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Spanish bike company Mondraker has just lifted the curtain to reveal what’s arguably the lightest full-production 29er hardtail frame in the world. Claimed to weigh just 775 grams for a painted medium frame, the new Podium bests the previous record-holding Specialized Epic HT by a double-stuffed Oreo cookie (or 15 grams in the metric system).
I specify full-production as there is the exquisite 730-gram Unno Aora that remains the lightest hardtail frame money can buy, but it’s only available in a single size. By comparison, Mondraker’s new frame is offered in four sizes, gives up a handful of grams in order to offer a threaded bottom bracket, and is significantly more attainable in both availability and price.
Mondraker knows progressive geometry
Mondraker was one of the early pioneers of what’s become common mountain bike geometry: the combination of slackened head angles, extended reaches, and short stems. The new Podium uses what the Spanish company has dubbed “XC Forward Geometry”, something that sees long reach figures and relatively short stems used (60-80 mm depending on frame size). This approach is wildly different to cross country bikes from two to three years ago, but interestingly is now commonplace amongst the latest XC bikes from a number of other brands.
Designed for 29in wheels and with a 100 mm fork up front, the Podium’s head angle has been slackened to 68.5º and the seat angle has been steepened. And while the rear end has been shortened (now 430 mm), the addition of Boost axle spacing and a 1x dedicated design means the frame offers clearance for up to 2.4″ rubber.
The use of an English threaded bottom bracket shell is certainly worth noting for such a lightweight frame (something the Specialized Epic HT also achieves). Look higher up and you’ll find a 27.2 mm seat post, something that should aid in seated comfort for those looking to stick with a rigid post. Of course, dropper options in this skinnier size are more limited, but such options are growing all the time.
Much like the new Canyon Exceed that was announced two days ago, Mondraker has adopted SRAM’s Universal Derailleur Hanger, something that with time should make sourcing a replacement hanger during a stage race a simple task. And following the trend set by Cannondale, the new Podium hardtail features a flat-mount brake out back – adapters to use the more common post mount calipers with this are easily sourced.
Where many brands offer multiple tiers of their carbon frames to hit various price points, impressively Mondraker will offer the same 775 g Podium frame on all of its four bike model options. There’s a frame-only option, too.
With such a lightweight frame, Mondraker is claiming it’s top-spec Podium Carbon RR SL sits at an extremely impressive 7.8 kg, while even the bottom-level Podium Carbon sits at a still-impressive 9.3 kg. Pricing and availability details are currently vague, with Mondraker claiming the range will start at an “estimated” €4,199 (equivalent to AU$6,920 / US$5,000).
Further details can be found at Mondraker.com.