2021 MONDRAKER’S DUSK R VS RR EBikes Compared

R & RR MODELS COMPARED

Review by Andrew “Chili Dog” Villablanca

The Mondraker Dusk R and Dusk RR eBikes are equipped to be capable all-mountain oriented 29er eMTB’s, but they still hit reasonable price points. Normally, bike companies send us the highest end build bike, and we review a bike that (we’ll be honest) even we couldn’t afford. The fact is that most people can’t spend multiple month’s salary on a bike, so it’s always nice to review bikes in a (slightly) more attainable price point. This review is going to take that a step further however, as we got a chance to review the Dusk R and Dusk RR side by side thanks to Fly Rides USA bike shop. While neither is cheap, they do fall on the more reasonable end of the spectrum for e-bikes. More importantly, we were able to take advantage of a unique opportunity to compare both builds, as well as compare how the Dusk pair stacks up against the competition in general. Is it worth it to pony up for the more expensive build? Is the Dusk worth buying over other bikes in the crowded eMTB market? Let’s find out.

QUICK HITS

150mm Zero Suspension
HTA 65.5
STA 76 (effective)
REACH 490mm (Large)

Dusk R Price: $6,999
Dusk RR Price: $7,999
Website: mondraker.com

THE LAB
The Dusk is one of Mondraker’s do-it-all 29er eBike offering, sitting in the middle of the top-end Crafty and entry level Chaser bike ranges. The Dusk range is built from their Stealth Alloy aluminum frame using Mondraker’s Zero dual link suspension design with a fully floating shock. Prices come in at $6,999.00 for the mid-range R and top out at $7,999.00 for the RR build. At those prices, both builds are comparatively attainable given the spread of the eBike market, but of course see a premium added over their acoustic counterparts due to the increased frame complexity and addition of the power system.

Mondraker Dusk RR Profile Shot

Both builds rely on a Shimano STEPS EP800 motor, with a 630Wh internal battery to supply the power. Mondraker also offers a 360Wh external expansion for people really wanting to put some miles in and extend range even further, taking total capacity to 990Wh. This 250W power system will deliver up to 85Nm of torque to the rear wheel. Shimano’s E-TUBE RIDE app allows riders to connect wirelessly to update the firmware and customize two power profiles to tailor their experience out on the trails, in addition to the offered Boost and Trail mode presets.

While Mondraker’s Forward Geometry used to push the envelope, now the numbers seem tame and fall well within the normal range for eBikes we test. We found both the large and medium frames to be comfortable for the appropriate rider size range. On the large frame, Mondraker went with a 490mm reach and 640mm stack. Shared across the size range are a 65.5-degree head tube angle, 25mm BB drop, and 455mm chain stay. While the 73.5-degree seat tube angle is slacker than many these days, the 76-degree effective angle puts an average-height rider in a reasonable position, ensuring the bike is still fun to ride.

While both the Mondraker Dusk R and RR eBikes share the same geometry and motor, the parts spec is where Mondraker was able to shave a few dollars off the R level build. The key spec on the RR includes a 160mm travel Fox 36 29 Float FIT4 EVOL Factory Kashima eMTB fork (try saying that fast), with a Fox Float DPS LV EVOL Performance shock to control the 150mm rear end through the rough stuff. Both performed flawlessly throughout the test and offered plenty of adjustability, but we do always prefer to see a reservoir rear shock to keep up with the heat generated when descending on heavy eBikes, which this one lacked. Shimano M6120 4-piston brakes manage the stopping well though, while a Shimano XT 12 speed rear derailleur handles the power transfer to the rear wheel. DT Swiss H1900 28-spoke wheels round out the notable bits and offer great on-trail performance for the price.

Mondraker Dusk R Profile Shot

The R level build uses a 160mm Fox 36 29 Float FIT GRIP EVOL Rhythm eMTB fork, with the same Fox Float DPS LV EVOL Performance rear shock as the RR. While both give up the Kashima coating and adjustability of the factory spec, neither held us back! Again, we do wish the rear shock had a reservoir to dissipate heat better and keep the damping more consistent. Shimano MT4120 4 piston brakes do the stopping work and have a noticeably “cheaper” level feel than the M6120’s spec’d on the Dusk RR. While they lacked precise modulation, they still had ample power from the four piston calipers. A Sram SX Eagle 12 speed derailleur, and MDK-HP1 29 32-spoke wheels rounded things out. We felt the wheel spec held the bike back a bit, but we’ll get into that more later.

Mondraker Dusk Power Button Location

THE DIRT
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.

Mondraker Dusk R Rear Shock

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
Website: Mondraker.com

VISIT FLY RIDE BIKES TO GET YOURS!
Mondraker Dusk RR Top Tube Graphic

DUSK RR SPECIFICATIONS

CHASSIS
Frame: 6061 Alloy Stealth Evo, Zero Suspension System, Forward Geometry | 150mm

Fork: Fox 36 29 Float FIT4 EVOL Factory e-bike optimized| 160mm
Shock: Fox Float DPS LV EVOL Performance

ELECTRONICS
Motor: Shimano STEPS EP800

Battery: Simplo internal 630Wh
Display: Shimano STEPS E7000

COCKPIT
Brakes: Shimano M6120 | 203mm

Shifter: Shimano XT, 12-speed
Handlebar: Onoff Sulfur 1.0 double butted 6061 alloy | 780mm
Stem: Onoff Sulfur FG | 30mm
Saddle: Mondraker e-MTB custom design
Seatpost: Onoff Pija

WHEELS
Rims: DT Swiss H1900 Spline 29 Alu

Hubs: DT 370
Tires: Maxxis Rekon 29×2.6, tubeless ready, 3C MAXX TERRA, EXO+

DRIVETRAIN
Cassette: Shimano Deore M6100, 10-51T Hyperglide+, 12s

Cranks: Shimano STEPS EM600 | 165mm | 34t
Derailleur: Shimano XT

Mondraker Dusk R Top Tube Graphic

DUSK R SPECIFICATIONS

CHASSIS
Frame: 6061 Alloy Stealth Evo, Zero Suspension System, Forward Geometry | 150mm
Fork: Fox 36 29 Float FIT GRIP EVOL Rhythm e-bike optimized| 160mm
Shock: Fox Float DPS LV EVOL Performance

ELECTRONICS
Motor: Shimano STEPS EP800
Battery: Simplo internal 630Wh
Display: Shimano STEPS E7000

COCKPIT
Brakes: Shimano MT4120 | 203mm
Shifter: Sram Trigger SX Eagle, 12-speed
Handlebar: Onoff Sulfur 1.0 double butted 6061 alloy | 780mm
Stem: Onoff Sulfur FG | 30mm
Saddle: Mondraker e-MTB custom design
Seatpost: Onoff Pija

WHEELS
Rims: MDK-HP1 29 Alu
Hubs: Formula
Tires: Maxxis Rekon 29×2.6, tubeless ready, 3C MAXX TERRA, EXO+

DRIVETRAIN
Cassette: Sram PG-1210, 11-50T 12s
Cranks: Shimano STEPS EM600 | 165mm | 34t
Derailleur: Sram SX Eagle

We Dig

Great Adventure Rig
Solid Suspension Spec
Climbing
Cornering

We Don’t

Factory Spec Tires
Wheels on R Model
Not Playful

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