My first descent aboard the Foxy SL started from the summit of Pike's Peak, 14,114 feet above sea level. The initial portion of that descent is more of a hiking trail than anything created with bikes in mind, full of super tight switchbacks and awkward rocks sections. It's a section of trail that would be tricky on any bike, unless you're Chris Akrigg or Danny MacAskill, but it did work well to immediately illustrate the shortcomings of the extra-long front center, namely the fact that it was more difficult to get through those extremely tight sections of trail than it would be on something with a shorter wheelbase.
However, once things opened up a bit it was much smoother sailing – literally. The Foxy is in its element when there's room to let it run, and the terrain isn't too
rough – picture flying down a ribbon of high alpine singletrack, or making GS turns through a grove of aspen trees. It was moments like that where the bike felt like it was floating, delivering a smooth, incredibly controlled ride. Even with those relatively short chainstays, this is still a bike that prefers making long arcs, carving down the trail rather than hopping and popping from one trail feature to the next. Stability is the name of the game here, and that's certainly the Foxy's most outstanding trait.
That being said, I found myself wondering what a 29”-wheeled Foxy would be like, especially if it were just a touch shorter (I know, it's borderline sacrilegious to suggest that a bike is too long). Mondraker's main reason for the extra-long geometry is stability, which is why offering a bigger wheelsize seems like a logical next step.
Although it's billed as an all-mountain bike, the Foxy feels more like a long-limbed trail bike, especially in rockier or rootier sections of trail. It's very light and stiff, and that makes it feel a little more likely to get knocked off line, rather than being able to plow straight on through. The margin for error in the really rough stuff seems smaller than it is aboard something like a Santa Cruz Bronson or a Trek Remedy – there's a sharpness to its handling that requires a more attentive pilot than those two aforementioned bikes.
The final note regarding the Foxy's descending skills is related to the frame design - I'm a big fan of the Foxy's looks, but I'm not a fan of the upper shock link's position and width. I smacked the inside of my right knee (I ride left foot forward) on the linkage a few times more often than I would have liked while descending. It didn't happen on every ride, but it occurred often enough that it's worth mentioning.