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Bike Review

2018 Mondraker Foxy XR Review

Words Tim Coleman
Photos Dave Smith
Date May 7, 2018

I've been out and about on the flashy yellow Mondraker Foxy XR for a couple months now. You can see the first look article here. The weather hasn't been the greatest around these parts, so I've been traveling around, testing the Foxy's various geometry options through a wide range of locales and conditions. So how'd it all go down? I'll start off with a component check of all the major bits picked by Mondraker to go on the Foxy XR. 

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The spirit of the shore, #danklyfe

Component Check:

Dampers:

This bike came with the new 2018 Rock Shox Pike, and you can colour me impressed. I'm well used to jamming every air spring I ride full of spacers. But this new Pike was rather good out of the box. I pulled the top cap and found no spacers, woah! I would have added one to be perfect, but didn't have any that fit, so I just rode it as is. To be expected the fork isn't the stiffest thing around, but I think the performance to weight ratio here is excellent. The air spring feels great, and the damper is terrific too. The Rock Shox Super Deluxe coil was no slouch either and paired well with the Pike. Unless you're extremely picky you're going to find a setup that works well for you. The high speed compression damping isn't adjustable, but I thought it was very well judged. The climb switch worked very well, making the Foxy even more efficient on the pedals. The rebound adjuster had a wide range of adjustment. So good dampers on both ends then. 

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Unique lines on this long, low beast. For more images of the bike and info about the spec and frame, you can see the first look article here. 

OnOff Components:

Normally house brands are associated with cheap knock off products that offer marginal performance. All of the Mondraker house parts (branded OnOff) were good. I liked the bars, stem, grips and seat post. The seat post lever was well positioned and easy to use. Only small issue was I noticed increasing force at the lever required to actuate the post near the end of the review. This would likely be resolved with a cable service.

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Blasting through the North Shore woods was never dull on the Foxy

Wheels and Tires:

The DT Swiss wheels were excellent. The tires were probably the biggest miss on the bike. The OE Highroller 2's were hard AF variants, which was terrifying on the Shore in the wet. I replaced the front with a soft compound DHR2 to survive the local trails. In the dry the OE Highroller 2 was good, but it seemed to have a magical repulsion from anything remotely slippery. 


Going and Stopping:

The Eagle GX was flawless, and consistent with my previous review here. The Shimano XT brakes were great initially, and the best Shimano brakes I've ridden in ages. I appreciated the 203 mm front rotor, and 180 rear rotor. Even on long descents the XTs provided good stopping power. However towards the end of the review period the rear brake developed a bit of a personality, and probably needs a service.

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The Foxy at home carving through corners

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Frame

On to the frame. This is the first Mondraker I've been up close and personal with. I think the fit and finish, the frame quality if you will, is excellent. Every bolt was perfectly greased and or thread locked. The way the bearings fit, the hardware, the shock fits perfectly in the eyelets. All perfect, except the rear brake mount. I had to shim the caliper to prevent it from rubbing the outer diameter of the rotor. I'm thoroughly impressed by the Mondraker in terms of build quality and attention to detail. The paint is flawless, the frame flows and I loved the colour scheme. The Foxy XR is a real head turner. Decals on the parts match the paint, which creates a cohesive theme for the Foxy XR. 

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The Foxy loves being airborne

The frame isn't without small issues though. The shock does get exposed to mud and debris, even though Mondraker added a little fender. This wasn't an issue during the test period but the shock is at risk of being hit by your huge roost brah. There is a good half inch of clearance from the seat stay to the tire on each side, and there were witness marks of the rear tire touching the frame. This may have been more due to the wheel flex than frame flex. The flex wasn't a big negative I noticed on the trail, but there is definately a bit more compliance designed into the Foxy than I'm used to.

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Not princess tested

The Foxy is available with a geometry kit that can add 10 mm to the stock chainstay length of 425 mm, and +/- the head angle by 1 degree from the stock 65.5 degrees. I liked both chainstay length options. My impressions follow current logic. The longer version was more stable. The shorter version was a bit more nimble through tight corners, and the front end came up very easily. I personally preferred the long version, but the bike was super fun in the 425 mm shorter setting too. 

As for the head angle I tried the bike in the 65.5 degree and 64.5 degree options. With the 64.5 degree head angle and the long chain stays the bike is long, ok it's very long, measuring in at 1266 mm wheelbase by my measurements. Considering this is a size Large, it comes in an inch longer than most folks' eXtra Larges. But I didn't find the length ungainly or cumbersome. I liked how planted and stable the bike was. The longer wheelbase seems to make all those gnarly bits that normally trip you up, just a little bit easier.

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Many of you have probably come wondering one thing; is it too long? I'm going to give the politician answer. It depends. I could be wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see bike geometry settling out in the neighbourhood of where the standard Foxy sits. I think the stock geometry is going to work well for the vast majority of riders. The slacker and longer geometry is going to appeal to aggressive riders, and or folks that ride faster and more open trail networks. Even in it's shortest setting the Foxy is long, and I thing Mondraker is on to something here. I found the Foxy very comfortable to ride. The length gives the bike great stability descending, yet the Foxy never felt cumbersome. The only place the length was challenging was climbing the tightest of switchbacks in the longest setting.

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I felt really comfortable on the steeps with the long wheelbase of the Foxy

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On to the ride. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time aboard the Foxy XR. Pedaling usually isn't something you talk much about with super aggro 150 mm travel bikes, but I'm going to. I'm going to avoid the normal clichés and just say that the Foxy gets around the mountain with a grace and efficiency that is superb. It's not going to win any XC races, but pedaling up never felt like a chore. It's a bit like that friend you have that is always begging to go for one more lap. With the Foxy I just never seemed to want to stop ridin. I was late for everything I planned after riding. And that might be one of the biggest complaints I have. 

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Pedaling around on the Foxy was surprisingly easy. Given its length, the Foxy dealt with these tight switch backs with ease.

Suspension 

In my mind the Foxy creates a cohesive package that focuses around being an efficient tool to get around a mountain. While it's fun to descend, and I love the aggressive geometry, as with all.suspension there is a compromise. Mondraker's Zero Suspension is designed to give almost no chain growth which means little pedal feedback. To accomplish this, the axle path is almost entirely forward. As a result the Foxy isn't particularly graceful over square bumps. Being conscious of your weight fore and aft in the bike is crucial. You need to move forward to adequately weight the front tire in the corners, but stay in this position over a jump, and you're going to get bucked. The coil shock makes up for a lot of the square bump compliance, by being so active. On trails with fewer square bumps or on steeper bits, the Foxy devours trail. Pedal strokes are efficiently converted into forward momentum. But on faster, rough trails, the backend of the Foxy was a bit harsher than I would have liked. The coil spring provided a nice firm base around sag that did a great job of controlling the chassis through corners, rewarding the rider pumping the bike through terrain. However the suspension didn't feel particularly progressive, which meant the Foxy gets through the second half of the travel a bit more eagerly than I'd like. 

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Jumping in to this feature was a bad idea, but the Foxy saved my back 

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One speed on the Foxy; fully pinned. 

Cute Little Heartbreaker

With the sound of Jimi Hendrix's Foxey Lady blaring, I'll fondly look back at my time aboard this Foxy. I begrudgingly gave this one back. The Foxy isn't perfect, but comes together as a great cohesive package. Mondraker's attention to detail is evident with the Foxy. Criticism; I'd personally prefer a more progressive linkage, with a more rearward axle path, and maybe be a bit sitffer rear end. That said the Foxy XR surprised me with how it comes together as a whole.  The Foxy proved to be so versatile, and may well be the best all round mountain bike I've ridden yet and I love the geometry. It never felt out of it's depth during the review period, whether on a technical XC loop, or hammering down steep gnarly trails. The Foxy isn't cheap at $7,900 CDN, but I think there is fair value for money here. Did I mention how pretty it is? Once out on a ride on the Foxy, I never wanted to stop. When I eventually ran out of energy or day light, I never got off this bike without a smile on my face. Oh and I never complained it wasn't long enough.



Comments

jan
+2 Cam McRae Tim Coleman
Jan  - May 6, 2018, 11:18 p.m.

Wow, epic panning shot!

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - May 7, 2018, 7:14 a.m.

Did you experience the dreaded XT wandering bite point failure?

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - May 7, 2018, 12:52 p.m.

You got it. The brakes got really inconsistent towards the end of the review. A bleed would probably sort em out.

Reply

mark-halpin
0
Mark Halpin  - May 7, 2018, 9:17 a.m.

Which trail are you riding shown in the photo with the "not princess tested" caption?

Reply

DaveSmith
+1 Mark Halpin
Dave Smith  - May 7, 2018, 10:09 a.m.

Dales. The OG line.

Reply

mammal
+2 Tim Coleman Mark Halpin
Mammal  - May 7, 2018, 10:28 a.m.

I thought that was the line... What comes right after it is worse than the chute. That thing makes me so nervous just looking at it.

Reply

agleck7
+1 Andrew Major
Agleck7  - May 7, 2018, 2:31 p.m.

Seriously, that section looks really legit, and I'm sure it's way worse in person.  Really gave some context to the preference for the longer CS ect.  Riding that stuff regularly I'd trade stability for playfullness all day

Reply

mammal
+2 Tim Coleman Merwinn
Mammal  - May 7, 2018, 2:56 p.m.

It's so gnarly. Fast, slightly off-camber shoot, with a sharp transition into ultra chunky nastiness. Big ups to Tim for riding that.

Reply

DaveSmith
+4 Niels Tim Coleman Mammal Andrew Major
Dave Smith  - May 7, 2018, 3:19 p.m.

He hit it 5 times for 5 different set ups. Clean.

earleb
+2 Cam McRae Tim Coleman
earle.b  - May 7, 2018, 11:51 a.m.

Dat pan shot thou "insert drool emoji here".

Reply

DaveSmith
0
Dave Smith  - May 7, 2018, 12:21 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

Timmigrant
+3 Cam McRae Mammal Andrew Major
Tim Coleman  - May 7, 2018, 12:50 p.m.

Dave always killin' it behind the lens

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 Tim Coleman
Cooper Quinn  - May 7, 2018, 1:11 p.m.

Those decals really tied the bike together, did they not? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezQLP1dj_t8

Reply

TheCrimp
0
OscarN  - May 7, 2018, 1:12 p.m.

Which trail is "The spirit of the shore"?

Reply

DaveSmith
+1 Merwinn
Dave Smith  - May 7, 2018, 2 p.m.

Corkscrew

Reply

Lynx
+1 Dave Smith
MountainBikeBarbados .  - May 7, 2018, 2:02 p.m.

Curious how tall you are Tim?
Small suggestion, have seen it elsewhere, would be good to include an "About the rider/tester" bit giving Height, past and/or present personal bike, riding/racing background and riding/trail preference etc.

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - May 7, 2018, 3:25 p.m.

We used to do that, but slowly merged away from it. But I'll give info here. I'm 6' tall. I've been racing bikes as a hobby for 14 years now. Raced Pro/Elite DH for years, but now only racing Enduro. Personal bike is an XL Norco Range. Riding / trail preference is steep, technical, raw, fast trails. For example I lead this ride down one of my favourite trails as part of a bigger group ride; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFjK_3i-NHQ&t=497s

Reply

cooperquinn
+2 Tim Coleman Mammal
Cooper Quinn  - May 7, 2018, 5:04 p.m.

Conspicuously absent from rider descripton: weight.

Reply

earleb
+1 Cooper Quinn
earle.b  - May 7, 2018, 9:23 p.m.

All of them.

Reply

Timmigrant
+2 Andrew Major Cooper Quinn
Tim Coleman  - May 7, 2018, 11:23 p.m.

Hard to know really. The scale at home just says; one at a time please.

Reply

aj@nsmb.com
0
AJ Barlas  - May 9, 2018, 3:51 p.m.

LOL

Reply

Lynx
0
MountainBikeBarbados .  - May 8, 2018, 4:14 a.m.

Hey man, thanks for the info. I'm not one for the modern trend of super long bikes like the Mondraker, despite what's "chic" and trending and have noticed a lot of those pro porting them are on a size or 2 smaller than they would normally be, great though for really tall riders, so interesting that you're on the size I would recommend for a person your height or at least think should be sized for someone your height - Large that is.

Your Range is about the same size as my Prime and Unit, interesting to see you were comfortable with the extra about inch of Reach at 6ft. I'm 6'2.25" with long arms and legs (35.25" inseam) and 480ish is about my limit with a 40-50mm stem. You didn't feel like you had to concentrate /put more effort into weighting the front end to keep it from pushing out?
My riding style is different from yours, I like the tech, but slower and not really a jumper, so maybe it's the high speed thing.

Reply

legbacon
+1 Cam McRae
legbacon  - May 8, 2018, 7:27 a.m.

I'm 5'9" and owned a medium Mondraker Vantage frame with the 30mm stem for a while so I could try out the forward geometry.  The most surprising thing to me was just how normal it felt.

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - May 8, 2018, 12:01 p.m.

I've always felt very comfortable on the 2017 XL Range and was interested to see if the Foxy felt too long. I can't say it ever felt too long for me. That said, while I'm 6' tall, I do have long arms with an ape index of +4 inches, and relatively short legs. I think that's the primary reason why I felt comfortable on the longer bikes. Regarding the type of trail I like the extra length on the slow technical features as well as the fast jumpy stuff.

Reply

morgan-heater
0
Morgan Heater  - May 8, 2018, 1:01 p.m.

That trail looks pretty awesome/insane. I'd love to see a more continuous edit.

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - May 7, 2018, 10:21 p.m.

yeller ain't for me, but it's a rad looking machine just the same. another great review Tim, the stoke for this rig is evident. maybe they'll let you review your Range, hasn't been a good ol' Range killer B review for quite a while. i'm sure it's awesome, it's well loved by the guys round here that have them.  and yes, 'wondering about the length' thanks for addressing that feature. it's hard to know what the right size is anymore with the goal posts for long and slack moving so much in the last 3 years. it's a brave new world out there.

Reply

IslandLife
0
IslandLife  - May 9, 2018, 12:09 p.m.

Good review overall, but the end got me... so it boils down to:

- Needs a more progressive linkage = blows through last half of travel on big hits.  Needs a more rearward axle path = not good over square hits.  Need to get weight back over jumps = get bucked easily if not careful. Needs a stiffer rear end = doesn't follow a line well through fast rough terrain (tire was hitting the stays?  Really?!).

Yet, then you say:

  • "at $7,900 CDN... I think there is fair value for money here."

Uhhh whoa whoa whoa... sorry, nope, will all those shortcomings, no way I'm spending $8k on that bike...

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - May 9, 2018, 10:31 p.m.

I think you're taking what I'm saying a little far. I'm likely on the more aggressive end of the riding spectrum and if I had any criticism it would be a personal desire for the Foxy to be more progressive, more rearward and stiffer. But that's because I spend a ton of time in the Whistler Bike Park on my trail bike. However I fully realise that this is far outside what most folks are looking for in a 150 mm travel bike. The Foxy is slightly shorter travel than I'm used to, and it's intended use is slightly less aggressive than my normal riding. The Foxy is an incredibly fun bike to ride, and very versatile. My overall message here is overwhelmingly positive. For anyone looking for a 150 mm do all mountain bike, I'd highly recommend throwing a leg over the Foxy.

Reply

IslandLife
0
IslandLife  - May 10, 2018, 8:47 a.m.

Yes, I see what you're saying... I guess I just think about all the aggressive trail bikes out there in the 150mm range with more progressive linkages, more rearward axle paths and stiffer rear ends.... I'm sure overall it's still a great bike, it just seems like there are a myriad of similar bikes with less issues when ridden aggressively for less money... is that not true??

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - May 11, 2018, 2:33 p.m.

Those other bikes with more progressive linkages, more rearward axles and stiffer rear ends don't have many of the other qualities that made the Foxy such a joy to ride. If I were looking for a 150 mm bike the Foxy would be towards the top of the list.

Reply

IslandLife
+2 Niels Tim Coleman
IslandLife  - May 12, 2018, 11:56 a.m.

Thanks for the reply Tim, love how NSMB follows up with answers to questions. Keep doing what you’re doing!

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - May 15, 2018, 8:17 a.m.

Thanks man, I really appreciate that!

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