Bike Test: Mondraker E-Crusher RR+
Story and Photos by Alex Boyce
The Spanish Mondraker brand has a history of innovation that has set them apart as early adapters of all-new geometry styles when compared to the many other bike companies pushing new designs. Over the years their bikes have focused on a forward-geometry design, which we now see here in our latest test, as Mondraker takes on the more extreme end of the e-bike market with the E-Crusher 150mm trail/enduro bike.
Looking at the specs and price, it’s obvious that the E-Crusher RR+ is absolutely at the top of the range. As such, it’s also safe to say that no shortcuts have been taken in the components chosen. With Shimano XTR shifting, high-end Mavic wheels and Fox’s top-of-the-line suspension components, the E-Crusher RR+ is ready to perform at the highest level.
The carbon frame has a signature Mondraker profile, and the battery is fully integrated into the downtube. Zero suspension is similar to a four-bar link at the pivot end, but the rear triangle is a one-piece unit. With a small linkage on the bottom pivot, this design is a classic Mondraker piece of technology. However, they have modified the linkage to now use a trunnion mount shock. This gives more room inside the triangle to allow for a water bottle mount, plus allows more flexibly with pivot placements.
We like the look of the frame, and it’s obvious that a lot of thought and attention to detail has gone into the different design elements, including the elegant solution to the seatpost and top tube junction. We like the internal cable routing, and we also really like how the rear brake caliper is hidden behind the seatstay. Without getting into too much detail about geometry, the E-Crusher relies on Mondraker’s pioneering design based on a longer-than-traditional top tube coupled with a short stem.
As always, the Shimano STEPS E8000 motor works well, and with the new software tunes on it, the power modes are highly flexible and can be set to give the rider the feeling he is looking for. What’s different this time is the integrated battery. Although the battery can still be removed, it can also be charged on the bike, and the power switch is located on the downtube. We have to say, we do prefer integrated batteries, because they make the bikes look cleaner. They also allow the bike’s design to position the weight a little bit lower and more evenly.
There is a lot of history behind the geometry of Mondraker bikes. The forward geometry concept is about putting the length in the top tube and not using a long stem to bring the rider forward over the front wheel. When comparing to other similarly sized bikes, the wheelbase is 40mm longer and the top tube and reach are 40mm longer. Combined with the 66.5-degree head angle, which is comparable to a Specialized Turbo Levo, you have a geometry setup that promotes shifting the body weight naturally forward over the front wheel and a stable ride.
Importantly, it should be understood that this positioning does take some getting used to on the initial ride, but after a while, it starts to make sense. The forward-geometry concept is not for everybody, but everybody can benefit from it. Despite a longer wheelbase, the rear chainstay length is actually shorter than many other bikes, indicating good cornering performance.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR
Mondraker’s E-Crusher RR+ is a no-holds-barred, carbon-framed bike with geometry that begs the rider to go faster and faster. It’s definitely for experienced all-mountain and enduro riders who want the best and are willing to pay a high price for it.
We spent a fair amount of time on board in different conditions testing all of the various elements of the E-Crusher RR+. When riding trails, the rider is fairly stretched out and gives the impression that this bike is meant for some serious business. The handling on flowing singletrack is very smooth, and the bike is rarely disturbed by any obstacles that comes across its path. When the trail starts to climb, its long wheelbase provides incredible stability, but it is incredibly difficult to lift the front end due to the geometry.
The E-Crusher has its roots in downhill performance bikes of the past and present that were influenced by riders such as Fabien Barel. When pointing downhill and letting go of the high-performance Shimano Saint brakes, the E-Crusher gives an incredible feeling of stability and capability. We’ve ridden many different bikes over some very rough and rocky trails, and there are only two bikes that gave us the feeling that we had no limits of how fast we could go, and the Mondraker is one of those bikes.
On one particularly very rocky descent with many switchbacks, we could not find the limits. The geometry is outstanding. To have such a neutral feel and such a safe feel in what can only be described as really gnarly conditions is surprising. The harder we go, the more the bike gives back.
Cornering is obviously an important element of descending; in this case, we find that the rider needs to keep their weight forward, which allows the front of the bike to grip really well. This is where the wide rims and robust Maxxis DHF tires make a lot of sense. It’s possible to really push very hard into corners and feel like you’re not ever going to lose traction. If you combine this with the feel of the carbon frame, which is quite rigid, you have a bike that goes where you want it to go and will probably take you past any limits that you thought you had in you.
No matter how hard we tried, we just could not find the limit of the bike. The rear suspension feels like it has 180mm of travel, not the actual 150mm. The faster you go, the better the suspension works. This corresponds well to our original experiences on DH Mondraker bikes of the past. For those who want to ride hard, this bike should be on your list. The only quibble is, we would prefer an 800mm bar for this bike rather than 780mm, because that slight extra width would give us an almost Darth Vader-like invincibility on gnarly trails.
Sometimes it’s really hard to sum up the character of a test bike, because there’s no doubt the Mondraker E-Crusher RR+ is a good bike. It’s meant for a rider who wants to go fast and feels stable and safe. It’s more of an enduro machine than a pure trail bike, although it can do everything well. Expensive? You bet, but you do get a selection of the best components on the market today. The weight is in line with the rest of the e-bike market and low considering what you can do with this bike. If we were looking for a machine capable of handling any challenge that we could throw at it, the Mondraker would be a real contender. ν
SPECS MONDRAKER E-CRUSHER RR+
Motor: Shimano STEPS E8000
Battery: Shimano BT-E8020, 504 Wh
Charge time: 4 hours
Top speed:15.5 mph/25 km/h
Range: 25-45 miles (40-70 km)
Drive: Shimano XTR RD-M9000GS, Shadow Plus, medium cage
Brakes: Shimano Saint M820 203mm, 4-piston caliper, RT86 two-piece rotor with ICE technology.
Controls: Shimano STEPS
Frame: Stealth full-carbon Structure
Fork: Fox 36 27.5+ Float FIT HSC LSC Evol Factory Kashima 160mm, Tapered steerer tube, 15x110mm axle.
Fork settings: Rebound, high and low-speed compression, air preload
Rear Shock: Fox Float DPX2 LV Evol Factory Kashima.
Shock settings: Rebound, compression (3 positions), air preload. 205×62.5mm. Trunnion top mount, 22.2x10mm bottom bushes.
Tires:Maxxis Minion DHF 27.5×2.8, tubeless-ready, dual compound, Exo protection, 60 tpi, folding.
Weight:48.8 pounds (22.2 kilograms)
Sizes: S (380mm), M (420mm), L (470mm), XL (500mm)
THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET ELECTRIC BIKE ACTION
In print, from the Apple newsstand, or on your Android device, from Google.
Available from the Apple Newsstand for reading on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.
For more subscription information contact (800) 767-0345
Got something on your mind? Let us know at hi-torque.com