2022 eMTB SHOOTOUT
MONDRAKER LEVEL R 2022 eMTB Review
Bike provided by Fly Rides USA
Video by Brian Niles / Treeline Cinematic
Photos by Dusten Ryen
Mondraker’s Level is an electrified “Super Enduro” bike, sporting 170mm of rear travel and a burly 180mm fork to cushion the hardest hits and rowdiest terrain. With all this travel on tap, and some fairly aggressive geometry numbers that had us selecting a size medium to test, we were excited to put the Mondraker Level R to test on some burly Tennessee trails during our 2022 eMTB Shootout in Knoxville. Riding the same tracks that Neko Mullaly, Dakotah Norton and Aaron Gwin were lapping in preparation for the downhill World Cups meant we were able to find the limits of this big hitting eBike, so read on and let us talk you through exactly what they were.
• 170mm Zero Dual Link Suspension
• 750Wh Battery
• HTA 65
• STA 76.5 (effective)
• REACH 470 (Medium)
Price: $8,499 (R – Tested) – $10,050 (approx)
Buy Now: FlyRidesUSA.com
The Mondraker Level is available in a dual 29 inch wheel setup only, with two spec levels – the ‘R’ tested and a more expensive ‘RR’ – built around the same 6061 Alloy Stealth Evo frame. The e-Bike optimized ZERO suspension uses the same dual link configuration as their acoustic bikes, with a solid rear triangle, one-piece Monoblock upper link and full floating shock, but has been tweaked to handle the different needs of an eMTB. Mondraker altered the kinematics to produce a more neutral platform with “less chain growth and minimized brake jack”; a “more stable virtual pivot point”; and a more sensitive beginning stroke with increased progression overall. The frame is equipped with MAX capacity sealed bearings running on 17mm oversized axles for longevity and uses their Hidden Housing Guide (HHG) internal cable routing to keep it quiet and easy to maintain.
Mondraker opted to go down the Bosch route for the motor, fitting the Performance Line CX G4 motor that delivers 85Nm of torque. This is accompanied by the Bosch Smart System, which provides the full package for “connected eBiking”. Bosch’s LED remote provides the input into the system to change mode and cycle through the display modules on the KIOX 300 color display. The integrated 750Wh Powertube battery powers the bike and can be fully recharged in six hours by the 4A compact charger. There are various modes on offer to determine how the motor delivers its power, including the eMTB mode, which promises to give the most natural feeling while delivering the maximum power when called upon. The motor is equipped with Mondraker-exclusive plastic covers, keeping the casing protected from harm while allowing air to flow through to cool the motor; and a speed sensor is integrated neatly into the rear dropouts to feed the Bosch system with the vital information.
The Level R is the cheaper of the Level build options from Mondraker, (which is still far from cheap) with a retail price of $8,499. Suspension duties are handled by Fox’s 38 Performance FIT GRIP e-bike tuned fork and DHX2 Performance Elite coil sprung rear shock. SRAM is called upon for brake and drivetrain duties, with CODE R brakes stopping on 220F/200R rotors; and a mixture of GX and NX for the derailleur and shifter respectively. A Race Face Aeffect eBike crank in 165mm length delivers the rider’s power to the motor. Other components include a Fizik Terra Aidon X5 saddle atop Mondraker’s own ONOFF’s Pija Dropper in a 150mm length, which is way too short for a bike like this. ONOFF handles cockpit duties too, with the Sulfur FG 30mm stem and 800mm aluminum bar with a 31.8mm clamp.
Rounding off the spec is Mavic’s E-Deemax wheelset, with their ID360 ratchet hub system, 28 j-bend spokes and welded 30mm rims with Pinch Flat Protection technology, which are wrapped with a pair of Maxxis Assegai tires as standard. However, for the 2022 eMTB Shootout we had Schwalbe onboard as the official tire sponsor, so we equipped the Mondraker with the same Magic Mary/Big Betty SuperGravity combination as the rest of the Enduro category bikes. This was done to remove a major variable in bike performance and focus more on the specific ride qualities of the bike, as well as ensuring consistent and reliable tire performance throughout the test.
When Mondraker released their first machines built around their “Forward Geometry Concept” some years back, the numbers seemed radical and polarizing, and they faced some backlash from riders who were afraid of the big change. Fast forward to the present day though, and those initial Forward Geometry bikes would be quite average in geometry. Mondraker has stuck to their guns with the general proportions of their bikes, albeit with a more “normal” stem length than the initial ultra-short units they played with initially. The head tube angle on the Level is 65° and the effective seat tube angle comes in at 76.5°. The Reach values are still relatively long on Mondraker bikes, leading us to order a size medium for our 5’10”-6’2” test riders, which sports a 470mm reach paired with a 632mm stack height and a 420mm seat tube. The bottom bracket is 15mm below the axles, and the 455mm chainstays push the total wheelbase to a lengthy 1,270mm.
The geometry of the Mondraker Level R is well rounded, with a stability-inducing long wheelbase produced by the relatively long rear end. A steeper head angle than many in the class helps to retain some agility at low speeds but removes a touch of composure at the highest speeds.
Following some recent and positive experiences onboard other Mondraker eMTB’s the crew was excited to check out the biggest and burliest eBike in their lineup during our head-to-head testing and see if the longer travel and coil-sprung bike would handle the hits better than its shorter travel siblings.
The coil-sprung rear end on the Mondraker meant setup was quite straightforward, with an adjustment of the fork needing to be set to recommended pressure for each tester. The Level R was supplied with a 300lb spring for the rear shock, which happened to be about right for the majority of our testers in the 160-180lb range, placing things at a comfortable 30-35% sag. For the over nourished Robert at 200lbs though, it would be a real test of the bottom out resistance and pedal clearance. We are happy to report that even with the added weight, the suspension still held up and performed quite well, although a 350lb spring would likely serve riders over 190lb better.
Although the Mondraker Level R is certainly a bike with descending at the forefront of its mind, climbing is part and parcel when it comes to eMTB riding, and so we were sure to give Mondraker’s heavy hitting eBike a healthy amount of uphill time on a variety of terrain. Bosch’s Smart System-equipped CX G4 motor was a capable powertrain, with a feeling of increased power when compared to the Shimano EP8 system on most other bikes on test, though not quite reaching the same natural feeling. That said, the eMTB mode represented a positive step towards a natural “set and forget” setting for general duties.
As with Trek’s Rail in the Trail category, the 750Wh Powertube battery offered impressive range, leaving us with some battery life to spare when others were on their last legs. In the same vein as the Bosch Smart System-equipped Trek though, the LED remote was excessively bulky and would occasionally change power mode unintentionally on the descents. The quick mode indication of the LEDs had merit but looking down to see the power mode was different than what we set it in time after time was frustrating. Otherwise, the Bosch system had a great user interface that we enjoyed using, though we’d prefer to see the Kiox display tucked away a bit neater for protection sake.
Technical climbs were handled impressively well on the Mondraker Level R, thanks to a pedaling platform that generates good support and kept the bottom bracket at an acceptable height, without becoming uncomfortably rigid or limiting traction. The long rear end ensured the front wheel was weighted on steep climbs with minimal rider input, and the relatively steep 65-degree head angle means the bike didn’t have the tendency to flop when turning at low speeds and could handle tighter switchbacks better than some slacker options on test. The Level R generally disguised its long legs very well on the way up the hill, and the weight and soft suspension only became apparent on technical crux moves that require a lot of body English.
On the descents the Mondraker Level R continued to impress the whole crew, for the most part. The coil sprung rear end felt notably better over the rough chatter and square edges compared with the shorter travel, air sprung Mondraker eBikes we’ve tested previously such as the Crafty. The terrain ironing ability of this rear end and its bottomless feel on the hard hits, combined with the monstrous 180mm travel Fox 38, offered a huge amount of confidence to take the direct lines through rock gardens and go big on bike park sends.
The suspension offered enough platform and support to generate some speed from the terrain and handle jump lips comfortably, but popping and playing highlighted the high overall weight. The center of gravity felt a little high too, further contributing to the feeling of heft when transitioning from corner to corner in quick succession or trying to switch direction in the air. The Level R is certainly not a bike for the jibby riders out there but has the capability to devour high speed bike park trails as well as rough and rugged natural runs with ease.
As we continued to push the capable platform harder and harder, we began to run into some issues with the component spec. The SRAM CODE R brakes were first to suffer, lacking the all-out power to slow down the ship at the last second and leading to some over cooked turns and lots of arm pump. The CODE brake series have always been hit or miss with our crew, but on the Mondraker we were quite unanimous that the brakes were not quite up to the task as supplied.
The brakes weren’t the biggest issue though. Consistent with the previous E-Deemax equipped Mondraker we tested, the Mavic wheels fitted to the Level R gave us issues early on, limiting its capabilities when pushing hard on the descents to the point of the bike being near unrideable on the flat out descents of Windrock Bikepark. Constant spoke loosening, combined with a high degree of flex – regardless of spoke tension – that we haven’t experienced in a long time, meant we just couldn’t push as hard as we desired on what hinted to be the most capable bike on test.
The vague feeling and compliance could have some merits if you only ride straight point-and-shoot rock gardens, but when it came to off-camber compressions and hard braking through rough terrain, the E-Deemax wheels were frankly terrifying. We’d look to swap the wheels out before riding the bike at all, as we simply don’t believe they’re up to the task for the burly downhill shuttling the rest of the Mondraker Level R craves.
Touching on the value of the Mondraker, which we’ve criticized in the past on other models, we still feel that as a mid-level spec and aluminum frame the $8,499 price tag feels a little steep. Once you factor in the component swaps required, the value takes another knock, especially when you compare the overall package performance with the likes of the enduro category winner, the Scott eRansom. That said, the Stealth Alloy Mondraker frame has a high general finish quality, and with the component changes it may just deliver the performance that would justify the price tag for some.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Mondraker Level R showed a great level of promise as a self-shuttle downhill rig, or general burly terrain crusher, but was overshadowed by a wheel spec that couldn’t support the riding that the rest of the bike thrives on. With surprisingly pleasant climbing characteristics and sensitive suspension with a bottomless feel, the Level R has potential to be a ripper and would likely be our pick of the shootout for the gnarliest high speed terrain, but it would require the replacement of the wheelset and likely the brakes to unlock its full capabilities. It won’t suit the poppy and playful riders though, and the weight is likely to be a drawback for long E-Enduro races where the energy required to wind through tight and technical terrain on the limit would lead to a lot of fatigue. This was a tough one for us because our entire crew gave the Mondraker Level R a great review – everyone really liked this bike and would have loved to keep riding it all week, but after breaking the rear wheel, it was relegated to the corner of our Airbnb’s garage.
Fly Rides supplied us with this bike and our Cube Hybrid 160 as well. Since they love our readers as much as we do, they have offered some discount codes for those in the market for a Mondraker, or any other eMTB they carry.
- Save $500 on any in stock, non-clearance Mondraker bike with code “THELOAMWOLF”.
- Save $150 off ANY in stock ebike with code “TLW”
- Save $100 off a Kuat NV Base 2.0 with code “KUATWOLF”
Price: $8,499 ($7,599 w/ discount + rebate offer)
Weight: 57.9 lbs
Manufacturer Website: Mondraker.com
Buy Now: Flyridesusa.com
MONDRAKER LEVEL R SPEC:
Frame: 6061 Alloy Stealth Evo; 170mm
Fork: Fox 38 29 Float FIT GRIP EVOL Performance | 180mm | e-bike tuned
Shock: Fox DHX2 Performance Elite Coil | Spring rate: S/M 300 lbs, L 350 lbs, XL 400 lbs
Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX Cruise | Bosch Smart System | 85 Nm
Battery: Bosch Powertube | 750Wh
Display: Bosch Kiox 30
Brakes: SRAM Code R, 220F/200R Centreline rotors
Bar: Onoff Sulfur 1.0 6061 alloy | rise: 20mm | width: 780mm | clamp: 31.8mm
Stem: Onoff Sulfur FG 6061 forged alloy | length: 30mm
Seatpost: Onoff Pija dropper | S:125mm | M: 150mm | L/XL:170mm
Saddle: FIZIK Terra Aidon X5 145mm
Hubs: Mavic E-Deemax Boost | ID360 Ratchet System | 6 Bolt
Rims: Mavic E-Deemax 29 | 30mm id | welded | Pinch Flat Protection | 28 spokes
Cassette: SRAM PG-1210 | 11-50T | 12spd
Cranks: Race Face Aeffect ebike | 165mm
Shifter: SRAM Trigger NX Eagle Single Click | 12spd
Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle | 12spd
Bosch Motor Power
Rough terrain devouring
Big hit capabilities
Loves charging chunk!
E-Deemax Wheelset isn’t worthy
Bosch LED Remote
Brakes could be improved
Limited agility/hefty weight
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