It’s the 15th anniversary of the Foxy, but Mondraker is celebrating more than just a new bike. In a collaboration with QARV Imports, Mondraker has announced that they will be coming to America. And unlike many of the new brand announcements recently, Mondraker is sticking with their dealer-only model – no consumer direct sales here.
Why now? In the words of Mondraker CEO Miguel Pina, simply, the time was right. After launching their first line up in 2002, Mondraker has had great success both in the world of racing, and in European sales. In order to come to the U.S., Mondraker had to ensure that they had the production capacity, but also the right partner to make it work. QARV on the other hand started 11 years ago as the exclusive U.S. distributor of Rotor Components which slowly evolved into a distribution network for a number of other brands. As QARV grew, one thing remained important – they had to be brands that their employees actually wanted to ride. With production finally at a high enough level, and QARV ready to bring on their first bike brand, the stage was set for Mondraker’s U.S. debut.
Inspired by the comics he read as a kid, Miguel uses the phrase ‘from comics to real bikes.’ The name Mondraker taking inspiration from Mandrake the Magician, and the idea that Mondraker would make something from nothing. After starting with seven models, four of which were full suspension, Mondraker has always been at the forefront of the Spanish freeride scene, and they make it clear that Enduro and DH are in their DNA. Now squarely focused on the performance end of the spectrum rather than more value oriented offerings, Mondraker is proud to point out that they were the first brand to sweep a podium at the World Championship, taking Gold, Silver, and Bronze at Val Di Sole in 2016.
More than just making quality mountain bikes and winning race, Mondraker may be best known for their radical studies in geometry. In 2013, Mondraker made waves when they introduced their Forward Geometry (FG). Before longer top tubes and shorter stems were the hot trend, Mondraker took it to the extreme with a 10mm stem that had to place the bar on top of the steerer. Rather than putting that short stem on a standard frame, they built a medium frame but with nearly an XL top tube. The thought was that the longer front center and reach would create a new weight balance with more weight on the front end, while also increasing the wheel base and front center for more confidence and stability which should make the rider faster. Acknowledging that it was a very risky move at the time, Mondraker felt validated after more and more brands started following similar trends of longer top tubes and shorter stems six years later – though Mondraker still has the extreme end of the spectrum covered. In the words of Miguel Pina, “most brands still stock kids’ bike geometry,” referring to top tube lengths under 600mm. Obviously, he has some strong opinions about geometry.
While Mondraker still subscribes to the Forward Geometry theory, the bikes have changed a bit since the days of the FG10 (10mm stem). Even though the FG10 and FG20 stems are still available, stock bikes ship with the FG30 which is a 30mm stem that allows the bar to get as close as possible to the steerer tube without touching. The top tubes are a little shorter to reflect the change (compared to the original), and there are now four sizes instead of just two.
That geometry model applies to all of their bikes, from DH, to their latest eBikes. The topic of eBikes is an interesting one for Mondraker – you can tell that they’d much rather be pedaling a non-motorized bike, yet for 2017 the e-Crafty was their number one selling model. New to the line is the e-Crusher which takes the Forward Geometry concept, combines it with a Shimano Steps e8000 system, and a carbon frame with 27+ wheels and tires to create their highest end eBike yet. Mondraker will be selling eBikes in the U.S., but not all models will be available since some fall outside of the legal power range here in the states.
Mondraker also has a new Foxy that ushers in a number of firsts – the first Metric Trunnion mounted shock, the first model to be offered in two carbon levels, and the first Foxy to use their Stealth Air carbon which offers a significant weight savings over their Stealth carbon. Growing to 150mm of travel front and rear, there is also a special XR edition that gains a 160mm travel fork and coil shock as part of their XR (extreme racing) build level. The top end Foxy RR SL with Stealth Air carbon was the bike of choice for our ride down Pike’s peak, so be sure to check out the first ride post for all of the details.
Miguel is quick to say that they don’t plan on introducing a road or gravel bike any time soon, but that doesn’t mean they are averse to XC. In fact, they’ve been actively pursuing the category with a new elite UCI XC team, Primaflor-Mondraker, which make use of their Podium series with a semi-integrated stem. Looking to the future, Mondraker says that we can expect a super light proper full suspension XC bike as well that will be made in Germany and “cost a fortune.”
And while we won’t get the full line of bikes here in the States, QARV’s owner Kervin Quinones made it clear that they are bringing in the bikes that they would want to ride. Serving as the U.S. headquarters for service, warranty, and sales of Mondraker, QARV will be selling bikes to dealers only, with the first expected to arrive in November. There will also be a U.S. demo program making its way around to events in United States – no plans for Canada or Mexico sales just yet.