Mondraker Dune XR - Review

Jan 20, 2014
by Mike Levy  

REVIEWED
Mondraker
DUNE XR

WORDS Mike Levy
PHOTOS Colin Meagher


Quality 160mm travel bikes really aren't hard to come by these days, with many solid options to choose from should you be looking for a mid-travel bike to get rowdy on. And while all the companies behind these bikes would like to think that theirs is truly something special, there isn't much separating the field, save one or two that manage to outperform the rest when things get wild. Then there is Mondraker, with the 160mm travel, 27.5'' wheeled Dune platform that utilizes their radical Forward Geometry and a 10mm long stem, a design that turned a lot of heads when the Spanish brand first began to show it back in 2012. The question that needs answering, though, is if Mondraker's extreme interpretation of the short stem and long front center length concept is enough to lift it above its rivals.

Our Dune XR came kitted out with FOX's Float 34 CTD fork and Float X CTD shock, both of which have been given the Kashima treatment, as well as SRAM's new X01 drivetrain. Formula's T1S brakes slow the bike down, while a set of interesting 2.4" Onza Ibex tires come stock on the e*thirteen TRS+ tubeless ready wheelset. The eclectic build kit is all hung on an aluminum frame, with the package retailing for $5,299 EUR and weighing a very reasonable 29.7lbs. North American readers who have had their interest piqued should note that Mondraker has no distribution on this side of the Atlantic, so you'll be on your own if you would like to have a Dune in your garage.


Dune XR Details

• Intended use: all-mountain/enduro
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Rear wheel travel: 160mm
• Frame material: aluminum
• Forward Geometry w/ 10mm stem (30mm option)
• Mondraker's dual link Zero Suspension System
• FOX 34 Float CTD w/ Kashima, 160mm
• FOX Float X CTD w/ Kashima
• Sizes: sm, med (tested), lrg, xlrg
• Weight: 29.7lbs
• MSRP $5,299 EUR (no US availability)


The Way Forward?

Ask any 160mm travel bike owner what length stem they have fitted to their ride and you'll most likely discover that the large majority of them seem to default to a 50 or 60mm job. This is simply the accepted norm in most places, and it's a good choice for many bikes that are going to be ridden hard and fast on the downhills due to how it positions the rider's mass further back behind the front axle - anyone who has ridden both a pure cross-country bike with a long stem and more aggressive bike with a short stem on the same rowdy downhill can attest to which one made them fear for their life and which one had them looking for air time. But if using a short stem has that sort of effect, why not go to an even shorter stem? Well, it isn't quite that simple, because employing a 10mm long stem on a bike with standard geometry will only create one very awkward riding package that will
feel too short in reach, as well as not place enough weight on the front wheel for proper handling when you're climbing and descending. Bottom line: a 10mm stem like the one used on the Dune requires frame geometry designed around it. More specifically, a longer front center length to compensate for the length taken out of the stem, which is exactly what Mondraker have done with their Forward Geometry. Simply put, instead of Mondraker designing the bike around a 60mm stem, they instead added 50mm of that to the bike's front center length and then went with a minuscule 10mm stem to balance it out. The result is that the rider is in the same position, but the front wheel is further out in front of them and the bike's wheelbase is a touch longer.

Mondraker Dune Photo by Colin Meagher
  Mondraker's Forward Geometry combines an ultra-short 10mm stem with a longer than average front center length to balance things out.


The concept of using a longer tube in combination with a shorter stem is far from out of the norm, with a handful of companies using the same approach, albeit in a less aggressive package that sees 50 to 70mm stems and longer front center lengths in place of where you might normally see 70 to 90mm stems and more conservative geometry. And if you've been around long enough you might also remember the original Rotec downhill bike that utilized a stem of similar length to what is pictured here on our Dune XR test bike. But Mondraker is the only brand that is currently offering a range of bikes with such an bold interpretation of the concept, with everything from the 205mm Summum downhill bike to their 120mm Factor 29er and Vantage hardtail employing some version of their Forward Geometry. Not all of these bikes are designed to be used with the short FG10 stem, though, as Mondraker also offers their FG30 and FG50 stems to suit each bike's intentions.
A bike's geometry has the largest effect on its performance, and not even the best suspension able to save a machine that sports some questionable numbers. However, geometry is also something that is often misunderstood or, sometimes even worse, taken as gospel. After all, Enduro 3:16 says that a bike must have a 67° head angle and be spec'd with a 50mm stem for it to be okay to ride, doesn't it? Which is why we're all the more impressed that Mondraker has committed so wholeheartedly to their Forward Geometry, with much of their range using the concept. It won't be easy to convince the average mountain biker that Forward Geometry really is the way forward (we're often a closed minded bunch, aren't we?), but having their 160mm travel Dune XR perform well could be the catalyst for a paradigm shift in terms of mountain bike geometry.


Mondraker FG10 FG30 FG50 stems
  The FG10, FG30, and FG50 stems are all designed to be used in conjunction with the company's longer top tubes that are part of their Forward Geometry system.




Mondraker Dune Photo by Colin Meagher
  The Dune sports 160mm of travel via its virtual pivot layout and FOX Float X CTD shock.

The Dune's Suspension Explained

The Dune's 160mm travel Zero Suspension System utilizes two short aluminum links that create a virtual pivot point and connect the rear triangle to the front of the bike. Both of the links rotate in the same direction, with the longer upper link compressing the shock from above, while the lower link does the same from below. Compressing the shock from both ends isn't a new idea, but it does mean that the front triangle doesn't have to be designed to deal with the direct force of a harsh bottoming moment in the same way as it would if the lower shock mount was static, something that can lead to a slight weight savings. Mondraker makes all sorts of claims about the design, saying that it "prevents any unwanted movements produced whilst pedalling,'' and that ''Rear brake forces do not alter the suspension system," both of which explain where the design's name comes from: zero movement while pedalling, and zero rear brake input. Bold claims any which way you slice it. The bike's FOX Float X CTD shock is mounted about as low as possible in the frame, a move that can trick the bike into feeling lighter on the trail than it actually is, and the shock's CTD lever is still easily reachable should you want to firm the bike up when it comes time to get to the top of the mountain under your own power. Mondraker has also had FOX add a volume spacer to the Float X's air can to create a slightly more progressive stroke.



Specifications
Release Date 2014
Price $5299
Travel 160
Rear Shock FOX Float X CTD Adjust Factory Kashima 215x63.5mm
Fork FOX 34 Float 27.5 CTD Adjust FIT Factory Kashima 160mm
Headset Onoff integrated tapered
Cassette SRAM X01 XG-1195 10 - 42t
Crankarms SRAM X01 aluminum w/ 32t 'ring
Bottom Bracket SRAM GXP
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 11spd
Chain SRAM PC-XX1 11spd
Shifter Pods SRAM X01 11spd
Handlebar Mondraker Dune XR custom design 31.8mm 760mm
Stem Onoff Stoic FG 10mm (30mm optional)
Grips Onoff Paw Lock-on
Brakes Formula The1 S w/ 180mm rotors
Hubs e*thirteen TRS+AL
Rim e*thirteen TRS+AL 27.5 tubeless ready wheelset
Tires Onza Ibex FRC TLR SkinWalll 27.5x2.4
Seat SDG Circuit MTN
Seatpost RockShox Reverb 31.6mm
Mondraker Dune Photo by Colin Meagher






Riding the
Dune


bigquotesHave you ever tried something new and ended up liking it, despite your initial hesitation? The Dune is like that questionable piece of sushi that you're a bit scared of but still want to try. Much like that chunk of eel sitting in front of you, the key is to just give it a go without thinking about it too much. You might be a fan after all.

First impressions / setup: Strange. Completely foreign. Even a bit awkward. Those are just a few of the thoughts that came out of our mouths when we first swung a leg over the green and black Dune, and the bike feels "different" enough that riders with less than open minds might be put off after just a quick spin around the parking lot. At the same time, the bike also manages to feel surprisingly normal, or at least close to it, and we were taken aback by how conventional it felt when only concentrating on where we were going. Those two statements might completely contradict each other, but give us a chance to explain and it will begin to make more sense. The Dune's initially unfamiliar feel comes from the bike's handlebar position relative to the fork axle, with the front wheel appearing to be further away than it should be, and it all feels a bit detached during the first few minutes of getting to know each other. At the same time, you aren't sitting nearly as upright as you might expect given the 10mm long stem, which is down to the bike's relatively long top tube, and the steering is far from downhill bike-sloppy, with sharp action to it that defies expectations. No, it feels nothing like a run of the mill 160mm travel bike that's been fitted with a standard 50mm stem, especially when you get stuck on looking down at the 10mm stem and front wheel while trying to figure out what is going on. However, we quickly discovered that, at least with the Dune, it's better to just forget about the numbers and take to the trails in order to better understand what's happening under you.


Climbing / acceleration: You'd be forgiven for assuming that the Dune climbs technical singletrack about as well as a drag car handles a go-kart track, but you'd also be completely wrong. As a matter of fact, we admit to thinking the same, yet the 160mm travel Mondraker immediately went from being the test bike we avoided when the ride plans included a tricky climb, to the bike that constantly surprised us with its manners in such settings. Okay, so maybe our excitement over the Dune's singletrack climbing prowess might have its roots in our initially low expectations in this regard, but there is no getting around the fact that this bike - the one with the 10mm long stem - sneakily weaved its way up climbs that it should have no business excelling on. Part of this is due to how the Onza Ibex tires are able to find so much grip that we began to wonder if Onza was able to somehow splice the DNA of climbing hotshot Alex Honnold into the tacky rubber, but us saying that the Dune's unexpected gracefulness on climbs being due to the tire choice would be selling the bike's designers extremely short. No, this is down to handling rather than an admittedly smart component spec - geometry, as always, is the major factor as to if a bike is a winner or a 'binner, isn't it?

Mike Levy testing the Mondraker Dune in Sedona. Photo by Colin Meagher
  Move your weight forward, just like you would on any 160mm bike with a short stem, and the Dune will get up and over anything in front of it.


Stay seated and in a gear that allows you to pedal smoothly rather than in short, hard efforts, and the Dune will tractor its way up nearly anything, with the front tire staying more weighted than what we've seen from most bikes with similar travel and 50mm stems. You'll end up getting around switchbacks that would frustrate the motorbikes from Tron once you've realized that it obviously requires a more gradual turning angle than a rig with an appreciably steeper head angle - remember that the praise we're heaping onto the Dune is relative to other 160mm travel bikes. There was also little to no spinning out back, although that is largely addressed by how it is far better to stay seated when climbing on the Dune due to a somewhat awkward feel when standing that we never got used to. And, thanks to the long top tube, the bike was a comfy climber when sitting in the saddle for long, gradual gravel road access climbs to get to the goods.
bigquotesThe Dune is the 'we'll get there when we get there' kind of climber that doesn't appreciate its rider stomping on the pedals like their feet are on fire. This should be your mantra when climbing: taking my time, picking my line, making it mine. It's not a race, at least not up the hill, right?

We love being surprised, and the Dune did exactly that, but the bike is far from being free of faults when it comes to climbing and pedal input. As mentioned just above, there is an unwieldy feel that pops up as soon as you rise out of the saddle, with the bike instantly feeling like it loses stability when you do so. The Dune's rear suspension is also active enough that it makes a lot of sense to reach down and flip the FOX Float X's CTD lever to either the Trail or Climb mode when faced with any sort of ascent that will take more than a few minutes of effort, and not doing so will allow you to feel what it's like to pedal a waterbed uphill. Spoiler alert: it doesn't feel good to pedal a waterbed up anything, no matter how easy the grade. Sure, there aren't many 160mm bikes that we would say pedal with real urgency, but the Dune seems to have even less "jump" to it than what we've come to expect from the class.


Downhill / technical riding: Lets just get straight to the point here: the Dune comes down faster than kids at a rave when the cops show up, but only after you come to terms with Mondraker's Forward Geometry and learn how to get the most out of it. It took the first ride alone for us to adjust our timing to Dune's front end, with us catching the front tire on mis-timed manuals and lofts until we got used to the position of our hands relative to the fork axle. This isn't a bike that you can just jump aboard and expect to immediately feel at home on. Give it time, though, and you'll discover how to best ride the bike. And that's an important thing to note with the Dune - you can get on many other 160mm bikes and ride them fast right out of the gate, and some riders might be able to do the same with the Dune, but most will take time to warm up to how it corners, jumps, and behaves when pushed hard.

Mondraker Dune Photo by Colin Meagher
  Inside, outside, straight over, or all of the above, the Dune will do as you ask once you know how to ask correctly.


The higher the speeds and the rougher the ground, the more the Dune feels at home, with the 160mm bike offering stability that just shouldn't be possible on a machine with anything less than downhill bike-like travel. There's no two ways about it, the bike just gets less upset about fast, chunky terrain than pretty much any other machine of similar travel, and this means that you don't feel like you're holding on for dear life in those moments when you might usually close your eyes and get ready to rag doll. Part of this is down to the bike's relatively long 1197mm/47.1'' wheelbase, but a bigger factor has to be the rider's mass in relation to the fork's axle - you're further back, which means that you're less likely to have your weight thrown forward, or it stays further back when that does happen, and the result is a sort of invincible feeling that had us charging into all sorts of mayhem. The phrase "letting it roll" has never been so applicable as when on the Dune, and while this may not make for the most graceful of riding styles, it can certainly be the fastest when it comes to sections of trail that look more like a boulder field than any sort of flowy singletrack that seems to be slowly replacing proper technical trails these days. The other side of the coin is that all that "I'm going to go through that rock" attitude stifles any sort of playfulness that the bike has, and we never really found ourselves searching out fun bonus hits on the side of the trail when riding the Dune. Hell, even if they were obvious, we didn't often feel like working hard to make it happen, such is the bike's desire to stay on the deck. Having said that, a skilled rider is bound to be able to coax the Dune to do anything they ask of it, but it doesn't come as natural as when on other more traditional designs. This can be helped somewhat by switching the Float X shock to Trail mode, but the Dune is never going to be a frisky bike.
bigquotesHead into your time with the Dune thinking about the long-term rather than one night stand and you'll discover that this unique creature offers some real advantages for the rider who knows how to get after it. The bike literally doesn't give a toss what you point it at, it just wants to go fast. Hopefully you do as well, otherwise the relationship might be a bit too one-sided to make much sense.

Things get a bit interesting when it comes to tighter trails, and this is where really knowing how the Dune reacts will be beneficial. Ride it like a bike with average geometry and a 50mm stem, and with a neutral body position, and you'll get down the trail just fine, although that's far from the ideal way to do it. Make a conscious effort to be slightly more forward and more upright, as well as realizing that it's not only okay to let the back of the bike wag around like it's a crazy carpet with a thick coating of Pam on its underside that's been sent down an icy slope, but also a hell of a lot of fun. That sort of technique is sure to irk your local fun police, but the bottom line is that the Dune gets around tighter corners fastest when its rear end is allowed to, ahem, "break loose" a bit - I'm not telling you to skid, but go ahead and skid. It isn't that the bike can't rail a tight-ish corner without lighting up the rear end, but there was a point when we found ourselves using that approach more often than not, and it proved to be more effective than doing the same on any other 160mm we've spent time on. This sort of attitude is required less and less as the pitch of the trail levels out or the bends open a bit more, and momentum can be carried into and through them with the bike happily carving a constant arc.

Mondraker Dune Photo by Colin Meagher
  Once you get used to how it performs you'll find that the grip is there for you to take full advantage of, even on the loosest of ground.


If the bike's radical geometry encourages a balls-out riding style, its rear suspension is there to make sure you don't render those same balls as useless, with a good ability to take in and deal with some serious impacts. Is it the Zero Suspension System? The FOX Float X CTD shock? Likely the smart combination of both, and the result is great and predictable control at the back of the bike. Saying that the Dune's travel is fluid would be a good way to put it, and even a slightly faster rebound setting wasn't able to inject any erratic behaviour into the bike's performance. Travel doesn't feel limitless - it is a 160mm bike, not a 200mm bike after all - but it deals with hard impacts quite well, which only encourages you to crack the throttle open more and more. The 2014 FOX 34 Float fork, with a matching 160mm of travel, does an admirable job of keeping up, and impacts seemed more muted and detached, as if they weren't being passed through to the handlebar. While the revised CTD damper has been very impressive, we're going to say that what we're feeling is down to the handlebar's position relative to the fork's axle, with its more rearward position feeling as if it better isolates the rider from forces being transferred up through the frame and handlebar. And, much like we've said recently about another aggressive bike spec'd with a 34, Mondraker wouldn't have done wrong by going with a stouter fork chassis. FOX, where's that 27.5" compatible 36 Float 160 FIT RC2 fork at, because this is the exact bike that we'd run it on.


Technical Report

• Onza's Ibex tires, who would've thought? With a super predictable feel to them and a wide pressure range in which they work well, these 2.4" tires are pretty badass all 'rounders. Their crown knobs do have some ramping to them, but don't be fooled into thinking they roll fast - the ratio of rolling speed to traction is greatly tipped towards the latter of the two. That didn't bother us much on the Dune as it might have on a bike with less of a downhill bias, and we suspect that most Dune owners will feel the same. The jury is still out on the skin wall sidewalls, though.

• For a bike that puts such a focus on descending, its Formula T1S brakes leave something to be desired. We can often get by with less power so long as there is plenty of modulation on tap, and we'll reluctantly get used to brakes that don't offer too much in the way of feel if they have the stopping power of a brick wall, but the Dune's stoppers can't boast of having either power or modulation. We've spent time on other Formula offerings and have been happy with their performance, but not this time around.

• This is the fifth or sixth bike that we've tested that uses SRAM's new X01 drivetrain, and each and every one has shifted just as well as its slightly more expensive brother. No dropped chains either, and the 32 tooth chainring is small enough to get you up all but the steepest of walls.

Mondraker Dune Photo by Colin Meagher
  The bike's e*thirteen wheels never let us down, and while its Onza tires roll about as fast as a paddle tire in a parking lot, the traction makes it all worthwhile.


• e*thirteen's 1,767 gram TRS+ wheelset was easy to setup tubeless, and the paring of the Onza Ibex tires made for a reliable setup that was flat and burp free. No flat spots, no loss of tension, and zero play at the hubs mean that we don't have anything to complain about. And keep in mind that a bike like the Dune deserves a reliable wheelset that can keep up with its abilities, something the TRS+ look to be able to do.

• The bike's RockShox Reverb dropper seat post performed flawlessly, but we can't help but find ourselves wishing for a 150mm version (it comes stock with a 125mm model) and Stealth internal routing. The Dune is such a boss on the descents that having that extra 25mm of seat drop could come in handy - a sure sign of just how aggressive you can get on the green and black bike. One more small point: if the bike isn't spec'd with a front shifter, why not go with a right hand Reverb remote placed on the underside of the bar in its place, surely the most ergonomic setup out there. Maybe we're nitpicking.



Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesThinking that the Dune might be for you? Let me tell you how it's likely going to go: your first few rides on it will consist of you trying to convince yourself that you didn't make a big mistake. The next handful of days on the bike will have you thinking that you're starting to figure it out, and that you are waiting for your friends for longer than usual at the bottom of the rowdy descents. Fast forward a few weeks and you'll know that you not only didn't make a mistake, but also that your confidence on the downhills has skyrocketed to previously unseen levels. Telling someone that a 160mm bike is far better suited to truly hairy terrain is stating the obvious, but that fact is especially true of the Dune, and those who spend most of their time on smoother trails are likely to find that the bike is far more than just a touch overkill for their terrain. But if you are looking for a 160mm machine that can moonlight as a downhill bike, the Dune could be just what you need.- Mike Levy


www.mondraker.com


156 Comments

  • + 111
 the Dune comes down faster than kids at a rave when the cops show up... nuff said
  • + 3
 ha!
  • + 1
 the price is very cheap for this nice of a bike
  • + 1
 Overall nice bike! But rear triangle you could make prettier...
  • - 1
 Those tires look like something from the 90's! and I agree about that rear triangle!
  • + 6
 those tires are sweet @NUKEproofJosh
  • - 1
 Gotta have them Levy puns!
  • - 1
 650b...
  • + 1
 front is flatter than an asian girl
  • + 1
 It looks like a santa cruz jackel combined with a santa cruz v10
  • + 1
 who ever designed that rear triangle needs to go back to school
  • + 1
 This is all very wrong I think. In donwhill they´ve been making stems shorter and shorter every time, eventually this would be the next step. It is better in almost every aspect, especially for gravitty riding, including all mountain trail use. It feels more natural, gives you more confidence as you have to move around less on the biek, and it wil turn faster and more precisely. It really is like MX bikes. Also Mondrakers first forward geometry bikes made more sense, as you would run more travel on the front than in the rear, and they adviced using a talas or u turn... system. I wouldn´t think it is such a big deal, apart from it looking a bit akward, or such an innovation, it is just obvious!!!! I have owned two dunes, the 16 travel 2010 bike, and the 2013 dune forward geometry i currently own with 18 travel up front. The improvement in veery aspect is huge, and they have ben pretty solid over time. Just opinion anyway, I would run it in most my bikes, if the frames where larger.
  • + 63
 I once saw a bike that looked like that after crashing into a tree.

www.nirvanacycles.com/images/cotic.jpg
  • + 4
 Maybe that was their inspiration!
  • + 1
 I thought the link said NIRVEcycles.

I was like yeah I guess they did have that hump huh?
  • + 3
 Not gonna lie, that hump on the top tube makes this bike look like an old KHS. As well as this bike may ride, I need something that I don't mind bringing home to meet the family or show off to my friends.
  • + 3
 I like the way it looks
  • + 4
 you mean like the KHS Bitch? (that's the model of the bike, i'm not calling anyone a bitch):

marzocchi.narod.ru/________________________________________photo.jpg
  • + 17
 Not for me, I had my fingers burnt by Mondraker before.

Previous model Dune, that amazingly on full compression managed to have the seat stay brace smash into the seat tube.

2 replacement back ends, and it still did it, and the distributor washed their hands of it. Not to mention the rediculous amount of bearings it went through, the lower pivot bolts constantly coming undone & wearing, so there was always play in the link.

It was a bag of sh*t. Mine was not unique either, loads of people with similar issues.

My buddy had a brain fart moment and despite knowing all my problems ordered one of the new bikes. Guess what, a set of bearings already, the pivot bolts still seem to want to disappear every ride, and still seem to be made from a grade of metal of similar properties to cheese. He's an engineer and has since made his own bolts that actually do their intended job.

It could be the best riding bike in the world, yet they suck at QC. There are plenty of better bikes out there that just work.
  • + 1
 I had a Ducati that had dodgy electrics, so did a lot of others, but that was back in the late 90's. Does that mean every one sold since is going to be plagued with dodgy electrics?
  • + 17
 So in about 20 years Mondraker will be making reliable bikes?
  • + 1
 @ad15 - there will be a couple of exceptions but generally yes that is still a common issue with the beautifully styled machines. It's still the same with cars, would you buy a Ferrari or Porsche for reliability?
  • + 3
 same happened to me... there was always play in the link. paint qualitiy was also bad... never ever mondraker
  • + 5
 I've just recently got my hands on a BN 2013 Dune in a Large and after reading your comment Trinket I'm beginning to regret it!

I knew previously about the Mondrakers reputation for being some-what slightly unreliable, but I thought the horror stories were few-and-far-between and hoped that my purchase will prove to be one of the better cases.(here's to hoping)

Now I'm yet to ride it as I'm mid-build but hope to put one or two preventative customisations in place to stop any teething/smashing/loosening...etc

*A Boxxer ODI fork bumper situated on the seat-tube to prevent any "front-triangle, rear-swingarm" kissing.
* Maybe a PUSH tune on the shock to prevent this even further...
* Loctite everything

I love this bike and don't want to part, so If anyone's got anymore sensible suggestions and want to stop a 36 year old man from crying, I'd be truly thankful??
  • + 6
 Don't cry Alex... Pinkbike support group hug!
  • + 1
 That's one of the saddest sounding comments ever lol I hope your dune is ok bro!
  • + 0
 I have owned a summun downhill bike and two dunes, the 16 travel 2010 bike, and the 2013 dune forward geometry i currently own with 18 travel up front. The improvement in veery aspect is huge, and they have ben pretty solid over time. Mondrakers are good bikes I would say, they ride really well, and at least in Spain, country of origin they always take care inmediately of any issues you may have. The price for build is also pretty good in most of them, so if a little more maintinance is required I would think it´s ok.
  • + 1
 I had similar issues with my Foxy RR 2011 and Summum 2013. The Foxy was especially flexy, since it is meant for even lighter riding than the Dune. The fix turned out to be epoxy! Went from super flexy and strange noise, to stiff as Stiffler.
  • + 17
 It's a typical misconception in MTB to believe that having a long top tube and/or short stem will make your front wheel feel to light in the uphill sections. The main force that comes to this feeling are your pedaling strokes, that is the torque applied on the rear wheel. As a consequence the only way to counteract this force is to have your gravity center farther from your rear axle. That means sitting more forward on your saddle, or from the bikes characteristics it would be a longer chainstay and a steeper seat angle. The tricky thing is to find the right balance to keep traction...
  • - 1
 I just wish they would have some 10mm stem options for bikes that are not designed for it. Just to try it, and decide for myself if I like it or not. People usually stand on the difficult parts of the trail to get this "balance" anyways. Then all this stem distance stuff gets thrown out the window and it's up the the rider to position and balance themselves on the bike accordingly.
  • + 2
 The only special thing in that stem is I think you have to cut your stearer tube pretty short and will generate some rise. You can get that stem aftermarket I thought (not sure) but it doesnt make sense if your current frame is not "too long" as it will cut your reach of 40 mm, which is almost like 2 sizes.
  • + 1
 I know you can buy their 10mm direct mount stem as aftermarket component but not sure about the normal 10mm stem. But like EnduroManiac said no point in trying a 10mm stem if you don't have a longer toptube to do it with. I run a 17mm stem on my medium Specialized Status and like the setup though I think it be even better had I managed to buy a large frame!
  • + 1
 Sith bike they do!
  • + 1
 Looking for something shorter than a chromag 40mm with a 1 1/4 inch steerer tube. And I can't find one. And the shortest I have ever seen on a 1 1/8 steerer tube has been a 35mm.
  • + 1
 they sell their components, there should be several measures for this new year. of course youll have to cut ur fork tube, if you don´t want ur bars to be to high, or fit lower bars which is what I did even in the dune
  • + 2
 SithBike you probably should not have bought a Giant if you want to play with stems. Nevermind if they are good bikes, and even pretty ones, they should be boycotted for their stupid steerer tube dimensions.
  • + 0
 I think EnduroManiac is correct, climbing stability does not come down to stem length. Still I wonder whether the 'pure FG' (i.e. 10mm stem) concept can survive with the move to larger wheel sizes. On a 26in bike the 10mm FG stem, which has some inherent effective rise, had almost no discernible impact on the handlebar height. 26in bikes with longer stems also employed rise (although not in XC) as well as spacers to lift the bars a bit. Handlebar height is a factor that effects CoG height and ultimately the front/rear weight balance while accelerating or braking. This is relevant to climbing and other situations. While Mondraker have not expressed things this way I think FG30 and FG50 are an acknowledgement that handlebar height needs to be kept low, in the vicinity of classical 26in handlebar heights, which is something of a stability enhancing sweetspot for this parameter. As it happens FG30 and FG50 do not cause any issues with cockpit length because while FG bikes have had longer wheelbases (which is good) the have not had long cockpits - a 20mm increase will be experienced by many riders as simply roomier without negative consequences. A roomier cockpit might also have some benefits for out of saddle climbing which was an issue with the bike, according to the reviewer. That poor out of saddle performance by the bike while climbing is the detail in the article most in need of explanation. (note: FG50 with its negative rise stem is actually a big improvement to the commonly overly elevated 29er handlebars)
  • + 1
 @ SithBike

the shortest "normal" stem we're aware of is the Syntace Megaforce2 at 30mm. The bars almost touch the fork steerer. Don't think anyone else does a shorter "regular" stem. Come sin 10 mm increments, 30 - 80mm.
  • + 16
 I will never wear a fanny pack no matter how cool or “enduro” PB says they are…
  • + 1
 Amen to that!
  • + 9
 Anyone else remember those Azonic stems from the mid 90s that fitted on top of the steerer tube? Could even have been zero offset but I remember they were bloody tall! I'd love to try this bike out.

And if you want to try forward geometry on another make, just abuy a size or two too big and order a 10mm stem from Mondraker!
  • - 12
flag starsh78 (Jan 20, 2014 at 1:08) (Below Threshold)
 You clearly have no idea about forward geometry and how it works.
  • + 7
 Why? Larger size bike means longer tt like these Mondrakers, compensated with a short stem and hey presto, makeshift forward geometry. Or I might clearly know nothing about what I'm saying either..
  • + 9
 Stand over height may become an issue though with some larger frames. It's a shame those Mondrakers look so hideous though!
  • + 9
 startsh78: just what is YOUR idea of what forward geometry is, then?

A larger size frame is mostly defined by a longer reach, and maybe slightly taller stack with a taller head tube(some brands keep the same HT height despite the size), and an extended seattube for your taller seat height. Everything else: rear triangle, BB height, head angle, is exactly the same. Forward geometry is only extending the frame's reach, so jaame's idea of getting 1 big sizer with a shorter stem is effectively doing the same thing.. IF you can deal with the taller seat tube and getting enough insertion with your dropper post.

Jaame: The reason why zero offset is not preferred is because some trail(minimal) was proven desirable in the steering feel over zero offset. My endure moto race bike's offset or "stem length" is a normal 10-20mm... Mountain bike stems started by default from long ass stems from its 130mm road bike roots, and we're slowly asking, "WTF are my bars on this long ass extension in front of my steerer tube" and the trends in shorter and shorter stems(and now longer reach or top tube lengths) are proving this.

The same way our bars have gotten wider and wider... away from xc towards motocross-ish widths. Do you think motocross riders would ride with shorter frames and a 70mm extension, ahem, I mean stem to hold their bars ahead of their steerer tube? Hell no. I think this bike, The long 2014 GT Fury and wider bars are proof of this progress.
  • + 2
 Exactly what i was doing when i got my new frame (nomad C). I'm on the very bottom of the scale for the XL frame but went for it with the intent of running a 35mm stem. Maybe not quite as short as the Mondraker but it feels a lot better than anything else i've ever ridden.
  • + 5
 rattpoison is on the money with one thing concerning Jaame's assertion. Stand over is a potential issue.

That said, a lot of people have done it. Check out Mark Weir's bike check from a couple of years back.

www.pinkbike.com/news/Mark-Weir-Bike-Check-2012.html

"After talking to Fabien Barel on the Trans Provence last year, Mark is trying out his idea of a bigger frame and a tiny stem to help him feel more inside the bike, rather than on it. Although when you meet him you kind of assume he's a big guy (he's got that kind of presence) he is actually only 5'9" tall. With this setup he has gone up from a medium to a large frame with a 40mm stem to keep the length down. He's not 100% yet, but it doesn't seem to have slowed him down..."

This prompted me to try it so I bought a large Khyber Elite and put an Answer 30mm stem on it (as well as new fork, wheels, brakes, bar, seat, etc...). It's a rockin' rig!

For anyone that is contemplating this on the cheap, it's certain worth a try. I'm glad I did it.
  • + 1
 Nice, so I have a Forward GeometryTM Honzo then? My frame turned out to be on the long-ish side for me so I compensated this with a 40mm stem.
  • + 2
 Not really, a 40mm stem is 4 Mondraker stems put together, that's long Wink
  • + 2
 When I recently bought my Ibis HDr I did what a lot of people above are saying: went a size larger to accommodate my preferred 35mm stem. I'm 5' 8", about the same height as Brian lopes who also rides a large, even though Ibis' guidelines have us on a medium.
It gave me a longer reach and TT, longer wheelbase with only a miniscule (0.1 inch) higher standover. The only "downside" is the seat tube on a large is 19". Works for me because I'm happy with a 125mm dropper but would be too high with a 150mm dropper for my height.
Interestingly, the large HDR measurements are virtually identical to those of a medium Yeti ASR 5C, the bike I came off of.
I think riders have to be careful about buying a bike simply based on small, medium, large, XL. One brand's large is another's medium.
I subscribe to the school of though that stem length is SO crucial on mountain bikes that you find the stem you're comfortable with (definitely 35mm for me) and buy the frame size around that.
  • + 1
 Jon123rjk: Seems to be a Yeti think. The SB-66 has a MASSIVE top tube for it's size. It's a cool concept.
  • + 2
 Jaame: I remember those stems! In the late nineties my friend had one, the bars sat directly on top of the steerer. Looked so moto with the old ZZYZX forks, shame they didn't work!
Anyone else remember these? Ha, I sound like a rambling old man talking about the war...
  • + 1
 some times pinkbike feels like theres a few instigators, and a few people that just dont get sarcasm... I love when people get lost in translation when theres no vocal tone to differentiate mood and sarcasm. haha
  • + 1
 @Nickbit and @JAmme: Is the stem you guys thinking of the 'high' version of the Mr Dirt Wild Thing?
  • + 1
 farm4.staticflickr.com/3073/2914265707_9b63257616_z.jpg

That one.

On the Devinci Wilson, which is the bike I'm most interested in buying next, the only difference between the small and XL is the length of the front end. The HT length and back end are identical according to the geo chart on their website. It would perhaps be more apt to call them short, medium, long and very long instead of small to extra large. The reach of a large +50mm stem is the same as the reach on an XL +35mm stem, just the wheelbase on the XL will be about 2cm longer.
  • + 1
 A larger sized bike will have too tall of a seat tube and would not be the same.
  • + 8
 As a tall rider I would like to congratulate these guys on a long top tube!
  • + 2
 many of the guys i ride with whom are 6ft4 upwards say the XL in the dune is more than roomy, I'm 6ft on vantage and I ride a large which is perfect.
  • + 1
 I'm like 6ft 9, so anything that helps is a good thing!
  • + 6
 I've wanted to try a mid travel mondraker since I saw barel ripping them up in his instruction videos. Whyyy can't they be distributed in the states? The dune looks like so much fun!
  • + 8
 Looks sick. Good to see some companies trying new things out
  • + 2
 Questionfor test rider...

What was sag setup?
Factory advice is quite big 35% for enduro bike (www.mondraker.com/14/imagenes/manuals/mondraker_zero_guideline_en.pdf), to reach optimal padal efficiency.

My target is the cheapest version of the bike (Pike up front), but it has no platform in rear shock.
Is platform absence to big fault, that bike would be worth buying? (enduro racing and some bikepark in mind)
  • + 1
 What is genuinely wrong with Mondraker is that their cheap models (at the cheaper models for the Foxy and the Dune) are open drop QR dropouts in the rear, and to have the 12mm thru-axle option you need to upgrade to the mid-price model and the difference is only 650€. Why would they even choose to manufacture 2 different sets of triangles for each bike model? That small fact lead me away from even thinking about Mondraker as I was looking for something sub 2400€. Lame...
  • + 1
 arczii , nice picture, looks like the new frame went with some extra bracing between the top tube and down tube to prevent that.....again . Real curious on this bike though. Will see how the next year goes for reviews/riding etc.
  • + 1
 I'v owned one of these bikes for two months now and I've been blown away by how well it climbs and descends. Even in the tightest of trails it'll whip round the turns. A fork upgrade and it wouldn't feel out of place in a dh race. Just plows through rough sections.
  • + 1
 There is always a company that has to take the current trend to it's utmost. Long and low has now been done to the extreme. I expect to see a lot of companies advertising that they've hit the "sweet spot" between long and low, and shot and playful. The funny part will be, they won't have made any changes to get there.
  • + 1
 Hi, Ex- British expat living in Spain and Enduro AM rider. Have recently tried the exact model that has been reviewed and can't agree more with Pinkbike's take on it. Have had a Specialized SX for years now and LOLed at al the attempts to improve on it but... I've finally succumbed to the Dune style new-fast-light-do-it-all enduro bike. At my age I don't fancy pushing around 15kg plus anymore.
The thing is I've ordered the cheaper Mondraker R Dune after trying the 29 Specialized-carbon-enduro bike and finding that the Dune does everything either a bit better (uphill) or far better (downhill and especially tight turns). Food for thought: my mate's got two sets of wheels. Believe me when I say he's got two bikes. The first one with tubeless 2.2s weighs just over 12kgs! The second one weighs just under 14 and wears mean DH tyres and you are still saving 2 to 3 thousand bucks on the top 27.5 carbon stars.
Once I've been out on my bike and down the tried and tested tough enduro trials, I'll get back to you. Can't wait for it!
  • + 1
 The details here are very interesting to me. I'm 6-2 and ride a large Enduro. I prefer the weight distribution with the stock 75mm stem but find it unrideable because of the nervous steering. I love the steering feel with a 40mm stem but don't like were it puts my ass when in the attack position. As a compromise I run a 60mm stem and its ok. If my tt was an inch longer I'm sure I would be happier with the bike.
  • + 5
 THAT helmet. THAT fanny pack.
  • - 1
 Just you wait, we'll all be wearing them this time next year...
  • + 1
 if someone sells that fanny pack for $145 and markets it right all the doctors and dorks will line up for it.
f*ck stupid fashion accessories
  • + 1
 So for a 1.84 what size do you think works well
Rode today on a m size demo xr with 30 stem,same size as my large chilcotin only problem was the short seat tube felt dial and composed but I wonder if I'm not missing the concept here by not riding the large frame?
Confused?so do I ...
  • + 1
 I'd love to spend a few days on a Dune, and I've a feeling the fwd geometry would suit me. However, Ive just bought a banshee spitfire with a more conventional but still low and long geo. Bear in mind the XR got a horseshit review in Dirt mag a couple of months ago
  • + 6
 Only sort of, you might want to read it again.... Their main gripe with the 2013 bikes was the unbalanced travel front and rear, with the stock Foxy XR having a rear which couldn't keep up with the 160 fork and the Dune too high a front end with it's 180. They actually really liked the Dune frame once they had fitted it with a 160 fork (like this one), just not the 2013 stock builds. This new bike is more or less what they were hoping Mondraker would do with the platform.

I used to ride one myself and ended up doing the same thing, plus a 1' angleset to maintain the head angle. I'd echo the above review for the most part - great bikes but definitely takes a day or two to adjust to the different front wheel position. Feel more like downhill bikes you can pedal up than conventional trail bikes - if that's what you want in a bike you'll love them.
  • + 1
 you're right, there was a lot more to it then I suggested. Im a fan of this frame but haven't had the chance to ride one and having just spunked out on a new long term trail frame I won't be demoing for a while now.

for what its worth, Chris Porter of Mojo suspension rides one (although I believe he's mated it with a different rear end) and bangs on about how good it is.

Im 6 3 and the banshee spitty XL is perfect sizing but if I was any taller then I'd definitely be demo-ing a Dune. Chris Porter is taller as well I believe.

While we're on the subject of Dirt mag, I have to say I take everything Steve Jones says with a pinch of salt now that he seems determined to ram everything 650b down everyone's throat.
  • + 1
 I've been riding last years Foxy XR for 9 months now and love it. I think small bump chatter was the main problem on the dirt review and to a large part I agree with. although they put it down to lack of travel. I found the shock bushings abnormally tight and loads of friction. As there is a lot of DU rotation at both ends of the shock this all slows up the reaction of the system and makes it feel like it's not really working. I made some custom bolts and put roller bearings at both ends and this transformed the bike. Really worth giving them a shot, but make sure you stick with it as it takes getting used to and give it a good going over to make sure everythings sweet...
  • + 1
 Great review. The only two issues that I have with it is the repeated incorrect use of the word utilize that just makes the writer sound stupid and the fact that the article failed to mention what year the bike was, unless I missed it.
  • + 1
 Release date: 2014. Yeah I missed it.
  • + 1
 Good evening Mondraker lovers and haters alike ..... Smile
My Mondraker Dune 2014 is todays VitalMTB bike of the day
www.vitalmtb.com/community/jan-czugalinski,20153/setup,24153
  • + 0
 I always wondered why not? Most motorcycles have the bars practically on top of the forks, so I've always suspected that the Mondraker concept would work very well, I'd love to try one, but if someone could make one with a sexier frame and stem they might really catch on.
  • + 1
 "Mondraker has no distribution on this side of the Atlantic, so you'll be on your own if you would like to have a Dune in your garage"... Unless you buy a lot of sand and a big fan
  • + 3
 silverfish.co.uk ?
  • + 1
 Forgot to mention that the bike I tested was my mate's. he's the one with the Dune RR (review model) and the crazy double set of wheels. He also swapped his fab SX and says he doen't miss it at all. See you.
  • + 4
 that little hump ruins the whole bike...
  • + 6
 that hump is what defines Mondraker, just the the GT triple triangle.
  • + 2
 Canyon appears to have a hump as well. Is it because of Fabien Barel?
  • + 1
 Canyon only has it on the new Spectral model, it's definitely not a signature of theirs. Not nearly as defined as the Mondraker bump either.
  • + 4
 Geo designed around the stem or not its butt ugly.
  • + 0
 but that stem is so sick. I need one.
  • + 4
 Really I guess I just dont get it.
  • + 4
 Thats one ugly bike
  • + 2
 I love the look of those tires! Reminds me of the old specialized ground control tires from waaay back.
  • + 1
 So completely ignoring how it rides, that bike is hideous. Its like the bastard child of The Incredible Hulk and the Humpback of Notre Dame.
  • + 0
 Mondraker sure likes to be edgy with their geometry.The bike just seems too limited to be a companies flagship enduro weapon. Building a frame centered around a stem just doesn't sit well with me.
  • - 1
 It sucks that Mondraker make bikes more fragile than the ginger bread man. The dune and the foxy are awesome bikes to ride, but you would spend all of your life checking for cracks. Back to back technical climbing tests shows just how good they are compared to other bikes. Not small cracks but he ones that could cause you serious harm. I have skme scary photos on my phone of a foxy. We had just come off a mountain at warp speed and the foxy was being ridden by a racer with world cup experience!
  • + 1
 or you can just buy your fav bike in a size larger than you normally would and they buy one of these stems... boom you now have forward geo
  • + 0
 These bikes r made for gravity! Simple. Not the quickest going up hill, but once u point the thing back down its amazing! Iv chucked mine off 20ft cliff drops and 30ft doubles and it loves them
  • + 2
 Why would anyone want to throw their bike off a cliff? nut job....
  • + 1
 hahahhhaaa.....hahahhaaa.... MINT!
  • + 1
 If anyone is interested I have one of these 10mm stems for sale. Just Pm me for details, thanks
  • + 1
 due to the FANNYPACK'S low center of gravity the dune was able to manual like a bmx bike.
  • + 0
 The rear end hasn't changed since my 2011 Mondraker Dune R by the look of it..... which had an arse-end that could have won a twerking competion !!
  • + 1
 I like the 30mm stem. But some advanced mathematical guessing tells me that its actually 31mm.
  • + 1
 I hope new frame will be stronger then this : www.pinkbike.com/photo/7355546
  • + 1
 on the 2nd photo down what's sticking out of the handlebars next to the far grip?
that head tube and stem are messed up.
  • + 1
 I think you're seeing the Reverb remote.
  • + 0
 ahh right it looks more like a grease nipple. LOL
  • + 1
 Is it really 5299$? Seems pretty reasonable to me with X01, reverb, floatX and E13 weelset
  • + 2
 Anyone ever put a "normal" stem on a sized-down Mondraker?
  • + 2
 eh, that top tube and mega short stem don't really do it for me.
  • - 1
 Those tires would look great on The very first mountain bike ever made. I just can't stand mixing old school looks with new school. The tires probably hook up great and I'm being a bit material but it is what it is.
  • + 2
 The nitpicker in me can't get over how ugly that 10mm stem is.
  • + 0
 Wouldn't the front end wander too much? I can imagine washing out more because there's less pressure on the front wheel.
  • + 0
 some angles look a lot better than others, but i'm certainly not in love!
bet it rides great though Big Grin
  • + 1
 Mondrakers remind me of Quasimodo morphed into a bike.
  • + 1
 I'd smash by balls on that top tube!!!
  • + 0
 This informative and thorough report makes me even more eager to try one Dune out myself.
  • + 1
 His stem is short. My stem is much longer than that one.
  • + 1
 Sic as
  • + 0
 Where can I get one of these aftermarket "Rat style" chains?
  • + 1
 Spend about 20 minutes riding in Sedona.
  • + 1
 haha, i was about to make a joke that you need someone to send in a oil for testing
  • + 0
 That tire looks a lot like a certain Maxxis tread pattern I know...
  • + 2
 you should be a detective....Wink
  • + 0
 @maxlombardy

You make a valid point. But, Michelin did it first. The second tire was copied as well.

www.pinkbike.com/buysell/969909
  • + 1
 where is that..Ohio?
  • + 0
 ciulstwo Iron horse je lepszy
  • - 1
 Does anybody know where the photos were taken?
  • - 2
 Expect to dislocate your shoulders for small jump. This long TT isuue is getting too..long
  • + 4
 You're forgetting that Forward Geometry doesn't change how stretched out the rider is, but just their position in relation to the fork axle.
  • - 2
 These are marketing physics.
  • + 0
 i like the rusty chain!
  • - 2
 10mm stem? what's next... NO stem?!
  • + 3
 don't knock it till you tried it. I run a 17mm stem and don't see myself going longer anytime in the future!
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