Bicycle Review: Mondraker Foxy XR(2013)

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Foxy XR: a name so gentle for a bike so tough. Actually, its belonging in the wild pack of bikes is the first thing that comes in mind when looking at it: an aggressive hump, a handlebar mounted directly on the steerer and a pair of wheels that certainly won’t go unnoticed. Not if their clean, at least. Bottom line is that Foxy XR is an akward cross-over: part enduro, part all-mountain. But it turns out to be a prodigy of Mondraker, not just a simple cross-over, and it’s almost a brilliant bike. Yep, even so, the great Foxy has its flaws…

Like the higher model Dune XR, Foxy XR benefits from the Forward Geometry, this implying that they are the only two models currently on the market that are specified with very (and I mean very) short stems of 10mm, and a longer-than-usual top tube. You can find a bit of downhill on this frames, which is a sure plus as the position on the bike feels like a regular all-mountain geometry, but the wheelbase got significantly longer, with 100mm, compared to Foxy RR or R versions.

Frame/On the trail

If I were to pick a part where the Foxy XR stands out, it would most surely be the frame. Of course, you can feel all the perks of Mondraker’s bicycle geometrical mutations only when riding, and the first things that catches your eye is the responsive handling, despite the 67 degrees of the head tube angle. As a matter of fact, steering this bike is such a piece of cake that when you start riding a 70-degree angled head tube frame, you will have to put some effort into moving that handlebar. Or, as a keen motorist would state, it’s exactly the feeling you have when driving another person’s car: the clutch isn’t the same, neither does the steeringwheel seem familiar. That’s the effect that riding the Foxy XR for an hour has on you.

A larger wheelbase means more stability, which you can feel while cornering. Even when really tight-cornering… It’s actually more up to you to find the best position for your body, because things are radically different than in the case of regular bikes. The bike needs some getting used to it, and this certainly won’t happen the first day you ride it. But after that period comes the most beautiful revelation: cycling on the same old trail becomes as beautiful as it never was. That’s what great bikes do.

The larger wheelbase has it’s downsides, naturally, with the most obvious surfacing when you wish to ollie over a big rock. Due to the increased length, the bike is harder to lift from the ground, so you’ll need to get some more practice until your trick will bring you satisfaction.

The bike Foxy XR simply loves downhill, even more so when speeding down on the descents, simply sticking on corners, if you find the right path, that is.

Climbing doesn’t exactly suit the bike, yet it doesn’t represent a painful task either. For a 13,8 kilogram full suspension bike, it manages well, mainly thanks to the seat tube angle. Be careful, though, tackling switchbacks might be confusing because the front end seems to go everywhere, due to the position. Remember that the saddle is somewhat directly above the rear wheel…

Our regular testing trails were not enough for the Foxy XR, so a proper downhill trails was a more likely place to get to know its true spirit. On a rainy and muddy day, the bike’s maneuverable, but the lack of a mudguard on the rear triangle, makes the wet soil stick to the shock, which in turn works poorer. Mondraker offers the solutions to this problem, finally, in the form of the much-needed mudguard, but pricing is not exactly friendly for this carbon piece that costs 100 euros.

The bike’s frame alone weighs 3,2 kilograms, shock included, a decent weight figure for its segment, but less than outstanding. It’s important to know that the Zero Suspension System is a VPP that includes a floating shock, placed between two links, that presses on the main shock. It turns out that comfort is therefore enhanced, with a lot of credit going to the Fox Float Kashima shock itself, and off-road performance reaches a high-level. The best thing about it is that the rear wheel will stick to the ground at all time. The dampening systems offer 140mm of comfort, so if you want to show off your new expensive bike, it won’t take its toll on your back or other parts of the body.

Another important thing about the Foxy XR is the X12 mounting for the rear wheel, with ISCG included if you decide to install a chainguide, and the tapered head tube, which, you’ve probably guessed by now, improves stiffness. Not to mention that your thirst will be quenched thanks to the water bottle cage mount.

Specifications

The Foxy XR full-suspension features some outstanding components, and the Crank Brother Iodine 3 wheelset is probably the most towering of them. They complete the bike in such a manner, that you can consider them a design masterpiece. Toghether with tires, sprocket cassette, quick release skewers, and brake rotors, they tip the scale at 4,4 kilograms, not exactly light, but they compensate through strength, not even the most harshest side hits managing to damage them. Yet, they do have a major flaw, and that is the fact that they do not come perfectly alligned, which is simply unnaceptable for a 1.000 euro set. A last regard includes the hubs, which run smoothly.

A Race Face Turbine crankset is the star of the 2×10 speed drivetrain. Weighing in at 820 grams (bottom bracket included), and with superb finishings, the piece has 2 chainrings, of 38 and 24 teeth, which, combined with the 10 sprockets, offer an excellent gear ratio range for mountainbiking. For shifting, a front Shimano XT derailleur and a rear SRAM X0 Type II one are responsible, and they are both actuated by a pair of SRAM X9 shifters.

Concerning shocks, both are provided by Fox, in the Factory Kashima version, as you would expect from a top bike. The Fox Talas CTD fork can dampen bumps in the limit of its 160mm, which can be reduced to 120mm, featuring also 34mm stanchions. Actually, the CTD function allows you to opt for 3 different setups for the fork and rear shock, Climb, Trail and Descend, obviously for the 3 different situations that you might encounter when riding. Rebound setting is also present, and special regards go to the manufacturer for the 300 gram rear shock.

For braking, you will have to rely on the Formula The One S brakes, the lightest of their kind currently available on the market. Their performance is quite good, although it might take you some time to get used to the levers’ shape. Modulation works just fine, but a little bit of fading occured on a long downhill despite the 180mm rotors.

Extra comfort is provided by an adjustable seat post, produced yet again by Crank Brothers, in the form of the Kronolog. The remote situated on the handlebar lifts and lowers the post in a way that you will not forget.

Conclusion

Judging by the 5.000 euro price, the Foxy XR should be a flawless bike. Still, this contender that sits in a league of its own isn’t, but manages to keep you wired up permanently, and makes you want to discover its limits everytime you’ll ride it. Mountainbiking, hard or light, cross country, all mountain or enduro, is what Foxy XR does best, this making all objections wither away once you get on the trail. You should try out at least once…

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