Mondraker e-Crafty XR+ review£5,799.00

Fun and fast, but not without its flaws

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Mondraker's bike is on the long side, which has its advantages, but there are drawbacks too. The same applies to the suspension design.

Mondraker e-Crafty XR+ frame and kit

Mondraker e-Crafty XR+
Mondraker e-Crafty XR+

With just 140mm at the rear, the e-Crafty is a short-travel bike. This is dished-out by Mondraker’s Zero suspension system (which connects the front and rear triangles via two co-rotating short links that compress the shock from both ends). It uses a Bosch motor and a battery that slots into the top of the down tube.

Mondraker seldom impresses with dazzling parts for the price, but the kit here is solid and well-chosen. 

The DT Swiss H 1900 wheels, e-specific SRAM Guide RE brakes and 11-speed NX gearing are solid, if not flashy, performers. While the 160mm-travel Fox 36 E-Bike fork has a beefed-up chassis. Its less sophisticated FIT GRIP damper swallows bumps nicely but doesn’t provide quite as much support as other comparable bikes.

Mondraker e-Crafty XR+ ride

The Mondraker has a long top tube, which creates a roomy cockpit, despite the stubby stem. This gives a comfy and relaxed climbing position, especially once I’d raised the bar to its maximum height. 

The 75-degree seat angle is steep, and the suspension stays high in its travel when climbing. Along with the long chainstays (480mm), this makes it easy to keep the front wheel from lifting when cruising up steep climbs. 

Despite the low bottom-bracket (334mm), I didn’t have many pedal strikes, thanks to the mid-length cranks (170mm) and supportive suspension. I did sump out the low-hanging section under the motor regularly, but sustained no significant damage.

There’s a lot of anti-squat built into the suspension design. In other words, it uses chain tension to keep the rear-end sitting high in its travel until it’s needed. The downside is this limits suspension movement when pedalling, causing the rear wheel to hang up on bumps. 

This makes pedalling over roots or rocks a bit harder than on bikes with low levels of anti-squat. There’s also noticeable pedal kickback when landing jumps or if the rear wheel locks up under braking.

When rolling fast, this is less of an issue. In fact, the e-Crafty doesn’t feel in any way let down by its shorter rear travel. The progressive suspension and weight of the chassis make it feel stuck to the ground. Even on the kind of flat-out charges through rock gardens that the long wheelbase and slack head angle encourage, the suspension doesn’t disappoint.

Fitting the Zero twin-link suspension system around the Bosch motor necessitates long chainstays, which affects the handling
Fitting the Zero twin-link suspension system around the Bosch motor necessitates long chainstays, which affects the handling

When things get steep and technical, the short stem makes it easy to keep the bike balanced without having to hang off the back. This central riding position does mean the saddle is more in the way on steep stuff, making me wish for more than 125mm of drop. The Guide RE brakes are hard to fault though.

Where the e-Crafty really shines is in the corners. The long front end gives loads of room to adjust weight distribution. Combined with the long rear triangle, this keeps the front wheel gripping in loose, flat turns. 

The short stem helps quicken the steering response, making the Mondraker nimble, and the low bottom-bracket lets you carve corners with confidence. I had a blast exploring the limits of traction offered by the superb Maxxis Minion DHF and High Roller II plus tyres.

But there’s a catch. The chainstays are on the long side and the long battery puts a lot of weight near the front of the bike. This makes it hard to pull a convincing manual or bunnyhop, unless you’re a strong and skilled rider. 

The Mondraker is well-suited to those who are happy to keep both wheels on the ground or have the strength to muscle it around. Otherwise, it’s a bit of a lump.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Seb Stott

Technical Writer, UK
Seb is a geeky technical writer for BikeRadar, as well as MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines. Seb's background in experimental physics allows him to pick apart what's really going on with mountain bike components. Years of racing downhill, cross-country and enduro have honed a fast and aggressive riding style, so he can really put gear to the test on the trails, too.
  • Age: 24
  • Height: 192cm/6'3"
  • Weight: 85Kg/187 lbs
  • Waist: 86cm / 34in
  • Chest: 107cm / 44in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep!
  • Current Bikes: Focus Sam 3.0, Kona Process 111, Specialized Enduro 29 Elite
  • Dream Bike: Mondraker Crafty with Boost 29" wheels, a 160mm fork and offset bushings for maximum slackness.
  • Beer of Choice: Buckfast ('Bucky' for short)
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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