£5,899 Can the big-wheeled Foxy jus­tify its big price tag?

Mountain Biking UK - - FIRST RIDE - TOM MARVIN www.sil­ver­

Save for the short-lived Crafty (which ended up with plus tyres), Mon­draker have been with­out a 29in-wheeled trail bike in their range, un­til now. The Span­ish brand have plugged large wheels into a fa­mil­iar pack­age that mates their long and low ‘For­ward Geom­e­try’ with their ‘Zero’ sus­pen­sion sys­tem.

The frame

The full-car­bon frame helps keep over­all weight fairly rea­son­able (13.7kg/30.2lb), while the straight line from the seat­stays through to the head tube makes the Foxy 29 a crowd-pleaser on the looks front. Neat de­tails in­clude a threaded BB, easy-to-ser­vice in­ter­nal cable rout­ing and a shock mud­guard. The damper it­self floats be­tween the short up­per and lower links that join the front and rear tri­an­gles, giv­ing 150mm of travel. As we’ve come to ex­pect from Mon­draker, the geom­e­try is long – the medium size has a reach of 470mm, paired with a 30mm stem. The e ec­tive seat an­gle is 75.5 de­grees, the head an­gle a not su­per­slack 66 de­grees (though an an­gled head­set al­lows you to ad­just this by a de­gree) and the BB sits at a fairly av­er­age 350mm o the ground.

The kit

While the Fox fork and shock are top-end ‘Fac­tory’ units, the old­er­gen­er­a­tion ‘FIT4’ damper is used up front, not the lat­est ‘GRIP2’ car­tridge. ‘Hid­den’ lower-spec parts are found else­where too – the E 1700 wheels sit to­wards the bot­tom of DT Swiss’s range, as do the Code R brakes in SRAM’s line-up. The in-house Ono kit is fine, but at this price it would be good to get a name-brand seat­post and each model could do with an ex­tra 25mm of drop (this would also make it eas­ier to size down if you’re not a fan of su­per-long bikes).

The ride

The Foxy 29 doesn’t score highly for value, but it makes up for that on the trail. There’s enough anti-squat built into the sus­pen­sion to keep the bike surg­ing for­wards un­der pedal strokes and feel­ing lively on climbs. While the feed­back through the pedals on big­ger hits isn’t dis­tract­ing, the ride can’t be de­scribed as plush. As such, it’s not a bike you can just point to the bot­tom of the hill and hang onto. But if you put a lit­tle more thought into line choice, it comes alive.

Its longer, well-bal­anced geom­e­try and ag­gres­sive-feel­ing sus­pen­sion give you the con­fi­dence to weight the bar and haul it around, and it’s not so weighty that it can’t be picked up and placed where you want it. The big­ger wheels com­ple­ment the flatout na­ture of the bike too, re­sist­ing hang­ing up over rocks and roots, and carv­ing cor­ners con­fi­dently, backed up by the long reach, short fork o set (44mm) and stubby stem.

High-speed sta­bil­ity comes from the bike’s length, not a slack head an­gle – 66 de­grees al­most seems con­ser­va­tive these days, although it works here. It’s at these top speeds, though, that the in­ces­sant chain slap starts to grate. The thin chain­stay pro­tec­tor looks af­ter the car­bon rear end, but dampen noise it does not.

The spec com­pro­mises may be a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing for the price, but they don’t have an im­me­di­ate e ect on the ride, with the FIT4 fork still per­form­ing de­cently, the rims be­ing fairly wide and the own-brand kit work­ing well enough. The rear tyre would def­i­nitely ben­e­fit from be­ing a ‘Wide Trail’, triple-com­pound model like the front though.

A fast, ca­pa­ble long-travel trail bike for those who are con ident at pick­ing their lines

The 36 Float fork uses Fox’s older ‘FIT4’ damper, but still pro­vides am­ple con­trol

For­get the old stereo­type of un­gainly 29ers – the Foxy 29 is a great shape

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