Drop bar bikes are completely new territory for the mountain bike specialists at Mondraker. With the DUSTY, the Spanish brand are taking a new direction in 2023, launching their first e-gravel bike. At the same time, they also try to remain true to their downhill genes. We looked into whether they managed to master this balancing act.

Mondraker DUSTY XR 2023 | 40 mm (f) | 13.84 kg in size L | € 9,999 | Manufacturer’s website

Anyone visiting the Mondraker factory in Alicante will quickly realize that what the Spaniards are all about are high-performance mountain bikes designed to win races. By now, Mondraker can look back on more than 20 years of racing experience – celebrating several successes and shaping the sport with innovative ideas. For instance, Mondraker lays claim to the idea that led to today’s trend of mountain bikes with a long reach and short stem, calling it FORWARD GEOMETRY. This approach to frame design results in a greater sense of safety on steep downhills, more stability at high speeds, and a more direct steering. Therefore, this technology is used on all Mondraker bikes. Due to the considerable growth of the brand in the mountain bike segment within the last few years, Mondraker now also try to gain a foothold in the drop bar segment – but without abandoning its own roots. Meet the DUSTY, the first interpretation of a drop bar bike by the Spanish mountain bike experts.

Mondraker is taking a rather unusual approach with the DUSTY. They skipped the step of developing a non-motorised gravel bike first and equipping it with a motor afterwards. Instead, they went straight to the starting line with an e-gravel bike. According to Mondraker, this is the approach best fitted for the mountain bike-savvy target group, who like to shuttle uphill now and then to let it rip on the downhills. The wide handlebars, the dropper post, and the suspension fork make obvious what the DUSTY XR is designed for: riding downhill – fast, rough and with confidence. Not at all that obvious, on the other hand, is the very compact X20 drive system from MAHLE, which – thanks to the fully integrated 350 Wh battery and the rear hub motor – is only noticeable at second glance. The weight is also positively (un)remarkable: the top-equipped version in size L that we tested weighs 13.8 kg. At € 9,999, Mondraker places the DUSTY XR in the high-end segment. Read on to find out why the two cheaper versions are even lighter and whether the DUSTY delivers on its promises.

An e-gravel bike with downhill DNA

When you look at it, it’s immediately obvious what the DUSTY XR is made for. But it’s not just that. Just have a look at hard numbers, and it quickly becomes clear that this is a downhill-oriented e-gravel bike with a mountain bike-based geometry. The long reach and short stem make the bike a smooth runner and allow the rider to stand centrally in the bike. This allows enough weight to be put on the front wheel, which improves cornering grip and overall control on twisty trails. The new YT Scepter often came to mind during testing, as it’s very similar to the DUSTY XR in terms of equipment and geometry. Even so, with the built-in e-drive, the DUSTY XR is a completely different bike that opens up entirely new possibilities.

The Mondraker DUSTY XR 2023 in detail

In the XR version of the DUSTY, Mondraker use a RockShox Rudy Ultimate suspension fork with 40 mm travel. In combination with the 45 mm wide Maxxis Rambler tires, this provides sufficient damping at the front and perfectly smoothes out vibrations and light impacts.

Another special feature of the DUSTY XR is the SRAM X01 Eagle AXS mountain bike rear derailleur, which shifts wirelessly via the 12 gears of a 10–52 t cassette. This leaves reserves for steep uphills and technically demanding climbing passages. The RockShox Reverb XPLR AXS dropper post offers 75 mm travel, creating significantly more room to move and allowing the rider to go lower. So, a feature that has been indispensable in mountain bikes for several years now also leads to more downhill performance and a greater sense of safety on gravel bikes. To lower the seat post, both shift levers have to be pressed at the same time, which saves an extra control lever and works like a charm. Once you’re braking on the downhills, though, pressing the shift levers would require an awkward grip change , which means that you have to lower the seatpost with a bit of foresight. But you quickly get used to this.

Slightly lowered, the dropper post somewhat cushions the blows to the spine when seated.

Mondraker DUSTY XR 2023

€ 9,999


Fork RockShox Rudy Ultimate 40 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb XPLR AXS 75mm wireless
Brakes Sram Force Etap AXS HRD 160/160 mm
Drivetrain SRAM Force eTap AXS 1x12
Stem OnOff e-gravel 6061 T6 Alloy 90 mm
Handlebar Onoff Barium gravel 460 mm
Wheelset Mavic Allroad Pro Carbon SL Disc
Tires Maxxis Rambler 700x45

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 13.84 kg

Specific Features

Front suspension and dropper post
Off-road performance
Mountain bike geometry
Mahle X20 drive system

The build quality is very good. The cable routing, neatly integrated into the frame and stem, looks smart and prevents annoying rattling. In the cheaper versions (RR for € 6,299 and R for € 4,999) the DUSTY comes without a dropper post, with a rigid carbon fork, 40 mm wide tires, and a lower gear range. These models are therefore stiffer and lighter, and they roll slightly better on flat ground. Even though these two versions are more at home in the realm of adventure graveling and bikepacking, they all share the same downhill-oriented geometry, a tire clearance of up to 47 mm, and a frame design with low-set seat stays that offers sufficient compliance at the rear. In addition, the frame of the DUSTY offers attachment points for mudguards, bottle holders, and luggage racks. The carbon fork offers additional mounting points. The frame bags specially developed for the DUSTY by Apidura are available for all versions.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 440 mm 460 mm 500 mm 530 mm
Top tube 550 mm 570 mm 595 mm 620 mm
Head tube 125 mm 150 mm 175 mm 210 mm
Head angle 70° 70° 70° 70°
Seat angle 74° 74° 74° 74°
Chainstay 425 mm 425 mm 425 mm 425 mm
Wheelbase 1,034 mm 1,056 mm 1,082 mm 1,110 mm
Reach 393 mm 405 mm 424 mm 440 mm
Stack 548 mm 576 mm 595 mm 628 mm

To ensure that the DUSTY is just as lively uphill as it is downhill, Mondraker have installed the new X20 rear hub motor from MAHLE. That’s an exciting drive concept with an impressive total weight of only 3.6 kg – and that’s including the 350 Wh battery, an integrated cadence sensor and power meter in the bottom bracket, and a handlebar remote. With a range extender that can also be used as a power bank, available for € 499, the battery capacity can be extended by 171 Wh.

The range extender is placed in one of the two bottle holders and extends the range by almost 50%. It can also be used as a power bank to recharge your portable speaker or mobile phone in the park.
The X20 motor sits directly on the rear hub and, according to Mondraker, delivers torque comparable to a 55 Nm mid-mounted motor.

Another cool feature of the MAHLE system is that the performance and cadence data as well as battery status and support mode can be sent to your own bike computer via ANT+. If you don’t have one, you can get all the information on the MAHLE display or in the MAHLE My SmartBike app. You can also call up the location of the bike and adjust the support modes to your own preferences.

The Mondraker DUSTY XR 2023 in review

True to its name, we rode the DUSTY on the, well, dusty gravel roads and trails around Girona and Alicante and were able to make plenty of uphill and downhill metres. The climbs are much easier with the battery support. Even if the MAHLE X20 doesn’t do all the work for you (not even in the highest support mode), it still provides enough support to master steep, technical climbs without any problems. The riding position uphill and on flat terrain is comfortable and not too stretched.

But it’s when you turn the bike down the hill trail that the DUSTY XR really starts to shine. The combination of 460 mm wide handlebar, short stem, and long reach gives you a lot of control and security, literally begging you to give it your all. Steering is precise, directional stability is solid, and the bike does not get unstable. In the XR version, the 45 mm wide Maxxis Rambler tires in combination with the RockShox Rudy Ultimate suspension fork offer a significant boost in damping and curve grip. The additional freedom of movement thanks to the dropper post with 75 mm travel make even fast and demanding downhills easy. The extra weight of the battery and the increased inertia at the rear makes the rear wheel bounce around a bit more on rough descents. The downhill performance doesn’t suffer from this, though. Fast descents over rocks or roots were as simple to navigate as slippery gravel curves. The overall concept of the DUSTY works well and results in a high sense of safety, precise handling, and a lot of trail fun.

Tuning tip: For more off-road performance in the R/RR versions, consider switching to 45 mm wide tires and adding a dropper post.

We also seized the opportunity to ride the RR and R versions. Due to the lack of a suspension fork and tires that are narrower by 5 mm, the damping is slightly lower here, but the ride is a bit livelier and the handling is just as good on the downhills. We were surprised by the range of the MAHLE X20 in the DUSTY during the test. Rides with over 1,600 metres of altitude, technically challenging uphills, and constant support in all modes with a rider weight of 85 kg posed no problem. The range anxiety crowd may rest easy here: With the range extender, nothing stands in the way of multi-day tours. In our test, the DUSTY was really easy to ride even without battery support, which is thanks to its low weight for an ebike and the absence of motor resistance. This also has a positive effect as soon as you break the 25 km/h mark. The fade-out of the battery support is unobtrusive, which means you won’t experience that sudden feeling of throwing an anchor so characteristic of some ebikes. The MAHLE system not only manages to take a visual backseat being not too noticeable, but it also adapts its support skillfully to the rider’s performance, bringing the riding experience much closer to that of an analogue bike.

Who is the Mondraker DUSTY XR 2023 for?

The DUSTY XR is perfect for mountain bikers whose focus is on trail fun when graveling but who still like to be fast, confident, and comfortable both on the climbs and downhills. Thanks to the mounting points for mudguards and luggage racks as well as the battery support, it’s also well suited for commuting over rough gravel tracks and forest trails. The range extender, multiple mounting options, and the high level of comfort make longer bikepacking adventures possible. If you are looking for an e-gravel bike with a mountain bike spirit, the DUSTY XR is the right choice.


The overall concept of the DUSTY XR 2023 works. Mondraker have succeeded in applying their mountain bike know-how to e-gravel bikes. The light and subtly working MAHLE drive coupled with high off-road capabilities, intuitive handling, and high comfort make the DUSTY the right choice for beginners as well as gravel aficionados – and everyone in between. A lot of fun guaranteed!


  • high sense of safety on steep downhills
  • confident and agile handling
  • a lot of fun – uphill and downhill


  • suspension fork and dropper post only in top spec

More information at mondraker.com.

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Words: Jan Richter Photos: Jan Richter, Robin Schmitt