Bike Test: Mondraker E-Factor XR+
Mondraker is based in Alicante, Spain. They started a mere 17 years ago, in 2001, but they set the mountain biking world on fire with their Forward Geometry, making the frames with longer front triangles to let the bike sit lower but still have a slack front end. It offers more reactive, precise and
They’ve applied this and their Zero Suspension System, as well as a dual-link design with the shock floating between the two suspension links and compressed from both ends. This design makes the rear suspension extremely sensitive on small bumps, while at the same time being capable of big hits. It also enables the bike to be more stable while pedaling and have minimal chain growth throughout the suspension travel.
Talk about some e-bike enthusiasm; when Mondraker jumped into the pedal-assist game, they didn’t with just one or two models. No. They have an entire line of off-road e-bikes starting with simple hardtails and all-mountain bikes up to the plus-sized full-suspension bikes, and finally the e-Panzer R, a hardtail fat bike.
They sent us the e-Factor XR+, the electric version of their Factor. The XR version has longer suspension in the front—at 140mm versus 120mm—than the regular e-Factor+. It’s an aluminum-framed beast of a bike, using what they call their Stealth alloy, in which each tube and part is carefully designed to carry out a specific function and also achieve the lowest possible weight.
Steering control for this bike comes from nice, wide Mondraker 760mm bars with a 31.8mm stem, and the tapered head tube sitting at a relaxed 67.5-degree angle. SRAM’s NX components are spec’d from stem to stern and handle the shifting in the 1×11 system with an 11-42t rear sprocket. Though it isn’t the EX-1 or Eagle, we like the NX. It works well and won’t break the bank, helping keep the price point of the bike down. Braking is also SRAM Level T, with a 200mm front rotor and 180mm rear.
The bike has an OnOff Pija dropper post with up to 170mm of travel to keep the exclusive Mondraker Factor XR+ saddle out of your way when not needed.
Electric assist comes from a Bosch Performance Line CX mid-drive motor. Because this is a mountain bike, it comes with the new e-MTB mode, which replaces Sport mode, offering an automatic switch from Tour mode all the way up through Turbo, step-lessly, based on the power input from your legs. Pedal harder, get more power. We love this setup and actually wouldn’t mind that mode spilling over into their on-road bikes.
Battery power comes from one of Bosch’s 500-watt-hour external battery packs. These replaced the 400-watt-hour packs from a couple of years ago with just higher energy density, so the form factor was identical. We expect that in the next year, the PowerTube battery will replace most of these across the industry. We’ve already seen previews of Mondraker bikes with them. Though we know people who will carry an extra battery with them on rides, most of the riders we know don’t own two batteries, let alone go on long-enough rides to require an extra.
Display on this bike is the Bosch Purion, which integrates a small screen with a couple of buttons on the left side of the bars, so the mode buttons are in easy reach. The display shows your speed, what mode you’re in, battery power, range and other things can be selected. Toggling through the modes, there’s Off, Eco, Tour, e-MTB and Turbo.
Though Walk mode is offered by Bosch, for when you have to push your bike up a hill, Mondraker has disconnected the mode. Some companies do this to comply with laws in various countries. In the U.S., it’s legal, but in some countries in South America, for example, it isn’t. Companies like Mondraker make it easier on themselves by making their sales of bikes standard worldwide to avoid problems, because recalls and fines are very expensive. It’s a shame, because it is nice to have it. If you have to push a 50-pound bike up a hill, it’s not bad to have a little help.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR
The e-Factor is a trail bike aimed squarely at advanced riders who want an e-MTB with 27.5-inch-plus tires that can fly down (or up) the trail with ease. At a bit over $5000, though, it isn’t cheap by any means; it’s a really solid bike in this range.
Just looking at the bike when you approach it, you can see that it looks longer and lower than most. It almost looks like a crouching cat. Like any Bosch-motored bike, a short press of the power button on the Purion display brings the machine to life.
The e-Factor climbs like a champ, and we took it up our regular test trails, and on the ultra-steep stuff, the bike rolls up like it was nothing. Between the power of the motor, the plus tires and the well-designed suspension, it has no tendency to loop out or slide. The wheelbase is slightly longer than many bikes, despite the rear end being a bit shorter, which could have made it want to wheelie a bit when we didn’t want it to, yet it never did.
We climbed different sections of the trails we ride than we usually do, because it was just plain fun! We didn’t set the Maxxis Rekon tires up tubeless, and they were fine. No pinch flats, no goat heads. We ran them low on several surfaces, and they just grip
“We were emboldened to go faster than usual and hang it out there a bit, and we never got into any trouble.”
Descents were made easy, like slicing through butter. This bike made us feel instantly comfortable. The Forward Geometry shifts your weight slightly forward, offering enough control that we were emboldened to go faster than usual and hang it out there a bit, and we never got into any trouble. We definitely feel that this bike could make a rider better.
The Zero Suspension system works extremely well. Despite the modest travel spec on this bike, it can be set up to be as plush and forgiving as you want, but it may take a little experimenting. One of our riders bottomed out on normal sag, so he tried running the rear shock stiffer, and that worked. Others preferred a little softer ride and were able to without going all the way through the stroke.
The range was good with the 500-watt-hour battery, and virtually identical using Turbo and e-MTB on the same trails. One of our test riders didn’t care for Turbo mode, saying it was way too powerful and said he felt that power delivery kicked in more naturally in e-MTB mode. We tend to agree. The e-MTB mode feels like it ramps up slowly as your legs provide more torque instead of instantly. Some like that about Bosch—the instant surge of power when it kicks in because the system monitors torque, cadence and speed over 1000 times per second.
On descents, e-MTB mode works far better. You can lock into Tour, Eco or off instead, but we liked the control of e-MTB. We do wish Bosch would put the e-MTB mode separate from Sport to be able to lock that in, but that’s unlikely to happen.
We found the e-Factor XR+ to be a really capable bike at a good price for what you get. It’s certainly the best five-ish-grand e-MTB we’ve ridden. The geometry is so good, the suspension setup is great and the power works so well with the bike. We loved riding it. If you’re an advanced trail rider looking for a bike that handles well, this one is worth a demo ride.
SPECS MONDRAKER E-FACTOR XR+
Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX, 250W mid-drive
Battery: Bosch, 36V, 500Wh
Charge time: 4.5 hours
Top speed: 20 mph (with assist)
Drive: SRAM GX derailleur, SunRace 11-42t cassette
Brakes:SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes, 200mm front/180mm rear
Fork: RockShox Revelation 27.5+ 140mm, Boost axle
Rear shock:RockShox Monarch R Solo Air
Frame:6061 Aluminum alloy
Tires: Maxxis Rekon 27.5×2.8”, tubeless-ready
Weight: 49 lb.
Color Choices: White, black, orange
Sizes: 380mm, 420mm, 470mm, 510mm
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