Mondraker's New Forward Geometry with Fabien Barel

Jul 17, 2012 at 15:44
by Cut Media  
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.

Mondraker Foxy FG side view
Mondraker's Foxy XR FG strikes a different profile with its extended top tube and zero-extension stem.

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

Views: 5,625    Faves: 25    Comments: 9

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.

Forward Geometry
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.

Mondraker Foxy handlebar stem
The rider's view of the Mondraker's Forward Geometry steering compartment is as close to a DH bike as cross-country gets.
<Deleted photo>

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.

Mondraker Foxy FG Zero suspension
Mondraker's dual-link 'Zero' suspension system keeps the bike's weight low in the frame.
<Deleted photo>


Stay tuned for a riding report

Mondraker Forward Geometry?


  • 4 0
 OK, I'm sure it works. They've convinced me, it's a simple concept and simple is often best, but....... that bike is so fugly, it hurts your eyes!!!!
  • 1 0
 I personally have been pushing for this concept for 15 years now. It is very pleasing to see a manufacturer finally stepping up to the plate and building it.

For too many decades bicycles have been in rut, focusing on archaic geometry, then trying to rectify the problem by introducing more problems; e.g. long stems to expand the cockpit, overly slack head angles to compensate for too short of a downtube/reach, etc....
The shorter stem, longer front-center allows you much more control over the bike, even though it may seem counter-intuitive to some....

A bike with a short downtube will always force you to stick your butt too far back in order to keep your shoulders/structure in a strong/secure/safe position.

A bike with a long downtube allows you to maintain good structure without sticking your butt too far back. Instead of stinkbugging in turns or technical areas, you can ride more centered and play with your weight placement easier without compromising the structural integrity of your position on the bike.

An analogy might be a 'military press' vs. a 'delt raise'; with the press, you are much much stronger and your shoulders are in a far more stable position. Whereas a delt raise is an extremely weak lift for most and doesn't offer much stability. The longer downtube design allows for more of a 'press' position over a 'delt raise' position, and doesn't require you to throw your butt off the back of the bike.
  • 2 0
 I really hate that geometry ! I am not sure that I will buy a bike like this, even if it works better than a more beautiful one... Sorry.
  • 2 2
 No castor in the steering... Longer wheel-bases at the cost of more kick-back at the bars... sorry, but some of us are old enough to remember how BAD an idea this was back in the late 90's/2000's... These designs are at odds with themselves, it's clear they want to get you more over the center/front of the bike, but in order to make that extra W/B turn well you're gonna have to be riding off the back 90% of the time. Just how short a rear end can they make??? Sorry Mondraker, you're answering a question nobdy asked...
  • 2 0
 i think this just might fly. overall there are a lot of people that have the same kind of opinions as you have, with one thing in common .. none of you have ever ridden one of these. but the only real review i found where someone actually used the bike gave the bike a thumbs up. Im not a big fan of the looks but if that thing works half as good as promised ... well i would love riding one then.
  • 2 2
 I HAVE ridden a zero-length stem... and MX bikes, the MX bikes have steering dampners for a reason and the stem I had went in the bin cause it was an awful Idea... Mondraker's trotting this out like they inventd the idea and they're just rehashing an old design that didn't work. Reminds me of the new chain devices that mount to the chain-stay instead of a guide... It looks like some young kid's engineering "new tech" from old issues of Mountain Bike Action. even a 10mm stem is far better as it uses the riders weight and inertia to "self center" the steering.. This is a bad idea, and using Fabien Barrel as a poster boy is silly cause the guy could ride any trail well evn with a 110mm XC stem... and look where THOSE have gone. This is a step backwards... Mondraker is just trying to create buzz and apear "cutting edge"... by "inventing" a concept thats already been invented...
  • 2 1
 i would not compare MX and a bicycle .. they weight over ten times more. and i would not compare any old experiment i did in the past (oh ill try this out) to something that a company that has real engineers and top of the line WC riders to test it out.

Sure i agree that the longer wheelbase ends up in the tight corners but this bike seems like the ultimate solution to people that ask themselves "do i want a DH or AM bike?" .
  • 2 0
 @the-medic: here's a local that you may know/admire who's assembled a similar build that he absolutely raves about: (xl frame, long travel fork, angleset, offset shock bushings, short stem, wide bars.. same idea)
  • 1 0
 That's a sweet bike, (but I don't know the rider is it someone famous or just someone in my area???) That's NOT a zero length stem though... I'm ALL for VERY SHORT stems (I have a FUNN stem that's like 20mm and I love it, but it's NOT "zero length" is my point), but ZERO reach just doesn't work in my experience (Edit: you make a good point though about bar widths, hadn't thought of that, but it would mitigate some "kick"). As I said, it's all about inertia and caster having a self centering effect. I could see this plan wrking if forks had a REVERSE castor built into them then what you have now (meaning the axle mounted BEHIND the lower not in front).

I think that in my experience I want AS short a wheel base as pssible without sacraficing stability (I don't mean "shorter wheel bases" i just mean as short as possuble with high speed stability not taking a hit and shifting the W/B "bias" between the CS length and the TT length) I DO like Mondrakers thoughts on shortening the rear and lengenthening the front as I ride off the back and like to tun off the rear wheel in tight spaces and I could see this giving a longer overall bike a snappier feel. I'm sure you could run a steering dampner and it would solve some issues with the steering "kick" and wider bars DEF. would make a difference.

I'll give Mondraker the benefit of the doubt and credit for the fact that they;re integrating a whole "engineering concept" here not JUST a zero-reach stem.The shorter CS/longer TT is a geat idea, but I'd like to see even a 10mm stem personaly cause I think it would make for a better ride. Would I try one of these out to be proven wrong??? ABsoutely, if it radically changed the way a bike handled though you can bet we'd have seen the trend develop before now because as I said, the "zero length" thing isn't new.
  • 2 0
 @herramorkkis: why not comapre the two??? (not trying to be argumentitive or attack you , just discussing engineering concepts rather passionatly Wink - and I think with all the education and experience with physics and mechanics I have I can wrap my head around these things well enough, as can YOU... these are not theoretical physicists trying to discover "dark matter", it's geometry and simple inertial loads. I' sure you and I are every bit as intelegent as many of their engineers, maybe less EXPERIENCED in the bike building game, but not comparitivly stupid by any means). weight has little to do with the steering geo. of a two wheeled "cycle" of any kind (narly every single facet of MTB suspension has come from MX tech in some way (VPP may not have, but horst links and nearly every other suspension system came from an MX background and the nly major difference I could see is that mass and speed WILL increase the forces coming through the bars since RIDER size is equal and a "constant" in the equation). I know full well there are differences, but as I said, take the steering dampner off an MX bike and see how they handle... Not well. As I said above, I'll give Mondraker the benefit of the doubt and do like the "spirit" of the concept" but not the STEM specifically. Overall I'm ALL for the concept of shortening the CS and length of the TT to aid in both stability AND tight handling

I agree with your comment on the way it could help with making AM bikes even more capable descenders and not give up climbing ability. But you're asuming that there is no component of "trying to lay claim to something new and great" going on and that is just the way marketing colides with engineering when it comes to a company trying to make a profit aye). htis industry has seen a lot of advancement, but it's also seen a lot of rehashing of old theorys and designs etc.
  • 1 0
 Thought this was funny... isn't this Barrel??? It apears as though he's running the "Forward Geo" frame but not the Zero-reach stem on this Mondraker...

Looks sweet...
  • 1 0
 If they made this bike 650B, peoples' heads might explode. I for one would love it. All the new stuff that is coming out this year makes me excited for the future.
  • 1 0
 they are taking the direct mount stem from dh bikes an moded it to work on single crown forks
  • 1 0
 Can't wait to try this. Oh, and I want those glasses!
  • 1 0
 I dig it.

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