With Forward Geometry leading the way, we take the Vantage RR for a blast in the rough stuff

Product Overview

Pros:

  • Mondraker is thinking outside the box and Forward Geometry is a great concept.

Cons:

  • A steep head angle and super-light steering made it something of a white-knuckle ride.

Product:

Mondraker Vantage RR (2015) review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1,699.00
The Vantage RR was a handful

The Vantage RR was a handful

Mondraker’s Forward Geometry has been discussed at length in mbr, but one model that’s escaped our attention until now is the Vantage RR trail hardtail.
With a 140mm-travel fork, and a super-long front end, the Vantage RR is one rangy bike. The front end is also very low, making it incredibly hard to loft the front wheel. To combat this, and reduce the reach, I raised the 30mm stem to its max height. This improved the handing a touch but I still felt overly stretched. So I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound, and chopped 15mm off the fork steerer to fit the 10mm-long, high-rise Forward Geometry stem.
In terms of reach, swapping the 30mm stem for the 10mm is equivalent to going down a frame size. This made a marked improvement in the fit of the bike, and in the car park I really felt like I was starting to get somewhere with the Vantage RR. Dropping into the first trail, all of that initial promise disappeared in a flash as the front wheel washed out and I found myself on top of the bike in the bushes. The problem was, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to get enough weight on the front tyre and the steering felt super-twitchy and incredibly light.

Forward geometry a step back on the Vantage

Forward geometry a step back on the Vantage

There were a few things, other than the handling, that bugged me about the Vantage RR too. The first one was discovering cheaper steel bead tyres when fitting some Maxxis Shorty’s to better match the muddy trail conditions. Also, the hex nut for the 12mm bolt-thru rear axle isn’t actually secured into the drive-side dropout. After 10 minutes of crawling around on the workshop floor, I found it under the tool chest. No big deal, but if it had fallen out when fixing a puncture out on the trail, I’d have been screwed (or, rather, not). My final gripe is that there was no chainstay protector and the noise of the chain whipping the frame only served to increase my growing frustration with this bike.

>>> Click here to find out more about geometry with our handy guide

Vantage_RR_3_fotobig_

Verdict

Maybe the size L was just too long for me, but I suspect that the short 425mm chainstays and steep head angle are the real reasons why the handling of the Vantage RR felt like riding on a knife-edge.

Details

Frame:Stealth Evo M-Lite alloy FG
Fork:Fox 32 Float CTD Evolution 140mm travel
Wheels:DT E1900 Spline with Maxxis Ardent 27.5x 2.4in tyres
Drivetrain:FSA Comet Megaexo 36/22t, SRAM X9 r-mech, X5 f-mech, X7 shifters
Brakes:Avid DB3 180mm
Components:Mondraker 740mm bar, Onoff Stoic FG 30mm stem, X-Fusion Hilo dropper
Sizes:S, M, L, XL
Weight:13.3kg (29.3lb)
Size ridden:L
Head angle:67°
Seat angle:74°
BB height:304mm
Chainstay:425mm
Front centre:766mm
Wheelbase:1,191mm
Down tube:735mm
Top tube:660mm
Reach:484mm
  • Gary Chaplin

    Just picked up one of these myself, being a 6’4″ and 95kg, I found this bike an epic ride. Just spent three days hammering trails on Wales. Really excellent for bigger riders, plenty of grip up front and not twitchy at all. If not a little wallowy for my liking!

  • Andrew Thornburn

    Don’t think you got the forward geometry , I’ve just downsized from a bronson carbon and after a few rides I find that the mondraker is far more secure down hill . Makes me think expensive mountain bikes are a bit like the emperor’s new clothes .