Mon­draker dune

Cycling Plus (Malaysia) - - BIKE OF THE YEAR 2018 -

Mon­draker have done a good job of mak­ing the Dune look like a se­ri­ously pricey ma­chine. Coloured ac­cents on the wheels, fork and bar tie things to­gether nicely. Look a lit­tle closer, though, and there are some se­ri­ous chinks in its ar­mour. The SRAM Level T brakes lack power on longer de­scents and the NX gear­ing, while it works just fine, is quite ba­sic con­sid­er­ing the cost of the bike. There’s no Match­maker clamp on the front brake lever ei­ther, so the shifter at­taches sep­a­rately, mak­ing the con­trols feel a lit­tle clunky on the bar. It’s the rear tyre that’s a real low point, though. Maxxis’s Ar­dent has its fans, but this is a cheap ver­sion with sin­gle-com­pound rub­ber and a wire bead. It’s also not tube­less ready, which is rare at this price.

Luck­ily for Mon­draker, much of this is for­given when you throw a leg over the bike. The lengthy reach (475mm on the medium) takes time to get used to, but when you do, it com­bines with the long 1,218mm wheel­base to pro­vide out­stand­ing sta­bil­ity. Even when­things get rowdy, the Dune doesn’t get flus­tered eas­ily, feel­ing re­as­sur­ingly solid and com­posed when you most need it to. Sure, that rear tyre isn’t the most stead­fast on wet roots or rocks, but it rolls fast and works well enough on hard­pack sur­faces.

De­spite all that high-speed sta­bil­ity, the Dune still feels fun and play­ful. Drop into some­thing a lit­tle more tight and twisty, and – pro­vid­ing you get over the front of the bike – it’ll tackle the tech sec­tions without feel­ing awk­ward or un­gainly. The 170mm Rock­shox

Yari fork feels ac­cu­rate and stiff when slap­ping through brak­ing bumps, though not quite as smooth when lung­ing through stac­cato hits as the pricier Lyrik. At the rear, the 160mm of travel is de­liv­ered in a well-mea­sured man­ner with plenty of pro­gres­sion deep in the stroke. Point the Dune back up­hill and the roomy top tube, steep seat an­gle and sta­ble sus­pen­sion make it easy­go­ing on the climbs too.

Though the price is high for what’s on of­fer if you look at the spec alone, the Dune still de­liv­ers on the hill thanks to its well-bal­anced sus­pen­sion and quiet com­po­sure, even when things get a lit­tle wild. Punchier brakes would make a real dif­fer­ence, though.

The twin-pis­ton cal­liper of SRAM’S Level T brake lacks power at high speeds

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