As angular as K.I.T.T and as polished as David Hasselhoff in his glory days, can the combination of the long Forward Geometry and plus-size tyres on the Mondraker Crafty RR+ perform as well as the famed duo from Knight Rider?

Das Mondraker Crafty RR+ bietet 140 mm Federweg, wiegt 14,68 kg (Gr. L) und geht für 4.599 € über den Ladentisch.
Retailing at 4,599 €, the Mondraker Crafty RR+ features 140 mm travel and tips the scales at 14.68 kg (size large).

The concept of the Mondraker Crafty RR+

Mondraker’s concept of Forward Geometry has markedly influenced today’s crop of enduro bikes, and the Spaniards can be seen as pioneers when it comes to extreme geometry designs with long main frames and short stems. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Crafty RR+ comes with equally extreme geometry. But the question on everyone’s lips is whether it’ll work in unison with plus-size tyres and will those benefits come to the fore for less experienced riders too?

Plus-Reifen gepaart mit der aggressiven Forward Geometry – ob diese Kombination aufgeht?
Plus-size tyres and aggressive Forward Geometry – a winning combination?

So what’s the take of Israel Romero, the International Communication Manager at Mondraker, on this issue:

We don’t believe the rider profile that will benefit the most out of a Forward Geometry Mondraker bike is a “pro” or experienced rider. It is a “bonus” for a pro rider when they adapt their style to ride more forward, with their weight bias towards the front, when they can even go faster with more control. But for the less experienced riders from the very beginning, the very first time they jump on the saddle of a Forward Geometry bike, they instantly feel more confidence, more control and even though you tell them to ride with a more “attack” position adding more weight to the front tire they probably won’t change their style as they are used to riding more in the center of the bike all the time. So we believe this average rider profile gets that instant riding benefit that the Forward Geometry is known for, being able to ride faster in rougher terrain, go over technical trails with more ease etc. without changing their riding style much.

Das Mondraker Crafty RR+ musste sich unter anderem bei nächtlichen Ausflügen in Latsch beweisen.
The Mondraker Crafty RR+ has been put to the test on muddy night rides in Latsch as well as regular day rides.

The spec of the Mondraker Crafty RR+

Costing 4,599 €, the toxic green Crafty RR+ boasts a super consistent spec list, including a 1×11 Shimano XT drivetrain, SRAM Guide R brakes and FOX suspension. Mondraker’s own cockpit is made up of a 30 mm stem as well 760 mm-wide bars, winning us over with its ergonomic design. The 3″ MAXXIS Chronicle plus-size tyres are mounted onto 40 mm rims.

FOX 34 Federgabel am Mondraker Crafty RR+

The FOX 34 Factory forks willingly soak up any size hits.

Antrieb am Mondraker Crafty RR+

The 1×11 Shimano XT drivetrain offers a decent gear ratio and satisfyingly precise shifting.

Cockpit am Mondraker Crafty RR+

The short 30 mm stem and 760 mm wide Mondraker cockpit suits the bike’s overall concept.

Reifen am Mondraker Crafty RR+

Despite their flat-looking profile, the MAXXIS Chronicle 3.0″ tyres dish up unbelievable amounts of grips even on wet roots and rocks.

The geometry of the Mondraker Crafty RR+

Like Mondraker’s other models, the Crafty RR+ also features their ‘Forward Geometry’, which is essentially comprised of a super long main frame (504 mm reach, large frame) that pairs with a short 30 mm stem. The short 438 mm chainstays and pretty modest 68.5° head angle deliver an agile handling package. The resulting riding stance of this extreme geometry means you’re stretched-out so that you’re placing enough pressure on the front wheel, while simultaneously dishing up a seriously smooth and confidence-inspiring ride.

Geometry overview:

Size S M L XL
Top tube horizontal. 610 mm 640 mm 670 mm 700 mm
Chainstays 438 mm 438 mm 438 mm 438 mm
Head angle 68,5° 68,5° 68,5° 68,5°
Seat angle 75° 75° 75° 75°
Bottom bracket height 340mm 340mm 340mm 340mm
Seat tube length 380 mm 420 mm 470 mm 510 mm
Reach 449 mm 478 mm 504 mm 530 mm

596 mm 606 mm 619 mm 634 mm
Das Mondraker Crafty RR+ auf dem Trail

The suspension on the Mondraker Crafty RR+

No corners cut, Mondraker have kitted the Crafty RR+ out with a seriously first-rate FOX suspension set-up of 34 FLOAT Factory forks and a FLOAT X Factory rear shock. The forks feature the revised FIT4 damping cartridge, which excels in delivering a low breakaway torque, great control while braking and a huge mass of traction at the front when paired with the plus-size tyres.
Built into the Zero Suspension rear end, the FOX FLOAT X rear shock is equally as responsive, although offers a touch too little in reserve on big hits, even harshly bottoming out several times during our tests. Adding in Volume Spacers did help to resolve the issue, and according to Mondraker these Volume Spacers will be fitted onto all Crafty RR+ series bikes in the future. On climbs it’s definitely a good move to activate the Climb mode on the rear shock to eliminate any bob and keep it defined.

Das Mondraker Crafty RR+ auf dem Trail

The ride of the Mondraker Crafty RR+

The thing you notice for the first time boarding the Mondraker is its super long geometry and the huge plus-size tyres. At 180 cm tall and riding a size large, the position is both central and racy. The Crafty RR+ can get up anything you put in front of it – albeit at a leisurely pace. Seeing as it weighs in at 14.68 kg and comes with a pretty hefty wheel/tyre combo, any pace is going to require a bit more effort on the rider’s part. We’d definitely recommend going tubeless, and the plus-size tyres will blow you away once you’ve set the right air pressure (we’d say 1.0 bar at the front and 1.1 bar at the rear), as they serve up a bucketful of traction. Combine these with the steep 75° seat angle, then all climbs are doable no matter how technical or sudden they are.

Die aggressive Forward Geometry erfordert einige Zeit zur Eingewöhnung, vermittelt dann jedoch ein enormes Maß an Fahrsicherheit.
The aggressive Forward Geometry takes some time to get used to, but once you’re fully akin with it you can revel in the smooth, stable ride.

The most defining advantage of the Forward Geometry is the smoothness and stability it gives. It will take some time to get used to the Crafty RR+ as it demands a fairly stretched-out position to ensure sufficient pressure on the front wheel. Once you’re settled though, the Crafty RR+ is a smooth corner-taker and takes bends as if on rails. Teamed with the plus-size tyres, this delivers a confidence-inspiring ride and a glut of traction, particularly on gnarly, steep mountainous terrain.
But as we confirmed back in issue #019 of ENDURO, plus-size tyres aren’t just one giant glory story: the Crafty RR+ is begging to ridden at high speeds and really pushes the rider to up the pace, but this is where the tyres inch ever closer to their limits, and not just when it comes to puncturing. There’s a pretty distinctive bounce effect at high speeds on hard, rocky ground. As a result, it’s twitchy and a little out of control so as a rider you’re forced to battle your way onwards.

Bei Highspeed heißt es fokussiert bleiben, denn die Plus-Reifen bieten nicht nur Vorteile.
Don’t lose focus at high speeds as plus-size tyres aren’t wholly on your side.

Our conclusion on the Mondraker Crafty RR+

The Mondraker Crafty RR+ has left us with mixed feelings. On one hand, the bike’s super long geometry, great suspension and super grippy tyres give the rider an overwhelming sense of stability – until you push the pace. At high speeds the 3.0″-wide tyres cause a distinctive bounce effect on hard ground, which results in a pretty undefined handling package. Consequently, we’d push the Crafty RR+ towards dynamic riders valuing traction and stability over any desire to smash KOMs and QOMs on mountain climbs. If that’s your goal, then check out the rest of the Spaniards’ range.

More information on the Crafty RR+ can be found on the Mondraker-Website.

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer

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