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Mondraker Raze Carbon RR review – addictively agile trail bike with unique suspension smarts

Mondraker’s new mixed travel trail raver adds MIND telemetry tech to an already stand out trail play package

Mondraker Raze Carbon RR review
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

With so many bikes becoming complacently ultra-confident, Mondraker’s Raze RR is an addictive showcase of agility and progressively poised control with kit to match and next level suspension review smarts.

For

  • - Ultra-responsive handling
  • - Inspiringly lively frame feel
  • - Excellent suspension (im-)balance
  • - Aesthetically outstanding
  • - Accurate MIND set up prompts

Against

  • - MIND could do more
  • - Slow rear wheel pick up
  • - Potential calf rub

Mondraker’s new Raze is a lightweight mid-travel trail racer with 150mm travel front and 130mm rear and Mondraker’s sleek signature aesthetic. The RR version gets full Fox Factory suspension monitored by its unique MIND telemetry system. The result is a seriously sweet, deliciously distinctive machine, especially for those who want more insight into their ride.

Keep reading to find out why we think the Mondraker Raze is one of the best trail bikes out there.  

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

Mondraker Raze Carbon RR review

The Raze comes is equipped with 150mm of travel up front and 130mm at the rear (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Design and aesthetics

Mondraker where the first mainstream brand to commit to extended reach frames with super short stems with its Forward Geometry designs. While pretty much every brand has now followed suit, Mondraker still underlines the concept aesthetically with a distinctive cross brace behind the short head tube. The super shallow ‘knife blade’ top tube is aligned with similarly flat seat stays, and there are some other really neat alignments such as the head of the chainstays and seat tube - down tube junction. Other junctions such as the one-piece carbon upper rocker onto the seat stay top and X brace into the head tube are indulgently sculpted and even the way the shock drives back and down towards the BB to leave the mainframe open accentuates the progressive proportions of the Raze. The result is a bike that looks fast even standing still and I’ve had more comments on how good it looks from other riders than almost any other bike I can think of.

Mondraker Raze Carbon RR suspension detail

The frame is beautifully sculpted with smooth shapes and flattened stays (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

While positioning the shock that way creates design issues with the straddling seat tube, it helps keep weight low and centralized, means the twin linkages are as short as possible and puts the shock forces into the bottom bracket area that needs to be the stiffest part of the bike anyway. The open mainframe also gives loads of space for a water bottle and a two-bolt accessory mount for tools/tubes etc. Other practical wins are a threaded bottom bracket, ISCG tabs for a chain guide (a small top shoe is included as standard), a small fender over the rear shock, custom frame protectors on stays, and belly plus oversize enduro bearings in all pivots. While the truncated seat tube means small sized frames run a 125mm stroke dropper the 445mm height of the large leaves room for a 175mm post as well as giving the potential to size up. With a reach of 495mm and a wheelbase of 1243mm, the Raze is already a long bike though. The Forward Geometry angles aren’t as radical now as they used to be but the 65.5-degree head angle and 76.5-degree seat angle center the rider well without making the bike a barge. The 30mm bottom bracket drop (343mm axle to ground) is relatively tall for 130mm rear travel, but in the ballpark for the 150mm fork.

Mondraker Raze Carbon RR suspension

Suspension is handled by Fox (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Specifications

Mondraker has gone high quality on the suspension itself too, with Fox’s top line Factory Float 36 fork up front and similar gold ‘Kashima’ coated Float DPS inline shock at the rear. The fork on the RR also gets a small sensor on the fork leg, a sensor fender under the fork crown, and a rotation sensor on the rocker link to harvest data for Mondraker’s MIND telemetry system (more on that later). 

In a rare collar and cuffs bonus, you also get a Factory spec, Kashima coated version of Fox’s excellent Transfer dropper post. Things are more mixed with the drivetrain where a carbon-armed SRAM X1 crank and X01 rear mech grab attention, but your thumb actually operates a cruder NX level shifter. The chain and cassette are of decent quality though.

Our sample bike had some oddities from the official spec. This includes Mavic CrossMax XL wheels instead of DT Swiss XM1700s but there’s actually very little difference between them in terms of rim width, pick up, or weight. We got SRAM Code brakes rather than the correct, lighter, but less powerful G2 units too.

Tires are also a shade less aggressive than the ubiquitous Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR combo but the faster rolling 2.4in Dissector front, 2.3in Aggressor rear pairing suit the ‘survival through agility not heavy armor’ vibe of the Raze really well. The use of a reinforced Exo+ carcass on the front and lighter Exo on the rear might seem a little weird before riding it though. Some might be surprised to see a 31.8mm bar on the Raze, but that lets Mondraker use the shortest possible 30mm stem – vital to the whole Forward Geometry concept.

Mondraker Raze Carbon RR drivetrain

A SRAM X1 crank and X01 rear mech make up the running gear (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Performance

That’s because while nearly every brand has followed Mondraker into longer reach geometry an ultra-short stem is still quite a rare find on production bikes. 55-45mm stems are still probably the most common and the difference that makes is dramatic – even on otherwise similar baseline geometry. The best way I can summarize the effect it has on handling is it gives you the nerve to leave every steering movement to the last split second and then make it as violently as possible. Basically, the way you’d behave if you were riding a trail you knew really well and were trying to scare the bejesus out of people on your wheel. That’s because the steering reacts so fast - like properly “think it, already done it” – and with such a light leverage that you can snap the bike into the hardest turns immediately. And if the tires aren’t up to that much load, then you’ll find yourself making synapse fast reflex adaptations to available traction far quicker than you could ever hope to make them consciously. 

Obviously, this kind of hyperactive, visceral connection between bike and brain won’t suit everyone and it took me a ride of tree bloodied knuckles from tighter than expected turn-ins to adapt. The way the steering ‘surfs’ so lightly on the inherently stable long wheelbase can feel weird at first too. The overall geometry sets you up to load up and attack through the front end anyway so you’ve got a brilliant platform to play with the edge of control from. The longer fork and tougher front tire (so you can drop pressures lower) also work perfectly with the aptly named ‘Forward Geometry’ handling too. The result is a bike that looks unbalanced on paper in terms of stats and specs but feels instantly connected and correct on the trail if you’re a rider who likes to feel like a fighter pilot, not a first-class recliner.

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Mondraker Raze Carbon RR MIND rear suspension unit

The Mind sensors are neatly intigrated into the frame (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Mondraker Raze Carbon RR headtube

The fork sensor is positioned behind the crown (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Mondraker has done a great job of keeping that same ultra agile lightness of touch yet impeccable balance through the rest of the Raze too. The 57.5mm stroke for 130mm of travel means low leverage and low shock pressures but the base compression and rebound tune in the Float damper are light. The sag-based setup tunes suggested by the MIND sensors and My Mondraker app are open and responsive even in Race mode. In fact, we generally kept the shock in the middle ‘trail’ mode to keep the bike more lifted and pert when charging hard out of turns or up climbs. The trunnion-mount shock and short linkages also mean it’s still sensitive enough for impressive traction in that setting anyway. Plus you can then save full open for the roughest descents where maximum impact soak is a priority over a firmer platform for driving through turns.

Add a lightweight frame, with a slightly compliant, conforming - rather than rigidly harsh – feel and the Raze feels inspiringly alive and responsive on the trail. It never feels rabid or rowdy though, and the whole Raze experience speaks of utterly assured skill and the nonchalant confidence to leave everything to the last second. Those flattened tubes also give it a really quiet, calm audio signature which reinforces the surprisingly composed, not chaotic, vibe.

Inevitably that frame and steering character can mean it starts twitching and panicking more than a duller steering, heavier bikes if things get really punishing. Even then the front-end bias means most kick around or sliding out is happening at the back of the bike, where it just adds to the fun rather than the fear. A relatively large 0.6 volume spacer in the rear shock means while Mondraker’s setup numbers are generous with the amount of travel you’ll get for a given rider weight, you won’t obviously be smashing into the end stops.

Mondraker Raze Carbon RR MIND app screenshots

While Mind doesn't give tuning tips, there is plenty of post ride data to geek over (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

The accurate use of the mid-stroke travel can also be confirmed by logging into the MIND data after each ride. Here you’ll not only get cross-comparable front and rear travel plots (including ‘jump’ icons and distance airborne intel where the suspension has topped out and bottom out alerts) matched to a GPS map, but also matched to speed and altitude plots. This adds a whole extra dimension to your ride review data and can help you see whether you’re in the suspension sweet spot or whether you need to make some changes to spring pressures or front to rear balance. What MIND doesn’t do yet is give you any tuning prompts based on that information itself. There’s certainly potential for it to translate that data in the same way that Quarq’s Shokwiz tuning device does, so we’re hopeful we’ll see that very useful functionality added sooner rather than later.

If we had to pick other potential grumbles, the Mavic freehub has a very slow (max 15-degree pick up which can be irritating on an otherwise impatiently engaged bike. On the upside, that means a rock-solid lock when it does connect and you can buy a faster reacting ratchet aftermarket. The broad rear stays can also brush bigger calves, so premature paint wear might be a problem if you overwinter in trousers.

Verdict

Despite so many bikes following much of Mondraker's pioneering geometry lead, it has managed to keep its signature ride character deliciously distinctive. The light, lithe, perfectly imbalanced suspension of the Raze RR makes it a proper ‘chef’s special’ in terms of accentuating that agility and inherent ‘skill gifting’ to the maximum. 

The MIND system could definitely do more than it does now, but it’s already a definite win in terms of very accurate setup and post-ride, potential suspension adjustment data crunching. It’s really unobtrusive in terms of bulk and weight too, which is important on such an aesthetically stunning and physically responsive bike. Even what initially seem like weird spec choices, actually sync superbly with the aggressively front-led character of the Mondraker. While it lives to laugh at deliberately engineered extreme situations, it’s also capable of effortlessly flowing tech in a way that’ll tie following bikes in knots.

In short, while this kind of intensity and immediacy might not be for everyone, the Raze Carbon RR makes most other bikes feel decidedly dull and I’m going to have a very hard time giving it back.

Tech Specs: Mondraker Raze Carbon RR

  • Price: $TBC / £6,799
  • Model name: Mondraker Raze Carbon RR
  • Discipline: Trail
  • Head angle: 65.5-degree
  • Frame material: Raze 29 Stealth Air Full Carbon
  • Size: S, M, L (tested) XL
  • Weight: 13.32kg
  • Wheel size: 29in x 2.3in
  • Suspension (front/rear):  Fox 36 29 Float GRIP2 Factory Kashima, 150mm travel, 44mm offset/Fox Float DPS Factory Kashima EVOL LV, 205x57.5mm trunnion mount, 130mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle 10-52T 12 speed rear mech and SRAM GX shifter
  • Cranks: SRAM X1 Carbon 32T chainset
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RS brakes with 180mm rotors
  • Cockpit: Onoff Krypton Carbon 1.0 800 x 31.8mm bar and Onoff Krypton FG 30 x 31.8mm stem
  • Wheelset: Mavic CrossMax XL S wheels
  • Tires: Maxxis Dissector 3C MaxxTerra compound, EXO+ protection 29 x 2.4in front and Maxxis Aggressor DC EXO 29 x 2.3in rear tires
  • Seatpost: Fox Transfer Factory 175mm dropper post
  • Saddle: Fizik Antares R7 saddle

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg