Is this Mondraker Prototype the Wildest XC Bike of the Year? - Interbike 2018

Sep 16, 2018
by Mike Levy  
Interbike 2018

Mondraker's Podium Carbon Pro hardtail is one of the most unique looking mountain bikes that don't employ a rear shock, and there have been rumors of the Spanish brand cooking up a rather special full-suspension brother for it with help from the carbon specialists at 3C. The result is the feathery, 100mm-travel F-Podium RR SL cross-country race bike that you see here. Weight? 18.8lb.

The smart people at 3C have their hands in developing and manufacturing carbon for the high-end automotive, medical, and aerospace industries, all done in Germany and Switzerland. It's apparently the kinda outfit where security levels are higher than the average mountain biker from BC, and armed guards keep out the riff-raff who don't have security clearance.

Mondraker's goal was to take carbon to another level, and they're hoping that the technology at 3C, which Mondraker says is a decade ahead of what's being used in the bike world right now, will let them do that.
Mondraker F-Podium RR SL

Intended use: cross-country racing
Travel: 100mm
Fork travel: 100mm
Wheel size: 29''
Frame construction: carbon fiber
Weight: 18.8lb (as pictured)
Head angle: TBA
Reach: TBA
Availability: TBA

Interbike 2018
Let's not kid ourselves here: There's nothing wrong with a traditional stem setup. But Mondraker's design, which is similar to what Look does, sure is stunning.

All that sounds pretty dang cool, right? Sure, but here's the catch: This thing might happen... Or it might not. 3C has its hands in some serious stuff, and as neat looking as Mondraker's German-made F-Podium RR SL frame is, it's probably also small beans for them. And then there's the price, which Mondraker obviously hasn't locked down as it's still in the prototype phase, but I'm pretty sure that no one is going to think that it's a good deal.

It's going to be a high-end race bike, so expect a high-end price if and when it ever hits the market.

Interbike 2018
Interbike 2018
That small plaque on the downtube is the clue that there's something else going on here.

Mondraker wasn't all that ready to share many details about how the frame is manufactured - it just arrived a few days ago - or even how much a bare frame weighs, but I do know that the bike pictured here comes in at just 18.8lb. So, not much.

Granted, they didn't exactly hold back with the spec - check out those wheels, tires, and cranks - but it's not easy to get a full-suspension bike that light unless you're starting with a very light frame.

Interbike 2018
A revised version of the Zero Suspension System controls 100mm of travel.

The 100mm of cross-country-focused travel is controlled by Mondraker's Zero Suspension System, a layout that has always impressed me with its efficiency - not once did I feel the need to firm up my 150mm-travel Foxy test bike. So with just 100mm, it's probably safe to assume that the F-Podium RR SL is a rocket ship. Zero Suspension consists of two short links that rotate in the same direction, unlike a VPP system that uses counter-rotating links.

Another difference between the Spanish brand's design and VPP is how the shock is mounted to both the upper and lower links as opposed to just the upper link and to the front triangle.

Interbike 2018
Interbike 2018
See that tiny scoop of material missing from the pivot hardware? Yeah, they're serious about making this thing light.

Cross-country might not be your thing, and you might not give a single shit about how light it is, but who cares - the German-made F-Podium RR SL looks unreal. What do you think?


  • 175 5
 It's about 8.5kgs for the rest of the world.
  • 82 9
 Yeah what's with the Trump units?
  • 4 4
 my 26er on very light components weighs more than this bike... Time to win some lottery
  • 4 2
 @headshot: Well it's not that hard to convert though (divide the weight in pounds by 2, then remove 10% to the result and you have have done the conversion). Yet, they'd use both units Wink .
  • 7 0
 @Euskafreez: ....You shoulda said (google).
  • 25 2
 @headshot: you spelled "Freedom Units" wrong.
  • 3 0
 @Thustlewhumber: I thought it was Imperial Tics
  • 16 4
 It's 1.34 stone for the civilized world.
  • 2 0
 big if true
  • 4 6
 @Thustlewhumber: or dumb units for short
  • 6 1
 Let’s have a deal Pinkbike, use the units of the bike manufacturer, so if the bike is European, use metric.
  • 8 0
 @kipvr: Pinkbike is canadian, so they use the Simplified Canadian Units System

Water temperature: Farenheits
Ambient/air temperature: Celsius
Homebuilding: inches/feet
Road signage and other distance: meters
Weight: pounds

Unfortunately, that's how we do it
  • 2 0
 @guylovesbike: I did not know that you used Fahrenheit for water temp up there. Interesting.
  • 2 1
 @Euskafreez: actually you divide the lbs by 2.2 to get kg.
  • 1 0
 @seraph: you blew my mind... ouch...
  • 1 0
 @guylovesbike: ???????????? pissed myself laughing. Keep up the sarcazm !
  • 71 1
 Phew, for a moment there I didn't think it had a water bottle mount.
  • 55 1
 First thing I looked for.
  • 27 1
 Would have to drink sparkling water only so as to make it light as possible!
  • 4 1
 Water bottle filled with helium
  • 2 0
 Only Perrier with that budget Smile
  • 52 0
 My dream road bike!
  • 43 1
 Sick , but I think I broke it just lookin at it funny
  • 2 4
 Just about. I think I'd break it on one ride on some of my local green/blue trails.
  • 5 0
 The Primaflor/Mondraker team has been riding it on World Cup XC tracks all year, so I think not.
  • 26 1
 XC might not be your thing but when this tech trickles up to the trail/all mountain/enduro/down country or whatever you want to call it that will be cool.
  • 3 1
  • 1 2
 Down country.
  • 3 4
 what tech does this have that trail/AM/enduro dont already?
  • 2 0
 @santacruz-ing: it has added lightness
  • 1 0
 And Carbon frames can finally get above $3k YAY!
  • 23 0
 Those tires seem a bit anorexic
  • 7 0
 gravel tires.. rave ravel ravel
  • 4 7
 Nobody but Marathon racers and Giga Joeys runs such stuff.
  • 1 0
  • 16 0
  • 9 0
 Quite possibly the most beautiful bike I've ever seen, and I'm an enduro bro. Keep making sexy stuff Mondraker!
  • 9 1
 345g tires? 1189g wheels? I'd like to see how those would fare on a casual ride, let alone a race!
  • 5 8
 Those tyres will bite anyone who will try to lean into a corner, but most of their owners don’t do it so it’s fine Big Grin
  • 6 2
 I've been riding schwalbe thunderburts and maxxis Torch (basically semi slick bmx tires in 29" size) for years on a hardtail. Those tires usually slide very early and so makes them quite predictable despite their lack of grip so you don't wipe out as quickly as you would think. When all your local races are on dry soil, present a lot of climbing on fireroads and not too technical descents these tires still make some sense.

Mind you, a lot of marathon and regional xc races could be called gravel races really.
  • 1 0
 @opignonlibre: don't care, I still use MAXXIS SS on my 29"xc for the reason of cornering and much more grip when the trails look more suited for a 140mm travel bike. Also when we talk about race's most xc amatures can't descent and will make shortly a very dusty trail. More grip will help there..
  • 1 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Sep 17, 2018 at 4:02) (Below Threshold)
 @Serpentras: huh, I agree with you, but there are folks who can't tell a difference in grip between Crossmark and Hans Dampf. Or Nobby Nic and Minion. Some people... they just should gravel bikes on MTB comps...
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: well I see that indeed, even people I ride with use the Hans Dampf here in Germany.

They don't see the reason to switch to a dhf , dhr or something equally well suited because it feels the same.
  • 3 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Sep 17, 2018 at 4:51) (Below Threshold)
 @Serpentras: I mean, these two examples were a real thing. I was asked for an advice and gave Hd to owner of crossmarks and DHF to a dude who wanted more grip in the bikeparks over his HD... both said, I can't feel any difference. Well... that's life. I personally can't tell a difference in driving between Volvo V70 and Audi A6 or BMW 5.
  • 1 0
 Even with dh tires this thing would still be under 20 pounds ????
  • 7 0
 Looks weird but 18.8lbs don’t lie
  • 10 3
 Looks great except for the wheels.
  • 5 2
 Exactly what I was thinking! I know they are there for a reason, but boy do they look like kids toy bike cheap.
  • 4 0
 @Kiwiplague: In person this bike actually looks pretty impressive. Wheels and all!
  • 8 9
 @Kiwiplague: except they aren’t. One could argue that they are the most technologically advanced MTB wheelset ever made. But I am not going to even try to convince you Wink
  • 5 0
 I remember having those kind of wheels on my Trek 1995....
  • 4 0
 @chillrider199: crazy thing here is, how light and strong they actually are. Looks don't always do justice to the real life performance.
  • 14 10
 @fourcross: This is the only carbon wheelset I could run. I couldn't give a slightest damn about Enve even if they gave them to me for free. I'd strip the rims off, keep CK hubs and mount alu rims. But these... these are sexy as hell to me, even though they must be making for a damn harsh ride. Amazing how different we humans are in the face of something much different than the rest. Love or hate, nothing in between, and the only fool is the one who can't cope with another persons opinion... wait...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I'd have to ride them first to have an opinion. Sometimes wheels too stiff can be as much an issue as noodly ones.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I don't need convincing to know they probably ride amazingly well, they just don't do it for me in the looks department (that makes me sound really shallow, I know) Wink
  • 4 3
 @kiwiplague no worries, there are few actions that can be shallower than buying a 2700$ wheelset for a bicycle
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: $2700? They're 3299 EUR on their website, which is even more insane.
  • 3 1
 @PAmtbiker: Bejesus...
  • 3 1
 $5 says they bought those wheels off of Alibaba ... :-p
  • 4 1
 "Cross-country might not be your thing, and you might not give a single shit about how light it is, but who cares - the German-made F-Podium RR SL looks unreal. What do you think? "

Why would I give a sh*t if it weighs less than a fart?
  • 2 0
 I actually like it especially the weight thing. Only thing I don't like is the flush headtube and stem. I have a Look 675 road bike using the similar concept... The Con is that limited stem option can be used; and falling/crashing the stem will hit the frame (they just use a spacer to avoid contact in Look 675) especially MTB has more chances of impact.
  • 5 1
 It's hardly fair to claim a weight of 18.8 lbs when the first thing any owner will do is switch out the Maxxlite airbag tires for something sturdier (and heavier).
  • 2 0
 Spanish brands Mondraker and Unno clearly have decided to make maybe the most stunning bikes, and for sure the most expensive.
Funny to think we used to think “made in Spain=cheap and bad”...
  • 1 0
 That bike is SICK!!! I cannot wait to get a 21lb or under XC MTB for less than $10K. The prices and weight will continue to drop as this tech trickles down. Love the innovation!
Also, that stem is interesting because it positions the rider lower rather than having a -50 degree stem.
I don't understand why manufacturers haven't modified the head tube height/design to compensate for the much larger wheels. At least give us some options rather than forcing us so upright especially on smaller frames like mine.
  • 8 4
 Except for the cranks that are about to detonate...
  • 2 0
 Any guesses on head tube angle? Looks 68 ish...I couldn't win any world cup races on this thing but I bet I could get a few strava PR's... totally worth the $14,000...
  • 3 0
 So rad on so many levels for a cross country race bike!
  • 1 0
 Unno hardtail and that FRM Anakin full sus bike are among the best looking XC bikes I've seen on PB this year. This one? Hmmm
  • 3 0
 E-bike version would fly uphill...
  • 3 0
 WARNING: Do not ride this bike anywhere where there are sticks.
  • 2 0
 So add 600 grams for some tires that you can actually ride on a trail and it's a 1.43 st bike.
  • 3 2
 Doesn't look like anything that isn't already happening with the big names in the aero road bike world.
  • 6 0
 What do you mean by that? If you're referring to the stem/headtube design, Look has been doing that with MTBs for years.

I'm pretty sure 6 spoke wheels, full suspension, and two inch wide tires aren't commonplace on aero bikes. The only similarity between this thing and an aero bike is the weight...
  • 2 0
 Photos dont do this bike justice.
  • 2 0
 More importantly, is the show dead?
  • 2 0
 Now can we take it for a test ride?
  • 1 0
 It's official the late 90's early 2000's are back with the wild and weird bikes.
  • 2 0
 Not into XC much & def not a fan of 29'rs ... but that bike is sic!
  • 2 0
 Pandering to the traditional XC crowd with that zero suspension
  • 1 0
 Why remove the fork/shock graphics? Doesn't make the bike look any cooler and can only negatively effect brand relations...
  • 1 0
 I think it’s supposed to save weight
  • 2 1
 Stem looks to have way to much rise
  • 3 2
 That bike look sick! Can I try it please? ????
  • 15 2
  • 2 0
 Sure, just get to be the number 1 XC racer in the world and you'll get to try it.
  • 2 0
 @Kiwiplague: Nino rides Scott
  • 2 0
 @garneau565: So I still have chance! Wink
  • 2 0
 Mondraker my money!
  • 1 0
 the only item missing is a carbon dropper !
  • 1 0
 I would ride that bike... but with none of those components.
  • 1 0
 stick as kickstand = stickstand?
  • 1 0
 Squirrel Katana would be a good name for those spokes.
  • 1 1
 A lot of money for an XC bicycle? Dude, I could get a motorbike for a lot of money!
  • 1 0
 about the weight of Josh Bender's fork!
  • 1 0
 Unno Horn for me please.
  • 1 1
 I would break this thing like chicken bones.
  • 1 0
 Dirty shock stanchion.
  • 1 1
 Get rid of the skyway mags and it would look nice.
  • 1 0
 Dope hybrid.
  • 1 1
 No. See LOOK instead.
  • 1 4
 #notoverbiked #upforkit
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