Mondraker Crafty r+
As you may have already noticed, here at Slam69, we like things fat – bikes that is!
There’s been a lot of jaded and somewhat cynical suggestion surrounding plus sized bikes, 27.5+, mid-fat, semi-fat, balloon tyres, whatever you want to call them, but here at Slam we already knew this was the future! To prove a point, we got two Mondraker Crafty r+’s in as demo bikes, a medium and a large. This way we could offer our customers the opportunity to ‘try before they buy’, we understand you need to ride one of these to be convinced.
So, the logical next step was to hand over our medium sized demo Crafty to our tame racing rider. Some say he is quickest when he’s wearing ladies underwear, some say he likes to eat hubba hubba bubblegum with his roast dinners! All we know, is he’s called……. Dave Foster!
Plus and progressive
Many people have preconceptions of fat or plus sized tyres, ‘they’ll roll slower’, ‘it’ll feel sluggish’, ‘the tyres will roll off the rim’, ‘its for less aggressive riders’ and much more. The truth is, they’re not all bad assumptions however, something that many of these ‘misconceptions’ have in common is that they often come from people that haven’t yet ridden one.
Something that is truly exciting about the Crafty, is that it still utilises Mondraker’s ‘forward geometry’ where the reach figure of 476mm on a medium wouldn’t look out of place on other, slightly antiquated designed bikes, XL models. However, Mondraker fit a short 30mm stem and a steep seat angle of 75degrees to keep climbing prowess at its peak and a comfortable feeling on the bike, but with a tasty front centre length for added stability and confidence. The chainstays aren’t super short at 440mm but this just adds to the stability and climbing ability. You do have to adjust your riding style on the Crafty, and other Mondrakers for that matter, and consciously weight the front wheel more in corners to maintain front end grip but once you get the hang of it, my god is this thing fast!
The rule of P’s – Plus requires pressure and plushness!
Plus tyres do need some setting up, tyre pressure and suspension set-up is absolutely key. To keep it simple, this is what we found – if you’re riding hardpack, trail centre type terrain you’ll need higher pressures to avoid squirm, 20 rear and 18/19 front. However, take it off piste and point it down something steep and techie, 15 front and 17 rear is the sweet spot. In this wonderland of tyre pressure, the braking grip and general off-camber traction is genuinely astounding, you can literally cling to the side of a hill in the way Donald Trump clings on to his sincere lack of intelligent vocabulary. Duh!!
Photographer Rachel Gurney. Photoshoot rider Adam Wight. Test and words by Dave Foster.
Thanks to Slam69 for the test bike, just drop them a line if you fancy a demo.