Happy Riding

Review: 2020 Mondraker SuperFoxy RR

Happy Riding

That initial ride on the Superfoxy initiated quite a few changes on the bike. As mentioned, the tires and bar were swapped out to give more grip and a better rider fit. With one of the popular spring riding spots being a steep, funicular accessed hill side littered with steep soft gullies a set of double Dirty Dans in Ultra Soft compound and DH casing were on the bike for the first portion of testing, changing to Magic Marys once conditions were dryer and more of the lift accessed trails opened.

Descending on the stock setup, especially with the low bar did make for some interesting moments. The L and XL sizes come with a 150mm dropper post, which with the feet up hands down position constantly gave a not-so-reassuring pat on the undercarriage when the going got rough. For my seat height, and lower, it wouldn’t be possible to fit a 175mm drop post on the Superfoxy, which in today’s norm of big drop posts is a limiting factor.

The main defining characteristic of the bike is the bottom bracket height. Up at 357mm, it dominated the riding experience for me and made the bike harder to corner, both at lower speeds with more bar turn or at higher speeds with more leaning. It really gives the bike an on-its-toes nervousness, and despite me adjusting my cockpit to raise my hands it left me searching how to lower it to bring more stability and confidence to really open the speed up.

I swapped out to the softer 400lb spring and maxed out the high-speed compression in an attempt to dynamically lower the bike when riding, hoping that the hydraulic support would help me out with the softer spring. To some degree it worked out on the trail, with the bike sitting more into its travel and bringing some added composure to match the long front end that wanted you to let off the brakes.

Unfortunately, the 400lb spring made it possible to bottom out the bike in the car park with just a good heel kick, and this was also present on the trails with bigger hits and compressions finding the end of travel all too often. I’m really not sure how Mondraker suggests 30 – 35% sag when the 400lbs spring was so easy to bottom out with relatively low sag.

The softer setup also allowed the bike to be more prone to larger chassis movement shifts when braking hard or pulling on the bars. In high speed, hard braking situations, with sharp pulls and releases on the brakes the bike wanted to rise and compress more than I wanted underneath me. Good pulls on the bars were met with more suspension compression that wheel lift, making the bike feel longer than it actually is. Needing to get the wheel up in a hurry or just pulling a manual on the roll home required a more concerted effort.

It’s a shame that one really off measurement could stand so front and centre in the riding experience, especially with a brand with such heritage in getting modern geometry to where it is today. By comparison, their own Summum DH bike has a lower static BB height, and with more travel would be even lower at sag.

Each time I grabbed the Superfoxy from the shed I got excited looking at it, and come the first descent, I wanted to throw caution to the wind and really open it up. The length of the bike invites you to do that, and the Fox 36 was always up for it too. But soon after you always had a tap on your shoulder to wind it back a bit when the rest of the bike started to be out of its comfort zone. It’s an involved ride experience at speed, and I’m not trying to say that the bike is unrideable, just that you’d better have your skills ready if you want to put it into the speeds and terrain that a long travel 29er bike flourishes in.

Less man-made trails, the kind of root filled brown stripe that meanders through the forest, lend themselves better to the Superfoxy, where its soft feeling suspension can work a lot better over the potentially less g-force inducing terrain. Being more delicate with the bike and your inputs yields faster speeds and more control, but does mean your margin for error is a little tighter. The Superfoxy is more of a finesser than a brute.

Out in the bike parks, for which the Superfoxy is also aimed at, the larger G-forces from the sculpted rises, dips and berms turn the riding experience volume back up. That sensitive approach is once again better, rather than throwing your head at the ground and kicking your heels. But the generally more roller coaster ride begins to upset the bike.

The adjustment possibilities on the Superfoxy are a nice touch, but the head angle comes already slackened out and I’m not sure many people would want to be steepening it by 1° or 2°. Many bikes are already pushing even slacker. While the longer chainstays could bring a touch of added stability, they’re not going to fix the inherent issues I found with the bike. In fact, a longer chain stay would up the leverage on the shock, making it even feel even softer and easier to bottom out.

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