Mondraker F-Podium R Ride Review

Mondraker F-Podium R Ride Review

Written by Joseph Bonacci, on May 31, 2024

When Mondraker recently joined our family of brands at Contender, the staff eagerly awaited the World Cup-winning cross-country bike, the F-Podium. When I got the opportunity to go shred it in the St. George dirt, I was beyond excited. I had seen so much about this bike but had never even seen one in the flesh. I was able to ride it for a weekend, putting it through the paces, and giving it a proper test ride to see where this bike excels, and where it might be lacking. 

Mondraker in ST George UTAH

To test we had the Mondraker F-Podium R cross-country mountain bike, a SRAM GX mechanical bike but with a race-focused build. It has SRAM Level Bronze brakes, and Fox Performance suspension, but splurges with Mavic Crossmax Carbon wheels. The build kit is perfect for a NICA racer, as it prioritizes reliability, while still offering carbon wheels to make the bike lighter and higher performing, without jumping to an insane price tag.



One of the most important things a cross-country race bike can do is climb, and the F-Podium certainly does that. The biggest thing that stood out to me was the traction out of the saddle. The effective 76.2º seat tube angle with the progressive suspension platform keeps the back wheel stuck to the ground. Pushing the power while out of the saddle the Mondraker rips up the hill, even on loose rough terrain where other bikes would be slipping out. As the bike was equipped with Maxxis Rekon Race tires, the same as those that I ride on my personal bike, I am confident that this performance was due to the geometry of the bike. 

Another big thing about the F-Podium is its stiffness. Many times when bikes are equipped with a 3-position lockout the brand uses them as a crutch making it so that they do not perform as well in the climbs with the lockout fully open, but that is not the case here. With the single-piece rear triangle, this bike preserves a stiff ride even with the suspension fully open. Allowing you to leave the suspension open in more technical uphills, without a significant drop in performance, something you need to do in the rough, technical climbs that are littered around St. George. 

Joseph riding the Mondraker F-Podium


A big question on cross-country bikes is their descending capabilities because when you make a bike go fast uphill it makes it slower on the downhill. To counteract this, Mondraker gave the bike a 66.5º head angle to pair with a 120mm fork. This gives the bike confidence in rock gardens, raking the fork out enough to roll over features with ease. Mondraker is one of the pioneers of the slack headangle, short stem movement which is why the medium comes spec'd with a 55mm stem, and not a longer, more traditional XC stem. 

Throughout a long descent, the stiffness was obvious. The bike descends very quickly, but with the quintessential cross-country loose feel, keeping you on your toes and pushing you to go as fast as you can. It highlights the one thing I would change on the build, the slim grips as found on many XC bikes. The need to really clench these thinner grips seems to add unnecessary tension to the upper body.  Customizing the touchpoints is something that is easy to do and can perfect a bike like this.Mondraker F Podium in St George


This bike is one of my favorite bikes I have ridden. I wish this bike were around when I was racing NICA and the PROXCT races, as it is a perfect bike for it. Pedaling feels almost like a gravel bike on roads, this bike charges forward, able to handle anything from short punches to long drawn-out road climbs with ease. Even with its progressive geometry, the bike doesn’t lose out anywhere, making it perfect for racers looking to push themselves. 

This bike is a great cross-country bike for longer marathon races too. We rode the bike on the True Grit Mountain Bike course, a St. George marathon race, and it was tough enough to tackle the gnarliest rock garden features on the course. This is the type of bike that will push you to be a better rider and to be a rocket on race days. Visit us in-store or on our website to find out about the specific build options, and to get more information on the bike.


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