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2022 Mondraker Summum Carbon R MX Bike

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Vital Test Sessions - Mondraker Carbon Summum MX

The lone mixed-wheel downhill in our Test Sessions, the Summum is a pure-bred race bike with a versatile set of abilities.

Rating: Vital Review
Vital Test Sessions - Mondraker Carbon Summum MX

Mondraker’s Summum downhill bike has deep roots in racing, blasting onto the scene back in 2009 under Fabien Barel. The inaugural model introduced some very progressive geometry (at the time) and Mondraker’s ZERO Suspension Design that has gone on to define the aesthetic and performance of Mondraker bikes. After over a decade of evolution, changes have become subtle. Still, the latest Summum Carbon model features multiple frame tweaks and adjustability options that have kept it at the pointy end of frame designs. Tested during our 2022 Downhill Bike Test Sessions, the matching race stripes and sleek lines of the Summum gleamed with speed and dominance, giving us the notion that we were pulling a race-ready bike right out of the box.

Summum Carbon R Highlights

  • Stealth Carbon frame
  • 200mm (7.8-inches) rear travel // 203mm (7.9-inches) fork travel
  • Mixed wheel configuration (available with 29-inch wheels) 
  • 63-degree head tube angle
  • Optional headset cups adjust head angle +/- 1 degree 
  • Adjustable chain stay length: 450/455/460mm
  • FOX 40 Performance fork
  • FOX DHX2 Performance Elite coil shock
  • SRAM GX 7-speed drivetrain with 165mm cranks
  • SRAM Code R brakes with 200mm rotors
  • 29x2.40-inch Michelin DH34 tires
  • e*thirteen LG1 Plus DH aluminum wheels
  • SuperBoost 12 x 157mm rear hub spacing
  • Threaded bottom bracket
  • Internal cable routing
  • ISCG05 chain guide mounts
  • 1.5-inch steerer tube
  • Sizes: medium, large (tested), X-large
  • MSRP: $7,999 USD (R Build)

Strengths

  • Stable, predictable, and confidence-inspiring the faster you go 
  • Rides with a light, playful demeanor that makes it easy to maneuver 
  • Forward geometry promotes neutral, comfortable body position thought 

Weaknesses

  • Expensive 
  • FOX Performance suspension is easily overridden 

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Overview

At the end of 2020, Mondraker released an updated Summum that stirred commotion with its aluminum frame. The decision was heavily influenced by the MS Mondraker Team, who preferred the ride quality of aluminum over carbon. With a history of boasting one of the lightest carbon downhill frames, the decision was surprising but made sense for a brand that strived to develop race-winning bikes.

2021 Mondraker Summum Aluminum

Fast forward to model year 2022, and Mondraker released the Summum Carbon, sharing basically identical geometry, wheel size options, and aesthetic updates as its aluminum compatriot from the previous year. We aren’t here to speculate on why Mondraker circled back to carbon after marketing the spot-on compliance and stiffness of the aluminum version. But based on their depth of carbon knowledge and the need to offer riders a premium model, the logical outcome was the creation of a carbon counterpart. The latest iteration of the Summum maintains the distinct ZERO Suspension layout and cross brace between the top tube and downtube. The straight and clean tubes that cut distinct lines from front to rear of the frame were carried over from the aluminum model, and the entire frame is now carbon, including the one-piece swingarm and Monoblock upper link.

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The Summum uses Mondraker’s Stealth Air carbon, their lightest and most refined carbon layup that balances compliance, rigidity, and trail damping with weight and durability. Out of those character traits, mitigating and absorbing trail vibration was the highest priority. With a claimed frame weight of 2800 grams (6.1 pounds), the Summum Carbon is one of the lightest downhill bikes on the market. 

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When Mondraker introduced Forward Geometry ten years ago, many riders were skeptical of the claimed stability and cornering benefits. Oh, how the times change, and it only took a few years for the mountain bike industry to jump on board and steamroll the longer-lower-slacker mantra into every bike possible, striders included. Longer reaches and shorter stems are commonplace and have significantly improved mountain bike descending performance and fit. A decade later, Mondraker has continued incrementally evolving their Forward Geometry, the latest adjustment being shorter offset forks to increase trail, front-wheel control, and traction. When paired with a 30mm stem, Mondraker says steering becomes more direct and responsive, and body positioning through corners is optimized to attack and maximize grip. 

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Looking at the rest of the Summum Carbon MX geometry, the large we tested featured a 63-degree head angle, 470mm reach, and 455mm chain stay length (middle configuration). Mondraker offers additional headset cups to adjust the head tube angle, plus a shorter and longer chainstay position. With the constraints of our multi-bike, multi-rider test, we only rode the Summum in the stock head angle and chain stay configuration.

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On top of their Forward Geometry, the defining characteristic of any Mondraker is their ZERO Suspension Design that floats the rear shock between two links and compresses from both ends. The isolation of the shock between links allows the suspension to move freely under braking, creating a supple, smooth ride during compressions. The design also experiences minimal chain growth and, thus, minimal pedal kickback. The 2022 Summum did receive subtle kinematic tweaks aimed at increasing initial stroke sensitivity while bumping up ending stroke progression. Final frame details include dual-row angular contact Enduro bearings in all pivots, integrated fork bumpers in the top tube, custom rear shock mudguard, downtube and chain stay molded frame protectors, and internal cable routing.

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The Summum was the only mixed-wheeled bike in our test but is available with dual 29-inch wheels. We tested the Summum Carbon R MX model that retails for $7,999 USD. A more expensive RR build exists, using the same carbon frame but with nicer components, and there are three additional aluminum frame builds available. Compared to the other bikes in the test, the Summum Carbon R featured some of the same mid-range components found on the Canfield Jedi 29 and Nukeproof Dissent 290 but carried a pricetag nearly $1500 USD more expensive. Suggested retail pricing for mountain bikes has been anything but certain in the last few years, and the only certainty is that prices will change (increase?) in the future. Regardless of the cost difference, the Summum was an outlier in the group. 

Meet The Testers

Piloting our Summum Carbon R MX was Vital’s own Jason Schroeder and first-time testers Willem Cooper and Alf Garcia. With a few years between them and differences in riding style, setup preference, and body dimensions, the one similarity they all share is that it has been years since they lined up at a US National. 

Jason Schroeder

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Alfonso 'Alf' Garcia

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Willem Cooper

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  • 27 years old
  • 8 years racing downhill
  • 175-pounds (79.3kgs)
  • 6-foot (182cm)
  • Riding style: Relatively upright with weight more rearward than most. Enjoys a sneaky straight line or ripping jump trail.
  • Favorite downhill bike owned: 2013 Specialized Demo
  • Best or most memorable result: 30th place, Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup 2016
  • Favorite MTB movie: 3 Minute Gaps
  • @shredder_schroeder
  • 37 years old
  • 21 years racing downhill
  • 190-pounds (86.1kgs)
  • 6’ 2” (188cm)
  • Riding style: Upright yet aggressive, always linking natural trail features to generate flow and speed.
  • Favorite downhill bike owned: Turner DHR or Intense M1
  • Best or most memorable result: All the urban races in Taxco 
  • Favorite MTB movie: Clappin’ Yo Dome
  • @fonse03
  • 34 years old
  • 11 years racing downhill
  • 180-pounds (81.6kgs)
  • 5’ 10” (177cm)
  • Riding style: Over the front of the bike with chin over handlebars. Loves looking for tech flow lines and pumping trails. Smooth is fast.
  • Favorite downhill bike owned: 2015 Giant Glory 27.5-inch 
  • Best or most memorable result: 2013 Cat 1 19-29 US National Champ, or any US Open race from Diablo Freeride Park (now known as Mountain Creek)
  • Favorite MTB movie: Earthed 5
  • @willemcooper

On The Trail

For our 2022 Downhill Bike Test Sessions, we headed east and set up camp at Mountain Creek Bike Park in Vernon, New Jersey. Situated only an hour from New York City, Mountain Creek has hosted multiple national and regional events over the years, including the infamous US Open of Mountain Biking. 

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Best known for its impressive variety of trails and short gondola ride, the mountain offers a mix of rough, technical rock gardens, high-speed chunder, steep rock rolls, and flowy jump trails with ripping berms. With the ability to knock out multiple laps per hour, and accommodations conveniently located at the base, Mountain Creek served as the perfect testing ground to find out where each bike excelled or fell short. 

Setup

During our four-day testing period, conditions ranged from dry and loose over hard-packed to soaking wet and greasy on top. Luckily, the dirt at Mountain Creek can handle some serious moisture, and the few afternoon thunderstorms we endured provided a window of hero dirt before summer conditions took over again. To quickly adjust spring weight between our three testers, we used Sprindex Springs to fine-tune shock setup. Unfortunately, due to frame tolerances, we could not fit a Sprindex spring on the Summum. Instead, we used the stock 500-pound spring and adjusted preload and compression to match rider style and preferences. 

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With a tight timeline to shakedown four downhill bikes, our goal was to find out where each excelled or under-performed, what nuances set each apart, and ultimately help riders understand which bike would be best for them. Below are on trail impressions from all three testers that offer a well-rounded and diverse impression of Mondraker’s Summum Carbon R MX, along with standout and least favorite components from the ‘R’ build. 


Jason’s Impressions

Before seeing each bike in person, I was least enticed by the Summum. The frame looked thought out and smooth, but the setback stem bred hesitation, and the harsh lines didn’t pull me in as much as the sweeping curves of the Nukeproof Dissent 290. My initial parking lot test supported preconceived fears as the short stem was visually and ergonomically foreign. But, I buried my concerns and held my judgment until after I got some laps under my belt. The one issue I had not expected from the short stem was the inability to adjust fork pressure without removing the handlebar and stem or lowering the stanchions. As someone who frequently fiddles with air pressure, I found the problem annoying and available solutions cumbersome.

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Hesitation and fears aside, it only took two runs to forget I was riding a bike with a 30mm stem. Mondraker’s Forward Geometry simply works, and I found my weight placed slightly rearward as I prefer. I had no problem maintaining front wheel traction and felt the most balanced over the Summum across various trail conditions. The 27.5-inch rear wheel was mostly unnoticeable but did provide the sensation of standing ‘in’ the bike, creating an extremely confidence-inspiring body position at speed. 

The large frame fit me perfectly, while the long wheelbase allowed the Summum to plow through gnarly sections with equal grace to the Dissent 290. If its blue and yellow race stripes didn’t give away its race-focused personality, the ability of the Summum to charge into rock gardens unphased quickly did. The rear suspension calmly glided over holes and square edge hits, providing an even, controlled ride that made it easy to focus on upcoming lines. Like many race bikes, my efforts to move the Summum between lines were met with mild resistance. In low-angle rock gardens, the size and plowing mentality of the bike became most problematic, and I struggled to generate speed. Still, the bike rode with a more eager-lightness than the Dissent 290 or Canfield Jedi 29, requiring less energy to flick around on flow trails or finagle through tight, awkward corners.

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In my mind, the Summum is an excellent option for racers wanting to pick up a race-ready downhill bike. Compared to the Dissent 290, which I also felt would be a fantastic race bike, I would urge riders who prefer a bike with more personality to pick the Summum. Both bikes will keep your confidence high when hauling ass in a straight line, but the Summum will let you steer the ship more.

Standout Components

Michelin DH34 - Having never ridden Michelin tires, the DH34 on the Summum and DH22 model on the Dissent 290 were standouts during testing. But between the two, the DH34 better complemented the hardpack, dry terrain of Mountain Creek. The ramped center knobs improved rolling resistance on low-angle trails, while the familiar side knobs had a predictable fade of traction when cornering. The only time I didn’t completely enjoy the tires was during a wet afternoon of testing, which I expected since the DH34 is not intended for wet conditions or soft soil.

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Least Favorite Components

FOX 40 Performance Fork & Performance Elite DHX2 Shock - During my initial shakedown run on the Summum, I found the FOX Performance Elite suspension provided a smooth and supportive ride. Unfortunately, as my comfort and speed increased on the Summum, the suspension’s performance dropped off, becoming overwhelmed during repetitive compressions. The fork was buttery smooth off the top but lacked mid-to-ending stroke support, while the rear shock struggled to keep up, feeling dead and inactive midway through rock gardens. With only low-speed compression and rebound adjustments plus air pressure in the fork, my options were limited to resolve the sensations I felt. At the end of testing, when I was riding the hardest on the Summum, the bike’s top speed felt governed by the limited abilities of the mid-range FOX suspension.

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Alf’s Impressions

Bouncing around on the bike before hitting the trails, the Summum had the most planted and race-oriented demeanor. The standover height was quite low, matched with a comfortably spacious reach and an adequately high front end. The short stem was initially strange, especially after riding the Canfield Jedi 29, which had a standard 50mm stem. I was disappointed that the short stem prevented adjusting the fork air pressure and resorted to lowering the stanchions to adjust pressure. Of course, for riders with a set-it-and-forget-it mentality, the process will only be a pain a few times a year.

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The Summum was an incredibly smooth and fast bike, highlighted by exceptional stability. The bike had a refined ride quality, managing and reacting predictably to jagged rock gardens filled with chunky compressions. If you are looking for a bike with a fast top speed, the Summum will have no problem providing the safety and confidence needed to let off the brakes and haul ass. Unfortunately, on our R Build, the FOX Performance level suspension kept me from feeling like I could fully push the abilities of the Summum. When I really started cooking into descents, the fork damper would get overwhelmed and struggle to provide the damping needed to maintain my line. 

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Despite testing a mid-level build with heavier parts, the Summum felt impressively light, making the bike nimble and snappy when desired. As the lone mixed-wheel bike in the test, the 27.5-inch rear wheel improved maneuverability and made the Summum more agile than I had expected from looking at its geometry on paper. Turning and cornering were also intuitive, and the Forward Geometry placed my body in the optimal position to maintain grip. By the end of testing, there was no doubt in my mind that the Summum was a competitive race bike meant to be between the tape. Riders will just have to decide if the hefty price tag is worth the ride quality of the frame and suspension design when other options exist with higher-end components at a lower price. 

Standout Components

Summum Carbon Frame - Compared to the other bikes tested, I found the aesthetic of the Summum frame the most technical and developed. The smooth finish of the carbon was outstanding, and the frame details were top-notch, highlighted by the built-in fork bumpers on the top tube. On trail, the compliance and stiffness of the Summum felt just right, creating a predictable ride quality that was sturdy through harsh impacts and smooth over high-frequency chatter bumps. Mondraker has clearly tweaked and perfected its carbon process, and it shows. We also had no frame bolts loosen during testing, and the Summum was silent down the chunkiest trials. 

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Least Favorite Components

e*thirteen LG1 Plus DH Wheels -  I don’t have anything negative to say about the ride quality of the LG1 Plus DH wheels, but I was disappointed by the rate at which the wheels lost tension. The Summum’s rear wheel was the only 27.5-inch wheel in the test, but after two days of riding, most of the spokes were loose to the touch. The front wheel was less problematic, but we checked both daily to ensure we would not detonate a sloppy wheel. 

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FOX DHX2 Performance Elite Shock - The performance of the DHX2 shock felt better than the Performance Elite fork, albeit lifeless at times. That was until the shock blew up on the last day, spewing oil and losing all rebound damping. I’ve heard tales of this being a common problem with DHX2 shocks, and it’s always concerning when a failure happens after only four days of riding.


Willem’s Impressions 

Jumping on the Summum for the first time, the cockpit felt weird, with my handlebars pulled in and the front wheel placed way in front of me. But, I did my best to avoid jumping to conclusions about how the bike would perform until I did some runs. Well, all it took was two laps for my skepticism to fade and my mind to be blown. Once pointed downhill, the Summum shredded, highlighted by confidence-inspiring stability, maneuverability, and predictability. I felt like I could push the bike’s limits with certainty, knowing it would react as expected in various situations. 

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The rear suspension was incredibly smooth and active, with great bottom-out support. I had no issue carrying speed through rock gardens or flat sections, and the suspension never got hung up on square edge bumps. I had difficulty noticing a performance difference with the mixed wheel setup, other than experiencing fewer butt buzzes from the rear wheel compared to the other test bikes. The Summum also rode very light and playful, making it my favorite bike to take down jump trails. Putting the bike exactly where I wanted to required minimal energy, and I had the most fun banging out laps on the Summum.

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By the end of testing, ironically, I found the most noteworthy strength of the Summum was the Forward Geometry. As I pushed the bike harder and faster, my body position remained correct and neutral, and at no point did I feel like I was too far forward or back. This positioning gave me great confidence, and the Summum is the only bike that, with more time, I believe I could go faster on. By the end of the week, the Summum was hands down my favorite bike in the group, and the bike I was trying to figure out how to take home with me. A perfect choice for riders who want to hammer out bike park laps or the seasoned racer looking to be competitive, the Summum was versatile and impressive on all trails tested. 

Standout Component

FOX 40 Performance - As I said in my impressions of the Propain Rage CF, I’ve been a FOX guy for the last decade and am admittedly biased with my suspension preferences. Even though the FOX 40 Performance fork offered the least adjustability with arguably the simplest damper, I still preferred the 40 because of the firm, sturdy chassis. Sure, I’d happily take FOX’s Grip2 damper over the FIT GRIP, especially if I was racing, but I didn’t find the fork or damper held me back from riding hard, fast, and enjoying my time on the Summum.

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Least Favorite Component

Michelin DH34 - My least favorite component, by far, was the Michelin DH34 tires. The tread pattern did feature more ramped knobs that provided good rolling speed, but the design struggled to find grip when any amount of moisture was present. I’d describe the feeling of the tires as sketchy at best once some rain had fallen and was disappointed with their inability to clear mild amounts of mud. Maybe if we had conducted the test out west, where trails are usually dry and dusty, my experience would have been different. But on the east coast, the DH34 would not be ideal when rain is always possible. 

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What’s The Bottom Line?

Mondraker’s Summum Carbon is a finetuned machine ideal for riders wanting a bike that bolsters confidence, stability, and predictability. Getting used to the Forward Geometry might take a few runs, but once adjusted, the centered, neutral body position fosters aggressive, fast riding. On flow and jump trails, the Summum holds its own, riding with an impressive lightness, making it a versatile bike on various trails. Ideal for racers or weekend warriors alike, the only factor riders will have to consider is if the Summum’s performance and refined ride quality are worth the premium price tag for the mid-range build. 

For more information on Mandrake's Summum Carbon R MX, head to mondraker.com


For more downhill bike content, check out our three-episode Test Sessions series: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3. And make sure to add Mountain Creek to your list of must-visit bike parks. You won’t be disappointed!

Specifications

Product Mondraker Summum Carbon R MX Bike
Model Year 2022
Riding Type Downhill, Freeride / Bike Park
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
SM, MD, LG, XL View Geometry
Size SM MD LG XL
Top Tube Length 577mm 596mm 622mm 647mm
Head Tube Angle 62.5° 63.0° 63.0° 63.0°
Head Tube Length 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm
Seat Tube Angle 77° 77° 77° 77°
Seat Tube Length 400mm 400mm 400mm 400mm
Bottom Bracket Height 350mm (0mm drop) 350mm (0mm drop) 350mm (0mm drop) 350mm (0mm drop)
Chainstay Length 450/455/460mm 450/455/460mm 450/455/460mm 450/455/460mm
Wheelbase 1260mm 1270mm 1295mm 1320mm
Standover
Reach 427mm 445mm 470mm 495mm
Stack 633mm 633mm 633mm 633mm
* Additional Info Mixed ("Mullet") wheels: 29" front, 27.5" rear. Chainstay length adjustable via flip chip at rear dropout.
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b), 29", Other (Mullet)
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Stealth Air Carbon front and rear triangles, Carbon Monoblock upper link, molded chainstay and down tube protection
Rear Travel 200mm
Rear Shock FOX DHX2 Performance Elite, low-speed compression adjust, low-speed rebound adjust, spring preload, trunnion mount, 225mm x 70mm
Spring rates: 400lbs (SM), 450lbs (MD), 500lbs (LG/XL)
Fork FOX FLOAT 40 Factory, GRIP2 damper, EVOL, high/low-speed compression adjust, high/low-speed rebound adjust, 56mm offset
Fork Travel 203mm
Head Tube Diameter Straight, 56mm
Headset ONOFF Mercurium 1.5 ZS, ACB sealed bearings
Handlebar ONOFF Sulfur 1.0, double butted 6061 alloy, 800mm width, 20mm rise, 9° backsweep, 5° upsweep, 31.8mm clamp diameter
Stem ONOFF Krypton DH, 6061 alloy, CNC Integrated FG, 25-30mm adjustable length, 31.8mm bar clamp
Grips ONOFF Diamond, 135mm length, single lock-on
Brakes SRAM Code R, 4-piston, SRAM CenterLine 203mm 6-bolt one-piece rotors, steel-backed metal sintered pads
Brake Levers SRAM Code R, tool-free reach adjust
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM GX DH, 7-speed, X-ACTUATION
Front Derailleur None
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX DH, 7-speed, X-ACTUATION, medium cage
ISCG Tabs ISCG05
Chainguide e*thirteen Vario compact upper slider, alloy backplate; lower pulley guide; direct mount bashguard
Cranks Truvativ Descendant DH DUB, 165mm length
Chainrings Truvativ Descendant DH, X-SYNC, direct mount, 34 tooth, steel
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB, sealed bearings, 83mm English/BSA threaded
Pedals None
Chain SRAM PC-1110, 11-speed, with PowerLock
Cassette SRAM PG-720, 7-speed, 11-25 tooth
Rims e*thirteen LG1 Plus DH, 30mm internal width, 6069 welded aluminum, tubeless ready, 32 hole
Hubs e*thirteen, fully-machined aluminum, triple-sealed, 110x20mm Boost front, 157x12mm SuperBoost rear with 6° engagement and HG driver
Spokes e*thirteen Hive, triple-butted alloy, alloy nipples with washers
Tires Michelin DH34, Magi-X DH compound, double-reinforced DH shield casing, wire bead, tubeless ready, 2.4"
Saddle SDG I-Fly 2.0 I-Beam, high-density PU foam, Cordura sides
Seatpost SDG Micro I-Beam SP-751, alloy, micro-adjustment, 300mm length
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp Single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 157x12mm SuperBoost
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts None
Colors Blue/Black
Warranty Lifetime frame with registration, 2 years rear triangle and paint
Weight
Miscellaneous • Zero Suspension System
• Mixed ("Mullet") wheels: 29" front, 27.5" rear
• Mondraker Forward Geometry
• Chainstay length adjustable via flip chip at rear dropout
• HHG (Hidden Housing Guide) internal cable routing
• Includes rear shock mudguard
• Optional Geometry Kit: +/-1° and +/-2° headset cups
• Photo shows 29" version
Price
More Info mondraker.com

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