Our SoCal testers split up the hard work of putting the Dusk R and Dusk RR through their paces. A dry summer has turned into an even drier winter, meaning we had plenty of rocky, loose, and blown out trails to put the Dusks through their paces! Mondraker’s lackluster Maxxis Rekon 29×2.6 tire spec didn’t even last one ride before we replaced the front tire with a Kenda Hellcat, but after that swap we were able to see what the bikes were truly capable of. Like other Mondrakers we’ve tested, we were impressed by the climbing ability, and overall comfort in the saddle of both bikes. The Dusk is a bike that’s well equipped for long adventure rides thanks to its comfortable and well-rounded geometry. It isn’t the longest, slackest, or lowest, but that’s why it excels as an all-round trail machine. While the forum goers might not be impressed by the numbers on paper, they work well in the dirt! The Dusk craves single-track adventures, and the 650Wh battery packs plenty of power to back up that thirst for dirt miles.
We felt immediately comfortable and at home on the Dusk whether it was in corners, technical climbs, or long descents. For a bike that’s focused on trail epics, it’s also plenty stable in the air. We definitely wouldn’t call it an agile jibber, but that isn’t its intended purpose anyways.
The Shimano EP8 drivetrain is a proven setup and provided us with reliable and intuitive power during our testing. We’d started to prefer top tube mounted displays, but that said the Shimano E7000 display is less intrusive than many others. Of course, we couldn’t mention the electric drivetrain of this bike without discussing the oddities of the charging and power button configurations. The Charging port is covered in a rubber cap, which is then held down by a rubber strap that hooks into a metal post on the frame like a belt. Unfortunately, that strap was prone to detaching itself from the fastening point, leaving it flapping in the breeze! That didn’t hurt anything or allow water intrusion, but we’d absolutely prefer a better method. The power button location was also a hassle. Situated on the bottom of the down tube by the bottom bracket, access was cumbersome at best. We found ourselves turning the bike on while it was still in the truck bed, on the bike rack, or pretty much anywhere but on the ground since you had to feel around on the dirty down tube for the power button like it was braille. Small gripes about power buttons aside, both the Dusk R and Dusk RR EP8 drivetrains performed without flaw.
For riders looking to make a decision between builds, the two biggest standout changes were the wheels and brakes. The RR sees a welcome move to a significantly stiffer DT Swiss H1900 28 spoke wheel set as opposed to the MDK-HP1 32 spoke wheels found on the R. Despite the higher spoke count, aggressive riders will feel the flex of the Dusk R wheel set when pushing hard, loading into corners, and throwing the bike around. The wheels never deformed or caused us any issues, but I was able to push the RR noticeably harder on the same sections of trail purely because of the increased connection to the back wheel. The brake spec on the R (Shimano MT4120) also had a less high-end lever feel than the Shimano M6120 found on the RR. Despite that, both 4 piston brakes had ample stopping power for the Mondraker’s Dusks.
While the RR did pack more adjustment in the suspension, we never felt like the lower end R suspension held us back. In fact, it was nice to see Mondraker spec a relatively high-end suspension setup on both bikes, since that’s an area that will dramatically hold back a bike when corners are cut! While we preferred the RR for harder riding, both bikes are solid out of the box performers after a quick tire swap!
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Mondraker Dusk R and Dusk RR eBikes may not push any geometry or suspension design boundaries, but you don’t have to in order to make a solid all-round bike. Both are perfectly suited for long days in the saddle, or miles exploring new single track. While we ultimately prefer the Dusk RR for the wheelset and brake spec, the Dusk R is still plenty of bike for the money and offers great all-around capability.
Dusk R Price: $6,999
Dusk RR Price: $7,999