Posted on Leave a comment

MTB Helmets: Ride the Best & Replace them Yearly…

MTB Helmets Replace Them Yearly

Never a review we want to do – but, here’s a life example of why with MTB Helmets you ride the best quality and replace them yearly…

If you watched the video you know I had quite the week. Really feeling blessed and lucky that it wasn’t worse. It felt like a lot of things quickly were out of my hands in this incident.

That said, there were decisions made that helped edge that luck onto my side. Particularly helmet selection.

There are a handful of top tier MTB helmets out there. They tend to fit a bit different and it’s important to find the one that will work for you. We offer a variety of helmet models from different manufacturers. I’d ride any of the enduro level offerings we have if they fit my head well.

I’ve been riding the POC Kortal Race for about a year now and really like the fit, ventilation and light weight feel.

Since last Friday I have an even greater appreciation of the POC helmet performance.

While not the fastest or most ridiculous of crashes over the years I’ve been riding, headfirst into the side of the trail in a chute, along with the intense pain after was clearly the scariest.

Had the Kortal Race not been up to the task I’m 100% sure my injuries would be been much, much worse.

This crash wasn’t at the edge of control, it wasn’t having a fit of Canon Courage or anything along those lines – it was just an unfortunate series of events overall.

The raised edges of the chute, particularly with the outcropping, meant there wasn’t any sliding or tumbling to absorb the energy. Nearly all of my forward momentum is stopped in about a tenth of a second. The whole thing took less than a second from impact to being laid up on the trail.

At the time I had tremendous neck and shoulder pain. While I surmised I had hit my head based on seeing the visor down trail I had no idea how bad it was until I was released from the hospital that afternoon and took as selfie to send to my sister.

POC Kortal Race Helmet after crash forehead split

Once I saw my forehead and then the helmet I really had an appreciation for POC’s craft and commitment.

In my case the helmet took a huge amount of load by breaking the foam internals throughout the chassis. I have no idea how bad this could have been with an inferior design or an older helmet with aged foam.

It always perturbs me when we deliver absolute banger bikes and ask half jokingly whether I’m going to see you out there on a five year old helmet – to be told: Yes. I’ll replace it one of these days.

One of these days should be yearly to ensure the best performance when you need it. And as Friday re-illustrated you never know when you’re going to need it…

Overall it was a really scary day. I was laid out with neck and shoulder pain that really didn’t allow me to move (in fact finding out I hadn’t broken anything seemed to surprise not only me but most of the team involved!) With the level and location of the pain as well as the location on the trails it took a compliment of people to safely get me out. There was a battery of tests, IVs and such. I was essentially immobile for a couple days (although I’ve made awesome strides this week and am getting back to normal much quicker than I ever thought).

But you know what there wasn’t? I didn’t have a brain bleed in the CT. I didn’t have headaches. No nausea. Lights and sounds don’t bother me anymore than they did before (hey, I have a two year old and some of those toys are torture…)

None of this sport is designed to be scare-marketing to readers – but I had an experience that I know could have been much worse without knowing what I know. I wanted to share that with readers.

MANY many thanks are going out on this one BTW:

BikeCo Owner Joe Binatena for turning me onto the 1 helmet a year plan when I started riding about 17 years ago…

Everyone at POC – what a product keep doing what you do.

Leif, Mondo and Emilio – man it would have sucked riding alone that morning!

Thanks to all the first responders who hiked up or down to me from OCFA, Camp Pendleton Fire, State Parks, the OCFA Helicopter Team.

Thanks to the entire Trauma Team at Mission Hospital.

Everyone treated me with care and gave me confidence that my care was in the best hands possible. And actually it shocked me how many of them ride MTB!

Posted on Leave a comment

Nukeproof Ride Review: Mega 290 & Reactor 290

Nukeproof Ride Review Mega 290 and Reactor 290. Reactor and Mega with Riders looking at bikes on fire road in cloud.

Mike, Tracy and I had a chance to take out two of the most popular bikes in the Nukeproof lineup.

While we didn’t have the most cooperative SoCal June weather we defined what we liked about the spec and how the Nukeproof Mega 290 and Reactor 290 ride on trail.

Mega 290 & Reactor 290: Nukeproof Ride Review

Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon bike Review on The Luge

In this Nukeproof review we’ll glance at the spec of both the Mega 290 Factory and the Reactor 290 Elite builds.

Where do the bikes stack up in the BikeCo lineup? What are some variants we’d see on our personal bikes?

Later we’ll get into HOW the bikes ride and the overall Nukeproof trail personality.

Nukeproof Build Kits

Learn more about the Nukeproof Factory and Elite Build Kits with these tabs or keep reading for more about the Reactor 290 and the Mega 290’s trail personality.

Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon Factory Spec Highlights

The Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon Factory build is essentially an XT bike with FOX Factory Suspension.

The Mega 290 has 160mm of rear travel paired to a 170mm fork and is a confident Enduro or All Mountain bike.

The FOX Factory fork and shock both provide adjustment through PSI, volume spacing, high and low speed rebound as well as high and low speed compression settings. This gives the bike a wide range of tuning options for any rider size.

Shimano’s XT drivetrain and brakes with 203mm rotors front and rear perform as you’d expect.

Spec’d with Double Down tires front and rear it’s set for aggressive riding from the get-go.

DT Swiss EX1700 wheels provide a great platform to mount an Enduro / All Mountain appropriate tire selection from around 2.3″ or 2.4″ to 2.5″ or 2.6″ if you prefer.

Nukeproof Mega Carbon 290 Factory build climbing trail in low cloud cover.

Mega 290 Factory Build Thoughts

While the three of us tend to build very different bikes for our personal quivers we actually had a lot of parallel thoughts on the Mega 290 Factory build.

This is a bike that’s spec’d nicely from the factory. We each had a short list of what we’d probably change if we were going to make this bike our own and really we only had a single build “issue”: the saddle. It’s slippery! Now, you can see in the images we were riding in a low cloud which probably made everything a little more slippery – but everyone noted that the saddle would be the first thing off the bike for any of us.

Mega 290 Factory Spec Upgrades

So what are some personal upgrade or swap ideas for the Nukeproof? Well take this with a grain of salt as the three of us have more years riding then we’d like to admit as well as enough gray hair to be really particular (note Mike’s jersey…), so our upgrades or swaps would all be pretty personal preference things.

Each of us have a preferred brake setup that would go on the bike but as far as spec brakes the Shimano XT are absolutely workable.

All of us have a go to cockpit. Most likely we’d all gravitate to higher rise carbon bars and I would have to have my preferred grip too.

Tracy likes the Double Down tires front and rear. I might go to my EXO+ setup or at least the EXO+ in the front with a DHF for maybe a touch faster rolling setup.

Mike’s finally entry on this was a GX AXS derailluer, he rides wireless drivetrains and was convincing us how lowering the work load on my thumbs would improve my climbing (not much could make my climbing too much worse compared to these guys haha)

If you want to go through the notes on a Nukeproof Elite build (basically an SLX bike) click over to the Reactor 290 tab for more details.

Nukeproof Reactor 290 Elite Spec Review. Reactor 290 climbing on trail in low cloud.

Nukeproof Reactor 290 Carbon Elite Build Highlights

The Reactor 290 Elite build features Shimano SLX drivetrain and brakes as well as FOX Performance Elite suspension giving it a very credible setup. The Reactor is a 130mm travel frame paired to a 150mm fork for a nice Trail and Light / Medium Terrain Enduro bike.

The Performance Elite suspension features the more advanced dampers with improved compression control similar to the FOX Factory options, just without the Kashima coating.

Shimano’s SLX bits feature excellent performance in a bit more cost-conscious at a small weight penalty compared to the XT spec of the Factory builds.

Nukeproof Reactor 290 Elite on trail surrounded by green bushes.

Reactor 290 Elite Spec Review

Our conversation on the Reactor 290 Elite spec had a handful of tangents.

Before we get too deep into what we would have done to “make it ours” so to speak let’s take a glance at the SLX buyer’s opinion.

This is a nice SLX spec. If you didn’t have an established go to for say, like almost every bit on your bike there’s little on this bike that really glares at you. Except the slippery seat. It’s slippery.

Beyond the tires, brakes, cockpit setup preference changes (like we touched on with the Mega 290 Factory build in the other tab) the only other bits that stand out for consideration of upgrade are the wheels and maybe the seatpost.

We started debating about if you were to throw a little bit more cash at this bike where would it go?

Wheels play a big part in a bikes personality so we tossed around ideas on well if we did this, or that to this bike but when we looked at the price consideration it put us into the neighborhood of the Factory build with improved wheels as well as the XT drivetrain and brakes.

And frankly – that’s how models should be spec’d. I like that Nukeproof has a relatively closely grouped build price point and that you can see the value in all of the available models.

Devil’s advocate though: how mean would the Elite look with some carbon hoops on it and new hubs?

Nukeproof Reactor 290 Elite Ride Review bike on trail going downhill

So how did each of the Nukeproof bikes ride on trail?

Well as you’d expect, even though the Mega is a 160/170 bike and the Reactor a 130/150, they had some brand personality similarities when we compared notes.

Nukeproof Trail Personality

Nukeproof Sizing

Mike, Tracy and I are sort of close in height. Well, close enough that I can’t really think of who’s the tallest or shortest.

Each of our current personal bikes is a Large, albeit mine is a Mondraker Foxy so it’s a LONG large.

I’ve always been kind of between sizes at 6’1″ with long legs and arms. Lately I’ve been riding longer bikes and think it has been helping my lower back some – so I went with the XL Nukeproof Mega for our test ride.

Mike tends to ride Large although some bikes he may adjust depending on top tube length to keep him in a better position for his neck and back.

Tracy and I have traded bikes a lot over the years and generally we’re super close in setup. I think most of his personal bikes have been Large lately.

Once I jumped on it I had no doubts it was the right size. I never felt “lost” in it at all. In fact I kind of struggled to see how a 20mm shorter reach would have worked either. So I started giving Tracy a hard time about his Large selection. By the end of the ride he agreed that the XL would have been a nicer fit.

Mike rode the L Reactor 290 and seemed like he enjoyed the fit as its closer to his current quiver of bikes although the reach is a little shorter on the Nukeproof compared to other brands.

With almost all size bikes having room for longer dropper posts these days fit has become height as well as leg length and determining where you are on the “average” comparison of that.

I come in on the X-Large for height and the XX-Large for leg length according to Nukeproof. The XXL was going to be much to long for me but the XL was a good fit.

For taller riders, it makes sense that Nukeproof offers an XXL if the XL is a comfortable fit for me.

Nukeproof Mega and Reactor Trail Review Bikes at the top of The Luge in the cloud

Nukeproof: On Trail

All of us enjoyed the miles on the Nukeproof Trail / Enduro models. Mike has actually ridden both of these bikes as well as the Giga and is a great resource for our team on the overall Nukeproof personality as well as the variations in their lineup.

Nukeproof Personality

As a disclaimer: we didn’t get the greatest conditions to really test these bikes.

But between the three of us, with a lot of years of doing this, there were a handful of things we agreed on about the Nukeproof trail performance.

Planted / Balanced Traction.

The bikes have a notable even balance on the front and rear wheels. In just about any reasonable riding position it was very easy to feel both wheels working together. You had to get way, way too far off the back to get the front end light. And I was uncomfortable getting far enough forward on the bars to have the rear wheel feel light (with one exception I’ll get into later hahaha…)

Along the same lines as being “planted” the bikes had an appropriate front to rear wheel feel climbing and descending.

I found the Mega 290 was a very forgiving bike to ride which became important on the descent as conditions turned more sloppy than any of us frequently ride.

Overall the Nukeproof rode most similarly to Ibis models we work with.

It might have had a little more “up and down” pedaling variation than my Yeti or Mondraker – but like the Ibis bike’s this motion directly equates to rear wheel traction so I didn’t find the bike sluggish to accelerate. It was well behaved even up some of the slippery climbing sections when the wheel was clawing up and over rocks or terrain shifts.

The Mega and Reactor had a little less “pop” than you might expect from a Yeti or Mondraker on trail. Some of that is from the suspension’s design but some of it is from the shock and fork setup as well.

I suspect with time I could have put more “pop” back into the Mega to have it ride closer to my preferred quicker out of corners, pumpy style bikes (but that style also tends to break free from traction faster too – so it’s really a personal setup preference at that point – read on for my detail notes and why understanding a review is helped by understanding the reviewer…)

Lively at Any Speed

Another aspect that’s important for bike performance, does the bike require a certain speed to come alive? Class leading bikes have good handling characteristics whether you’re riding at consumer, expert or even race paces.

The Nukeproof felt good in the range of speeds I was able to get it into. Some bikes struggle with sluggish handling at lower speeds or get nervous at high speeds. Bikes like Nukeproof, Ibis, Mondraker and Yeti put a lot of effort into their testing to ensure the bikes are playful and fun for the widest range of riders.

The Mega felt like it had more in the tank than I got close to giving it, but never felt like that school bus on a figure eight track that some “bigger” bikes parallel at lower speeds.

Nukeproof Reactor 290 Elite build review on trail downhill

Nukeproof Reactor 290: On Trail

Mike’s notes carry a lot of weight as he puts many miles on a variety of bikes. From Nukeproof, Ibis, Mondraker or Yeti he’s very familiar. So it was interesting to listen as he fit the Reactor 290 between other BikeCo models.

“The Reactor rides a like a little bigger than pretty burly built Ripley. You know the Ripley with the bigger fork and shock that we’ve done in the past.

I’d say maybe closer to the Ripmo even. Not quite as big as the Ripmo travel wise but the Reactor is closer to a ‘fast’ Ripmo setup more than a big ‘Ripley’ probably.

The Nukeproof suspension feels similar to the Ibis although it would take me a little bit to get the Nukeproof as precise as the bikes’ I’m comparing since I’ve had more time on them.

On the Reactor I felt confident that the bike would turn in and hold a line. It felt pretty good over the chunkier stuff but we were kind of going slower today because of conditions too.

For me, this is a very well equipped bike at the price.  The Elite build I rode had the Fox Grip 2 damper on it which is all you really need or want.
We see many “DTC” bikes come into the shop and the client needs to spend more money to get the bike in a rideable condition.  You could ride one of these off the floor and it is ready to go.  Comfortable and super competent for the price point”
Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon Factory Review dropping into the Luge

Nukeproof Mega 290: On Trail

Tracy and I have ridden a lot of bikes, in a lot of terrain over the years. Generally we both gravitate to a similar model capacity even if we ride different brands. So it made sense that both of us wanted to test the Mega 290 out of the Nukeproof lineup.

Overall we had pretty similar trail notes. I’m going to go deeper into my thoughts a little later as there’s A LOT of things that you feel and have to take into account on a demo ride and I think it’s important to be transparent and realistic – you can get an idea of how the Nukeproof bikes behave from this review but there is so much range of adjustment available as well. Anyway – back to the quick takes on the Mega 290 On Trail.

Tracy had some good insight

“The bike didn’t feel twitchy or nervous. Even as the trail got slick I felt like I could hold the lines I wanted.

It pedaled like I would expect for a 160/170mm bike. It wasn’t a slow pedaling bike at all. Could be tough to tell given how sticky the ground was too. But with the road ride before the dirt I felt like it compared well with other bikes its size.

I never felt the bike get nervous at speed. Couldn’t tell with today’s conditions but it might have that Yeti personality where it loves more and more speed.”

I agreed with all of his notes after the ride especially the speed capacity. I was able to get the bike up to a lively pace in a couple of the areas that weren’t as soupy and the bike never gave me any indication that it wouldn’t like a little more.

Both of us noted that the Mega was quite notable at holding lines in both the dry and wet conditions. You’d roll the Mega into a corner, get that lean angle going and that bike just carved in.

With the setup I noted the bike would take a lot of weight input from your feet while keeping the front end planted.

Nukeproof Mega 290 Factory Review Test Riding

Quick Conclusions: Nukeproof Riding Review

So what’s the quick take on the Nukeproof Mega 290 or the Nukeproof Reactor 290?

Well drawn from the combined notes we had really positive notes overall on both the bike’s spec and value as well as the on trail personalities.

Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon Factory Review. Bike turning on trail.

The Mega and Reactor both feel well planted, confident and forgiving on trail. These aren’t bikes with knife edge personalities and even a pretty basic setup provided a really enjoyable ride.

Nukeproof bikes overall feel like they have a bit of “monster truck” in them, similar to Ibis bikes, and ride comfortably feeling maybe slightly “bigger” than they are.

I know I put the Mega into situations that it was well behaved in without requiring over the top theatrics or heroics from me as a rider.

Wondering how the Nukeproof might fit into your personal riding? Chat with a member of our sales team. They’re all versed with the class leading brands BikeCo works with: Ibis, Mondraker, Nukeproof and Yeti. Our staff is trained on where these brand’s personality is as well as what tuning options are available to modify a bike to your desired requirements.

Remember: class leading bikes, ones with not only the “right” geo (which has converged somewhat over the years) but also the RIGHT suspension and balance have a setup range. And it can be hard to really understand it from a demo ride.

Since I’ve bitched for so long about those doing reviews being more transparent about “what” and “how” they ride you can keep reading for more details on my ride and how experience allows a better understanding of what a bike is about and where it fits.

But first enjoy some pics of Mike and Tracy from our Nukeproof Ride Review on the Luge!

Reviewing the Reviewer

I’ve been pushing for a long time that reviewers give more personal insight to their experiences that go into a published review. So to wrap up this Nukeproof Ride Review I’d like to provide insight to what I thought, what my exact notes were, what I ride and how I come up with some of my conclusions during a review.

There are a handful of things that experience will help you quickly define and if you know how those are about to effect your ride you can more accurately speak to a bike MODEL and not a SETUP so to speak.

What Did I Notice in Setup?

Some of my notes on while I setup the Mega 290 would help me better understand what the bike WAS doing on trail and what it COULD do as well.

Mega 290 Ride Review Notes on Setup

Factory Suspension

Both the fork and shock were low on volume spacers for my preference. This means I used the compression settings to increase support that would be more finely tuned by increasing the ramp rate.

It’s a demo bike – the odds it would have a perfect package are low. Knowing that I was running more compression meant that I would forgive a little bit of potential harsh small bump compliance in the rear as well as initial support into corners.


First, I have bad hands and hate grips with outboard collars. It hurts my hands, messes with my ulnar nerve and causes numbness and pain up my arms. This bike had grips I didn’t like but I would try to run my hands further inboard than I usually do.

Bars were aluminum and 25mm rise with not a lot of stem spacers. I generally like to have larger rise handlebars and carbon (it makes a big difference in my hand and arm condition to ride with carbon bars)


Double Down Assegai front and Double Down DHR rear. An aggressive setup but appropriate for the bike. I typically run EXO+ DHF / DHR pairing so I knew that tire package would be a bit heavier than I’m used to.

Setup Forgiveness Based on Spec

Will it ride Harsh?

So based on the volume spacers, compression settings, grips and bars I knew I would potentially have to forgive some front end “harshness”. In other words, it would not be a fair fork test for sure if that’s what we were testing!

Luckily the fork was freshly serviced and overall it felt good. I think the oil and seals being new helped this a lot (and actually made me think I really need to service my 38)

Can I Get It In Control?

Hand height is important to me for a couple reasons. First, I have back issues which mean I kind of need my bike setup in a certain way to minimize that. This is a personal issue and varies from rider to rider. If you’ve got enough gray hair you’ll probably understand and if you have the gray hair and don’t understand it I’m jealous for sure!

Second you gain or lose a lot of control by having hands in a position you can get power applied. This applies to both your hand height as well as width. Just like riding too wide of bars having your stack too high or low can numb the handling reducing your ability to have quick adjustments with minimal input.

I did notice that the Mega liked to be leaned in to corners more than my usual setups that I tend to understeer slightly and lean which snaps them into corners a touch faster. I’d still give the Mega passing grades on this because my hands were low combined with the fork setup not having the precise feel I’m used to after all the years of Pro Tune forks and a specific setup.


Some would say climbing. I don’t climb well enough to speak to it! So, for me to feel a bike’s efficiency I’m looking at how it handles burst acceleration. Heavier tires are going to change that around which I noticed on the road climb to the Luge but not as much once we got in the super tacky and then super slippery dirt…

Geo Differences

My personal bike is a Mondraker Foxy RR with a 170mm fork. So all and all most of the geo between what “I’m used to” and what I was testing was relatively close (especially when you factor the published Mondraker numbers are from a 160mm fork so mine has a slightly slacker headtube, higher bb and longer wheelbase).

The exception that I saw was on wheelbase. My Mondraker is setup with the shorter chainstay and shorter wheelbase. The published wheelbase is 1253mm – given the longer fork I’ve added a couple mm to that but I’ve never really bothered to calculate it out.

On the Mega XL the wheelbase is 1275mm which would give it a touch more planted feel and change a little bit of the direction change personality.

On the road when I put a twitch through the front end I could feel the front end was a bit more planted than my bike. I couldn’t decide if that was the MaxxGrip tire or the longer front center.

During the descent I could feel that the Mega XL was “longer” in the first few corners but that quickly went away once I had four or five turns down.

Finally – let’s take a quick look at the conditions we rode in.

Between some morning rain and being in the cloud the conditions were pretty variable. We got in some sections that were hero dirt levels of excellence – no brakes just ride in, lean as much as you want and rip through it.

Then, well, it got sloppy…

Nukeproof Mega 290 Factory Review by bikeco

Being SoCal locals none of the three of us really ride in sloppy stuff. So the details of the ride have to go back to the conditions were we have experience and kind of look the other way in conditions that are outside of the norm for us.

For instance some riders are always looking to fall in love with a demo or review bike. That’s not always going to happen (even for a bike you’ll love) and breaking down the experience can be important.

Here’s a good example of this for me:
First Ride Demo on the Mondraker FOXY
(didn’t love it but saw potential)
Extended “First” Ride when I bought one
(starting to love it – testing some stuff out, riding is ‘work’ you know!)
Extended Ride Review
(loved it by then)

Sorry for the sidebar, but the point is that you’re not always going to “love” a bike at this level at first sight. They’re technical pieces and you should treat it like that and go through what you’re really looking for out of the bike to make sure you get a bike that will get there with you. BikeCo’s staff is unbeatable at this…

Like overall – it was fun to get out with Mike and Tracy on the Nukeproof, but by the end of the ride I was kind of “blah” about having messy muddy everything to clean up, I was cold and I had a fall that dampened my spirits (and for a split second or two really scared me).

OK, not to dwell on crashes but this one was pretty funny and not that bad. If you’re familiar with the Luge picture the deep pocket turns before the trail “turns left” down the canyon with the right hand exposure. I think it’s three or five like left, right, left, right, left. Anyhow, I went in too hot as the flatter section of trail wasn’t too slippery, but as soon as it rolled into the steeper stuff it got sloppy. First corner I lost the bike, back end comes around and I’m sliding down, still up on the bike, but both wheels full drift. Into the next corner where the front end climbed up the rise and now the back wheel is in the trough, front wheel almost in the bushes still up. Still sliding. About then I see there’s really only one more turn before that left, which if I miss I’m going off the side, so my heart kinda thumps. Still at a full slide 90 degrees from the ideal direction I decide to smack my leg into the side of the trail to try to slow down and get off the back of the bike. Never fully fell just kinds slide all over and bury my leg in mud. Anyhow – I get down trail to take some more pics of Mike and Tracy and Mike’s like “ya, did you see those tracks through the corner? What a mess” or something along those lines. Then looks at me and puts together that those were all my “tracks” across the nearly the entire trail width…

When demo-ing or reviewing a bike you have to kind of put that aside to have a critical look at the bike, the setup and the spec to decide what you’re really feeling or not. I suggest that riders try to find 3 things they like, 3 things they didn’t really like and 3 things they’re neutral about to help your sales team understand if you’re on the right type / model of bike, size, spec and how the setup was.

Overall I can confidently say the Nukeproof Ride Review of the Mega 290: it’s a bike that rides planted, comfortable at speed, well behaved and consistent without knife edge performance. My experience says that for me, I would prefer ramping the suspension up to add some more “pop” to the bike to give it a little more when pumping the trail through terrain or in corners. The Mega rode “bigger” than either of my last two bikes the Mondraker or a Yeti SB130 Lunch Ride – but it should as it is a longer travel frame than either of those options.

I think it compares best to the Ibis Ripmo, maybe even a Ripmo with a 170mm fork.

Overall a fun Enduro bike comfortable and confident in terrain and speeds you’d expect!

Chat with our team today about the Nukeproof lineup or shop Nukeproof below:

Posted on Leave a comment

Night Riding: New Adventures on Familiar Trails!

MTB Night Riding New Adventures on Familiar Trails

With the upcoming time change and winter closing in the day light hours riders have a couple options for weekday rides. (or, if you’re like me and ah, socially challenged let’s say less busy riding windows!) One is to get up early, although sometimes that light window is short too. The other is to find trails that allow night riding and check out why so many of us credit night riding for improving our riding as well as being a great adventure.

First, let me admit, 10-12 years ago I really did “night” rides pretty frequently. Now, mid forties, my “night rides” tend to be “rides in the evening in the dark”, home and in bed at my normal time! But the adventure and riding is still great…

MTB Night Riding: What do I need?

One of the beauties of MTB night riding is it really doesn’t take much more than you probably have for adventure riding days anyhow.

What’s on my quick list? Well let’s take a quick look.

Night Riding Tips and Setup from BikeCo details in write up below

MTB Night Riding Lights

It had been several years since I’d been night riding a lot. Amazingly, or – rather not amazingly I suppose, lights have gotten less expensive, much lighter / smaller and WAY brighter.

I feel like the modern lights in “low” are brighter than my previous lights on “high”. It’s a much more confident feel both up and downhill with the greater lumens at your fingertips.

Two Lights: Helmet & Handlebar

You’re going to have a better experience with a pair of lights. There are a handful of reasons for this.

Top of the list: Riding with two lights at different heights and different angles provides more definition of the trail. With a single light shadows are cast that don’t always easily define what it is you’re looking at. Having a second point of light provides better definition of what’s in front of you – especially downhill.

Night Riding Tips and Setup from BikeCo Two Light Advantage

When descending I prefer a more powerful headlight and slightly less, or maybe equal handlebar light.

The brighter headlamp provides improved vision when you’re looking “down” trail. Your helmet’s light has a better angle for casting definition in most conditions as well.

Setting Up Lights for MTB Night Riding

Getting your lights “right” takes a little bit of trial and error.

Some things to consider include the angle, total light output, trail and speed.

You’ll need to be able to see far enough down trail to ride at a fun pace. Often, especially if you’re climbing first, you’ll find your lights are aimed a little “low”. This is why you see lights mounted further “back” on helmets than you might expect. In order to get the light cast far enough ahead most mounts require being towards the top of the helmet. This also helps with weight balance.

More is more, until it’s too much… You don’t want to “wash out” the trail too much. So you might not run at full power, or you might aim slightly “high” or “low” and maintain the ideal view area with slightly less powerful light.

I remove the visor on my helmets – you don’t have to do this, but, with the light mounted further back the visor can create an extra shadow to deal with. If the visor comes off easy I just pop it off for night rides.

Helmet Headlight

Generally I suggest this to be the more powerful light – but – if you have a really large light you probably don’t want that weight on your head. You can get a lot of lumens in a compact package these days so it isn’t typically an issue either way.

Climbing: When climbing I use the headlight in the low setting to provide enough light at climbing speeds while saving some battery.

Descending: I run the helmet light at or near full power. While you might find this can “wash” your vision if it crosses with a bright handlebar light but there are advantages of having the extra lumens when you’re looking downtrail before the handlebar has crossed into that direction.

Handlebar Light

My personal setup is currently “same-same” both in the 1200 or 1300 lumen range. Recently I rode with an old friend who showed up with a huge lamp with extra batteries mounted to his bar. Part of me was super jealous of ALL the light. But, given that we’re doing usually just quick loops on a trail we’re familiar with I still prefer the small package lights. Having “same-same”, or at least the same mounting technology also makes it easy if you need to swap them back and forth.

Climbing: I tend to climb without my handlebar light on. I figure this saves some power and gives you a bit more of the “I’m out here” feeling which I like.

Descending: like your helmet light it may take a bit to find a good setup. I’m messing with these new lights trying to balance power, cast and wash out. I don’t have a real “here’s where you should be” feel yet on it. With SO much more light than what I’d been familiar with I’ve been trying different things to see if using a brighter setting, aimed “lower” gives enough light cast while improving the definition. I think my next ride I’ll try mounting the light under the bar to see if I can get a “steeper” angle on it and see what that does to the cast effect.

The long and short of it – familiarize yourself with the lights and their capability. Then find what you feel works best for you!

Other Night Riding Go-Tos

MTB Night Riding Tips and Tricks Warm and Comfortable

Night riding can take a lot of different forms – and you’ll see many of them out on your local trails.

While there are the guys smashing out the full cardio attack it’s much more of an “event” ride for most riders.

So, how do you stay comfortable on these rides? Well, by staying comfortable…

MTB Night Riding Comfort Tips

Rider Type 1: (my brother) Don’t sweat, cause, sweat will make you cold. I can’t argue with the logic here at all. If you’re this rider it’s also likely you’re in the faster part of the group – which – means you’ll end up waiting more… So you need to have enough gear with you to ensure you’ll stay warm at the check in points.

Rider Type 2: (me) You’re going to sweat. Maybe a lot. Maybe even if it’s cold! I bring an extra jersey so at the top of the climb I can get out of the wet, gross, clingy thing before I descend and force a bunch of cold air through it onto my skin! Really makes a huge psychological difference and reset for me.

Extra Clothes? I’m somewhere in the middle of true minimalist and over packing survivalist. You really have to assess where you’re comfort level is. If it’s real cold I’ll pack an extra layer – and I’m happy to carry it even if I never use it because, knowing I had it in case of a mechanical or whatever brings me some peace.

Extra Tools? See above right? During the day I’ve gotten bad – I carry plenty of water and maybe a multi-tool. If I have to walk out I chalk it up to part of the adventure I suppose. At night I do bring more spares as I don’t like the idea of hiking if I can avoid it in the dark… (I’ve gone solo a couple miles up on the San Juan shuttle back in the day – and the lack of being able to get on the bike and “go” even if it was in the wrong direction wasn’t a great feeling I suppose)

Extra Protection? I seldom wear body armor these days. Most of my loops are on the mellow side and I ride solo a lot so I’m not typically pushing into a “yard-sale” level of get off. But, at night, the body armor definitely comes out.

Body Armor / Knee & Elbow Warmers!

While I’m not pushing night riding hard enough to have frequent crashes the element of surprise does come up more when you can’t clearly see everything. So a pair of compression fit knee and elbow pads puts just enough extra between me and the trail so I feel better.

Also – even if you don’t “crash” at night you have more moments where the bike might be tossing around under you. Knee guards with a bit of protection, especially on the insight of your knee, can take a big bike slap from a gnarly bruise you have to deal with to a simple “thud”.

Best of all at night, particularly this time of year, the modern “slim” body armor with compression fit provides a nice warm option. I figure why wear knee or arm “warmers” when I can get that as well as some additional protection with my G-Form Rugged 2 knee or Sam Hill Lite Elbow pads…

MTB Night Riding: It Makes You Better

There are a lot of reasons I get out to night ride. Adventure (bet most your co-worker’s don’t have a more fun story to tell about that night right?). Social (good to get out with the guys and blow off some steam after work). Cause it’s hard to schedule all the fun in so little daylight (enough said eh).

But night riding also will improve your MTB skills.

You’ll learn to let the bike “float”. At night you can’t see every single thing your bikes’ going to come across. So you learn to let the bike eat up the stuff you maybe didn’t see while you stay focused down trail to deal with the upcoming terrain. These are confident bikes these days – put your confidence in them a bit and your riding will improve.

Don’t fight for the “exact” line. Your lines are gonna change up at night. It will help you better deal with the unexpected. Example? Well, there’s a couple corners on our ride that tend to be dusted with a loose dirt / rock “crust”. During the day it’s not too hard to see and kind of change a tire width one way or the other to stay on the high grip area. At night? Well, you learn to let go of the brake and catch the bike when the traction comes back! Again, kind of goes back to learning to let the bike work and not being OCD in charge of every second of your ride.

When you take this confidence to your day riding you’ll find you’re more competent at higher speeds.

Night Riding with BikeCo on The Luge

Other Night Riding Tips (that I remember)

It’s been a few years so this list isn’t necessarily comprehensive – but I’m getting it back quick…

Want some tips to help you have more fun on your MTB night ride? Here are a few that I find make a big difference.

Don’t look people in the eye. With your light on at least… sucks to get blinded by your buddy!

Bike Setup:

Your bike is likely to “feel harsh”. You’re riding slower which usually requires less compression and slower rebound. If you’re like me, just remember that on your ride. I’m not going to adjust my bike for a “slower” ride because I have 100% faith that I will forget I did that and hate my next “fast” ride. I can deal with a bike feeling “harsh” better than I can deal with having a slow setup the next time I drop in fast and turn myself into a lawn dart or bury the bike in a big hole I usually blast over…

Can you adjust your suspension? Sure. If it’s really, really cold you might consider that too – but – for me personally, it’s going to be very unusual for me to make those adjustments.

Well I could lower my tire PSI right? In fact, good on you for reading so much about where a lot of compliance is on these modern bikes here on! But, I personally wouldn’t lower the PSI either. You’re likely to have some, ah, adventurous line choices at night. This stresses sidewalls, etc. Running a lower PSI to compensate for the suspension being a bit “fast” increases your likelihood of a pinch flat or cutting a tire on a bottom out. Which, we mentioned above – hiking at night isn’t as fun…

Wear Eye Protection

This is partly a reminder to myself. I’m pretty bad about this recently. At night though, whether it’s psychosomatic because you can “see” the dust in the air with the powerful riding lights or if its’ real – I feel like you get more stuff in your eyes at night. Also – with the occasional off-line adventure you don’t want to be in the bushes or whatever without protection on your eyes.

I’ve had a bit of an eye opening experience here recently – I got this far with only a couple cheap puns! I didn’t have any clear lens around before one of our recent rides. But, in my laptop bag I had a trusty pair of blue light glasses. Well – those became part of my night riding gear that night. And I really liked it. So, I reached out to my eye doctor to ask if it was just a reaction to my “new toy” or if it had some logic.

What I asked:

Quick question if you want to answer for a blog I’m throwing together (if you  want we will quote you and link your site – if you’re busy or have no interest or not sure absolutely no hard feelings either)

Would blue light glasses improve night riding?
I wore a pair of computer glasses a couple nights ago and I swear it cut a lot of the glare out of the lights we use – which are super high output LED , about 1500 lumens at full tilt boogie.

Is there any science you might know of that would make this more than in my head?

From Charles at Modern Eyewear Optometry:

“Blue blocker glasses are traditionally used for reducing strain and possible protection while on electronic devices.

I do prescribe them also for migraine  and light sensitive patients who wear them all day and do really well with them.

You may have just come up with another excellent use of them! Cycling night lights are bright! And LED! So for sure blue blockers could help cut out some of the high energy wavelengths of the spectrum that interfere with vision while riding. If you felt it helped you see better I would continue to use them. I would add that everyone has different prescription and what may work for you may not work for others.

Do some research on the visible spectrum of light and how different tints cut out reflections and glare.

I personally like light yellow tints for evening dusk riding and clear anti reflective for night rides. But again everyone is different.

I’m a big fan of Rudy Project, which is one brand we offer at the office. That’s what I wear for riding. I believe they also have some info in their sight on optics of tints etc.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have more questions.

Here’s a good site from trustworthy docs:

Optics are rad!

One Last Note on LED and Blue Light

I started down this rabbit hole, but I’ve been swamped with a bunch of other things. BUT, I’m wondering if the blue light lens have something special because of how “white” light is actually produced from an LED. (and, I never liked yellow lens outdoors if makes all the bushes, etc feel off to me)

Anyhow – you can check out the Wikipedia LED entry if you wanna take over this rabbit hole on blue light riding glasses for these powerful modern LED lights!

Seeing what you see…

It’s different at night – enjoy the view!

Posted on Leave a comment

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review: Extended Ride

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Extended Ride Review and Video

Well, I’ve put in some really enjoyable months and miles on my FOXY Carbon so, it’s time to put down my Mondraker FOXY carbon Review: Extended Ride.

The abridged version: I love this bike and build. Love it.

The FOXY Carbon is confident, predictable and it pedals amazingly well for what I would have considered a long travel 29er. Long travel compared to my previous SB130 Lunch Ride? Ya, I know we’re talking like 10mm in the fork and maybe 13mm in the rear – but we can get more into that down the trail.

For this review I think I’ll hit first on the “heart” of the FOXY – geo and suspension performance and then circle back onto the individual parts on my build as some of them are new to me on an extended review.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review Series!

This is the latest in a series of content focused on my Mondraker FOXY experience. You can learn more about how I’ve come to the conclusions here on the Mondraker FOXY Carbon review going through the timeline of posts here on

Mondraker FOXY “First Ride” Review
Walk through the original setup and thoughts on my build!

Comparing the FOX Grip and Ohlins RXF forks
What led me away from the Ohlins and back to FOX? Check it out

Extra FOXY Mondraker: Foxy with 170mm Fox 38 and Float X2
The real start of my love affair with this bike…


Keep reading / watching for the latest on the Mondraker FOXY below!

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review Forward Geometry La Costa NASCAR

The FOXY at home on a quick chunky loop in La Costa Preserve. Keeping your handlebar a bit taller will help provide a “power” position to push the bike through steep and chunky sections.

Mondraker Forward Geometry

This Mondraker Forward Geo branding launched several years ago. Mondraker was one of the first in the Longer, Slacker, Lower geometry that ended up taking the entire industry.

The longer bikes, shorter fork offsets, increased trail measurement all gave bikes notably more performance without ultra slack headtubes which compromise steering and direction changes.

In today’s marketplace the Mondraker geometry isn’t as “far forward” comparatively to competitive bikes but they are on the longer side of top tier manufacturers. For instance, I had been debating if my Large SB130 might be just a bit short and was debating about an XL. With the longer top tube on the FOXY I stayed in a Large but got the bit of extra length I was looking for.

As a sizing reference I’m 6’1” with long limbs about a 35” inseam and 76” fingertip to fingertip. This allows me to ride the Large using stems in my preferred range of 40/45mm. (you’ll note that’s right in the range of a modern 29 fork offset – I think there’s something to that but haven’t penciled out “why” to date)

Going back to the concern of a “bigger bike”: Was the slightly slacker headtube my FOXY had compared to the Lunch Ride going to create issues climbing or in less steep terrain?

Initially I rode the bike with the stock 160mm Ohlins fork which had its issues, but not in terms of geometry or headtube. The 160mm bike was well planted and didn’t wander even climbing in technical sections.

After moving away from the Ohlins I went slightly slacker with the 170mm FOX 38 fork. To date I haven’t noticed any issues even with the taller fork. The bike climbs well, tracks through steep switchbacks uphill and gets onto and over rocky sections well. Sliding a bit forward on some sections will help you stay in a position where you can easily add extra load through the grips if the front end feels a little light to you.

I left the flip chips in the stock position with the shorter chainstay measurements. The bike works so well I haven’t really felt like meddling with it – maybe one of these days, but I feel like the bike is slack enough especially with the longer fork which also raises the bottom bracket just slightly (similar to what the flip chips would do).

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review Zero Suspension Mission Trails San Diego

I love bikes with long, straight, mean lines. The FOXY’s front triangle features a unique thin but wide top tube to maximize strength and trail compliance.  It looks fast on trail or sitting in my office! Mission Trails in San Diego

Mondraker ZERO Suspension

Like the fork I ended up going back to FOX on the rear shock – I’ve got another write up on that (in short as a heavier rider the Ohlins was overwhelmed, but I know lighter riders who love it) – but after that switch what are my thoughts? ZERO complaints…

What’s so special about the Mondraker ZERO Suspension design?

Well, a lot of work goes into balancing MTB suspension. Over-simplified: You’ve got to take into account how the wheel arcs, what it does to the drivetrain, what’s the leverage ratio overall, how does the sine angle change the leverage input on the shock? Rising rate mechanical leverage? Falling rate? Mixed? How does that mesh with the shock you’ve spec’d ramp rate? Damping capacity?

A lot of designs “look” similar – but the details simply aren’t that easy to replicate, either from the physics and math or the patents.

Unlike Geo, which has converged into a pretty similar realm depending on what level of bike you’re shopping, ie enduro, trail/enduro, trail, endurance/XC – look alike suspension isn’t a thing you can simply look at what the industry leaders are doing and say ya, I’ll take some of that and slap it on your design…

I’ve been riding a lot of years at this point. I’ve ridden tons of designs. I’ve owned most of the best. (last two bikes were an Ibis HD with DW Suspension and the Yeti SB130 with Switch Infinity Suspension – DW is plush and planted, Switch is poppy and fun). That said, the FOXY is my first bike with floating suspension.

The Mondraker ZERO mounts each side of the rear shock onto pivot linkage creating a “floating” design. This has a couple interesting advantages for designers to work with. Particularly the angle of input into the shock (which changes the mechanical leverage ratio through the spring’s ramp rate to give a bike the designed balance).

What’s this mean? Floating suspensions are known for being compliant. Mondraker Zero suspension takes that compliance and adds an efficient pedaling platform able to keep the bike planted and efficient under power. The FOXY’s suspension suspends and the drivetrain drives without one interfering with the other. It’s designed to have ZERO “cross contamination” if you will.

What’s that mean on trail?

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Extended Ride Review San Juan Corner

One of the places I’ve been most impressed is how well the “longer” FOXY gets through the tight stuff both uphill and downhill. This bike is easy to maintain control of both the front and rear wheel in a “normal” range of riding positions.

ZERO Suspension Uphill

The FOXY is the first bike I’ve owned that I don’t use the shock’s climbing “lock-out”. That’s a really interesting fact. The Mondraker climbs well enough I don’t feel like I need that additional compression setting. It doesn’t suffer bob, it doesn’t feel like it’s sitting too deep when you get headed up the steeps and weight shifts backwards.

Keeping the shock “open” provides another advantage when climbing the Mondraker – it increases the bike’s available traction climbing technical sections.

My FOXY is the best climbing bike I’ve owned. It has incredible traction – it doesn’t spin wheels (which I HATE as it hurts my lower back when bikes have that power on, off, on kick), it’s efficient – add power and the bike accelerates, and likely because I’m able to climb it in the shock’s open position the bike doesn’t have the reverse “pop” or kick back that other bikes might have when climbing up and over chunky rocks, etc.

Previously I had to be ready to really attack a rock face, and as a less fit rider that’s not always as easy as it sounds!

Riding the FOXY, even at lower power input, the bike uses all that traction and churns up and over .  This eliminates the “popping” back and needing that extra momentum from explosive pedaling. Now, some of this might be from some the drivetrain setup as well and I’ll come back to that in the spec review.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Extended Ride Review San Juan Skyline

Leaning into the corner on San Juan Trail off Ortega. Since most of my riding isn’t in the gnarliest stuff it’s important to me a bike is fun on the flatter, faster stuff while having enough in the tank to tackle chunkier terrain too. The Mondraker FOXY checks that box – riding incredible for a 170mm front (modified from 160 stock) and 150mm rear Enduro bike.

Downhill – ZERO Complaints.

It’s interesting jumping on different bikes and feeling out how they want to behave and what they want from rider input.

I’m looking for a pretty specific feel downhill.

What does it take to control both wheels? I want a bike that in a range of normal riding positions I can get traction off both the front and rear wheel when I want it. Running VPP bikes it felt like you were hard pressed to control the front and rear wheel . Riding them fast particularly in fast corners it seemed like you had to choose whether to ride off the back and really drive through with your feet and hips or pushing the front end to hook up and almost “unicycling” through the corners. I think this hindered my riding for a long time until I got onto other suspension designs that allowed me to comfortably corner faster knowing I was basically doubling my traction…

I prefer bikes that “pop” when pumped on the trail. It’s a fun feel and gives you the ability to find “free” speed. The trick is finding suspension designs that offer that feel without compromising on the total traction and compliance. How much Pop versus Thump – like a bike with too much pop won’t allow you to power through terrain without feeling like you’re on a pogo stick. A bike with too much thump may feel numb until you get it up to speed (my last 26″ bike suffered terribly from that – it wasn’t fun until it was going soooo fast…)

My bikes need to balance compliance, support and ramp rate. I’m willing to trade some compliance (as I can find some in tires, etc) but the balance of support and ramp is important. Having a bike with enough support to corner fast or stay tall in the steep and chunky stuff is critical for a confident experience.

As another note on balance – and it’s not been a problem on any bike I’ve owned, but I’ve found it on some test bikes over the years: if the rear end can’t be balanced to the front it’s just not worth riding! Something else to think about when you see “look-alike” suspension…

Back to the FOXY Carbon Review: Mondraker Suspension has ZERO compromises and I have ZERO complaints (after setting it up with the dampers that accommodate my weight and ground speed)

The FOXY has a wide range of ground speed where its “lively”. I’ll use the word lively, I suppose I mean it changes direction with minimal input, kind of that floating or flying feel that I love in MTB.

It’s also a comfortable when you get going and start to find the limits. The bike is predictable and confident. The FOXY has a “soft” speed limit – meaning that it eases into the point of losing traction or being overwhelmed. It will give you some time to know, hmmm I need to get ready for a 2 wheel drift or the bike to start smashing travel. This is advantageous over bikes with a “hard” speed limit which hit the end of capacity quickly and don’t give riders as much time for correction.

I’ve had it in slower speed, chunky, consequence riding conditions and the FOXY is really sure footed. The suspension absorbs what it needs without jarring you back off the other end as the shock rebounds.

The FOXY is really good at holding a line at a wide range of speeds and terrain.

Where does the bike shine brightest? Well, push that bike into fast, burly stuff and it just begs for more. Makes sense for an EWS level Enduro bike right? Yup.

The FOXY manuals well, jumps better than I do and is easy to control both front and rear wheels.

With the taller front end, between both fork travel and cockpit setup, I can control the front end in steeps as I don’t have to ride way way off the back wheel.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon FOX 38 Magura Brakes

Modern MTB bike spec from industry leaders like Ibis, Mondraker and Yeti are great starting points. Want to take your performance a little further? Chat with our team about how a part here or there will fine tune your bike’s personality. Morning ride before work in Whiting Ranch.

Semi-Custom Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review: My Spec

So let’s get this on the table – I buy all my parts. So, if you see it on my bike, I believe in it and I want it on my bike.

BikeCo has a similar feeling as a business – we offer the best in MTB for a wide range of riders and a wide range of preferences. I’m not saying my spec is the absolute for everyone because a lot of preference goes into spec.

In the spec review I’m going to let you know if its new to me, some thoughts and opinions.


FOX 38 GRIP2 Fork, 170mm

I’ve run the GRIP2 as long as it’s been around, but in the 36 160mm fork. The 38 chassis is new to me. I wondered if I would notice the “heavier” front end but I haven’t. The 38 features bleed valves meaning I’ve lot one of my favorite tips and tricks of burping and lubing seals! I never noticed the 36 having any flex issues for me, but the 38 will have even less theoretically…

Float X2 Rear Shock

This is THE shock. It’s been several years since I’ve run the X2 and I did like the SB130’s DPX2 (probably would have loved an X2 on that bike BTW but never made it happen between pandemic availability, etc, etc). The X2 is literally the most special shock I’ve ridden. When setup correctly the high and low speed compression on the X2 provide unbeatable control. In my opinion better than even the computer controlled shocks. Splitting low speed and high speed compression means you can have a shock that offers a lot of pedaling support, but has the ability to instantly open from a small weight shift to prepare for your descent. The X2 is tuneable with air pressure, volume spacing, and both high and low speed compression and rebound.

Getting the suspension setup right allows your bike to float where it needs to float, support where it needs support. BikeCo Pro Tunes take the FOX performance window and narrow it to a particular rider’s weight, ground speed, terrain, and abilities.

Suspension support is important as your ground speed increases and you ride in bigger terrain. There are a lot of ways to work on this and compression setup or PSI (sag) are typically the first you’ll look at. But, no one wants a bike that rattles your teeth out right? So where do we find more small bump compliance to make up for the stiffer suspension? Tires.


2.5” Maxxis Minion DHF EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra front
2.4” DHR II EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra rear

Love the original Mondraker spec. I’ve run these tread patterns on a bunch of my bikes over the years. This is the first time I’ve run the EXO+ on the front. I was a little concerned about adding weight to the front of my bike and how much it would change the amount of input needed for turning or manualing the bike. Haven’t really noticed it.

The EXO+ gives good support allowing me to maximize, err, well I suppose minimize the air pressures I run. Getting your PSI right means balancing grip with support in high load corners or terrain.

The Mondraker name is building in the USA but it’s been a staple in World Class racing in Europe for ages now. More than a sexy euro trailer queen the Mondraker lineup has proven it can provide riders trail experiences parallel with the top tier expectations from any brand in MTB.

Wheels / Rims

DT Swiss 350 hubs, straight pull spokes on EX 1700 rims

I’ve run DT 350 stock builds before although this is the first time with straight pull spokes and the smaller diameter hubs.

I love the EX1700 rims 30mm internals. It’s my favorite inner dimension as it gives a great shape to the typical 2.4/2.5” tires that most enduro or trail/enduro riders enjoy. I tend to ride pretty hard particularly on the rear wheels. The EX1700 have stayed true and have taken a pretty good beating. I haven’t put any rim protection on these wheels either. Oh, and they mount tires easily – which – on your own bike isn’t necessarily that big of a deal but helping at the shop I mount a lot of tires on a lot of wheels. It’s always a little easier to see those rims in my pile of work to do!

This is my first go around with straight pull spokes. No real input on that yet. I prefer J-bend for a lot of reasons we’ll see if I find my reasons justified or not over some time I suppose.

DT Swiss 350 hubs. I’ve had good luck with my last set of DT hubs. This might be set 3 for me but I can’t remember for sure. What I’ve learned about DT Swiss 350 hubs over the years:

First, the driver isn’t “fixed” onto the hub. Makes it super easy to service or mod parts. BUT! When you mount tires and are thumping them to slosh the tire sealant around MAKE SURE you have the cassette up and have a hand on it. I make this mistake about once a year. Mount a tire, banging the wheel and cassette, ratchet system and springs are all over the floor!

I run the 36t ratchet. The 18t feels clunky and the 54t is delicate in my opinion, not something I need as a heavier rider with poor pedaling technique.

This is my first go at the smaller diameter and smaller spoke flange design. I do notice that in really hard corners I can hear the front rotor “tinging” suggesting that there’s some flex somewhere. But, as long as it’s not leading to premature wear or failure it’s not a big deal to me at the moment. Makes you feel kinda cool like ya, that’s a corner. Haha…

Mondraker FOXY Review Whiting Ranch

Another morning ride in Whiting Ranch before work. What other sport consistently gets the views we get in MTB??


I tend to run GX level drivetrains. I find the performance / value is hard to beat. I think that the XX1 and X01 likely has a slightly longer service life though. A well lubed SRAM drivetrain’s service interval overall is pretty much impossible to beat in my experience.

SRAM GX 10-52T Cassette (pinned)

This is my first 52t cassette. I find it’s a really notable bail out gear from the 48t – however – it does feel like a big shift so I don’t want to dump shift into it as I’m sure that’s hard on it. I could see a lot of riders preferring the 50t option if they’re strong climbers. I prefer the extra little bit available with the 52t so far.

KMC X-12ti Chain

While I run GX level bits I do spend a bit more on the chain. Typically I run XX1 chains as I feel like the surface conditioning as well as manufacturing techniques give better performance longer than the less expensive chains. On this bike I put the KMC X-12ti on as I wanted the gold highlights to remind me of my daughter’s cancer fight (gold is the universal kid cancer color fyi – we’ve got it removed and 6 months of clear scans so life’s good).

AbsoluteBlack Oval Chainring

The AbsoluteBlack Oval chainring is the first oval I’ve ridden more than say twice in a row. I’ve gotten used to it and really don’t feel it anymore. When I first rode it I felt like it was more notable as the leverage changed through the stroke. Since I’m kind of a churny climber I feel like the oval ring does give me some advantage. If you’re spinning high cadence it might feel a little funny. Setting up the Mondraker chainguide was a bit of a compromise but I haven’t had any issues dropping the chain thus far with the setup.

SRAM GX Alloy Cranks, 175mm

These new GX cranks are really, really nice in my opinion. They look good and are pretty light given their position in the SRAM Eagle lineup. I run 175mm cranks. I used to have a more distinct opinion on who should ride what – but then I measured 5mm. It’s like three quarters stacked on top of each other. Run what you want! I’m not sure that distance is causing or negating any pedal strikes for me…

RaceFace Atlas Pedals

The Atlas pedals have made it to either their third or fourth bike. Maybe this is the third. But, considering that they’ve been in service since Nov 2018 for a bigger rider without a rebuild – got my value out of those…


Ergon SM Enduro Men’s saddle

I can’t recall if I’ve run this exact Ergon saddle before. I ride Ergon saddles as they tend to have a comfortable balance between the seating area and the relief areas. I typically don’t notice them. Which is my goal with saddles.

175mm FOX Transfer post

Wondering if I want to go to the 200mm – not because I need any more drop when riding, but with the taller BB height compared to my last bike I can’t quite flat foot the bike getting on and off. Maybe I’m getting older and my leg doesn’t go as high when I kick over?

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review Magura MT5

One of the tricks to spec’ing your dream bike: knowing where you can find extra performance at a great value. Magura MT5 brakes work excellent balancing unbeatable modulation and power. With a proper first bleed these brakes will work amazing with just an occasional bubble bleed for years.


Wolf Tooth Light Action Remote

I’ve been running these for several years too. I prefer the longer lever Light Action since it requires less force, although it does need further throw, to activate. I have bad hands and every little bit helps.

Ergon GE1 Evo Grips, Regular Diameter

I’d run WTB padloc grips for years – but – they seem to be a casualty to covid. So, I went beack to the Ergon GE1 Evo. They have some of the additional padding at the edge which was my favorite aspect of my previous grips. The GE1 grips are left and right specific and have a designed shape for improved ergonomics. With a single inner clamp they don’t need the raised outer edge required for a second clamp, which I absolutely hate the feel of. I tend to run my hands slightly off the grips and that rise hurts. The one complaint on the Ergons is they are slippery when wet. I climb without gloves and I have to be aware on any quick descent or whatever to wipe them well or the sweat makes them really slick. Gloves solve this so they’ve stayed on the bike so far.

RaceFace Turbine-R Stem 40mm

I’ve been running this stem since it was labeled Easton before the buyout! It’s an elegant shape with a nice finish but most importantly it was one of the first stems to come out machined flat at the top, so you tighten the faces together there and then torque the bottom bolts. I love attention to detail.

Tag T1 Carbon Bars, 40mm rise stock 800mm width

I went with the Tag T1 Carbon Bars as I like the concept of the ovalized design to fine tune and help damp trail vibration. It’s not something that you’re going to be like oh, I feel it so much – but every little bit helps. Some bars speed handling, typically not what I’m looking for at speed while others can slow handling (didn’t need it on this bike). The Tag sits in the middle as a neutral option.

Magura MT5 Brakes, 180mm HC Rotors

Figured I’d close with these. If you’ve read much of our stuff you’ve come across my love for Magura brakes. Unbeatable power and modulation (although, I’m told the new Hope V4 have brought more power to the Hope options which also have great modulation). I love the stock lever on the MT5 which is slightly longer adding to the modulation feel (like the seatpost remote – longer lever = longer throw to full engagement which translates to more modulation on brakes). Even as a larger rider I run 180mm rotors unless its really a big day or trip. I find the balance is good although more and more riders are setting up in the 203/180 or 203/203 range.


Hope you learned something in this Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review! Geo, suspension on trail personality and a bit on the what’s and why’s of my spec!

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review: extended Trail Rides
Posted on Leave a comment

Understanding Maxxis MTB Tires

Understanding Maxxis Tire Technology: PSI, Sidewall, Compound & Tread

Want to learn more about the technical details of Maxxis MTB tires? explains tires including PSI, sidewalls, compounds and tread patterns to help you fine tune your bike’s performance.

Maxxis MTB Tires

One of the things you’ll take away from this video is how riders are using sidewall technology to fine tune PSI as well as small bump compliance allowing them to ride firmer suspension for better support in corners and steeps. How does that work? Check out the video and read more below!

With the available options of SIdewall, Compound and Tread patterns the Maxxis lineup offers a wide range of riders the perfect tire.

Check out the 29″ Maxxis Tire Matrix below and shop the best in MTB 29″ tires here or 27.5″ tires here!

Maxxis 29 Tire Matrix for MTB

More on Maxxis Tires:

BikeCo Tactile Scale Durometer Surface Tension Damping Measurements

BikeCo Tactile Scale: Durometer, Surface Tension and Damping

In order to help our clients better compare products we’ve developed a Tactile Scale for items like Tires, Grips, Shoes, etc. We measure the durometer, surface tension and rebound to provide points that can be more accurately reviewed.
The higher the durometer the “harder” the material.
The higher the Surface Tension the “stickier” or more tacky the material is.
The higher the Damping number the more energy is absorbed by the product during a drop test.

Maxxis 3C Compounds

A hard compound or base layer supports a medium compound center tread section as well as a softer outer tread section of the tire. The softer cornering lugs provide additional grip at lean angles. The harder center section is faster rolling and longer lasting for those climbs before your favorite descents. Each 3C layup has three different layers of rubber compound utilized in varying depths.

3C tires are available in three different layups.

MaxxSpeed: is the fastest rolling and longest lasting of the 3C lineup. It accomplishes this with slightly harder rubber giving up a bit of grip.
MaxxSpeed Tactile Scale – Center: 63-tbd-0.96, Edge: 55-tbd-1.28

MaxxTerra: the intermediate option designed to offer more grip than the MaxxSpeed but is longer lasting with less rolling resistance than MaxxGrip options.
MaxxTerra Tactile Scale – Center: 55-7.56-0.87, Edge: 48-11.2-2.19

MaxxGrip: this 3C option is the stickiest layup. Along with the additional grip the rubber utilized in MaxxGrip tires also has damping properties to help control tire rebound. This adds a bit more confidence to your setup.
MaxxGrip Tactile Scale – Center: 47-8.36-2.39, Edge: 48-11.8-2.6

Maxxis Dual Compound

Features a softer edge and harder center section. Tends to offer less damping and slightly harder durometer for more miles, but gives up some grip.
Dual Compound Tactile Scale – Center: 59-6.71-1.27, Edge: 49-11.2-1.61

Sidewall Technologies

Various reinforcement options are available on modern MTB tires. These help minimize pinch flats and sidewall tears. Depending on speed, terrain and level of aggression riders have a variety to choose from. Recently more and more riders gravitate to the more burly sidewall technology as provides additional damping to help control tire rebound.

Instead of Weight vs. Protection we now see riders looking at Weight vs. Protection, Support and Damping as we look to improve trail feel through the tires allowing the suspension to run more support for cornering, steeps and other terrain.


Maxxis Sidewall Definitions: EXO, EXO and DoubleDown

EXO Sidewall: these tires feature a cut resistant material from the bead up the sidewall just below the cornering knobs. This additional layer is designed to be lightweight and flexible giving the tires a bit of support without compromising performance.

EXO Sidewall: As the name suggests this is the EXO sidewall plus an additional Silkshield layer stretched from bead to bead. Without adding too much weight this additional layer does provide notable improvement to tire damping and cut protection.

DoubleDown (DD) Sidewall: Want even more protection and trail damping? Check out the DoubleDown option.  Build with two 120 TPI casing layers with a butyl insert these offer the support and protection of a downhill tire but save a bit of weight on the scales!

DH Sidewall: Double 60 TPI casings. More Damping than Double Down tires.

TPI: Threads Per Inch

60 and 120 TPI comparison Maxxis MTB Tires

60 TPI shown on the left, 120 TPI on the right.

120 TPI provides improved performance and protection but is a bit heavier.

Interested in more details on our tactile scale? Check out some review footage we put together to see some of the differences in compound rebound between 3C MaxxGrip, 3C MaxxTerra and Dual Compound Maxxis Tires.

Posted on Leave a comment

Five Ten Stealth vs Ride Concepts Max Grip

Five Ten Stealth vs Ride Concepts Max Grip

A lot of flat pedal riders ask about the difference between the Five Ten Stealth vs Ride Concepts Max Grip soles. Well let’s take a look at why we stock both the Five Ten and Ride Concepts shoes here at

So what’s similar? They both work well. Confident and predictable grip is critical to enjoying your ride. Both of these shoes offer that.

Both the Stealth and Max Grip utilize lugs flat with the shoe’s edge and a gap left between pads.

The Five Ten use a circle while the Ride Concepts design features hexagons. Pretty close size between them as well.

Differences Five Ten Stealth vs Ride Concepts Max Grip

At BikeCo we’ve been working to provide our online shoppers as close to an in-store experience as possible. To that end we’ve developed a series of tests that allow us to publish a scale to help with product comparison.

With experience on both of these platforms the Five Ten and Ride Concepts shoes were a big part in developing a system that provided numbers that passed the experience test.

Let’s look at the three numbers in the scale and how they apply to the Stealth and Max Grip soles.


Durometer is a basic “hardness” test – but if you really get researching it durometer is kind of vague on what it actual measures. In the world of MTB shoes it’s a decent barometer for wear as well as how easily pedal pins will “bite” into the shoe. When measuring durometer a series of readings are taken and averaged.

With our durometer scale Five Ten Stealth rubber measured 65 on average

Five Ten Stealth Rubber Durometer measurement

The Ride Concepts Max Grip sole on the TNT shoe measures a bit softer on the durometer scale coming in at 55.

Ride Concepts Max Grip Durometer measurement

Surface Tension, or Tack, or Grip, or Sticky…

So durometer doesn’t necessarily dictate how much “tack” there is on the sole of a shoe. A lot of variants go into that – but we wanted to have a repeatable test and developed this weighted drag reference.

Dragging this sled across the sole, averaging the results and taking into account the contact patch size we define a value (watch the video if you want to learn more about what we’re up to!)

Five Ten Stealth Rubber Surface Tension test

The Five Ten stealth rubber tested to 16.1 on the sled test.

As a reference, a standard pair of Puma casual shoes I had in my office tested to 5 and the Five Ten gum sole tested to 10.8…

Ride Concepts Max Grip Surface Tension

The Ride Concepts shoe came in with the highest surface tension of anything I’ve tested so far at 22.4.

This result compared to the Stealth rubber makes sense to the “finger test” when you have the shoes in your hand – which really was the goal of putting these metrics together. We want to have some tangible comparison for clients reviewing product here at

Finally we looked at the sole’s ability to damp impact.

Damping Test

Five Ten Stealth vs Ride Concepts Max Grip Damping

This is probably the most exciting test, with a drop rig, steel balls, electromagnets… And comparing shoes it’s probably pretty close overall since the shoes all went onto the same jig in about the same way.

We take an average of 3 to 5 drops, disregarding any way off the average since they might have hit funny or whatever. We divide the drop height by the average rebound distance (and move the decimal point) so that the higher the number the more damping it has (or the smaller rebound measurement on the bounce).

The Five Ten Stealth came in with the most damping of anything we’d tested so far, a 5.8.

The Ride Concepts also had good damping at 4.8.

Improved damping helps neutralize trail vibration back into the rider. As a reference the gum sole Five-Ten had much more rebound with a score of 3.2.

Riding the shoes I believe that the Ride Concepts insole actually provides a lot of additional damping as well, and I’m not sure how much of that is factored into this particular test.

The TNT is a slightly more “robust” or aggressive shoe and the insole feels slightly taller than the Freerider.

So, our final numbers came out as follows:

Five Ten Stealth: 65-16.1-5.8

Five Ten Stealth Rubber Sole design

The Ride Concepts Max Grip sole on the TNT model came out slightly softer and tackier.

Ride Concepts Max Grip: 55-22.4-4.8

Wrapping It Up…

My experience with the shoes, which I have to admit end up as both riding and work shoes – both at the shop and chores around the house, parallels what we’d expect to see from numbers like we calculated.

Both shoes are MUCH more tacky than others giving you great pedal feel and grip. Pedal pin penetration (how’s that for alliteration) is confident in both while you can still move your foot when you want.

It’s interesting that the Five Ten’s sole has more damping properties and that in general Ride Concepts uses a thicker, more aggressive in-sole. I imagine that’s how they end up with a similar trail feel between the two shoes.

If you’re using them solely (more shoe puns right?) as riding shoes both offer good wear intervals. Doing a bunch of walking and working in them? You’re going to notice the Ride Concepts will wear faster than the Five Ten. Both have good grip when hiking even in wet conditions (albeit I don’t get to test much in the wet here in SoCal…)

I would recommend either of these options – since we only offer the best in MTB it’s easy to get it right shopping at Other shoes may have one of these factors similar to the class leaders, but getting them all balanced and right is harder than it looks. The slight differences are really notable on trail.

For instance, the Five Ten gum soles I tested (my daily shoes since they’re non-marking) tested at 72-10.8-3.2. And those shoes are horrible to ride in frankly. Part of it is the model (which we don’t stock) is too soft and part of it is the sole is too slick.

Interested in learning more about this new scale?

Well we have you covered. Check out this quick video with more examples of how these tests will bring a better understanding to riders about the performance of grips, tires and shoes.

BTW, looking at Five Ten or Ride Concepts models that will be right for your riding? Shop them here!

BikeCo Tactile Scale

Over the years we’ve worked to provide online shoppers as close to an in-store experience as possible. One thing we felt could be expanded on was a scale to better define the feel, particularly of items like Tires, Shoes and Grips. wants shoppers to be able to have more than “it’s stickier, because that’s what they say” when picking #thebestinMTB

This video is a quick explanation of the system that you will see being applied across our site over the next few weeks and to new product offerings.

In short, we’re measuring the durometer (or surface “hardness”), the surface tension with a weighted drag test, and the damping with a drop test measuring rebound percentage. Our system will allow you to more easily compare apples to apples across a range of product manufacturers.

Shop the best in MTB at including Ibis, Mondraker and Yeti factory completes, customs, semi-customs and more!

Posted on Leave a comment

Comparing FOX GRIP2 and Ohlins RXF Forks

Comparing FOX GRIP2 and Ohlins RXF Forks Trail Test

It’s our goal to ensure we know what parts are right for what rider. Sometimes that means trying a new part, although mostly that’s left to our racers. Sometimes it means looking at a new tune option. This time, it meant finding the edge of the Ohlins suspension on my Mondraker Foxy Carbon. Let’s take a few minutes and compare the Ohlins RXF and the FOX GRIP2 platform.

Not currently shopping forks? Well, keep reading you might find some ways to improve your setup based on the notes on which fork did what on trail and how the fork’s controls affected that.

Take a look at some comparative footage and go through the details comparing the FOX GRIP2 and the Ohlins RXF 36 M.2 forks!

First, Mondraker spec’ing Ohlins on the FOXY is a good choice.

BikeCo owner Joe Binatena tested Ohlins forks as well as shocks, and it’s the first time I’ve seen him run stock suspension in, maybe ever. Joe ended up with Ohlins on his personal Crafty eMTB.

Our purchasing agent Mike has a FOXY Carbon with Ohlins RXF and TTX which he loves. Mike tends to prioritize compliance and traction to add to his riding confidence on bigger bikes. He’s told me that the RXF is notably more planted than this current Rock Shox fork on a similar sized bike.

Both Mike and Joe are on the slightly skinnier than average I would say. Between the two of them a good deal of trail disposition, ground speed and feel can be assessed.

I know both had the Ohlins suspension dialed in within a couple rides since I didn’t hear any behind the scenes chatter about it.

2022 Mondraker US Dealer BikeCo

BikeCo Owner Joe Binatena riding his Ohlins’ equipped Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR

First, Mondraker spec’ing Ohlins on the FOXY is a good choice.

BikeCo owner Joe Binatena tested Ohlins forks as well as shocks, and it’s the first time I’ve seen him run stock suspension in, maybe ever. Joe ended up with Ohlins on his personal Crafty eMTB.

Our purchasing agent Mike has a FOXY Carbon with Ohlins RXF and TTX which he loves. Mike tends to prioritize compliance and traction to add to his riding confidence on bigger bikes. He’s told me that the RXF is notably more planted than this current Rock Shox fork on a similar sized bike.

Both Mike and Joe are on the slightly skinnier than average I would say. Between the two of them a good deal of trail disposition, ground speed and feel can be assessed.

I know both had the Ohlins suspension dialed in within a couple rides since I didn’t hear any behind the scenes chatter about it.

Jumping ahead a couple months, I pulled the trigger on an Ohlin’s spec’d Mondraker.

Even has a heavier rider I didn’t have many reservations purchasing the FOXY with Ohlins suspension. After all, Joe’s riding an eMTB which carries additional mass, and he candidly speaks highly of the platforms.

I knew Ohlins design parameters and goals weren’t a mirror of my previous suspension: Ohlins was looking for a more plush and linear feel for ultimate traction.

Ohlins RXF Fork Main Air Spring Side

If you read my first ride thoughts on the Mondraker FOXY you’ll know I felt like I had the rear pretty close and the fork in a workable area, albeit I knew I could be looking a bit outside the box.

As I continued to ride I found the Ohlins, particularly the fork, lacked midstroke support at my weight and ground speed.

What it felt like and what it was doing on trail just wasn’t there for me. I felt some of it and put it in my notes. Some I spotted in footage. (BTW: the ride footage actually illustrated how well the HSC worked even as the rest of the fork was pushed past it’s limit for me)

Now, I’m not saying that the Ohlins RXF doesn’t work, I’m saying at 275 and looking for a punchy suspension it didn’t work for me. This review isn’t as fair as it could be since the RXF is pushed beyond its limits a bit. If you’re a lighter rider who wouldn’t have that issue keep reading to learn more about how a fork without enough mid-stroke support and too fast of a rebound setting will ride on trail – maybe you’ll unlock your existing or next fork with that knowledge!

Lack of Support: On Trail Symptoms & Adjustments

Here’s a look at the symptoms, why the RXF didn’t make the grade for me (and how the RXF does for both Joe and Mike) and a comparison to the FOX GRIP2 platform.

Early on I was looking for more mid-stroke support from the RXF. The front end would dive into the corners deeper than I expected. On lips or rocks it lacked a bit of the punch back that puts you up and over instead of driving you “backwards”.

I never quite found that in the fork settings.

2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon RR Review

Ohlins RXF 36 M.2 Settings

I maxed the Ramp Up Chamber PSI. This would give the fork the maximum ramp rate like adding volume spacers. (make sure you fill the ramp up chamber prior to filling the main air spring – it makes a huge difference.)

I also maxed the main air spring. This put the sag into a fairly standard 15-20%, so I didn’t feel like oh no, I’m just plain too heavy for the RXF 36.

I began with Ohlins rebound and compression setup, but I steadily increased the low speed compression until it was maxed. I worked with the high speed compression as well (more on HSC later). I was running the rebound at max and it still was fast, working hard trying to compensate against the main chamber’s PSI.

After the early rides I chatted with our suspension tuners. We tore down the air shaft assembly (it is very very nicely made fyi) to get a better idea how the three chamber system was implemented.

Ohlins RXF Fork Air Spring Disassembled 1

Ohlins RXF Air Cartridge

At first glance the Ohlins system is reminiscent of an older design concept: adjust the main chamber PSI on top, adjust the negative chamber on bottom.
But, on the Ohlins’ lower port you’re not charging the negative chamber. As mentioned, the RXF uses a third chamber.

When setting up the Ohlins RXF you first charge the Ramp Up Chamber at the bottom of the fork. This controls how linear or progressive your fork will feel and there is a range of PSI suggestions assigned to your weight.

After setting the Ramp Up you set the main chamber PSI. As the fork cycles slightly the piston passes an equalization port and charges the negative air chamber.

In short:
Ramp Up = Ramp rate control. Adjustable. Set first during setup.
Main Chamber = Supports your weight. Adjustable.
Negative Chamber = Prevents top out and minimizes initial piston stiction. Fills based on main chamber PSI.

Early on the fork felt kinda close. But no matter what I did I couldn’t force it into a state of too much support, from which I would need to back down either Compression or Ramp Rate.

I didn’t even find a “this is the right amount of support but I have everything maxed” feel.

With more rides I noticed performance attributes I didn’t particularly like but hadn’t put my finger on the solution or given up on the product at that point. I spent some time looking at my notes and watching some footage.

Extended First Ride Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

My initial riding notes: Ohlins RXF 36 M.2 Fork

Felt too soft into corners, couldn’t counter steer into turns and drive off feet. It felt like to change direction requires a lot of steering input.
(Turning in with your hands increases the chance of folding the front end and going over the bars compared to counter steering and leaning, which tends to generate and outward slide when traction is lost and is easier to “catch”.)

Too soft landing and taking up bumps on takeoff. Lacked “punch back” in rocky or chunky sections and pop off lips.

High speed compression is works WELL! With the fork notably soft, I tried to compensate with the HSC.

I was hoping to “cheat” the HSC into activating lower in the travel.

But, the RXF High Speed Compression seems truly isolated to high shaft speeds (which is how it’s supposed to work). The fork didn’t bottom out when I had the HSC cranked way up (like just short of a pedal platform feel) it kept me out of the last 20-30mm of travel. (more on this in just a second)

I started to come to terms that the RXF wasn’t for me when I began to work with lower tire pressures. My first few rides had been on aggressive tire pressures. As I started down in pressure the lack of midstoke support was much more notable.

Also, in bigger terrain I couldn’t slow the rebound down quite enough to maintain traction. I hadn’t noticed in the flatter terrain as I was able to compensate with knees and elbows, and a bit of slide didn’t hurt. But at speed in bigger terrain the bike wasn’t quite as sure footed as I expected.

The final straw, trying to new content angles I mounted a GoPro on the front triangle with the fork stanchion in frame. The video is choppy as hell (I was trying to pull stills from it) so I doubt I’ll publish it – but it showed an interesting attribute.

Through a series of bermed corners I noticed when I jumped (or more like floated I suppose is a better word) but if I was in the air, landed and changed direction the fork was riding taller in the travel compared to corners I just “rode” into.

I attributed this to landing pushing the fork at speeds that engage the HSC, even lower in the travel. This improved mid stroke support, albeit not in a way that was useful consistently. It also gave me an idea why sometimes I felt the bike cornered better than others.

Well, that was enough for me to call it a game.

Mondraker FOXY FOX X2 Float 38 with Nate

So why didn’t the Ohlins fork work for me?

Well, Mike and Joe are both notably lighter, even with the extra mass of Joe’s Crafty eMTB.

Mike runs the ramp up chamber at a higher psi then listed for his weight to fine tune the ramp of the RXF. But running at the top end of the PSI charts I didn’t have that adjustment window.

It seemed like adding standard volume spacing to the main chamber would have pushed the fork into the realm for me, but, based on the way the air shaft is produced it would be a lot of machining bits and would be difficult to adjust.

In short, I was looking at a lot of work that wasn’t very consumer friendly to try to make the Ohlins ride punchier, like a FOX GRIP2, when, you know, there’s a FOX GRIP2 on the market…

FOX Factory 38 GRIP2 170mm

I’ve got a lot of years on the GRIP2 at this point. My previous bike had the 36 GRIP2 and I find it’s personality very parallel to the FOX 38 that I put on the Mondraker FOXY.

Why the 38 on the FOXY? I wanted the 170mm option – but I’ll have another writeup on my Extra FOX FOXY… haha..

So. Put the 38 GRIP2 on the FOXY. I decided to set it up the air spring similarly to the RXF – so I looked at the leg and found the highest number and set it to 123 PSI (which it stated was for 250lb riders). When I looked deeper at the FOX manuals I found that the fork has a max PSI of 140, however I had pretty good sag at 123 so I’d probably keep it in that range either way.

I increased the stock 2 volume spacers (20cc) with an additional 10cc. At 170mm the fork has a max capacity for 5 volume spacers.

Even in the parking lot the bike had a better disposition. On trail it unlocked the bike.

I could counter steer and lean deeper into corners. The bike punched over the rocks and chunk instead of stuttering into it.

With more support in the front end the bike felt dramatically more confident in steep chutes or rocks by taking advantage of the headtube angle instead of nosing in making the bike “steeper”.

Rear braking, which was already ridiculously good on the FOXY, improved notably as well without as much front brake dive.

When the front end dives in it will slightly unload the rear wheel. Re-weighting your feet can help to drive the wheel back down into the ground, but simply having less rake change under braking is an easy way to achieve the same thing.

In short, the bike did all the things my previous GRIP2 bike did that I loved so much…

Mondraker FOXY Carbon with FOX 38

But what definitely seals the deal on it the rebound and compression controls were both in an adjustable range, not fully max’d out. Even if my bike works at a max adjustment it still sits in my head like “hmm, I wish I had one more just in case” hahaha…

With the 38 GRIP2 on my FOXY I have tons of low speed compression still available – although – if you go too high into the low speed settings it tends to make a bike harsh and hard to hold onto in big, fast terrain.

So I would say I’m in the proper range on the LSC – I wouldn’t want to add more than a click or two without starting to wonder about it.

High speed compression on the 38 is in the right setup range as well. It didn’t require a very polarized setup to adjust the bottom out and high shaft speed control.

Both high and low speed rebound are set with some adjustability in either direction.

After my first two rides on the 38, the same rides as the RXF, I reviewed my notes. Maybe the 38 could use just a touch more to balance with the X2 rear shocks setup (I changed rear shocks too – more on that in other posts!).

I chatted with Joe and we decided that going to the 4th volume spacer would probably be the play. But while researching a couple things for this writeup (never want to give you guys bad info – we appreciate the reads!) I found that the max PSI for the FOX 38 air chamber is higher than the 123 I saw on the sticker. (when all else fails check out Manual right?)

According to page 3 of the manual the 38 has a max PSI of 140. So, There are two choices to increase the PSI or increase the volume spacers and thus increate the ramp..

The beauty of options right? Which is really what I’m going to conclude on here.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon with 170mm FOX GRIP2

UPDATE: Soft Support & Fast Rebound = Harsh Ride

OK a quick addition to this blog. Working on the video supporting this FOX GRIP2 versus Ohlins RXF comparison (above) I sent rough footage to a handful of riding buddies and reviewed it with Joe and our suspension team to better understand what story the footage told versus what I felt versus what we knew mechanically about the different forks.

I hadn’t laid up any graphics or anything, just two images next to each other timed at the beginning of each section. When I mentioned one was the FOX with much better support almost everyone initially thought the fork that visually was riding harsh had to be stiffer option. Maybe I confused them since I had the FOX on the left and they knew I rode the Ohlins first? I dunno. But no, the harsher looking fork was actually the setup that was too plush overall for me.

The combination of running through travel and rebound that couldn’t be slowed into an ideal range created a harsh ride visible on the video. The harshness is probably mostly attributed to the rebound speed, although the overwhelmed LSC and air system weren’t helping that.

In the video you can see a handful of turns that the RXF does well at when landing before the turn engaging the HSC (which worked really well even on a fork that I was pushing outside it’s performance window).

The lack of support is notable in the footage by the increase in “hand” steering. As the fork would sit in deeper it would require more input to change direction and MUCH more input to exit the corner. Compared to the more supportive fork which would turn in easily, allow the bike to lean in to take the rest of the turn “through” my feet before exiting the corner, usually with an increased exit speed compared to the softer fork.

Like I mention in the video, and above – this isn’t a truly fair “comparison test” between the GRIP2 and the RXF since the Ohlins was pushed beyond its capacity. But, you can look at this data comparing a better setup versus a setup that’s too fast and without enough support.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon with FOX 38 GRIP2

Am I saying the FOX 38 GRIP2 is better than the Ohlins RXF?

For me? 100%. Done and done. Heavier rider, prefers punchy suspension, decent ground speeds. Ideally (even if its just mental) want to have a bit of range on my setup to fine tune.

The RXF didn’t have it in the tank at my size. (also, full disclosure having the BikeCo Pro Tune options on the FOX 38 and X2 allows me to improve my adjustability range even a bit more)

For you?

Not going to tell you the GRIP2 is better or worse than the RXF without knowing more about your size, riding style and preferences!

Riders I know well, who know suspension well, who really enjoy the Ohlins product.

Are you in the 140-220 range? Looking for a slightly more linear, high traction, planted setup? Well then the Ohlins is 100% on your short list for review.

As a product review, without being in my shoes, or similar shoes I suppose it’s hard to look at the two top suspension options and say you should always do “X”. In fact, maybe you’re on the right product with the wrong setup? That’s one of the reasons we continue to work with our clients after bike or suspension delivery to help continue to dial in performance to unlock your rigs full potential.

Like we mentioned at the top, even if you’re not shopping forks right now some of the ride notes might resonate with you and you can improve your setup. We work hard with our clients to ensure initial setup as well as helping with developing setup as their riding speeds and skills increase.

Check out some pics of the 170mm “Extra FOXY” Mondraker FOXY Carbon with FOX 38 and Float X2 here.


Return to Top of Page


FOX 38 Manual & Details: Fox’s Site

Ohlins RXF 36 M.2 Manual & Details: Ohlins’ Site

Posted on Leave a comment

Spec Swaps Performance or Preference: Yeti SB130 TLR T1 Build

Performance of Preference? SB130 TLR T1 Kit Review

Here’s a look at the Yeti SB130 TLR T1 build spec. What stands out? What bits are commonly swapped? What would we swap out if we were building it ourselves? Let’s jump right in.

Yeti SB130 TLR T1 Build

Carbon frame, Turq series 29” Enduro bike that’s a fun all day trail ripper as well. The TURQ or T series from Yeti denotes their top tier carbon fiber layout. This produces a bike that’s more crisp and lively for a longer period of time compared to the standard carbon layout. This is particularly important for heavier or aggressive riders who look to maximize their product service life.

137mm of rear travel with a 160mm fork. With a bit more travel the Lunch Ride SB130 have a slightly more relaxed headtube angle and a tiny bit higher bottom bracket compared to their 130/150 siblings.

The TLR T1build is the Lunch Ride’s XT build currently with a $8,200 MSRP. (7/7/22)

Spec Swaps: Performance or Preference?

Let’s go through the spec part by part. We’ll highlight some of the real gems and suggest some areas where riders might commonly look to swap a part or two.

OK, so we’re going to keep it reasonable in the budget (like I’m not going to saw I’m swapping all the bits into a 12k bike – that’s unreasonable). But let’s figure I have a little bit of budget to dial in my bike and I can swap some of the parts back at time of purchase (we do it all the time here at BikeCo)

Float X Rear Shock: seldom swapped, but if swapped it’s for the Float X2
The Float X offers a lot of notable performance improvements to the prior generations Float DPX. Revisions to the architecture provide improved rebound and compression tuning ranges. Easily fine tuned with volume spacers this shock fits well in the trail to medium enduro terrain. If you’re pushing bigger than that you might consider the bigger Float X2 which provides you both High and Low speed rebound as well as High and Low speed compression settings. For even better performance chat with our team about our Pro Tune services to narrow the performance window based on your size, speed, riding style and terrain.

FOX 36 GRIP2 Fork: seldom swapped on this build.
Pro Tune service is often done on this build.

Wheels: Seldom swapped on this build
DT Swiss EX or XM 1700 wheels with 30mm internal rims. A solid wheelset. If it was swapped it would typically be for i9 or King hubs on a variety of rim options. More and more riders are going to carbon rims – and few if any seem to come back…

Tires: If swapped it’s typically a preference change.
Front: Minion DHF 2.5 EXO. Some riders will prefer a heavier sidewall option for protection and damping. EXO+ in the DHF or Assegai is probably the most popular. A DD Assegai 3C MaxxGrip is a burly option for riders looking for ALL the grip…

Rear: Aggressor 2.3 EXO. Fairly commonly swapped at this point. Often a DHR II in EXO + or even the Double Down (DD) Aggressor is added for more damping control from the tire.

Brakes: If swapped its a preference, and if riders don’t prefer Shimano they almost 100% go to Magura MT7 or MT7 HC3 on this bike.
Shimano XT M8120 4 piston. The Shimano XT brake is really a pretty good barometer in the industry. Riders who like the quick power application from the Shimano master cylinder and short throw lever could go to the XTR, but the price to performance window keeps nearly all Shimano brake riders in XT.  A common swap for the XT 4 piston brakes is to go to the Magura MT7. The Magura MT7 has a variety of lever options including the ultra adjustable HC3 lever to fine tune throw, reach and leverage ratio.

Brake Rotors: Seldom changed on this build.
SM-RT66. Believe it or not this is the preferred Shimano rotor at BikeCo. Less exotic than the Ice Tech in material and manufacturing it tends to be more robust and slower wearing.

Cranks: Seldom changed on this build.
XT 170mm with 30t. Clean looking and stiff riding cranks. Unless you want a fancier material its hard to find a nicer crank.

Drivetrain: Seldom changed on this build.
XT M8100 12sp Shimano with 51t cassette. Shimano’s drivetrains are the smoothest on the market. They shift gears nearly effortlessly with a very sophisticated feel. To keep your Shimano drivetrain performing at its best its important to regularly wipe the dirt and debris from the chain, pulley wheels, chain ring and cassette and keep it properly lubed.

Headset: Seldom changed on this build.
Cane Creek 40. The 40 is a classic on bikes from Deore all the way to X01 builds. Robust and easy to maintain a properly installed Cane Creek 40 will give you crisp, quiet performance for a long time. If it’s changed its for a Chris King color option to highlight the build.

Handlebar and Stem: Performance change.
Yeti carbon bar and Race Face Aeffect stem. The Yeti carbon bar is actually pretty popular. There’s a bit of a sweet spot in the medium and “smaller” large rider who likes the rise on these bars and can trim a little bit off without making them super stiff. As riders start to get onto the longer end of the size large and into extra large we typically see bars with taller rise utilized such as the TAG 40mm, OneUp 35mm rise bars, etc.

Grips: Preference swap if swapped
ODI Elite Pro. Grips are really personal. The ODI Elite Pro are a very good grip. But,  if you already know what you like though this is another common place for swaps.

Seatpost: Seldom changed on this build.
FOX Transfer.

Saddle: Preference swap if changed, but one of THE BEST stock saddle options on the market.
Silverado Custom. Like grips, saddle choice is really personal. The WTB Silverado is probably one of the most widely fitting saddles on the market. Ibis hasn’t picked a strange saddle to save a buck or two at the cost of you never wanting to really ride it… With the Silverado riders have a proper size and shape MTB saddle for the type of riding the Ripmo AF is designed for.

Other Performance or Preference Posts:

Ibis Ripmo AF Deore

Shop In-Stock SB130’s as well other Ibis, Mondraker and Yeti Completes at!

Posted on Leave a comment

Extended First Ride: Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Extended First Ride Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Well, after about 4 years I changed bikes this week. I demo-ed the aluminum Mondraker FOXY and decided the carbon version, with suspension and brakes I liked would be a good fit. So far, I’ve been blown away with how right that is. Here we go with an Extended First Ride: Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review.

To start, if you want to learn a more about the spec of my build you can link over to a post which details some of the “whys” each part ended up on my personal bike.

As a note, I purchase all my product. You can see where I see value. Great performance on budget bits (like Magura MT5 brakes – love em, they work great and they save $) means I have more budget on parts I’m willing to go all in for performance (suspension for example).

2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon RR Review

What’s an Extended First Ride?

Sounds a corporate-ese right?

This Mondraker FOXY review isn’t a two hour spin and then onto something else. Getting miles in different terrain over a few days allows minor adjustments and a much better understanding of the bikes finite details.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

I’ll go over quick pre-ride notes, thoughts on the trail performance as well as some product specific insight on bits that are new to me on a personal or extended test bike.

FOXY, Before the Ride

Mondraker Fit: Forward Geometry

I wanted to go a little longer than my previous SB130 (Large). Since the FOXY has a longer reach and slightly taller stack per size I stayed in the Large, but it hit my goal of being slightly longer.

Between the stem stack and 40mm bars I was able to get my hands up a bit more which I’m hoping will help my lower back on long or technical climbs.

I centered the saddle on the rails and haven’t changed it yet. It’s a comfortable position even with long legs for my height.

I don’t do a lot of cockpit fine tuning as I need my hands into a pretty specific area to help my lower back uphill. I’ll accommodate as needed downhill to make sure I feel as good as possible uphill… Like my grandma said, getting old isn’t for sissies.

Ohlins Suspension Setup

My  first ride was chasing the sun. Luckily, Ohlins has pretty good setup data available. I grabbed their settings and headed off.

The rear shock felt close. Maybe one click here and one click there on the first day to feel the difference.

In the front, the RXF M.2 fork is plush. It felt a bit linear as I prefer more ramp and support so I ended up cranking as much compression into it as possible on the first ride.

2022 Mondraker FOXY First Ride Review

On Trail

Riding within your limits is important. Even more on a bike that you are unfamiliar with. I kept the bike well within my ability since my first ride was at dusk and alone.

My first lap was an easy loop near work in Whiting Ranch. It’s a flowy, fun network, close enough to the shop I can ride before or after the day easily. Nothing burly. Prior to my earlier demo ride I was a little nervous that the FOXY would feel “big” or “numb” there. The aluminum demo bike felt OK there so I surmised that the carbon bike with better suspension would improve that. It did.

Since it’s a common lap it’s easy to look for a particular setup window: I want the bike to have traction into the corners and pop out. Rear suspension should be lively enough to pump the trail with notable effect, ie speed increase. Similarly, the fork should have enough support to keep the bike changing direction or floating over terrain and not “diving into” pockets on corners or when the trail comes back up from a hole.

The FOXY’s rear end felt close off the bat. It lacked a touch of support and sat a little deep into the direction changes, but, for a first ride it was well within an expected performance range. Where it gave up a little in support the traction was amazing.

The 36 RXF fork was more linear that I liked, kind of right on the edge of the range of ‘ya, I can get this fixed’. But I knew the Ohlins was going to have a more linear feel and it was a first drop. So, nothing to worry about just yet.

While the bike wasn’t quite as lively as I would consider perfect I wasn’t worried about getting it into the range. The combination of compression controls, ramp up chamber in the fork and volume spacers in the rear shock gave me options to fine tune the pop on the bike.

One thing I took clearly from the first ride on the FOXY: the extra grip was notable. This is one planted bike. More than once where the FOXY held a tighter line than I expected and I ended up handlebars, arms and one time maybe face into the bushes on the inside of a corner.

I was most pleased with how lively the 150mm travel Zero Suspension rides. I had some reservations that the RAZE was a bike I would like better with slightly less travel. Not all of my rides need the FOXY’s full travel, but it’s a lively bike and lets me keep something in the tank for bigger days.

When I demo’d the FOXY I found it climbed much better than I forecast. Even the aluminum demo felt good downhill. The carbon FOXY, with brakes that I had faith in and suspension with more compression support would take the ride to the next level. And it did.

Extending the First Ride Review

Writing on a single ride admittedly creates a situation where you have to extrapolate some data based on previous experience rather than actual product experience. To have a more substantial and credible post I wanted a few more rides on the FOXY.

My next ride was in Mission Trails in San Diego. This is a park not too far from my house. A little steeper and burlier terrain in parts than Whiting, but its still a fun ‘by yourself’ pedal. BTW, I don’t see a reason to test in conditions that push you to the point you can’t really understand what’s happening, like if my first ride was in the burliest terrain I can handle what am I going to write competently?

22 Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Climbing the Mondraker FOXY

As always, I have to disclaim this: I am not a good climber. Not my forte nor my priority. So, most of you can out climb me. I get uphill to ride down – and as long as I eventually get up there I’m quite pleased hahaha…

What am I looking for when climbing for a competent write-up? Traction and acceleration. Those two things I can feel and translate to other riders. As far as churning your legs faster and further? You got that I’m sure!

Mission Trails offers sections to feel how a bike tracks around switchbacks, handles loose rocks and gets over protruding rocks.


The Mondraker tracked pretty well, around even tight switchbacks. I was intrigued to see how the slacker headtube angle compared to my previous SB130 TLR would behave. Pretty close, and without the four years of experience on the bike too…

On the tightest radius corners I found myself letting the front end get light and driving around off the back wheel. Concentrating and keeping the rear wheel under power when I get tired is difficult. I tend to just bash things and stay under power. A stronger rider likely would kind of half stand to pedal and push the front end down around the corner. The survival pedal-er, me, needs to keep the momentum going or the pedals stop and it’s foot down. This leads to staying in a more singular position and letting the front end go light and kind of body-englishing it around. Something I could work on for sure. Bike is more competent than me in this situation.

I’ll touch again on climbing switchbacks a bit later.

Climbing Rocks and Baby Heads

The FOXY climbed very sure footed in loose rocks. Zero Suspension didn’t suffer wheel spin even as the rocks moved under the power.

It behaved even better in the larger protruding rock sections. During a test ride I try to use a combination of lines that I know as well as off-line bizarre routes to see if the bike wants to behave or not. In both scenarios the FOXY was extremely competent and predictable.

One of the most notable things, the Mondraker, being so sure footed, keeps the rear tire in line very well. Compared to bikes that can lose the read end under power and kind of fish-tail around the Mondraker overall kept its heading well. This is beneficial as it requires less body-english to keep the bike moving forward.

My favorite aspect climbing was how the bike feels like it ‘crawls’ up rocks.

Previous bikes I’ve had seem to push ‘back’ when approaching some of the lines in Mission Trails. As an example, you’d almost have to pedal into the section, start up the rocks, the suspension would come back and as a rider you’d push the bike back forward to continue. It takes much more energy and thought (two things I might not have a lot of climbing admittedly).

The FOXY seems to ‘crawl’ up the rock rather than pushing back. Much more of the momentum is retained in a forward direction which is a confident feel. It’s notable how well a 150mm rear travel bike climbs these days – man it’s come a long way from when I started riding…


OK, while not a climber, I’m a strong enough to tell how a bike accelerates. I then extrapolate this into efficiency a bit.

The Mondraker accelerates really well whether pedaling seated or standing. When you increase the wattage to the cranks the bike quickly responds.

This compares favorably against bikes that feel like when you start putting a ton of power they take a second to load the suspension then start spinning the wheel a bit more. The FOXY rewards the effort quickly and crisply.

The bike accelerates quickly and it feels appropriate to the amount of increase of power to the increase of ground speed.

2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Mondraker FOXY Downhill Performance

Well, here’s where it gets fun. Like real fun.

The FOXY is a blast downhill.

It corners well, it handles chunk, it has a personality that is snappy enough for me but isn’t so fast handling that it will give you issues if you push it a bit past your skill level.


This is a very planted bike. As such braking performance is great.

Jump on the brakes hard and roll off them before a corner you’ll find the FOXY slows well and then resets to track excellent into the turn. It is quick to change direction and confident accepting lean angle both early and in the middle of the corner.

Four rides in and I found the limit of how much rear compression I like, where the bike starts to chatter just a bit in the mid corner at speed. Now I’m dialing back to get a bit more grip in the mid and corner exit.

I started with stock volume spacing and ran the suggested air pressure and close to the compression and rebound settings. Having found the limit with the compression and PSI my next step will be to go back with volume spacers and see if adding some support through air ramp allows me to back off the compression a bit.

Frankly, in a short time I’ve gotten very comfortable with the FOXY’s cornering.

At first the added grip even had me running too tight, into bushes on the inside of corners once or twice! After a couple instances I thought the bike might have pushed out of a corner – but going back and glancing at footage it might be that the additional grip has lead to an increase in cornering speed. (not even riding at full tilt! Impressive)

Finally on cornering: after each ride I note the bike’s condition with particular interest to travel used and whether the tires have any tell-tale markings on the sidewalls. I have yet to get any of the slashes on the sidewall, so I have a little more traction and compliance left in the tires if I want it as well.

Improving the bike in the corners

I’m still working to get a bit more support out of the front end which I believe will give the bike even a touch more speed out of corner pockets. A lot of this comes back to my riding size and ground speed combo.

While the Ohlins fork is a bit linear for me, a heavier rider on the max end of the air pressure, for the average 160-220lb rider I would say that the fork setup is much easier. The performance window allows for a more precise setup feel and wider range of options. Particularly using the ramp up chamber at a higher pressure per weight.

I’m working on some setup with it and it’s not so far out of the window that its unusable by any stretch. I suspect that I’ll find some magic in it. If I don’t I’ll go back to a FOX 36 or 38 GRIP2.

It’s the mid support that I’m working through at the minute.

The fork is plush, which I could give up some for more support, but I’m trying ride a normalized sag setting at the moment. I may increase the PSI and look for maybe 15-18% sag but I’m still playing with other options before I get too far away from the 20% sag.

The Ohlins high speed compression works well. I cranked it up a couple rides and it kept me out of the final bit of travel. I’ve backed it down a bit as it wasn’t adding as much to the mid stroke as I wanted and was costing me that last bit of travel in a couple situations that might have warranted it.

Personally I’m just looking for a little more right as the bike starts to set into the travel. I feel like its there and I feel like I’ll find it. Or I’ll keep pestering Joe until he goes into it and I get the first Ohlins Pro Tune…

Speaking of the fork let’s look at some terrain that needs more fork.

Chunky Terrain

The quick take: Mondraker’s FOXY is predictable and at home in chunky terrain.

The FOXY’s sure-footed personality glows when you point the bike downhill. Even running on the far end of ‘poppy’ compression the bike sticks to the ground. Since it’s hard to push the bike to a point of skipping across the trail both turning and braking capacity are excellent.

Looking at my notes, the only complaints have been based the feeling like I’ve run deeper into the front travel than I prefer, but the fork hits the HSC and hasn’t buried. I would just like a little less of that dive in feel.

I’ve bottomed the rear end of the bike a couple times but haven’t felt a hard bottom yet. It has a confident feel through the travel.

Downhill Riding Position

My opinion on the Mondraker’s riding position, given that my setup is a compromise for my back, should be taken with a little bit of a grain of salt.

However, my setup isn’t so far in the weeds that it needs to be disregarded (try to sneak a look at test bike setups sometimes, I don’t know how some of these reviewers even ride ‘em…)

I’ve found the FOXY feels like you’re ‘in’ not ‘on’, which is nice. Front and rear wheel are both relatively easy to control from a standard downhill position. The bike behaves as expected if you move weight fore and aft.

I find I’m riding slightly more nose heavy than my previous rig. This might be one of the reasons I keep coming back to a bit more mid support out of the fork. But there’s also a difference of 4 years versus 4 rides experience. Maybe I’m getting used to it. I’ll have to look at if I’ve raised my hands a notable amount as well.

Slacker Headtube and More Trail

Compared to the 130 LR the FOXY has a slacker headtube, and thus an increase in trail measurement. I was a little fearful that this would numb the front end of the bike on trail and light enduro terrain.

So far, I haven’t noticed that. My continued adjustments have all improved the cornering of the FOXY downhill but none of them are based on a numb feeling.

Uphill in tight switchbacks I think I feel it a little more.

I found two ways to make the FOXY get around the real tight stuff.

Steering with the bars and leaning ‘out’ of the turn to keep the bike standing as straight as possible kept the steering input from wanting to exacerbate the lean angle.

The second option is not steering much at all and really leaning into the uphill corners. This requires more power as it works better at speed.

Both of the above worked. What felt like it didn’t work as well was kind of half turn half lean options. We live in a polarized world – so what should I expect haha…

2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Wrapping Up the Mondraker FOXY Review

I’m going to try to be concise as I’m edging into 3000 words and all the seo machines are going to hate me… Also I want to have a couple blurbs on some new parts I’m riding and what I think as well below.

The FOXY with a 160mm fork and 150mm of rear travel on paper probably doesn’t look as trail and light enduro friendly as it is. This is an efficient pedaling bike. Mondraker’s well-designed suspension, they’re not using quantity of travel to make up for poor quality of travel like some designs do, means the bike feels fun and poppy throughout the travel. I don’t notice the bike using more travel than it needs nor do I feel the bike being harsh or uncomfortable sitting in the middle of the travel. I suppose what that means, the ramp and compression pairing on the rear shock give a good feeling balance through the travel. Instead of feeling ultra linear even though maybe I’m using 135-140 of the rear travel the bike feels progressive and poppy without becoming teeth rattling harsh in the last bit of rear travel.

Downhill Mondraker’s years on the race course have produced a bike that’s competent and predictable in a wide range of terrain. I didn’t notice any harsh square edge hits and the bike ate up terrain even when I deliberately put it in abusive lines.
For the average rider the Mondraker FOXY’s handling is awesome. The bike’s braking capacity is tremendous allowing confidence at speed. The grip is top of class, again adding confidence. And the bike changes directions quickly and competently.

More to come on this I’m sure, but let me quickly touch on some opinions on new parts to my bike. Starting at the back and going to the front:

10-52t cassette. I’m not a good climber. But, if you are, that 52t is a big jump from the 42t. I think I will end up getting stronger as I find myself in the 42t more often because I’m tepid to shift hard into that big 52t. But, it is a great granny gear!

Small flange diameter DT Swiss 350 hubs. This will be interesting. I’ve run 28h DT Swiss before, but this smaller diameter hub with straight pull spokes will be intriguing. Upside potentially more damping during cornering. The DT internals are top notch – but will the longer spokes cause me any issues? (again, I’m bigger than you!)

AbsoluteBlack Oval Chainring. First thoughts, when you’re going so slow that everything hurts well it hurts the same. If you get up a bit past that pace I can see where the change in leverage does probably make it an easier pedaling system. Since this is the pace I tend to live in I think I will like it overall. If you really start cranking a huge cadence it feels a little strange – but – that’s not been my problem in years…

Ohlins Suspension. See above – more to come on that too.

Fidloc magnetic bottle cage. Interesting. Makes a different noise downhill than I’m used to, but seems to stay in place and has a low profile overall.

New FOX Transfer Seatpost. Love the saddle mounting hardware. Love it.

Tag T1 Carbon 40mm rise bars. Love them so far. I went with them for the height as well as I wanted to try their ovalized internal carbon design to see how that feels on trail.

Ergon GE1 grips. RIP to the WTB Padloc I loved for so many bikes. I picked the Ergon as they had a nice feel on the outside of the top surface where you’re looking offer a bit more squish.


Thanks for the read! Shopping for your dream Mondraker? Want to learn more about the bike or the Ohlins’ Suspension? Check out the links below


Extended Review of the Mondraker FOXY – More Trail Time and Spec Detail
Video/blog: Compare the Ohlins RXF and FOX 38 on Mondraker FOXY Carbon
Images/blog: Extra FOXY, 170mm fork on Mondraker FOXY Carbon with Float X2

Check out our in-stock bikes

Adding Volume Spacers to Ohlins TTX Air Shock

Learn how to change an Ohlins TTX Volume Spacer

Posted on Leave a comment

Thoughts on the 2022 Mondraker FOXY First Ride

2022 Mondraker FOXY First Ride

With the Mondraker Demo Fleet here at for a week I had an opportunity to grab one of the 2022 Mondraker FOXY demos for a morning to help better define some of the details that set this bike apart. Here are my thoughts on the 2022 Mondraker FOXY First ride!

spoiler alert… pulled the trigger on a FOXY Carbon RR with some upgrades… Learn about how I spec’d My Bike for Me (link at bottom as well)

I hope you enjoy the video with both my real time thoughts on the 2022 Mondrakers as well as some concepts to review on demoing not only the Mondraker but really any MTB. (Click to see part 1, “What to Look for in a MTB Demo” video)

With the modern economy demo fleets aren’t necessarily full of each size and each model you’re looking for. So, its more important than ever to be able to work and define whether you’re noting the Frame / Suspension Design, the Spec (Components) or the Setup. All three are critical in dialing in YOUR dream bike, however, the reality on a quickly setup demo you’re going to have some accommodations to be aware of.

This Mondraker FOXY was a very poignant illustration of that. With all of the carbon bikes allocated to dealers (like!) the demo fleet is made up of more entry level aluminum bikes.

This made it more important than ever to be able to understand what performance attributes would be due to Zero Suspension Design and Forward Geometry, which are shared with the FOXY Carbon R while being able to decipher what influence the aluminum construction and more cost-conscious spec had on my demo ride.

So what did I find?

Mondraker ZERO Suspension

My Mondraker FOXY First Ride made one thing really clear: Zero Suspension is notably compliant and competent. The Mondraker FOXY rides well planted and is confident in fast direction changes. The Mondraker suspension also is exceptional putting power to the rear tire. The planted feel minimizes rear wheel slip under power even in less than idea climbing conditions.

How was I able to determine this? Just beyond amazing demo? Ya, not exactly…

Well, it might seem somewhat counter intuitive to be really impressed with a design when the ride experience was kind of just above so/so right? Not when you can break apart the bike design, spec and setup.

The FOXY demo had FOX Performance DPS rear shock and FOX Performance GRIP 36 fork. Both of these are quality bits, but neither has the external compression controls of the FOX Factory or Ohlin’s products to help provide more rider support quickly. Also, demo bikes are done to accommodate the widest range of riders. Well, many riders, especially lighter ones or riders with slower ground speeds, prefer less ramp rate so the suspension tends to have fewer volume spacers than you may run.

In short, I knew the suspension dampers were going to be somewhat overwhelmed – I tried to make up for some of this with a bit more aggressive air pressure but the mid-stroke of both fork and rear shock were going to be slightly lacking. Now, if the bike was mine could I get that dialed in over a few rides? Ya, with volume spacers and PSI variants you could get it close. With Pro Tune suspension you could get it even closer with size and speed based tuning in the circuit. But back to the FOXY.

The Mondraker Zero Suspension was exceptionally confident even with dampers that I knew were being overworked. How did this manifest on trail? Well, the bike didn’t squat into corners. In fact, even with a relatively soft mid-stroke in the rear shock the bike felt like it stood tall heading into turns.

Now, a little bit of that would be because the fork was being overwhelmed and allowing the weight to shift forward, but not all of it.

The FOXY was sure-footed and competent even with my body weight being tossed around a bit to make up for the lack of front end support. Impressively the bike was quick to change directions in both high speed “S’s” as well as medium or lower speed bermed switchbacks.

The demo bike was setup at 160mm with a 66 degree headtube angle. Personally I would be setting it p with a 170mm fork, not so much for the additional travel but to slacken the headtube, increase the trail measurement and raise the front end up just a bit.

This combined with a personalized cockpit (the demo bike even with full spacers underneath the stem was still a bit low for me) would have dialed in the front end and allowed the rear end to perform even better.

FOXY Forward Geometry

The Forward Geometry is what we expect in modern MTB geo. The Large Mondraker fit very similar to my current Large Yeti SB130LR.

Climbing you’re placed in a comfortable, powerful position allowing you to attack technical ascents. In fact, for a 150mm rear bike I was blown away with how well it climbed. The energy you invest pedaling can be felt in the acceleration.

Descending riders find a confident position able to control the front and rear wheel in a position without extreme body English movements.

MTB Demo Bike Checklist: 3 Lists of 3

I often tell riders to try to avoid coming back from a demo with a “I loved it” or “I didn’t love it” attitude.

Its tough to have all the bits line up to totally fall in love with a bike on a short demo. It’s not too hard to decide you’re not into the right bike if you don’t break apart what was based on bike design, bike category, spec or setup.

Being able to work with a resource to help define this will go a long way to understanding if you’re on the right bike with the wrong bits, or if you’re in the wrong category of bike (honestly the FOXY is probably a little bigger than I would ride – I’d probably lean into a slightly burly built RAZE – or maybe a faster spec’d FOXY… hmmm now I’ll have to go back and look again!)

So here’s my 3 lists of 3. 3 things I liked, 3 things I was neutral about and 3 things I would change if it was mine:

3 Things I Liked

Suspension had very consistent, confident, planted feel yet with power the bike was incredibly efficient. Felt like it was shorter rear travel than it is while climbing, found traction even in challenging conditions. Felt appropriate acceleration for increases in energy output.

Bike stayed behaved even when pushed past fork’s ramp or compression – that’s to say when I got in some “oh boy” moments and undoubtably was throwing my body around the bike didn’t spit me out but stayed competent and neutral.

Bike had good support in rear into corners, which must have been mechanical design as the shock was under ramped and didn’t have finite low speed compression controls.

3 things I’m Neutral About (I only did 2)

Geometry felt right for pedaling. Felt like I expected that size bike to feel. Didn’t feel a way off from my Yeti’s fit. (check dimensions)

Wheel and tire spec was as expected on a bike of this category. Not my ideal but worked fine.

3 Things I Would Change

Brakes. Magura or Hope for improved modulation and confident power. I’ve run both over the years with excellent results.

Suspension. Performance Suspension on the demo Foxy lacked the compression controls for fine tuning the feel. Combined with a much more linear feel due to fewer volume spacers than I would run had the bike diving more than I would have liked to see, but it 100% felt like it could be tuned out with volume spacers in Performance Suspension and volume spacers and compression settings in Ohlins of FOX Factory Suspension. I would likely end up with the Ohlins’ spec’d on the FOXY Carbon R for this bike, or a Factory Float X and Factory 36 if I went with a Raze.

Cockpit: Hands were a bit low on test bike (bars sat taller than Yeti next to it, but BB difference probably made back up for that). Getting your hands in the right place is important for finite bike feel.

In the market for #thebestinMTB? Work with the experts at to get dialed in on the best bikes, with the best suspension designs, spec for your budget and setup to your needs.

See you on the trails! Nate at


Shop In-Stock Mondraker Bikes here at!


Return to Top of Page

22 Mondraker FOXY First Ride Demo
6-17 2022 Mondraker Foxy Carbon RR with Upgrades Profile

Learned something about the 2022 Mondraker FOXY from this demo write up? Well see how I put together my personal FOXY Carbon after riding the aluminum demo…