One of the best handling and riding trail bikes on sale today, but you'll need very deep pockets
Aug 31 2018
Probably the best handling trail bike on sale today
Super supportive and communicative suspension
Insanely lightweight and rapid climber for a 150mm bike
Tyres aren't up to soggy British conditions
Hard or heavy riders might find the Fox 34 fork a bit flexy
Quite a lot of noisy chainslap with the stock protector
You want a rapid, lightweight trail bike that'll take on pretty much everything with ease and don't mind paying for it
Mondraker's new Foxy Carbon RR SL is a sublimely fast and capable trail bike that builds on its predecessor's superbly balanced geometry with more refined construction and suspension. It's a genuine do-everything machine with a lightweight frame and top end build kit, something reflected in the frankly huge price tag.
The Foxy is Mondraker's do-it-all trail bike and it's the arguably the bike in their range that's best suited to UK riding. Sporting 150mm of travel at the back paired to the same amount up front, the bike uses a version of the Zero multi-link suspension system seen on all other full suspension Mondrakers, but it's seen some subtle but significant tweaks to improve it over previous iterations.
As ever, at the heart of the bike is Mondraker's Forward Geometry concept, which involves having a much longer reach paired with a shorter than usual 30mm stem to give a greater wheelbase and more stable handling for a given size. It's well proven and increasingly imitated throughout the bike industry, though Mondraker's per-size reach figures are still significantly greater than pretty much every other mass-market manufacturer out there.
However, there are been some slight tweaks to the geometry, with a steeper seat angle at 75º effective and the head angle has been kicked out a smidge to 66º, while reach remains the same at 480mm for a medium. The Foxy also borrows the neat adjustable length chainstay first seen on the Dune enduro bike, with the option to run 425mm or 435mm lengths by switching out a small chip that the rear through axle fits into. You can also adjust the head angle one degree either way from stock by using special headset cups.
The rear end is now stiffer thanks to a broad carbon/aluminium rocker link that's sandwiched with clevis joints where it joins the rear triangle, which should lead to better bearing lifespan, the bike is 1x specific which means for a much more rigid rear triangle design too. The suspension itself has also been tweaked so that it works better with the new crop of metric sized, trunnion mounted shocks, though it's still the same short twin link design.
As befits the top-end bike in the range, the RR SL - which is also available as a frame-only kit for £2,999 - uses a different, lighter blend of carbon fibre to the other bikes in the Foxy Carbon lineup. Called Stealth Air, it uses higher modulus fibres and a different layup which it means this bike comes at a premium even compared to the rest of the range.
Top end build kit
As you'd hope, the bike is shod is pretty much the best of the best when it comes to kit. There's a full 12-speed SRAM X01 Eagle groupset with a 10-50T rear cassette and a 34T ring up front. Stopping duties are handled by Shimano's XTR brakes, which come with IceTech pads and 180mm rotors, while Mondraker supplies their own Onoff brand 780mm carbon bars and stem, all in oversize 35mm diameter.
The suspension is from Fox, with a Factory Series 34 FIT4 fork up front and a DPX2 shock at the rear, both resplendent in the shiny and slippery Kashima low friction coating, Fox also supplies the internally routed Transfer 150mm dropper post with under bar dropper, though this is the Performance version and so doesn't get the shiny anodising, though this makes no practical difference in our experience.
Elsewhere, the bike uses the aluminium rimmed DT Swiss EX1501 Spline wheelset, which is one of my favourite wheelsets. Though it might be fair to feel a bit short-changed that you aren't getting carbon at this money, I'd much prefer these in terms of feel as well as robustness. The 30mm width is spot on for modern 2-4-2.6" tyres, while the bearings are still smooth after a hard six months and they're still totally true.
I'm less keen on the stock rubber however, as the combination of 2.4" wide Maxxis High Roller II up front and an Ardent at the back isn't up to for year-round riding in the UK and I'd still want something a bit more aggressive on a bike like this, even during the unseasonably dry summer we've had. They were quickly switched for a pair of Minion DHF 2.5" Wide Trail tyres and the bike has stayed like that ever since.
How does it ride?
I've never made a secret of the fact that I'm a bit of convert to Mondraker's geometry - for a start it means that, at 172cm tall, I can ride a medium sized frame I'm supposed to instead of having to size up in order to get the reach where I feel it should be. That said, the riding position feels totally natural when sat down thanks to the dinky stem and reasonably steep seat angle and it's the same when stood, apart from the fact you're aware the bike feels much more stable at speed and also when on steep terrain as there's a fair bit more wheelbase both in front and at the back of you.
There's been a lot of talk that long bikes feel cumbersome or somehow less 'playful' when you're in tighter or twistier sections, but I couldn't really disagree more. In terms of turn in response, the Foxy feels as agile and precise as anything else out there once you get your head around being able to weight the front of the bike much more than usual. It's a virtuous circle, as the more you feel confident doing this, the more front wheel grip you get and the harder you can push up to the limits of traction - and often beyond.
Thanks to that long wheelbase, the bike is much happier moving about underneath the rider, with traction tending to break away more progressively rather than snatching at either wheel. Breaking traction at the front tyre is usually a pretty sketchy affair, but the Foxy is nowhere near as terrifying as it gives you plenty of time to react, with the length and decently slack head angle giving you enough time and space to shift your weight to regain traction before the bike wants to high side or tuck under.
The frame itself does a really good job of providing precision without the tiring harshness that sometimes gets transmitted through a carbon and the back end is still smooth and wobble free after some hard months of testing.
The suspension is an improvement on the old bike too. It's actually quite a different kinematic designed to give improved mid-stroke support; an area where the old Foxy could sometimes feel lacking. This is achieved via a progressive-linear leverage curve, something that bucks the trend for fully progressive designs. In this application I think it works really well. There's good initial sensitivity, absolutely excellent mid-stroke support for pumping and pushing through trails and I found that it ramped up enough not to blow through the travel even with only the stock small volume spacer installed, though if you need more end-stroke support you can pop a bigger one in.
However, it's not all plain sailing. Initially, I didn't get on very well with the stock tune of the Fox DPX2 shock, which has a digressive rebound tune that made it quite hard to get a mixture of enough 'pop' to make the bike feel alive without making the bike buck when returning from big hits. A bit of tweaking and experimentation made it better, providing a 'magic carpet ride' like ability to smooth out big bumps, especially when sat down but I found that moving to a linear rebound tune gave me a better balance of feel versus comfort. This is very much a personal preference, but it's a relatively cheap and easy job for a Fox Service Centre to perform should you wish to.
While nitpicking, I'm not a massive fan of the Fox 34 fork. It's on point in terms of damping control and performance from the FIT4 cartidge, but if you ride the Foxy as hard as it wants to be, there's definitely more chassis flex compared to the heavier but stiffer Fox 36 I also tried. With the former fork, it's very much a lightweight and fast trail bike, with the latter, it's even more of a slugger and even dispatched trips to the Alps with ease. Again, this is personal preference - plus I suspect Mondraker wants a bit of space between this bike and their longer travel Dune.
A more mundane grumble is that the stock chainstay protector is made from quite hard plastic and thanks to the deep section stays, there's a fair bit of noisy chainslap. I popped on a softer cover over the top and it definitely helped to quieten the bike down - though it is something you get used to anyway.
Put simply, the Foxy Carbon is one of - if not the - sweetest handling trail bikes on sale today. When it comes to an all-around mix of up, over and descending capability, I can't think of much that can hold a torch to it.
Okay, so even by the standards of other superbikes, it's hard to call this particularly good value and there are some spec choices that might not be to your taste - they weren't to mine - but it's simply such a capable bike it's easy to forgive it once you actually start riding. If you also fall into that camp, then it might be worth looking at the frame-only kit for £2,999 and building it up just how you want.
For me, with a few tweaks to kit here and there, it's a genuine one-bike-for-all-duties machine which, if you squint really hard, goes some way to offsetting that huge price tag. Either way, it's a storming trail bike that punches well above its travel and if you've got deep enough pockets, you won't be disappointed.
Test report Mondraker Foxy Carbon RR SL review £7,699.00X
About the bike
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own :
The Foxy Carbon is Mondraker's benchmark trail bike and arguably the most 'complete Mountain Bike' in a line-up of high-performance, world beating and world championship winning machines. For 2018 Mondraker set about improving on the Foxy Carbon's already high-performance and category leading status. Leaving no part untouched, Mondraker shaved, tweaked, redesigned and reworked every part from the ground up to improve it in every area and to create what they feel to be 'the bike'. With increased stiffness and riding comfort the Foxy offers great traction on technical climbs, exquisite handling and spectacular downhill prowess to establishes itself as the most complete multi-purpose Mountain Bike Mondraker have ever manufactured. Its fantastic pedalling efficiency boost the bike's climbing capabilities while the Forward Geometry, adjustable geometry and smooth Zero Suspension also aid downhill performance.
State the frame material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.:
Frame Foxy 27.5" Stealth Air Full Carbon Zero Suspension System FG 150mm
Sizes S / M / L / XL
Rear Shock Fox Float DPX2 LV EVOL 3pos Lever Factory Kashima 205 x 62.5mm Trunion Mount
Fork Fox 34 27.5" Float FIT4 3Pos Evol Factory Kashima Boost tapered 150mm
Headset OnOff Saturn tapered ACB
Stem OnOff Stoic FG30, 35mm barbore
Handlebar OnOff Stoic Carbon 0.5 780mm 35mm barbore
Grips OnOff Diamond 1Lock-on Grip
Seatpost Fox Transfer Performance Elite Internal 1X
Saddle SDG Fly MTN Ti
Front Brake Shimano XTR M9020 180mm
Rear Brake Shimano XTR M9020 180mm
Levers Shimano XTR
Rims DT Swiss M1501 30mm Spline One 27.5" Wheelset
Spokes DT Competition Straight Pull
Front Hub DT Classic 240 Boost 15mm
Rear Hub DT Classic 240 Boost 12x148mm XD Freehub
Tyres Maxxis High Roller II TR Dual Exo 27.5" x 2.3 / Maxxis Ardent TR Dual Exo 27.5" x 2.4
Crankset SRAM X01 Eagle Carbon Boost 34T
Bottom Bracket SRAM GXP XR
Chain SRAM GX Eagle
Front Derailleur /
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle
Shifters SRAM X01 Eagle 12s
Cassette SRAM Eagle XG1295 10-50T 12s
Frame & Fork
Overall rating for frame
How much suspension travel does the rear end have?:
Jon was previously the editor here at off.road.cc. Whether it's big days out on the gravel bike or hurtling down technical singletracks, if it's got two wheels and can be ridden on dirt, then he's into it. He's previously been technical editor at BikeRadar.com, editor at What Mountain Bike Magazine and also web editor at Singletrackworld.co.uk. Yes, he's been around the houses.