First Look: MDE Stray is an Italian-Made All-Mountain Machine

Jul 1, 2022
by Seb Stott  


All-mountain isn't a category you hear a lot about these days, perhaps because enduro and downcountry have stolen the limelight, but that's how MDE describe their latest creation, the Stray. With 150 mm of rear-wheel travel, it fits between their Damper (enduro) and the Carve (trail) bikes. Using clever interchangeable dropouts, the frame can accommodate either rear wheel size, and MDE says you can build it with a 150 mm 29er fork or a 160 mm fork with a 27.5" front wheel.

MDE says it's "designed for those who want to use a single bike to do a bit of everything; from long Alpine tours to the back door trails up to days in Bike Park."

MDE Stray Details
• Intended use: all-mountain
• Aluminum, handmade in Italy
• 150mm rear, 150mm or 160 mm fork
• 29", 27.5", mixed-wheel compatible
• 77.4° seat angle, 64.5° head angle (150mm x 29" fork)
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Claimed weight: 3.1 kg (6.8 lb), M w/o shock
• Price:€1,990 frame only, w/o shock
mdebikes.com
The frames are designed and hand-made to order in Italy and can be configured in many different ways. You can choose dropouts to fit a 27.5" or 29" rear wheel (or both), as well as loads of color choices that can be selected on the website. You can even get custom geometry for an extra €200. For now, it's a frame only, but there are options for shocks, headsets, seatposts, and bottle cages.



Neat external cable routing is always nice to see.


Frame Details

The Stray uses MDE's I-LINK 2.0 suspension system which it shares with the Carve and Damper. It's a short-link design where the links rotate in the same direction. There's no information as yet on the kinematics.

There are two options for the dropouts / brake mount. With a 14 mm difference in BB drop, they can accommodate a 27.5" or 29" rear wheel with little change to the geometry.
Part of the rear triangle is machined, the rest is hydroformed tubing.

The frame is made from 7000-series aluminum, with oversized pivots and bearings manufactured to MDE specifications by American Enduro bearings. The rear swing arm is made with a combination of CNC-machined parts and hydroformed aluminum tubes.

Tire clearance is 29x2.5" or 27.5x2.8". There's room for a full-size bottle, and you'll also spot a threaded bottom bracket and ISCG chain guide tabs.




Geometry

The above geometry table is for the mullet setup - the full 29er with the 14 mm dropouts is similar. Here you can see the geometry for the full 27.5" bike.



The Stray frameset is available now through MDE's website, with a predicted lead time of 60 days.




114 Comments

  • 50 1
 I really like everything about this bike. Short rear, not crazy long front, external routing, aluminum... What DOESN'T it do?!
  • 10 12
 The only possible problem I see is the derailleur hanger. It looks to be the same piece as the dropout. If an aggressive rider were to ride this bike hard, I would be worried about the structural integrity of the dropout after a crash that would typically bend your hanger. I am sure they also manage to have a crazy price for a replacement dropout/hanger.
  • 2 0
 Other than that it looks pretty much perfect!
  • 8 2
 It doesn’t have internal headset cables… thank the heavens!
  • 2 2
 @baschyboy: yeah that does seem odd, any damage to the hanger means a whole new dropout.
  • 6 0
 @baschyboy: Cove used this system. Wasn't significantly more expensive than a standard hanger while being far more robust in my experience but i supposed ymmv. Also allowed them to offer variations to change geo.
  • 15 1
 @baschyboy: I bought a MDE a year ago the dropout is pretty robust, i have not bent one yet but if you do, a new dropout is 45 € so about 20€ more than a sole hanger, not the biggest of deals.
  • 6 0
 MDE s are very good bikes (all their fs modells are pretty similar). You have to keep in mind that they have very high antisquat numbers, they are very stable but not uber plush. Goes very well together with an o-chain.

They also got a revive program for old frames and if you ask kindly you can get pretty much any colour you want.
  • 2 0
 And bespoke pivot bearings, might be hard to find.
  • 10 0
 I'm on a Damper29 since 2020 an the bike is second to none. Custom geometry option is a bang for your bucks at 200 euros and makes sure the bike's fit is absolutely on pair with your needs. Highly recommended.
I-Link suspension platform is hands down on of the best on the market. Honestly speaking, when I got up to speed mith my MDE, I was pretty surprised that big companies with lots of R&D money aren't able to come up with something offering a similar performance. I-Link offers a great balance between being very responsive and staying high in stroke for the pop everyone is searching for. So you can ride the bikes pretty active without becoming tired through e. g. braking bumps and still being able to plow strait through the rough like a wild freight train. Like someone else already said here the bikes have like the most possible rearward axle path possible without an idler and without compromising ride characteristics by resulting anti squad and pedal kickback. It's there but even on flats its no problem.
Another big plus is huge dropper insertion till you get down to the bottom bracket, making it possible to run long droppers even with short seat tubes. Craftsmanship is also super high quality with bearing seats being absolutely on point for a great fit, which is a big contrast to lots of other frames, even pretty expensive carbon ones. Customer service quality is super high too, because you can reach out to the man behind MDE, Federico, via Email or phone and he'll answer all your questions and is up to provide advice and absolutely knows what he's talking about. Another great thing is replacement bearings are come at a fair price. So all in all, consider one of these bikes for your next purchase. Wink
  • 1 3
 @baschyboy: Don't understand the downvotes, you're exactly right. In fact, modern hangers are designed the way they are (as independent units) for this very reason AND it has the benefit of replacements cheaper due to their size.
  • 2 4
 @optimumnotmaximum: The SRAM hanger is $16. 45 Euro is a substantial amount more, and all because they didn't care to make it cheaper. Two replacements and I'm looking at most of the cost of replacing a tire.
  • 2 3
 what it doesn't do is stay in one piece without cracking in half
  • 2 0
 @browner: pick a frame that doesn't haha
  • 1 0
 @baschyboy: Kona Honzo ha stash style of hanger and no problems.
  • 3 0
 Looks like a mountain bike engineered by, wait for it,.... Mountain bikers!
  • 4 0
 @browner: already broken 3 of their frames. Thing is, it was pretty much always my fault.
And they always did a terrific job either fixing it or replacing it. Last one was out of warranty, they offered me a pretty sweet deal for a new custom one.
  • 2 0
 Props that they include all the ancillary information below the geo chart. A+++++
  • 2 0
 @nwphotography: Same here! Damper with custom geometry, 10% BLACK FRIDAY discount, top support from Federico while choosing geometry details.... and all that for that price (AND handmade in Europe)....
  • 1 0
 @nwphotography: I briefly had a damper 27.5. I'd agree with all that you say. Bike really came to life in fast rocky stuff. Sizing and geometry really spot on. Solid engineering. I sold mine because disappointingly the frame weighed a lot lot more than claimed. Trying to do a lot of uphill climbing and hike a bike with this thing nearly broke me. I wonder if all mde bikes really weigh a lot more than claimed? I guess it would be more at home in alpine terrain where you have uplift. I live in the UK so different terrain. The Stray might be more suitable for here but I'd like to know the real frame weight.
  • 1 0
 @Mrtrotter: my Damper 29 in custom M/L weights 3.5kg without shock - pretty average for a big alloy enduro. If you carry your bike a lot a lighter carbon bike would probably suit you better, i like the canyon spectral- very well designed.
  • 1 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: Mine was a 2016 Damper. Maybe they made them heavier back then? Coming from an old Kona Process 153 it was noticibly heavier with the same components. Going downhill was fun, which is what enduro bikes are for. It made me appreciate that I need more of an all round trail bike to get me to the good downhill trails without being too exhausted. I ride a Knolly Endorphin with 160mm Lyriks which seems a good compromise.
  • 1 0
 @Mrtrotter: they said they saved weight making the new one.
  • 16 2
 Looks great. Not everyone is going to get along with the short chainstays and stack but I'm just happy to see more bikes not made in China/Vietnam since Taiwan apparently became not profitable enough for Yeti, Ibis, Santa Cruz etc.. I am pretty set on buying as much as possible made in North America/EU for my discretionary purchases going forward and there are more and more reasonable options in the MTB industry to make me feel like I'm not compromising very much performance compared to the communist-human-rights-disaster frames. I built up a Guerrilla Gravity recently that's been awesome and We Are One's Arrival looks spectacular. Reeb offer an alloy all mountain/enduro made in Colorado as well that is more similar to this Italian model (short chainstays, external routing). Just nice to see. Strong work MDE.
  • 4 0
 Fully agree. I don't want to support authoritarian regimes with my hard earned money.
  • 12 0
 All mountain never went away.
  • 3 0
 Right?! I have been riding for 15 years and all mountain was commonly heard and that phrase makes the most sense. Now I’ve never heard downcountry outside this silly website. I get it… but I don’t use it.
  • 2 0
 I think the term basically got replaced by Enduro. A lot of enduro bikes are made to pedal well and basically overlap 100% in function with what used to be called All-Mountain.
  • 3 0
 @p1ne: That was my idea as well at first but then enduro bikes evolved and went a lot more to 'pedalable downhill bike' category with 180mm travel forks etc. I think an all-mountain bike should be more nimble and more weight-conscious than an enduro bike because in my book, 'All Mountain' includes many tight switchbacks and those inevitable sections where you scramble up over rocks with the bike on your neck. That's when weight matters.
But anyway, screw the name tags. Looks like a very nice bike, esp with the custom geo option.
  • 6 0
 I’m more for the Carve but always frames with high high quality and sincerely 2000 for an handmade frame in not nonsense….when you see carbon frame of famous brand for 4k€….not to forget the value of having direct contact with person that is building the frame it’s definitely for me a good point.
  • 5 0
 external routing, Its modern but not extreme geo and add on drop outs so we can change the bike alot.. but low stack?? whats with that??? otherwise perfect example of what a bike should be
  • 7 0
 Is that stack measurement even possible with a 150-160mm 29er fork and a 100mm head tube and 340mm BB height?
  • 2 0
 Was thinking the same. A typo, surely?
  • 1 0
 I think not
  • 1 0
 Not sure about 29er, but for 275, the Knolly Warden from a few years ago ticks those boxes. 100mm HT, 337 BB and 160mm or so fork with a stack of 589 I believe.
  • 2 0
 Geometry for full 29er isn't quite so similar... Stack is higher with a 150mm 29er fork going up to 602, 606, 611 and 620mm and maybe more important seat angle is a lot steeper with 77.9. Head angle is 65 and cs grow to 442.
  • 1 0
 @Alexisjmorgan: A 275 fork's axle to crown is roughly 30mm shorter for a given travel than a 29er, so all being equal a 275 bike will have about 30mm less stack.
  • 1 0
 @KennyWatson: RS is 19mm shorter for the same model in 27.5.
  • 5 1
 "All-mountain isn't a category you hear a lot about these days, perhaps because enduro and downcountry have stolen the limelight" .... the fact is that the downcountry does not exist but it is a market operation to make believe that there is another area of use for bikes that is none other than all-mountain
  • 4 1
 The journalist still think the stupid term downcountry is a real thing...along with a lot of other terms normal people don't use. Or maybe they just use them to annoy us.
  • 2 0
 @foggnm: perhaps it will go the way of 'freeride'.
  • 3 0
 really nice!! i just do not understand why they do not design the rear triangle to match bigger tires.... in the case you update the Damper model and improve this, i will order one, promised....
  • 2 0
 Maxxis WT 2.4 and 2.5" fit well.
  • 4 0
 Reminds me of my v2 banshee spitfire, but with everything I wished was different about it. Will definitely be taking a closer look at this one
  • 4 0
 That was why i bought my MDE Damper- a cleaner better version of the Rune V2.
  • 1 0
 Geo is like my V3 Spitty.

What did you not like about your spitty ?
  • 1 0
 @You2: I love the spitfire, and am still riding it. I just wish it had a touch more reach, and a bit more travel for my local riding these days.. and of course, more room for a water bottle in the frame. If the v3 spitfire would have increased travel instead of dropping from the v2, I would have ordered one. As for this mde, I would also probably try it as a mullet.
  • 3 0
 @dwbaillar: I really like my V3.

If I had known of MDE I would have considered their enduro bike.
  • 1 0
 @dwbaillar: Then v3 Rune... Or V3 Titan as a mullet! I have one in 29 but tried with a 27.5 rear wheel and loved it soooo much!!!
  • 5 0
 You had me at external cable routing.
  • 3 0
 Reminds me of my Bird Aether 7 in raw alloy, it rides amazing and kinda cool to have a brand that not many people have in VT.
  • 2 0
 I agree. Looks very similar but more versatile with the wheel options. I love my Bird Aether.
  • 4 0
 I've never said this before....but...looks like a Canfield. Definitely a fan.
  • 1 0
 Agreed - however has a shock yoke - doh!
  • 5 2
 The mountain bike world is lucky the Italians decided not to make this an ebike :-p
  • 1 0
 Hate to say it but- there is a e version...
  • 3 0
 I have the MDE Carve with 135mm rear and 150 fork, very happy with it, coming from an Evil Following prior
  • 3 0
 External. Cable. Routing!!!!!!!! Nice!!!!
  • 3 0
 Oh man I think I just might have to stray this bike is hot like fire
  • 4 0
 MDE never dies
  • 1 1
 Good looking bike! Not just picking on this bike necessarily, I like mediums as im not huge into super long bikes but the steep SA would make the cockpit really cramped.
  • 3 0
 I think for most it would be fine. 595 top tube on a 460 reach is similar to a yeti for example.
  • 2 0
 Reminds me of the old Transition Double. Fun, fast and nimble. I Like It.
  • 2 1
 this bike is really cool, but that stack measurement would change the reach quite a bit to get the bars where id need them.
  • 2 0
 Bar rise doesn’t affect reach. Spacers under the stem do.
  • 2 0
 Tall guy here. Enve M9 50mm rise in glorious 31.8 clamp. Likely fixes things and looks cool. More options in Alum too. Diety high sides are nice but no super wide options. Spacers suck
  • 1 0
 @somebody-else: in that case id need bars with an 80mm rise.
  • 1 0
 @somebody-else: ok, but a modern 29er stack measurement would be cooler. right?
  • 1 0
 @frigofff: yes, but in isolation a low stack isn’t a good enough reason for me to not buy a particular frame.
  • 2 0
 Dear Bike Industry, Please stop using the term Oversized. Thank you
  • 1 0
 I wonder how this linkage setup compares to Canfield CBF or DWLink. Those are two pretty ideal AllMountain suspensions
  • 1 0
 I loopks similar but actually its not, especially canfield has a constant antisquat over travel and gears, MDE has big differences over gears and travel. Actually you can see the different layout when looking at the lower link- DW- very flat, CBF -almost flat, MDE -steep- The kinematics are very close to a Mondraker Summum 2022 though.
  • 2 0
 The MDE bike by Sam Hyde and the folks at Million Dollar Extreme
  • 1 0
 Had to scroll to far down to find this comment. He can't keep getting away with this!
  • 1 0
 Maybe slightly off topic but on MDE socials just grown out an outstanding Carve in dark green…take a look!
  • 1 0
 No North American shipping it seems
  • 1 1
 Probably due to not wanting to pay the fees on the VPP
  • 1 0
 @blacktea:
They both go clockwise
  • 1 0
 @drib: i dont really know ... I was just guessing
  • 2 0
 Ticks a lot of boxes.
  • 2 0
 Its just a Carve LT
  • 1 0
 not bad. comparably priced to big brand AL frame offerings.
  • 1 0
 I kinda want one. Enduro bike looks nice too.
  • 1 0
 I really like that machined vertical member on the rear triangle.
  • 1 0
 They don't let you pick your STA. I wanted an 80deg STA
  • 1 0
 27.49” in the front and 26.31” in the rear would be perfect
  • 1 0
 A stack below 610 is unridable in the alps imho. Sad
  • 1 0
 Ibis ripmoesque linkages
  • 1 4
 Looks kinda like the Kona all mountain bike
  • 2 2
 I thought it looked like a Yeti.
  • 6 1
 A Pivot, surely?
  • 5 2
 I thought it looked like a session.
  • 4 0
 More like how Banshees the Rune V3 also could have looked.
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