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