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Shred take Mondrakers Factor RR LTD and give it a pounding on the world's toughest race course - Dalby Forest Our time with the Mondraker Factor RR Ltd came in two chunks. First we borrowed one from Ratboy at UK importers Silverfish, we gave it a bit of a hard time but we really liked it and because he was unlikely to lend it to us again we did the only decent thing and acquired one for ourselves.

Everything about the Factor RR LTD goes against the grain. It has a stack of really decent components that have been genuinely and carefully picked to hit the budget and maximise performance but they are all slapped onto an aluminium frame, painted gold and had a 4,500 price sticker stuck on it. Now go into pretty much any bike shop in the land and they will wheel out the classic sales speak of pushing the buyer to get a carbon frame bike, never mind the components as they can be upgraded as they break or the owner gets bored of the sign of them.

But why? A good aluminium frame is a formidable asset on any bike and with the price of top end components jacking up in recent years the logic of this approach to bicycle buying is increasingly flawed. Surely it is best to go out and get a bike that is as good as you can get for the money, especially if you are chucking it on 0% finance over the next couple of years and get one that will last.

The top end Factor bikes from the Spanish brand offer a number of different levels; the RR Ltd is clearly a standout bike in the range and sits a clear grand and half above the next model down, the RR. What this extra grand and half gets you is a bike that sits well inside the realms of race bike weight but with 120mm of suspension front and rear that offers a stunning riding experience. Our large sized bike weighed in at exactly the same weight as the highly acclaimed carbon framed Rocky Mountain Element MSL at exactly 25lb, straight out the box with pedals on. It's rolling with XTR triple crankset and mechs, XT shifters, Easton carbon bars and a SID World Cup fork. The DTSwiss 1450 wheels and play a huge part in the riding characteristics on the bike but the impressive handling comes down largely to Mondraker Zero suspension system. We tested the system last year on Mondraker's 140mm Foxy and loved it, to be honest the Factor doesn't really ride much different but with a lighter package the climbing prowess of the bike really comes to life and it flies up hill. We've nudged the bike off pro-pedal a couple of times on the downhill's but to be honest with a bottle in place it's kind of hard to reach the shock dials so it pretty much stays in pro-pedal setting all the time and it does fine.

Any downsides? The bolts fell out of the shock pretty much straight away and we had to drop them all out and threadlock them in but a decent bike shop should do this before you pick it up, rather than using using our Friday afternoon shonky tool time, The brakes are a strange combination of Formula R1 levers paired with cheaper RX calipers and 180mm rotors and they are really powerful, perhaps too powerful for our local trails but we have the same brakes running on smaller 160mm discs and they feel great. If you are a regular fan of riding endures and heavier trail duties then honestly their Foxy is a better bike as it handles a bigger cross ection of duties but if you want a bike to enjoy racing, a whole heap of different type of mountain bike races, then the Factor RR ltd does the job well.

The bike has done a few XC races already including a couple of days at Dalby, torn up our local trail centres and been used for local evening rides, it isn't a race winning carbon hardtail but it is a lot of fun. This is the kind of bike that makes you look for tougher stuff to ride, it's light enough to fully rip but the aluminium frame gives you the confidence to push a little harder, it makes you want to up your game. If you are spending four and a half grand surely the best thing a bike can chuck into the deal is a chance tom make you a better rider?

Full review can be read in issue 55 of Shred online or in your LBS

Silverfish UK Ltd. Units 3a-3c Woodacre Court, Saltash Parkway Industrial Estate, Burraton Road, Saltash, Cornwall, United Kingdom, PL12 6LY
Silverfish UK Ltd. (Registration No. 4075057).

Technical specifications are for guidance only and cannot be guaranteed accurate. All offers are subject to availability and while stocks last. Errors and omissions excepted. Silverfish UK Limited acts as a credit intermediary and only offers credit products for Close Brothers Retail Finance. Its registered office is: Close Brothers Group plc, 10 Crown Place, London EC2A 4FT. Credit is subject to application and status.

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