddle, and Onoff Pija dropper post with 150mm of travel. Rolling stock on the Crafty R comes in the form of DT Swiss H1900 rims with a 35mm internal width, DT 370 hubs, and Maxxis Minion DHF/High Roller 2 tires in 27.5 by 2.8”.

Mondraker Crafty R on a downhill mountain bike trail

THE DIRT

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.

Mondraker Crafty R going over rocks

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.

Mondraker Crafty R with the bosch kiox display on the handlebars

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.

Mondraker Crafty R riding uphill

The Wolf’s Last Word

Besides the minor complaints of the Kiox unit and slightly heavyweight, we really don’t have much to complain about regarding the performance of the Mondraker Crafty R. Even though the scale says the bike’s a bit heavy, the lively suspension feel and on-trail performance say otherwise. The heft is noticeable on very long and physical descents and loading it in and out of the car, but we never found ourselves casing gaps when we needed to get the bike off the ground.

Although the performance of the Mondraker Crafty R is very competitive, we believe the price for the build is a bit on the high side. We attribute this to the upgraded Kiox unit, but we’d gladly ditch the Kiox and the issues it came with for an upgrade to other components or a lower price point for an e-bike. Mondraker has done a lot of great things with the Crafty R. It’s a very solid performer, rides well, climbs well, and eats up chunky terrain with ease. If the value doesn’t concern you and you’re in the market for a plush-riding, spacious, aggressive, and extremely capable 150/160mm bike, the Crafty R is certainly worth a look.

Price: 7,149;
Weight: xxlbs;
Website: Mondraker.com

Mondraker Crafty R

CHASSIS
Frame: 6061 Aluminum; 150mm
Fork: Fox Float Fit GRIP Rhythm 36; 160mm
Shock: Fox Float LV Evol DPX2 Performance; 205x65mm

POWERPLANT
Battery: Bosch Power Tube 500Wh
Drive Unit: Bosch Performance Line CX

COCKPIT
Brakes: Shimano MT520; 200mm
Handlebar: Mondraker aluminum; 780mm
Headset: Onoff Saturn Tapered
Saddle: SDG Bel-Air 2.0
Seatpost: Onoff Pija; 150mm
Shifter: SRAM NX; 11s
Stem: Onoff Stoic FG 31.8; 30mm

WHEELS
Hubs: DT Swiss 370
Rims: DT Swiss H1900 Spline; 35mm ID
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF/High Roller II 27.5 x 2.8”

DRIVETRAIN
Bottom Bracket: Race Face
Cassette: Sunrace CSMS8; 11-46t
Cranks: Race Face Aeffect eMTB; 165mm
Derailleur: SRAM NX; 11s

Mondraker Crafty R Bosch battery

We Dig

Suspension Feel
Stable and Confident
Traction
Handles the Rowdy Stuff!

We Don’t

Breaking the Kiox Display
Needing to Charge Kiox Display
Heavy
Value

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