Is Mondraker’s radical geometry just daft-looking stems or a genuine advancement?
Most bikes are designed to ride with (relatively) long stems to get the reach and fit right. Mondraker has ditched that concept and built the reach into the top tube of the frame, lengthening the whole bike while keeping the handlebars in the same position. Its Forward Geometry bikes are built for weird-looking 30mm or even 10mm stems.
- Short stem pushes riders’ weight further behind the front axle
- Super short 10mm stem sharpens steering
- Extra long top tube incorporates the length of a normal stem
- Slack head angle and long top tube creates long wheelbase for extra stability
Why go to all this effort?
It’s to give you a better position on the bike when things get steep. A long stem puts your weight further forward so you need to shift backwards or risk going over the bars; with an FG bike your weight is already back, even in the neutral riding position. That gives you more leeway to move the bike as you want by shifting your body weight.
How does an FG bike ride?
Like a downhill bike: that super-short stem matched with a wide bar definitely adds stability when you’re descending.
What does it mean for our bikes now?
Just chucking on a short, 30mm stem probably isn’t going to be right for your bike — it’s designed for a long stem so your total reach (the bike length + the stem length) will come up short and make the bike feel small. A 50 or 60mm stem and a wider, 750mm bar will keep your reach roughly constant (because you’re reaching outwards on the bars rather than just forwards). “You’ll basically lose your fears when the track is steep and your confidence will multiply,” says Mondraker designer Cesar Rojo.