Mondraker Introduces Forward Geometry: Are You Ready for a 10 mm Stem?

Technology and fashion in the bike industry cycle nearly as quickly as moore’s law. Ten years ago, 70mm stems where commonplace on trail bikes, 680mm bars were considered wide, and 29″ wheels belonged on road bikes. Now, Mondraker is attempting to pioneer a new trend, with the shortest AM stem you’ve seen this decade.

According the the company:

The geometry defines the spirit and performance of any bike, it´s the main responsible of our feelings and marks the character of the bike. Mondraker’s goal has been to move forward with a better overall geometry. This new concept is inspired on motorbikes geometry, also closer to other extreme applications as BMX or DH, and for sure not accepting the road heritage established a long time ago. Mondraker have taken the current trend that beats for longer top tubes and shorter stems, and carried it till the last consequences; really long top tube and almost not stem length. 

In order to understand the difference in geometry, its best to compare it directly against today’s “classic” geometry.

On the new Foxy XR, ridden by Fabien Barrel in the informational video, and the flagship of the new Forward Geometry concept, the front triangle is extended by 60mm. The company argues that the additional 60mm in reach and stub stem are equivalent in length to the classic Foxy with the stock 70mm stem. As a result, the geometry does not change. The 68º head angle, 75º seat tube angle, 430mm chain stay length, and 0 mm of BB drop remain unchanged.

The difference? The front wheel axle is situated further forward.

Mondraker claims that pushing the axle further forward has several advantages. The longer wheelbase will improve stability, the front wheel will stay planted during climbs, and it will be more stable on downhills and decrease the chances of flying over the bars (OTB).

Furthermore, despite the increase in wheelbase, the bike will supposedly have livelier steering than its “classic” 70 mm counterpart, because the 10 mm stem will require less handlebar movement to get the same front wheel angle.

Do you think Mondrakers moto inspired design is a step forward, or all hype? Let us know in the comments.

 

Comments

Champs - 07/19/12 - 5:26pm

I’m still having trouble visualizing how it works, but what’s clear to me is that it looks U-G-L-Y.

Getting over the looks would be easy if it could kill toe overlap on my road bike. Yes, it DOES matter when you’re grinding up some wall of a climb, and every wobble of the front wheel rubs against your size 48 Sidis, like you needed to make it any harder.

Andrew - 07/19/12 - 5:40pm

On road bike I went from scott addict XL 60.5 Theo TT to 63.5CM Theo TT on a custom bike. I enjoyed going from 130 stem to 100mm stem on my road bike by increasing the top tube length. I think 10mm might be taking the same idea on dirt a little too far but I would be willing to try it.

Steve M - 07/19/12 - 6:04pm

A step in the right direction

collyer - 07/19/12 - 6:28pm

More traction because of a longer wheelbase – yes. I dunno what “livelier” steering means, but I do know that a longer wheelbase means a slower steering bike, that needs a larger radius in which to turn. The steering would be more sensitive to input, but would need wider bars to have to the same leverage as bars 90-110mm forward of the steer tube. The future has riders sitting farther BACK on the bike, not forward. This is a near-trendy dead-end, at least for the average trail-rider. Long wheelbase would help on DH or all-MTN riders, but what’s the % of AM or DH being sold vs XC/trail bikes lately? El paso, hermano.

dave - 07/19/12 - 6:36pm

total bs…

the change shifts the weight bias to the back wheel, so the front wheel is harder to control on steep climbs. you can overcome this with technique and a height adjustable fork, but its obvious you will pay a price in climbing performance.

and its ridiculous to state that the short stem somehow overcomes the effect of a longer wheelbase and will give you ‘livelier’ cornering. going around a switchback, wheelbase is wheelbase.

Justin! - 07/19/12 - 6:46pm

Well, I mean – give it to me, I’ll ride the hell out of it, and let you know;

Keith - 07/19/12 - 6:55pm

Isn’t this the original Gary Fisher Genesis geometry taken to the extreme?

Erik - 07/19/12 - 7:07pm

When I was testing yeti’s sb66 I wish it had this stem. Yeti should copy this idea, because it’s toptube was awkwardly long

DaleC - 07/19/12 - 7:11pm

Bar/fork positioning looks like every dirtbike I have had since I started riding in 1975.

I agree that the longer wheelbase will have a negative affect on cornering. Wheelbase length is wheelbase length and there is no magic. Unless the rear wheel steers, too. hahaha

John - 07/19/12 - 8:56pm

Not only is that frame an ugly hunchback, that useless non-stem-stem makes it look even worse.

LMFAO - 07/19/12 - 10:36pm

Fail…Rotec tried this over 10 years ago. EC commented how he couldn’t keep the front wheel from pushing, insufficient weight on the front.

These guys need to learn about a little something called ‘trail’ in geometry.

Even motos have a fair bit of stem offset off center.

saupak - 07/19/12 - 11:13pm

This could be a step forward. Mondraker could really help sell the bike if they brought a whole bunch to the Dirt Expo at Interbike and people got a chance to ride it.
It does look weird, but the stem isn’t that different from what’s on every BMX bike in the world.
@Collyer, Dave, & DaveC – I agree that a significant wheelbase increase will reduce steering response, but it is possible that the zero-length stem could overcome a lot of that. How much? Well, people will need to ride it and see for themselves.
@Champs – dunno how I’d feel about this on a road bike, but a compromise between increased wheelbase and decreased stem length could provide incredible stability for bombing down mountains and kill toe overlap.
@LMFAO – trail has nothing to do with stem length (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_and_motorcycle_geometry#Trail).

Brendan - 07/19/12 - 11:17pm

Buy an XL frame. Keep your 80mm stem but flip it backwards. Wave of the future!

Paul - 07/19/12 - 11:21pm

Harsh crowd…It looks interesting. I’d like to try it.

kcr - 07/20/12 - 1:03am

Seems like front wheel will wonder more on climbs, and be harder to weight in turns. Yes, bmx bikes have super short stems, but they also have like 72-73 degree head angles, and race tracks have huge banked turns so traction isn’t ever really an issue. Imagine trying to rail an off camber turn on a bmx bike….yikes. I’ll remain a skeptic til I ride it.

jimxwill - 07/20/12 - 7:23am

@kcr BMX Bikes tend to run stems from 48-53mm. You’ll also be hard pressed to find a bike with less than 74* at the headtube. Most race frames run 74-74.5*. Freestyle frames sometimes run 76* headtubes now, with 75* becoming the standard.

JoeKing - 07/20/12 - 9:50am

I just love armchair experts..

Well I had this idea & actually built my own.

I bought an eBay XL frame & mounted a 50mm stem. Guess what IT WORKS GREAT. What critics don’t understand ALL frame geometries are compromised..ie. no free lunch. People here think bike design is etched in stone & 1″ variance from it will make a bike unrideable…its not that precise.

Sure its not as good on super tight turns..eventhough the rider in the video looked pretty quick..neither are large size frames compared to XS frames. So I guess a 6’5″ rider is SOL on tight trails..nor are 68º frames..but they are better on decents. How often are you making 180º turns anyway?

What some of you are demanding is improvements EVERYWHERE or its junk..never gonna happen. What I found was an advantage in a roomier cockpit & increased confidence when decending & more diect steering..not a bad compromise.

satisFACTORYrider - 07/20/12 - 10:02am

shorter stems and wider bars are a great combo especially as the bike travel increases anyway. I’d try this. it is ugly though. I’m gonna trust a guy like Barel just cuz he’s known for meticulous set-up as well as a f’n ripper. guys who are more xc oriented and less gravity inclined probably will not trade in their lycra for this though.

bcmanucd - 07/20/12 - 1:06pm

@Keith – yes, Fisher’s Genesis geometry was the same thing, but with a third component – shorter chainstays to keep the wheelbase the same. That was back when 26″ hardtails had long chainstays that could be shortened. Now, fs trailbikes and 29″ bikes have their chainstays about as short as they can get.

My first real mtb was a Fisher hardtail with Genesis geo. It was an okay bike to learn on – fewer endos on descents, less spinning the rear tire on steep climbs. But hard cornering would slide out the front wheel, and negotiating uphill rock gardens was tough. Turns out you do need some weight on that front wheel.

michael - 07/20/12 - 2:42pm

I would like to the video of that bike going through a tight switchback.
They would need more frame sizes to have different reach options, since the stem is one size.

Ted - 07/20/12 - 4:25pm

Fabien could ride the wheels off a tricycle. Nevertheless, this has been tried before. You young-un’s might not remember ROTEC cycles but I do. And Eric Carter wishes he didn’t, the concept doesn’t work, not enough weight over the front end to maintain traction.

dave - 07/20/12 - 5:34pm

>> What some of you are demanding is improvements EVERYWHERE or its junk..never gonna happen. <<

speak for yourself…I am fine with design tradeoffs, what I don't like is the marketing BS that this geo is better everywhere.

also I think mondraker don't appreciate fully how intensely ugly this bike is. aesthetics isn't everything but my god…

Ryan - 07/20/12 - 11:49pm

Looks interesting. I’d love to give it a try on my standard loop, which has a little bit of everything to put it through its paces. Hope this gets to market, or to try it on a demo tour.

JB - 07/22/12 - 10:36am

I’m glad the internet was still in its infancy when the first few failed attempts at front suspension were in development. “That’s horrible; it’s been done and didn’t work; I don’t have any new ideas myself, but I can tell you everything new or different sucks”…We’d all still be riding 6-speed, fully rigid, canti-brake wonder-bikes. This design may very well be horrible for certain riding conditions, but may work quite well in some others. Either way, somehow we seem to have as many armchair bike designers as politicians these days.

MK - 10/17/12 - 7:49am

What some of you are missing is Fisher’s concept fatally toyed with fork offset and trail to manipulate the steering response to bring it back in line with how the Genesis idea thought the front wheel should steer – this was the fly in the ointment.

Mondraker’s concept makes a lot of sense for AM and DH riding in that the extra wheelbase adds TONS of extra stability and traction and the 10mm direct stem makes the handlebars feel more sensitive and responsive – to the point that you can still fine tune and counter steer adjustments through your hands mid turn (even on the harshest G-Out steep DH berms when the bike is fully loaded) more so than any bike I’ve ridden – and no I don’t work for Mondraker!

It is hard to stop the front tyre from wandering on super steep techy climbs though…

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