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MBR magazine dig a little deeper into what Mondraker's Forward Geometry is all about and answer a few questions about why it is so good. Read the review here

You can ride the Foxy XR flat-out straight away in zones that would require much more caution on most other 140mm machines.

What's it all about?

Forward Geometry sees the front triangle of certain Mondraker Models lengthened, with the aim of increasing overall stability. The stretched front centre dimension makes for a significantly longer wheelbase, despite retaining the same head angle as Mondraker's 'classic' geometry bikes. The concept uses a specially designed ultra-short stem to retain riders position.

To illustrate better; the 140mm travel foxy sports a 60mm longer top tube in Forward Geometry guise, and, since standard models us a 70mm stem, the 60mm extra length is balanced by a 10mm stem - so the measurements from the riders hands to fee (bottom bracket to handlebars) remain the same.

The 'Forward' layout means the rider loads the front wheel more than usual, with the micro stem serving a double purpose - retaining pedalling position, but also adding precision and sensitivity to the steering - to counteract the increased wheelbase cutting a wider arc and turning circle than a standard bike.

World champion Fabien Barel endorses the idea. He explains: "The overall concept is about bringing extra stability for all levels of rider, without compromising the handling." And says it's faster too. "In timed analysis , the Forward Geometry equates to almost two seconds a minute, because the longer system reacts so well when dealing with impacts and the direct stem gives you extra control in steering."

Who's Behind It?

The concept is rooted in the Spanish company's downhill race programme, with French rider Damien Spagnolo piloting a Forward Geometry Summum to a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships. Mondraker's bike designer, Cesar Rojo, debuted the Enduro version at the 2011 Trans Provence race.

Rojo says: "Testing Forward Geometry on my Summum made me keen to prototype an all-mountain version, so to try the theory we welded he front triangle of an 'XL' Foxy to the back end of a 'M' frame and I designed a special aluminium 10mm long stem. With the front axle sitting futher forward [without the need for a super-slack head angle] the longer bike kept its speed better over rough terrain and reduced the sensation of tipping you forward over the handlebars on steep sections."

Mondraker refined the idea further, and for 2013 there are three models - the 120mm Factor, 140mm Foxy and 160mm Dune - all designed by the XR (Extreme Racing) suffix. The bikes also sport 20mm more travel at the front than the rear, addressing the fact that the layout puts more rider pressure over the front wheel (and reflecting the aggressive background to the concept).

Why Is It For You?

While the idea is clearly about confidence and stability at speed and in rough terrain, Mondraker insists the geometry is also optimised for pedalling efficiency and climbing, stating that the longer front centre should help in reducing the 'wheelie' effect up steep climbs.

Barel describes the benefits in more detail. "We noticed in downhill testing, the longer the wheelbase the easier you can under impacts. It's not a massive change compared to normal bikes, just an evolution - but the Forward Geometry handling also allows you to load the front triangle more for grip, because you can put more weight on the front without pitching forward. The direct stem is so sensitive that you hardly have to touch the handlebars to turn, and you soon realise that you are controlling the bike more with your feet."

And how is performance in tighter terrain and slower speeds? "You need to get used to it - you notice the extra reactivity in the handlebars when you stand up to climb and also when you sprint - so you need to keep your upper body steady and not move your arms side to side so much."

How Does It Ride?

Point the Forward Geometry downhill and the super long wheelbase oozes confidence. On steep alpine terrain, the 140mm travel Foxy with 160mm Float fork goes exactly where you point it and feels almost as secure as a downhill bike - surprising considering it's a short-ish travel rig.

It makes very little time to get used to the way the geometry behaves and ou can ride the Foxy XR flat-out straight away in zones that would require much more caution on most other 140mm machines. The direct steering feels radically different - side-to-side movement is so light that even when the bike is fully G'd out in deep, steep berms it's still possible to steer or counter steer. This sensation is unique to Forward Geometry, and gives you extra control and precision. At speed you ride on your feet an d lean with your hips, like skiing , which feels both stable and natural.

Is It Here To Stay?

At present, only Mondraker offers the concept, but we'd welcome Forward Geometry on other brands, especially on bikes more targeted to the downs than the ups - and there's no legal or intellectual reason why they can't adopt the same style.

Out own ultra-short-stem experiments point to the fact that 29ers could also be logical benefactors: since the front tyres wants to point forwards on big wheelers, and climbing performance and traction are so good that's to the longer chainstays, the only potential drawback - extreme steering sensitivity - is less of an issue.

Why not check out the Foxy XR MS which was released at the start of the summer with an SRP of just £2,895?

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