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2020 Mondraker F-Podium DC Review: It Says Downcountry on the Frame | Pinkbike Field Test

2020 Mondraker F-Podium DC Review: It Says Downcountry on the Frame | Pinkbike Field Test


– Empty, empty. (cans clanking) Empty, empty. (cans clanking) (Upbeat Music) (laughing) (engine revving) So, how seriously is Mondraker taking the Downcountry category? For 2020, the company added
two Downcountry models that not only are made for the category but they say Downcountry right on them. For this year’s Field
Test, Mondraker sent us the top spec F-Podium DC RR model, which for $8,400 comes
with a Shimano XTR group, Fox Factory suspension, front and rear with 120 millimeters of travel up front and 100 millimeters out back. DT Swiss XR 1501 aluminum wheels. The total weight comes out to 26.4 pounds without pedals but with the Maxxis DHR and DHF EXO+ control
tires that we’re using for every bike in this category. Out back Mondraker uses it’s own version of a short dual link suspension design, that it calls Zero. And in this iteration it has
100 millimeters of travel and Mondraker specs a
pretty firm compression tune from Fox on the DPS Evol rear shock. So, seeing as how this is
a cross-country race bike that has been adapted for
more general trail use. Mondraker has clearly made a priority to keep things pretty light. So, the front and rear
triangles are still carbon fiber as you’d expect. The upper rocker link is also carbon fiber but to keep things a
little bit more durable. All the pivot axels are
pretty large diameter. There are cartridge bearings all around and everything seems pretty
reasonably well sealed up. As we usually find with Mondraker frames, the frame is really low slung and there’s a lot of stand over clearance. And there’s enough room
inside the front triangle for even a large water bottle
across the whole size wrench and down below, thankfully, there’s just a standard
threaded bottom bracket. Overall, I think it looks pretty sweet and the numbers make it
look really promising. But that whole saying
about books and covers. That whole thing exists for a reason. So, we’re gonna have to get
a few chapters into this one before we can really draw any conclusions. (upbeat music) – So, James and I both weight 155 pounds so we ran the rear shock with 115 psi with 10 clicks of rebound out from closed and then on the fork we ran 68 psi with 14 clicks of rebound. – So, one thing to note is that, that 115 psi is a lot lower than what Mondraker would normally recommend for riders our size but we did that. We ran 35% sag to get, well try to get a little
bit more travel out of it. (upbeat music) – I really like the climbing
position on this bike. That combination of the
75.1 degree seat tube angle with the 450 millimeter
reach really gives you a planted feel over that front wheel. – Yeah, I thought the overall
position was really good but the rear suspension
didn’t really help me out on climbs as much as I would have liked. That zero suspension system I knew was already really efficient but Mondraker fitted their rear shock with a pretty heavy handed compression tune. So, because it was so hard
to get the back end to move you didn’t really get a
whole lot of traction benefit on bumpier climbs. ♪ Yes or no ♪ ♪ Yes or no ♪ ♪ Yes or no ♪ So, if you look at the
numbers, the 450 mil reach and that 66.8 degree head tube angle, should make for a really good descender and for the most part
that’s exactly how it is. I felt like I was in a
really neutral position on the bike when we were going downhill and I felt like I could
really push the front end through corners instead of having to fight to always keep my weight back like on some of the shorter bikes. Specifically, the Top Fuel and the Mach 4 were both notably shorter and we both felt like we
had to work a lot harder on those bikes to keep going fast. – So, I really like the geometry as well. It was just the suspension felt a little bit unbalanced to me. There’s nothing wrong with that 120 millimeter Fox 34 fork. It was just coupled with that suspension, the rear suspension that
ramped up really quickly. It kind of felt like I was
getting pitched forward which made the head tube angle feel a little bit steeper than it needed to be. ♪ Yes or no ♪ ♪ Yes or no ♪ ♪ Yes or no ♪ So, the first half of our test loop has about 90 meters elevation of climbing. Followed by a pretty tricky descent with some steep corners and rocks. That allowed us to in
a short period of time really get a good feeling for how the bikes capabilities were both on the climbs and the descents. And on the Mondraker, I
actually had my fastest time both on the climb and on the descent. – And I actually set my third
fastest time on this lap. Which in the grand scheme
of things was pretty good. I finished ahead of the
Pivot by a decent margin. (upbeat music) – I feel like Mondraker kind
of did things half way here with the F-Podium. There’s a stock dropper
post, there’s wider tires, there’s a longer travel fork
than the regular F-Podium. But there’s other things that are missing. – Mondraker also fits to
the fork and the rear shock with a dual lockout but the
default position is locked. And both of us hit that
by accident more than once and ended up with locked suspension. When we definitely
didn’t want to have that. – We also really struggled
with the house brand dropper post, there was a lot of friction to bring it up, and it was
just a really slow return. – The front end of this bike
is really low to begin with and then Mondraker makes
it even lower by specing a 50 mil stem which is okay. But it’s got a -5 degrees rise on it which is not so great
because the stem clearly is not visually anyway meant
to be flipped the other way. That’s how we ran it but
it didn’t look very good. (upbeat music) The geometry is so good. It feels as quick and nibble as the Pivot and the Top Fuel on the climbs but then on the descents
it’s a lot more composed. In addition, the peddling
performance is great. It’s a really fast climber
and you feel really efficient. On the climbs you also
notice, how light it is. And then just as a side note, it’s really aesthetically pleasing, it’s a great looking bike. (upbeat music) – I have to say that I walked
away from this Mondraker feeling more frustrated than
I did about the other bikes. Mainly, because I could see the potential of that the frame geometry had and the suspension design had. But Mondraker really kind
of messed up a little bit by specing that shock on there. Just because I felt it really hindered what performance there was on tap. The compression tune on the rear shock is just way too firm and the suspension also just ramps up way
too quickly outback. And although this bike was really light, it could’ve been lighter. I mean for this price point
most of the other bikes that were in this range
came with carbon wheels and the Mondraker came with aluminum ones. (upbeat music) To me this bike for sure is
more a one day marathon race. Even on a more technical course as long as you’re only riding
it for a day, it’d be awesome. Anything more than that I think it would beat you up too much. I would love to try that
bike with a different spec and it sounds like I might
be able to pretty soon. – So, there you have it. The Mondraker F-Podium Downcountry RR. Stay tuned for more videos
from the Pinkbike Field Test including a Downcountry round table that compares all the different bikes. (upbeat music)

39 comments on “2020 Mondraker F-Podium DC Review: It Says Downcountry on the Frame | Pinkbike Field Test

  1. Great info, but man was that some sterile and emotionless talking. Like watching polar opposite of GMBN lol. Thanx for the video.

  2. How long was the timed lap & what were their individual times. That "%" spec was worthless. For instance: "tied for 3rd slowest" – as opposed to what? Individual times for each section of the lap would've helped us as well… The "timed" lap part was useless in it's ambiguity.

  3. Nice review! I appreciate the comments on the compression tune. If I had known my SB150 was going to have such a bad tune I would have gone with factory suspension

  4. Mondraker is so shit for the money lol. I don't know why anyone buys their bikes, you can get WAY better bikes than what they offer at all price points.

  5. Mondaker always up there with the best looks but it’s always so far down in the value per dollar spent it needs ins own category

  6. Don’t give mondraker the credits of specing a xtr groupset. While it has a xtr mech and cranks, mondraker hide the fact that it has a xtr shifter and cassette.

  7. Can I say that this is one of the few places I can look for truly unbiased and honest reviews that don't feel clearly sponsored? Thanks you SO MUCH for putting this content out there for people who want a serious opinion on these bikes!

  8. Wow, haven't seen an Angry Asian sticker in a looooong time. James added a lockout control to my 1999 RS SID back in the day, and sent me one of those stickers…

  9. So I’m really trying to wrap my head around why you guys run such a low sag point. To be a company that is testing bikes but doesn’t understand that damping and spring rate are two completely different things really kills me. You don’t accommodate for damper with spring rate. Spring rate is for shock position, damping is for characteristics and performance of the shock. The fact that you ran probably ~10 percent more sag seriously changes the geo in a way that is not intended and I don’t believe that this is a very well concluded test given that the rear shock set up is such an important part of a cross country bike (or a fs bike). EVEN SO… if you’re testing a bike you should RIDE THE BIKE WITH THE DAMPER TUNE INTENDED AND THEN COMMENT ON THAT. That’s what a review is. The other parts of the review were well concluded but I just can’t skip over the fact you made such a rookie setup mistake as a legitimate bike review company. Come on guys

  10. So y’all had to flip upside down the stem and didn’t like the shock, dropper or lock out but still complaining about the pound and a half on the Trail Pistol? Idk man

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