First Look: Mondraker's Downcountry Hardtails

Jan 17, 2023 at 15:58
by Mike Levy  


Mondraker's range of Chrono hardtails has always been about cross-country speed and quick handling, but they're about to get a bit more relaxed with the addition of the Chrono DC and DC R versions.

The downcountry treatment includes an all-new aluminum frame with a much slacker head angle and more standover clearance, a dropper post, meatier tires, and a longer travel fork, all of which should add up to a more capable and fun bike.
Chrono DC Details
• Intended use: Cross-country
• Wheel size: 29"
• Fork travel: 120mm
• Frame material: Aluminum
• MSRP: TBA
• More info: www.mondraker.com
The Chrono DC gets a Judy TK fork, SRAM Level brakes, and an SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain.

There are only two models to choose from, with the Chrono DC R getting a Fox 32 29 Float fork that has a Rhythm damper and the DC coming with a RockShox Judy Silver TK. Mondraker couldn't keep themselves from speccing both with a remote lockout, though, just in case you still want to get race-y. The one extra cable that's good to see is for the dropper post; there is 125mm of drop on the small and medium sizes, and 150mm on the large and extra-large. Other specs include 740mm wide handlebars, 50mm stems, and Maxxis Ardent 29" x 2.40" tires front and back.



Geometry

The new Chrono DC models are longer and slacker than their more race-focused cousins, but Mondraker didn't want to add too much fiesta either. With a 120mm-travel fork, both models get a 68.5-degree head angle that's 1.5-degrees slacker, while the reach has grown on each size. The stems have gotten shorter to match; 50mm on the small and medium, 60mm on the large, and there's a 70mm stem on the extra-large.

Mondraker is offering the Chrono DC models in four sizes, starting at a small with a 425mm reach and topping out at 475mm for the extra-large. All four get the same 74.5-degree effective seat angle and 430mm chainstays as well.

Downcountry!



143 Comments

  • 209 5
 LOL Downcountry? 120 fork and 68.5 HTA is less than XC nowadays. Seems like a strange headline.
  • 63 0
 BuT iT gEtS A DrOpPeR pOsT
  • 10 2
 1200$ max
  • 43 4
 You know it's winter when a gravity-oriented mtb site post news about a basic XC hardtail ...
  • 41 0
 @lkubica: At least it's a bike and not "40 ways to comb your beard for your lady".
  • 8 0
 my 2016 zaskar had a dropper post lol
  • 31 1
 100% agree. Cannondale's xc race hardtails, the scalpel ht, has a 67* hta.

Marketing strikes again. I know "downcountry" is cooler than "cross country" these days, but I actually lose respect for companies throwing these terms around with abandon in the name of sales.
  • 21 0
 It's downcountry pavement, not to be confused with downcountry offroad.
  • 24 0
 Downgravel
  • 43 0
 Mondraker engineers: "this xc bike weighs 34 lbs what do we do?"
Mondraker marketing: "DOOWWWNNN COUNNNTRRRYYY"
  • 1 0
 @noapathy: or exciting videos about duffel bags Wink
  • 9 0
 Walmart country.
  • 2 0
 Judy, ardent, rhythm ... Keeping it old school
  • 5 0
 They Missed there mark with these bikes. They are better described as beginner friendly hardtails and can't really see what is even remotely "Down Country" about them.
  • 3 1
 Just that last picture of someone rolling off a rock looks hilariously sketchy
  • 2 0
 @jackfunk: The rider was distracted by the sun shining below the horizon.
  • 7 1
 And 740mm is a tad too narrow these days.
  • 1 0
 Especially from a brand that pioneered modern geometry.
  • 1 0
 @mrkkbb: Yeah man, you can cut them down if they're too long. Maybe they were cheap?
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ: gravelduro
  • 90 0
 @mikelevy look what you've done
  • 62 1
 I like the idea of hardtails. Then I buy one. Then I decide I don't like it. Then I sell it. Then I repeat the process.
  • 4 0
 Ha! Same here, rinse and repeat.
  • 3 0
 agree...just sold my XC hardtail. If I ever went back, it would have to be something that's slacker with at least 130 up front. This Mondraker is not it
  • 5 0
 @SATN-XC: Building up an ARC for this reason. fit as many of my boxes as I could find.
  • 4 0
 same, but with full sussers.
  • 8 0
 try COTIC hardtails...absolute blast. bought one just for winter riding, but man...so damn fast and fun... much more fun then riding the fully
  • 14 0
 sold my gravel bike, bought an XC hardtail. Much better choice. Slightly slower on pavement (mostly due to tires), faster everywhere else.
  • 4 3
 @8a71b4: To be fair, almost anything is better than the excess road bikes that the industry has suckered people into buying as an "offroadish" bike.
  • 14 1
 @nickfranko: Meh I like my gravel bike. It is a more comfortable then a road bike, it has drop bars which are nice for long flat sections and has more mounts and stuff then a road bike. It is something to ride on days when trails are closed from rain and can handle gravel roads away from dumb ass drivers. I'd never buy a road bike when gravel bikes exist but really I don't have any interest in using it on singletrack
  • 4 0
 I like my Road Bike, Gravel bike, HT, 100mm, and 150mm.
  • 1 0
 Exactly me except so far I’ve been able to fend off the repeat portion.
  • 1 1
 @SATN-XC: all of y'all need jesus! oops I mean chromag
  • 1 0
 @MrRemedy: i dont get the winterpart. Around here the ground is like baked clay in the summer so hardrails roll like hell and are super fun. In the winter its pretty slippery though and you need all the grip you can get. So i use my hardtail mostly in the summer.
  • 2 0
 @93EXCivic: This all day. So good for shoulder season when the roads haven't been cleaned up and the trails are either still covered in snow or thawing out and not ready to ride yet. Can't wait to see what an extra month or two on the gravel bike will do for my fitness once mtb season actually arrives.
  • 1 0
 @MrRemedy: Agreed, I replaced my full sus with a Cotic BFeMax and haven't looked back. 2 years ago when I bought it, everyone I knew said 64 degree HTA was crazy but I've had more than a few go the same route since.
  • 46 2
 A 68.5 degree HTA is actually right in line with modern XC bikes if not slightly steeper. However, if calling it "downcountry" sells a few more bikes so be it. Also @mikelevy you should have hired a tough trademark attorney.
  • 6 0
 Anywhere I have worked, inventions made at work become intellectual property of my employer. I'm actually surprised Outside isn't chasing "downcountry" a bit more.
  • 4 1
 the "normal" crono has a 70deg HTA, so I guess this is "more downcountry". its like the evo treatment that specialized give their bikes, but named worse
  • 1 0
 @husstler: much like Cannondale and "freeride" ;p
  • 45 1
 The brand that pretty much started modern geometry present us a bike with 68.5º head angle. Wow.
  • 3 10
flag 8a71b4 (Jan 18, 2023 at 9:52) (Below Threshold)
 Id argue Geometron/Nicolai was first, making huge/slack bikes before anyone else.
  • 1 1
 Mondraker have never been the slackest bikes. Some of the longest, yes. but not slackest
  • 27 0
 Not sure to spend my precious outrage on the modest geometry or the Level/SX/Judy TK spec.
  • 34 0
 SX should be banned from MTB.
  • 8 0
 @captaintyingknots: it's fine for my son's first bike. For any bike over $1,000 it should be made illegal though...
  • 11 0
 @captaintyingknots: wait till AXS SX comes out. Talk about an underperforming mouthful!!
  • 23 0
 you all are missing the real story here....a 2023 XC bike without headset cable routing. Props to Mondraker
  • 15 0
 Well, because it's a rebadged ~2015 frame
  • 19 0
 reminds me of the Simpsons episode where they tour the Duff Brewery and show the Duff Light, Duff, and Duff Extra all coming out of the same pipe. Same with this bike's "downcountry" label...it's just an XC bike regardless of what its called, but do what you need to for sales
  • 17 0
 Is this the same Mondraker that once pioneered the long, low and slack geometries?
  • 5 0
 No Rojo, no mojo !
  • 13 0
 Mondraker, once a geometry pioneering company (with huge help from Mr. Rojo), hawking a pretty standard XC bike as some joke based category. This is what happens when the designers stop leading the way and marketing takes over. Mondraker is on a slow death path if this is the way they want to continue. I predict similar for many of the bigger brands. No need to innovate, just market the same products as something else.
  • 10 2
 68.5!!! That's like a race carbon XC geo. Don't forget the HA gets steeper the more you go through the travel. Not exactly what I'd call down county. Just for comparison mines 64 and I think that's a good benchmark for a short travel hardtail.
  • 11 1
 I think for a bike like this the sweet spot would be somewhere in the middle, 66 to 67 degrees. It's still not a trail bike, and with a 66 head angle and 120 fork, it would be really nice for a variety of terrain. Just for reference, I ride a hardtail with 140 travel and 64 head angle too, but it does feel like a barge on flat terrain to be honest.
  • 6 0
 @hardtailpunter: This. I have a custom hardtail that is 66.5 with a 120mm fork (unsagged) and long reach. It's perfect. Not a long, low, slack enduro beast, but way more competent than an XC racer.
  • 2 0
 @hardtailpunter: How much bottom bracket drop do you have? I've found that's where a lot of that barge feeling comes from the bb being too high (great for wheelies though). I guess you are never going to have a geo that's perfect for climbing, flat and downhill.
  • 3 5
 64?? Geez, that has to handle like complete shit.
  • 1 0
 @HardtailHerold: why not? I've seen numerous reviews about bikes that climb like a goat and descent like a monstertruck.
Somehow I've never ridden a bike that does both these things as well as the review say...
  • 2 0
 @hardtailpunter: Personally I don't find my 64deg head angle 150mm travel hardtail to feel anything like a barge on flat terrain to be honest. Of course it replaced a WFO9 full sus and that thing pedalled like crap so maybe that is part of it.
  • 4 0
 I am not big on the slacker is better, but just sold a 68.5 degree hardtail because it felt downright twitchy at higher speeds. Now on a bike with a 66, which turns quickly but is stable, because as you point out, hardtails only get steeper as they go through the travel. Just from static (where most angles are measured) to sag, you are going to have a 1-2 degree steeper angle on a hardtail than a full suspension bike.
  • 1 0
 @matyk: you can compensate for the slack head angle with short chainstays and a low bottom bracket. It actually handles like a dream.
  • 1 0
 @HardtailHerold: While I agree short chainstays improve handling, I find a lower BB definitely does not.
  • 2 0
 @matyk: The 64 degree head angle w/ 140mm fork on my Dawley is the best handling and technical climbing bike I've had yet! It's really super good here in the Hudson Valley steep / rock / root laden trails
  • 3 0
 @HardtailHerold: well, I have two Smile my Stif Squatch is 64 with a very low 293 BB height (80 mm drop), and my custom Marino hardtail is 64 with a 310 bb height. I prefer the 310 bb height, because less pedal strikes. I think there is always a trade off - I love a slack hardtail, but I have very steep and loose trails that it can shine on. On flatter terrain and smoother trails, a steeper bike will just feel more lively. But not 68.5 steep please Smile
  • 1 0
 @hardtailpunter: Yo! Were Stif squatch brothers! Yeah, I find the 80mm BB drop makes the handling so much more playful. Honestly, for me I would sacrifice any flat land agility for that steep head angle on steep off camber turns. My old bike was 69.5 and it felt like I was doing a handstand on steep off camber turns!
  • 7 0
 Am I the only one that wants a carbon hardtail with a 67 HTA, 76 STA, clearance for a 29x2.8 or 27.5x3.0 with no more than a 55mm bb drop for rock clearance please? 130-150 fork. Gonna have to go fab it myself. Brand it XCK? or DCK Down country killer.
  • 2 0
 Yeah. I want the Transition Spur of hardtails. The geo and travel is out there, but not the light(er) weight. My 650b Honzo weighs as much a typical 140 mm rear/160 mm front trail bike.
  • 1 0
 SC Chameleon Carbon ticks all the boxes. I ride mine with 29x2.8 tires.
  • 2 0
 @styleguide: They don't make the carbon one any more :/
  • 1 0
 @styleguide: Agreed. very similar to the Yeti geo, but it has the removable rear dropouts. Not making it any more made it slightly harder to find. Thought about getting the 27.5 and putting the 29 wheel on it for more BB clearance.

The main difference/reason I went with the Yeti was for the STA. Can go from a 130 stock to a 150 fork for the BB clearance, keep the HTA at 66.14, BB clearance same as SC.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: thank god we won't have to hear that Carbon Chameleon song again.
  • 8 0
 Love the second bike photo, with the front rotor installed backwards. Really shows Mondraker's attention to detail lol
  • 6 0
 1. Buy aluminium NS Eccentric frame during CRC sale
2. Build with 120mm Pike for 66HA (plus XT/Zee, 350s etc)
3. Beat Strava PRs
4. Post derisive comment on Mondraker Chrono marketing piece
  • 7 0
 Only for going downhill in rural areas? “ stupid name country” is what we live in.
  • 7 0
 down what?
cringe. cringe. cringe.
its a xc/hardtail with a dropper.
my 2016 rock shox piked zaskar had one, OEM
  • 7 0
 Everyone knows the Side Country is where all the action is at these days.
  • 6 0
 MSRP: TBA

In other words, we'll gauge the level of outrage and venom in the PB comments and price accordingly.
  • 5 0
 amazing how far behind mondraker is at the moment. almost every new bike is underwhelming and kinda outdated from the start. funny how tables have turned at mondraker.
  • 4 0
 Really this just a 2016 to 2019 hardtail and there is nothing wrong that. Hope on it and fly around your local XC trails, hopefully at a decent price.
  • 12 0
 Mondraker and "decent price" haven't been mentioned in the same sentence for a while now
  • 3 0
 A “all-new aluminum frame with a much slacker head angle” of 68.5 degrees. Thank you for this slack head tube angle mondraker
  • 2 0
 It this is "much slacker", then the previous model had to be steeper than my road bike
  • 1 0
 This should really be shagged in with the lewis Buchanan news about OF sponsorship, just might be a bit more heavy tho. "Downcountry hardtails" ?? That's just BDSM levels of abuse to me. Might be a bit much to swallow for your avg pinker



All puns def intended
  • 1 0
 YAWN.

475mm reach and 68.5 HA on the XL.... Geo is old as hell.

The Podium RR; their full on XC RACE HARDTAIL has 500mm reach and 68 degree HA on a 100mm travel fork...

They could have been onto something here but just made the same boring hardtail that every other brand has. literally the only reason to buy this is that Mondraker is the only brad your local shop sells.
  • 4 0
 whhhy is the ST longer than reach on L and XL? whhhy?
  • 5 0
 Because they seem to be selling old inventory with new paint jobs. This bike with this geometry can't be post 2018.
  • 2 0
 When did the Kona Honzo Cr come out? 2016? The fact that new xc hardtails still aren't as progressive as that bike says something. Sadly I never owned one.
  • 5 1
 You didn't miss a thing - the Honzo CR sucked.
  • 2 1
 @TheFunkyMonkey: what sucked? Some of my buddies loved it but I've only had a few rides on theirs.
  • 1 0
 @briceps: Besides the rear tire clearance and press fit bb, the Honzo CR is awesome. Not as the aggro hardtail they thought it was then, but it's a blast on intermediate stuff. Light and stiff enough to pedal far, but long enough to not scare the $hit out of you coming back down. Not what I would look for in a perfect hardtail today, but I'm not getting rid of it until it breaks.
  • 1 0
 @briceps: in fairness, the CR and I got off to a rough start. I purchased one of the first frames available and it had a major manufacturing defect in that the caliper post mounts were turned inward so no way to install caliper. I've posted some pics here for your viewing pleasure: www.pinkbike.com/u/TheFunkyMonkey/album/2017-Kona-Honzo-CR My experience with Kona and the dealer didn't start out great and only ended up OK once they found a replacement frame to send me but they were in no hurry to do so. There's pics of the replacement frame built in the album I shared. Tire clearance was tight, it was and is the only the PFBB I have or ever will own and the shape of the seat stays made it overly stiff (compared to say a Canfield EPO). It didn't help I was running carbon rims and cranks but it was still far too stiff for my preferences. In the end, I had hoped this was going to be my flow trails slayer but it did everything OK but nothing great so it got sold fairly quickly. Clearly others have enjoyed theirs...
  • 2 0
 @TheFunkyMonkey: like so stiff a cat couldn't scratch it
  • 3 0
 740 flat bar on all sizes? Even XC race bikes have 760 for the most part, anyone who wants 740 can cut it down.
  • 1 0
 I was just starting to think my old 2013 Trek Stache that gets SS duties had outdated geometry, little did I know I could just call it a downcountry bike and it would be new again!
  • 1 0
 My Devinci gravel bike is slacker than this. TIL I have a Downcountry gravel bike.

Mondraker - drop the HTA 2* at least, put a Forekaster up front and a Rekon out back, and ditch SX for NX. Until then lol.
  • 3 0
 Downcountry, Crosscountry or Dancingcountry?
  • 4 0
 we can't stop here...
  • 1 0
 Declineterrain
  • 2 0
 updurocountry or downdurocross. Which is more appealing to dentists? Discuss.
  • 1 0
 Mike country
  • 4 0
 why?!!!!
  • 2 0
 Downcountry: when you post a beautiful sunset booty shot to let others know you’re down to party
  • 2 0
 That black/orange/beige color scheme is pretty dope though...I'd take 'er for a ride.
  • 2 0
 honestly, it looks like something I can get at Bikedirect for a fraction of the price.
  • 1 0
 My waltworks is the best ever. 29x3.0, paragon drops, 150mrp, sparkly bomb light green paint. No new hardtail can compete wit dat sukka’s!
  • 2 0
 looks like a 32 inch bikes on the first picture to me! Weird
  • 2 0
 Any news on an upcountry DH bike?
  • 3 0
 My kind of gravel bike.
  • 2 0
 This is laughable at best, every aspect of it.
  • 1 1
 Sooooooooo
I run a BTR belter, 61deg head angle, 160mm fork, 75deg seat angle, 470mm reach & 1270 wheel base!

That’s a down country bike!!!!! Yeaaaaah boy!
  • 2 0
 coughs> Its never going to replace the VANTAGE /cough>
  • 1 0
 Gotta get upcountry to get downcountry. Not gonna happen while seated over the rear hub.
  • 1 0
 'Slacker head tube angle' - oh good, might be something I'd like! 68.5 degrees actual comedy
  • 1 0
 Yoiu can tell nobody buys hardtails in europe anymore. The segment is dying a slow painful death.
  • 5 6
 Hardtail articles always generate the most stoke for some reason - even if we don't really want to be exclusively riding one. Someone please explain this phenomenon.
  • 7 0
 Nostalgia, us boomers starting off-road biking on hard tails.
  • 1 0
 It's only happening between your ears.
  • 3 0
 You said it... "exclusively" I'll never not own a full suspension bike. Unfortunately, I live an area where the downhills are like a minute long tops, and I have to drive a couple hours to mountains. Riding my hardtail allows me to get to the edge of my limits a lot quicker than my trail bike on my local trails, and I think that's fun.
  • 1 0
 @deez-nucks: I feel your pain, I’m no longer so enthusiastic that I will spend more time driving to and from the trails in a car than I do actually riding the trails.
  • 1 0
 Same exact situation as @deez-nucks. Getting ready to build a new HT with two set of wheels with one set for pump track, greenway rides with the wife and dare I say it, hitting a little "gravel" in my hood. Jack of all trades for where I live and ride.
  • 1 1
 Ooooh, an aggressive hardtail! Not very PC being aggressive these days so I can see why the name changed.
  • 8 0
 Except it’s not really aggressive at all.
  • 9 0
 @TheR: microaggressive
  • 3 1
 Oh hale naw
  • 2 1
 Looks nice. I bet it's really fun to ride.
  • 2 0
 I think it looks sweet! Good bang for buck, realistic geometry for regular people, and they have nice paint jobs to boot. It's not much different geo wise than my old XC bike, but I love that thing. XC bikes don't need enduro geo. Nicely done Mondraker!
  • 1 0
 Angles from hell, hells angles.
  • 2 0
 These are XC bikes
  • 1 0
 Is this another recycled article? Looks like my old 2014 Trek Stache.
  • 2 0
 Down-Syndrome
  • 1 0
 More travel? FFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 They couldn’t steepen it by half a degree and gone to 69…?
  • 1 0
 I'm sorry, but those bikes look like $hit!
  • 1 0
 Who he f*ck would actually ride Maxxis Ardents?
  • 1 0
 Where is the downcountry part?
  • 1 0
 i like the simplicity
  • 1 0
 Chrono ≠ Cromo
  • 1 3
 or you could just buy a full sus
  • 1 0
 Full suspension with lock out
  • 1 0
 Or a gen1 Honzo. Taro if you want Al.





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