Next Stage of Evolution

Mondraker F-Podium Review

The Mondraker F-Podium aims to be a race-bred machine, yet its latest iteration boasts 120 mm of travel. We’ve put the bike through its paces on the trails of Finale Ligure and broken it down. Does Mondraker’s new approach deliver?

Youtube Video

The UCI is shaking up the stuffy image of marathon races. Instead of enduring hours of hammering away on gravel roads, the pros in the top league now also have to prove themselves on legitimate trails. Case in point: At last year’s stop of the Marathon Worldseries in Finale Ligure, endurance athletes found themselves on bona fide enduro trails.

It’s clear that this shift in competition demands new approaches to gear. And the mountain bike industry would not be itself if it didn’t eagerly embrace such an obvious hint.

For this reason, Scott and Orbea have already departed from the purist 100 mm race full-suspension concept in the past. Mondraker seals this trend definitively with their new F-Podium. Indeed, the Spaniards are downsizing their product line and will no longer offer a 100 mm race full-suspension bike come 2024. By the way, Mondraker is consistent, taking the same approach with their Chrono hardtails .

For an American mountain biking magazine:Mondraker F-Podium Review
120mm of travel, dropper post, and fresh design. Mondraker has revamped its F-Podium.

Quick Facts about the Mondraker F-Podium

  • Price: from $4999 to $10999
  • Travel: 120 mm of front travel / 110 mm of rear travel
  • Weight: 11.55 kilos (size M, pedals not included in the RR version priced at $8,999)
  • Bottle Cage: two pieces
  • Cable Routing: through the headtube
  • Feature: Steering Stop Limiter, fully articulated rear suspension, BSA bottom bracket
Mondraker F-Podium 2024
The latest iteration of the F-Podium comes in only one model now. The trail-focused DC option has been phased out.
Mondraker F-Podium DC 2023
The difference from its predecessor is immediately apparent when you examine the top and seat tubes, as well as the more upright shock position.

Introducing the Latest from Mondraker: The 2024 F-Podium

Mondraker has completely redesigned their frame, merging the legacy 100mm race full-suspension bike with the old F-Podium DC that was available until 2023. Starting from 2024, sportive touring riders and racers will have to adapt to using the same gear, as the touring or Down Country version of the F-Podium is no longer in production.

In addition to the extra 20 millimeters of travel in the fork and 10 millimeters in the rear, the design language has been totally revamped. The shock on the F-Podium has been moved significantly lower, aligning its aesthetics with the Mondraker Neat E-Bike. The ultra-sleek top tube remains a distinctive and successful feature of the new Mondraker full-suspension models. Also, for the first time, the cables are routed through the headset.

Rear Suspension System
The Zero Suspension rear linkage is 100% bearing-supported. The F-Podium, therefore, does not have flexing seat stays, unlike most bikes in the XC segment.
Shock Absorber Mondraker F-Podium
The shock's bearings allow for incredibly sensitive responsiveness. Mudguards come factory-fitted to protect the rear shock from dirt spray.

Zero Suspension - No Compromise on the Rear Triangle

Now, even though the shock is positioned slightly lower in the frame, Mondraker remains committed to its Zero Suspension System. Fortunately, this race-tuned rig is fully suspended, a rarity in its class. Unlike most manufacturers that forego an additional pivot in the chainstay, Mondraker doesn’t cut corners and opts against the common practice of letting the rear triangle flex during suspension compression.

Mondraker makes no compromises when it comes to suspension kinematics. The closed rear triangle is mounted on two robust linkages. The myriad of industrial bearings required might add some weight to the frame compared to a flexstay design, but the gains on the trail are unmistakable.

  • The rear suspension's performance can be fully defined by engineers across the entire range of travel through the positioning of the pivot points.
  • The rear suspension is exceptionally responsive because only the shock needs to be compressed, eliminating the need to flex a seat stay as well.
  • The construction with a closed rear triangle is stiffer than a design missing the stays between the chainstays and seatstays.

The benefits are clear. The only question is: What’s the frame weight with that many bearings?

Frame Weight of the Mondraker F-Podium
We completely stripped the F-Podium to determine the frame weight.
Frame Weight Mondraker F-Podium
With the derailleur hanger (26g), chainstay protector, and mudguards for the shock absorber included, the frame tips the scales at 2133 grams.

Frame Weight of the Mondraker F-Podium Bike

As usual when we get our hands on a race rig, we strip it down to determine the frame weight. The total weight of the RR version is 11.55 kilograms. With that, the bike is exactly on par with Canyon’s new Lux Trail which we had tested recently.

The frame, without the shock but including rubber protectors on the chainstay, mudguards for the shock, and the derailleur hanger, tips the scales at 2133 grams. That’s a solid figure, considering the fully articulated rear end. But it’s not a figure that will blow your mind either.

For comparison: we weighed Cervelo’s ZFS-5 frame at just over 1700 grams with 100 millimeters of travel in the rear. Considering this benchmark, the question arises: How much of a race bike is left in the new F-Podium?

I'm sorry, but you have not provided the text for translation. If you could supply the passage intended for translation, I could then assist you with creating an English version suitable for a US mountain biking magazine, including the mountain biking jargon and context.
How much racing DNA is infused into the new F-Podium with its 120mm of travel on the climbs?

How does the new F-Podium with 120 mm of travel handle the trails?

The simple answer: It’s race-ready! The riding position stays on the sporty side despite increased travel. The mere 90mm short head tube allows for a low handlebar setup even with 120mm of travel on the fork.

Our geometry comparison at bike-test.com shows that the reach, or the top tube length, of the F-podium is slightly longer than many other race-oriented bikes. Sticking to its Fast-Forward Geometry, Mondraker ensures that racers can really hammer on the pedals efficiently. The Scott Spark RC, Orbea Oiz, and even the Cube AMS all have a somewhat shorter setup in comparison.

There’s no need to fear that the new F-Podium has become just another mellow trail rig! The rear suspension now operates with more pedaling neutrality than last year’s F-Podium DC, which we put through its paces. The whole concept has been fine-tuned for greater efficiency.

Mondraker F Podium Review
On gravel or ascending techy trails, the new F-Podium shows no weakness climbing.

In line with the bike’s racing DNA, the handlebar lockout is a perfect match, allowing you to stiffen or lock out the entire suspension system. The intermediate setting on the suspension is epic for chewing up vertical on gravel paths or trails. It delivers efficiency without having to sacrifice all the benefits of comfort.

Thanks to a race-oriented riding position, lightweight wheels, and a decent overall weight, the verdict after climbing over 1100 meters of elevation is quite impressive. It climbs as well as the new F-Podium.

Mondraker F-Podium Downhill
As you barrel downhill, the F-Podium's solid suspension comes up trumps.

Ready to Rock - How the F-Podium Stands Up on Demanding Trails

Riding the rugged trails of Finale Ligure usually demands an enduro bike. However, even the Marathon World Series has made a guest appearance there. Challenging courses are the spirit of the times in both the cross-country and marathon scenes. Does the new F-Podium live up to these expectations?

The combo of a 120mm fork and dropper post is a game-changer compared with classic or, shall we say, purist race bikes. The first descent is a testament to that fact, which we’ve also determined in our race bike system comparison .

To think that you can shred Finale’s trails on this race bike as if it were an enduro is wishful thinking. But with a tweaked riding style, you can nail trails like the infamous Rollercoaster cleanly, safely and, most importantly, with a lot of fun.

Marathon World Series Track Final Ligure
Gravel paths are a thing of the past. Today, marathons are also happening on challenging trails like the ones you'll find in Finale Ligure.

The rear suspension and geometry are the ace in the hole for the F-Podium

The rear suspension cleanly absorbs impacts both big and small. Even on the rough, rocky terrain of the Roller Coaster Trail, you maintain control at all times. The fact that the rear has 10 mm less travel than the front doesn’t detract from the ride in practical tests.

The closed rear triangle noticeably reduces flex compared to rear suspensions lacking a connecting strut between the chainstay and seatstay, enabling riders to pick lines with precision.

Mondraker Rear Suspension System
The connecting strut enhances the stiffness of the rear triangle, resulting in exceptionally precise steering response.

Compared to its rivals, the head angle at 66.5° is slightly slacker than usual, which, along with the elongated mainframe, contributes to a lengthy wheelbase that ensures stability and confidence at higher speeds. However, the low front end places considerable pressure on the wrists and handlebars. It takes some getting used to this setup on steep terrain before you can fully trust the bike.

The braking power of the SRAM Level brake system is somewhat underwhelming compared to the rest of the bike’s trail performance.

SRAM Level Brake System
Could use a firmer grip. SRAM's Level braking system doesn't quite match the performance of the rest of the bike.

Details on the New F-Podium Frame

If you do take a spill on a descent, a steering stop limit prevents pesky damage to the top tube from the shifter or brake lever. The integration of this stopper into the lower headset bearing is truly well-executed.

The internal cable routing through the headset aims to clean up the clutter of cables in front of the handlebars. This is partially achieved. But: 6 cables are still 6 cables. One can never completely hide them. Down at the shock lockout, the cable also has to accommodate a lot of movement with every compression. During our test there were no issues, but it’s not an ideal setup.

The threaded BSA bottom bracket, on the other hand, will be a welcome feature for frequent riders who need to replace their bearings regularly.

Cable Routing Mondraker F-Podium
Cable routing through the headset tidies up the lines in front of the bars better than the previous model, but it's not going to perform miracles either.
Trail Bike Mondraker
On the singletrack, the cables neither mar the aesthetic nor produce any rattling.

All configurations of the Mondraker F-Podium

The bike is available in 4 different build options starting at $5,000. Of course, we’ve rated each model consistently and comparably. Our test bike in the RR version costs $8,000 and comes equipped with a mechanical SRAM XO Eagle drivetrain.

While many in this price bracket might lean towards electronic shifting components , there’s nothing to fault with this mechanical groupset. The gear changes are truly flawless.

The in-house ON-OFF dropper post also impressed us with its generous and especially rapid adjustment range. Impeccable performance with minimal lateral play are selling points for racers who spend hours in the saddle.

Conclusion on the New Mondraker F-Podium

The courses of the Marathon World Series we’ve put the F-Podium through, highlight a clear trend: race rigs with more travel and dropper posts are definitely here to stay. Mondraker has fully committed to the modern concept of their race full-suspension bike, packing 120 mm of travel. Both the geometry and the rear suspension performance seamlessly mesh in our field tests. The new F-Podium truly delivers. The slight weight penalty compared to a traditional racing full-suspension with 100 mm of travel pays off big time with a wider range of use and a significant increase in riding enjoyment.

Mondraker F-Podium Summary
Good Times! The F-Podium is the most versatile race rig Mondraker has ever constructed. It merges the thrill of racing with pure riding enjoyment.

About the author

Ludwig

... has spent more than 100,000 kilometers in the saddle of over 1000 different mountain bikes. The essence of many hours on the trail: Mountain bikes are awesome when they match your personal preferences! With this realization, he founded bike-test.com to assist cyclists in finding their very own dream bike.

Recommended for you

Orbea Laufey Review

Trail hardtails are known for being lightweight, affordable, and tough. But riding one ...

Raphaela Richter reports from EDR

Trail hardtails are known for being lightweight, affordable, and tough. But riding one ...