Mondraker pushes steering geometry another notch into the future with its 'Forward Geometry' - the combination of a zero-length stem and a proportionately lengthened top tube that is reported to increase both downhill and climbing stability. Forward Geometry will debut on the Foxy All-mountain model and ultimately end up on the Dune trailbike and Summum DH chassis.
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Emmeline Ragot has been racing a zero-offset Summum Pro Team prototype this season. Mondraker sent Fabien Barel to the Passportes du Soleli to demonstrate the Foxy FG and the former champion downhill racer was absolutely shredding on the bike. Mondraker claims that their new Forward Geometry
will present 'clear advantages for any category compared with a traditional geometry, '...creating improved control, handling and riding confidence.'
Fabien Barel, as Mondraker ambassador and a key role in the development of the Forward Geometry gives a more thorough explanation about the new geometry in this video:Fabien Barel Explains Mondraker Forward Geometry
Mondraker's Foxy FG, with its curving, hydroformed main tubes and gold anodized finish is a stunner, although its no-reach stem takes some getting used to. The Foxy's suspension is Mondraker's 'Zero' system - a dual-link, four-bar arrangement that compresses the shock from both ends to reduce stress on the frame and to keep the suspension low in the frame for better handling. The heart of Forward Geometry is that Mondrker removed 60-millimeters of extension from the stem and then added that 60 millimeters back into the top tube length. There is no change in the rider's position on the bike, but the handlebar has effectively been moved 60mm behind the front axle. Of course, that extends the bike's wheelbase 60mm, but other than that, the Foxy's 73-degree seat angle and 430mm chainstay length have not been changed.
Fabien Barel poses with his new Mondraker Foxy FG - the first production model to feature Forward Geometry.
Those who ride motos will not be shocked by the concept, as off-road motorcycles have had zero-offset bars and direct-mount stems for decades.The wider the bar, the slower the steering reacts to rider inputs. Lengthening the stem also slows down steering inputs. For modern slack head angles, and the desire to use the widest practical handlebar, the zero-offset arrangement offers the fastest steering response possible. Mondraker isn't the only bike maker that is lengthening the top tube of its All-mountain lineup. The trend is gaining momentum across the industry as a logical adjustment to the fact that stems have grown over 20-millimeters shorter over the past five years, while top tube lengths have remained stable.
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Barel says that the lengthened top tube prevents the front wheel from lofting while climbing steep technical trails, as it puts more weight on the rear tire (10-percent, Mondraker claims). The reverse is true on the DH sections where the new stem position reduces pressure on the front end by the same percentage. Fabien also claims that riding with the stem directly over the steerer tube gives a more positive sense between the handlebar and the ground. That said, one has to wonder how moving the rider back 60mm from the front axle can weight the front end correctly to keep the bike from pushing the front tire in the turns? The answer could lie in the possibility that the new position encourages the rider to stay farther forward and between the wheels in actual riding conditions. Mondraker is convinced that its Forward Geometry is the logical progression for mountain bike design.
<This photo was deleted>MondrakerStay tuned for a riding report