A longer and more fiercely fought battle than the number of teeth on your cassette is the weight of your frame. Cross-country hardtails are at the forefront of the battle and over the past few years with the launch of the Unno Aora, Specialized Epic, and now the new Mondraker Podium, that weight number has gotten steadily smaller.
It was only a year ago that the new Specialized Epic
claimed to be the lightest production frame. Coming in at 790g for a size M with paint, the Epic matched the Unno Aora's
weight, which until then was claimed to be the lightest production hardtail. The Barcelona-based brand openly showed their manufacturing ups and downs with attempting and succeeding at molding an entire composite frame in one shot, along with its more aggressive geometry compared to the rest of the XC hardtails out there.
But now the 2021 Mondraker Podium comes in at a claimed 775g for a size M, undercutting those bikes by roughly half a packet of your favorite Walkers crisps.
That weight is for a painted frame but without any hardware, cable routing, protection and with the threaded BB interface. According to Mondraker they could have gone quite a bit lighter with tha press fit BB but chose to go down the threaded route.
Information is currently a bit thin on the ground about how Mondraker actually achieved the crazy low weight. Lots of the secrets to light hardtails is contained on the inside, woven into the layup, fibers and resin used. New options are always being developed, refined and found in the bike industry, so it's likely that the Podium is using some of the latest available fibers and resins, along with a meticulous attention to detail in the layup schedule to achieve the low weight.
But the Podium does carry on the theme from their ridiculously light F-Podium
full suspension XC bike that we saw early last year. That bike used German company 3C to aid in the composite engineering of the frame and ultimately bring the Stealth Air Technology badge to the F-Podium and now the Podium hardtail.
Mondraker also saved some weight by making the tubes more slender and a tiny bit smaller on the diameter. They did this while apparently stiffening the bike in the areas they saw that it needed to be and adding some built in flex where they could to bring some comfort.
It seems that the 775g weight tag isn't just reserved for the top end RR SL variant, with all models receiving the same lightweight frame.
Fork travel is 100mm and there are four sizes from S to XL on offer. The Podium is available in four models ranging from the Podium Carbon RR SL to the Podium Carbon.
Only the Podium Carbon R uses Fox suspension and Shimano drivetrain and brakes, while the other three bikes all use RockShox SIDs and SRAM drivetrains and brakes. The top end Podium Carbon RR SL has a SID Ultimate RL fork, Level Ultimate brakes, XX1 AXS and a Mavic Crossmax XL wheelset.
Claimed weights for the full bikes are as crazy light as the frame, with the Podium Carbon RR SL coming in at 7.8kg (17.2 lb), the Podium Carbon RR at 8.4kg (18.5 lb), the Podium Carbon R at 8.9kg (19.6 lb), and the Podium Carbon at 9.3kg (20.5 lb).
Pricing starts at an estimated €4,199 with more information on the higher models to come soon, and also available at mondraker.com