Video: Raaw Madonna V2 - First Look & Ride

Jan 30, 2020
by Mike Kazimer  

The new Raaw Madonna V2 was announced earlier this month, and one recently showed up for review, so we decided to take a closer look at this aluminum framed, 160mm 29er.

The frame has all sorts of well-thought-out details, with an industrial aesthetic that's all about functionality over fashion. From the oversized main pivots and double sealed bearings to the external cable routing and stout rocker link, it's built to take a beating and survive multiple seasons of hard use.

I'll be putting it to the test over the coming months, a task that I'm even more excited about after my first few rides. Stay tuned to see how the Madonna holds up, as well as how it compares to other contenders in this category.

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mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,722 articles

  • 104 1
 The V2 looks like a real rocket
  • 20 66
flag makkelijk (Jan 30, 2020 at 7:05) (Below Threshold)
 Looks more like a Session to me.
  • 55 1
 Have any of them landed in London shops yet?
  • 1 0
 @makkelijk but only more gnarly Smile
  • 22 6
 @makkelijk: whooosh
  • 21 0
 @Flavaine: that’s precisely the right noise... Wink
  • 16 0
 It looks like a proper dream bike!

Properly engineered alu bike with high quality bearings, no nonsense equipment and "still" not out of reach for many riders.
  • 3 1
  • 13 0
 Seems like your comment went over a lot of people's heads...
  • 4 0
 Looks more like a Raawcket to me.
  • 5 0

BikeComponents in Germany can easy ship these to the UK..
  • 62 4
 @DutchmanPhotos: I don’t know if I trust them to be precise enough to find a specific address. In my experience, when Germans send V2s across the channel, they can end up just about anywhere.
  • 9 4
 @JohnnyVV: Especially now when GB leave EU. I wonder where will they park their island. Maybe by the coast of Africa. Shipments from Germany will travel forever but at least the weather would improve
  • 2 0
 @JohnnyVV: Too soon...
  • 7 0
 it doesn't have the buzz of the V1
  • 2 1
 @JohnnyVV: Keep calm and ride on
  • 5 2
 @iamamodel: too soon after 75 years?
  • 65 1
 How did they manage to make a straight downtube and not have a knock block???
I didn't think it was possible.
  • 7 3
  • 31 1
 Just ask the engineer, not the marketing guy.
  • 12 1
 Ah, you're taking a shot at Trek's marketing. My sarcasm detector is clearly malfunctioning. To be fair to Trek, their down-tubes take a more direct path to the bottom of their head-tubes, which is a better design ... except that it introduces the Knock Block. Solves a minor problem and introduces a major (to some people) problem.
  • 3 0
 @R-M-R: and slacker HTA so the front tire is further out of the way?
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: Correct, but not slack enough to just straight-line the down-tube to the bottom of the head-tube.
  • 29 0
 You don't need a knock block when you're going RAAW.
  • 4 2
 Full floater that won't break?
  • 3 0
 @curendero: It's not a full floater. And have you ever broke one?
  • 38 0
 My my, that is a good looking bike.
  • 5 24
flag climber72 (Jan 30, 2020 at 8:35) (Below Threshold)
 You should see the new 2020 Canfield balance that just dropped!
  • 11 2
 @climber72: not even on the same page IMO. Raaw is done right CB looks to be still a few years behind.
  • 4 58
flag climber72 (Jan 30, 2020 at 9:14) (Below Threshold)
 @cheetamike: when I want your opinion , I’ll give it to you.. cheers
  • 24 2
 When I saw the thumbnail shot I thought this was the grim donut. And I got excite
  • 3 1
 Maybe Levy dropped in and bit the dust...why else would it take this long for part two?
  • 25 0
 @ReformedRoadie: it took us literally a year to do the first video. Movie magic makes it look easy, but doing these things is a shitload of work.

Trust us, we are beyond stoked to get testing underway and see what on earth we've done here...
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: I get it...but once you're at the point of dropping in on the completed GD, it should be all downhill...
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: I can believe that, especially with the travel to Taiwan and all that. We're excited for part II.
  • 2 0
 Oddly enough, guess who makes the RAAW frames? Genio. Seems like they make some sweet stuff. and with a totally raw frame, they have to have beautiful dime stacks.
  • 17 0
 By far the best thing about this bike is the optional link. Every manufacturer should do the same. To think that the same leverage rate works for a 40kg rider weight range is utter BS.
  • 11 0
 Yes, including Orange! Oh wait...
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: multiple elevated chainstay lengths ????
  • 19 0
 Would love a comparison vs the Privateer bike!
  • 13 1
 And the Banshee Titan. They're all pretty similar geo/material/application/thought process. The only thing that concerned me about the Privateer was the seat tube. It has a bend in it that looks like it makes for a short overall insertion. Would love to see more about it though.
  • 10 0
 ....or Airdrop Edit
Lots of great rider owned rider focussed bikes out there just now!
  • 7 0
 @gafoto: These are all on my short list for a new build this year. The Titan looks like a killer bike, and I'm really impressed by the Madonna and 161. Just have to figure out sizing for my stupid 5'10" right in the middle of everyone's medium and large self.

I'm anxiously refreshing PB every morning hoping for the Titan review to drop.
  • 4 4
 Or the new 2020 Canfield Balance that just released a few minutes ago!
  • 3 0
 @James2785: There's good feedback about the Titan on the MTBR forum. Looks overwhelmingly positive so far.
  • 1 0
 @gafoto: Yeah! I've been following that thread on MTBR. One of the guys is local (Phoenix, AZ) and says it absolutely rips. We've got a pretty wild variety of trails here, so that's a good sign.
  • 1 0
 @James2785: I bought the last XL frame from RAAW yesterday afternoon. Looking forward to building it up. Unfortunately there aren't any forum areas or posts about the Madonna. It's skimpy information online.
  • 14 1
 I want a trail version of this!
  • 1 0
 Then you should get lucky. If i am not mistaken there was the Information in German forum that it would be the next project.
  • 10 0
 I may be in the minority here but I like the look of the oversized main pivot, reminds me of the aesthetics of the Foes frame holes. Would make a sexy looking HSP to my mind.
  • 11 2
 Does not look like Madonna
  • 43 0
 At this point, Madonna does not look like Madonna.
  • 5 0
 thank god.
  • 16 0
 It's like a version.
  • 7 0
 Video only?? Some of us try to sneak in pink bike reading at work!!
  • 5 0
 That’s when you sit on the toilet for 15 mins just to watch vids
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer when you all are making these could you put references to similar bikes numbers when looking at things like HA and CS length. I never know what is normal or standard these days so if you had something off to the side that listed say the Spec Enduro and Grim Donuts numbers for comparison that might help notice where this thing stands in comparison.
  • 7 0
 We are living in a material world.
  • 4 0
 ...and this is a material bike
  • 2 0
 I'm interested for the Euros to start comparing this to the new Propain Tyee. I found one discussion where the reviewers preferred the Tyee for its poppiness in everyday riding, but I'd like to hear some other opinions. This just looks so great.
  • 5 0
 O brave new world. External cable routing is finally a feature welcomed by reviewers again.
  • 2 0
 Watch how the pendulum swings.
  • 5 2
 We need something in between internal and what RAAW is doing... Maybe some kind of cover idea, like Canyon did? I love the ease of access, but it looks like shit.
  • 1 0
 @mybaben: guerilla gravity has entered the chat
  • 1 0
 @bigbrett: They do that? Nice!
  • 3 0
 Sooo nice! I can't wait for the full review. Also looking forward to the review of the Banshee Titan and hopefully you guys will get your hands on the new Revved carbon Smash for Guerrilla Gravity!
  • 5 1
 I am pretty convince with chinese wielded frame but 29er is too big for me, rear tire eats my ass in every drop.
  • 6 0
 With the function-over-form layout and modular nature of the drop-outs, wouldn’t it be super easy to offer us 29 haters a 650b option?!
  • 6 1
 @DirtbagMatt: Taiwan is not China, maybe you need to go back to school it seems(or stay there)?
  • 1 2
 @DirtbagMatt: They're going to need a different frame. The BB is super low on this. If we put 27.5 wheels on, we'll need 150mm cranks. LOL.
  • 1 0
 @Mondbiker: I’m sorry, at any point did I mention either China or Taiwan? I mentioned my hope for ease of customization based on the frame design. Perhaps you would like to preach to @lakay about your geography lesson of which I am already aware.
  • 1 0
 @DirtbagMatt: don't understand why more companies don't embrace modular dropouts - they are absolutely fantastic on my Rune V2. Between customizing CS length, different wheels sizes, geo changes and hub widths they just make sense
  • 3 0
 Yeah ! Can’t wait to hear more about this beast... She’s on my list for my next do it all bike !!
  • 15 15
 Once again,
The wankers obsess over looks. This thing looks like

A) I could service/tear down the bike hella fast
B) I would seldom need to do so!!

Obsessing over how a bike looks is what brought us the chainstay mounted U-Brake, 71/73 geometry for over a decade, and now internal routing.

Eff all of you posers-this bike looks well built and simple to work on!!!!
  • 10 0
 71/73 was just legacy geo. Nothing to do with aesthetics.
  • 4 9
flag chickenlassi (Jan 30, 2020 at 8:08) (Below Threshold)
 @jclnv: I can't agree with you there. My 1999 Rocky mountain blizzard that I still have looks better than any of the hardtails that are made today that look like circus bicycles
  • 7 0
 Theres literally one comment negatively reflecting on the look and it even explicitly mentions knowingly going against the flow.
  • 2 0

Love the giant easy to service bearings, and external routing of cables. So much easier to work on, and less work to begin with on those oversized bearings.

It’s geo is really similar to the new norco sight, but it’s available in aluminum frame only, and it also has a much larger shock and a special rocker for heavier riders (heavier riders on mtbr are reporting not enough progression on the sight).

Would love to demo one, just not sure that will happen in the US :/.
  • 2 0
 But it looks friggen sweet!...
  • 4 0
 you seem very upset. are you ok?
  • 3 3
 @jclnv: Clunkers and 1st gen. mountain bikes had low bottom brackets, slack head angles, etc.

The only “non-modern” geometry number on a Klunker was slack seat tube angle. But, considering dropper posts weren’t around yet, that was a reasonable compromise.

The “legacy geometry” you speak of was the result of people looking at early mountain bikes and saying “that looks like a kids bike. I want a bike that looks more like my 10 speed.”

So, I’d say wankers who cared about looks actually created a legacy of crap geometry that plagued us for two decades!!!
  • 1 0
 @peleton7: Yeah you might be right.
  • 1 1
 @peleton7: that and smaller bikes weigh less.
  • 1 0
 Early mtb geo was a result of copy- paste from road bikes & mtb has slowly broken away from it to the point where we are now getting close to some numbers that actually work.
  • 3 0
 Make one that is 130-ish back and 150 front with a 65.5-ish head tube and I'm sold.
  • 1 0
 I'd have one too.
  • 1 0
 That would be a short travel Reeb Sqweeb.
  • 1 0
 Btr pinner
  • 1 1
 If this bike is on your target list, then I recommend the Caliber Sentry. Similar in many ways, but HALF the price. Yes thats right, half. It too weights in at 16kg's with external cable routing to save on production costs. The great news as mentioned above, there are a number of excellent enduro bikes that are coming in under 3,000 EURO. RIP 10k USD bikes!
  • 3 0
 The Calibre Sentry looks like a great value, but I'm not sure that it's really in this bike's class. 33.5 lbs is closer to 15 than 16 kg. The Sentry is a single pivot with 10mm less travel on both ends (or 20mm less on the front), much lower stack, a shorter wheelbase, and a slightly slacker STA. I suspect that much of the price difference comes from it having a Yari and non-piggyback Deluxe vs. Fox Factory and NX vs. XT.

All that being said, the Sentry is a screaming deal, I just don't imagine many people cross shopping these.
  • 1 0
 The distributor of the Sentry ( does not ship internationally anymore. And they did/do not zero-rate the orders (the VAT is not excluded, which is fine for EU countries at least for a little while more, but definitely sucks for non-EU countries to have to double pay VAT).
That is, you would have to go to a physical GO shop in the UK, get a VAT form, and somehow claim the VAT back at the airport on your way back home....
  • 3 0
 2020 and all the cable rooting is exterior (because you change cables every week...). No thanks.
  • 3 0
 I dont quite get this either, I can deal with an extra few mins to get cables thru or the odd brake bleed for a cleaner looking bike.
  • 3 0
 Mike - you sound as if you have had a few Espressos too many ......
  • 5 0
 It would be good if he would slow down and speak more clearly. I'm a native English speaker (and I live in California, where everyone mumbles), and *I* have trouble understanding him. I can only imagine how hard it is for non-native speakers.
  • 3 0
 If any body at Pinkbike does reviews just make sure it's Mike.
  • 2 0
 I only ride downcountry. But, I think DC bikes can rock 160mm, right? What are the rules for that?
  • 4 0
 Yeah, but have to ride on full lockout. If coil, then jam a stick in there.
  • 2 0
 Such a gorgeous bike, just too much for where I ride, trail version next plz RAAW!
  • 1 0
 If it's too much travel you're worried about, just run less sag or more volume spacers so you don't use it all, OR, throw on the 65 link with a 60mm shock, that should knock it back 12-15mm in travel to 'big trail bike' category...
  • 2 0
 @GLOB-2018: my wallet doesn’t wanna hear that fam haha
  • 3 0
 I really like the looks of this bike.
  • 4 1
 Raaaaaaaaw please start making trail bikes!
  • 1 0
 The founder of the company actually recently said in a forum that their next plan is to make a trail bike
  • 3 0
 Serious bike lust here. Lots of good stuff going on here
  • 1 0
 Love the big guy linkage and big bearings! Lots of guys over 200 lbs. going fast out there too!
  • 2 0
 Man that is one pretty bike... I'd do it
  • 1 0
 It would certainly get a ragging, that’s for sure.
  • 1 0
 Now thats a good lookin frame, looks like a proper dream bike.
N+1 urges getting reeeal strong right now.
  • 2 4
 In the era of tubeless tires I get irrationally frustrated by frame mounted tubes and this just notches it up one level.
Hey! I'm planning to have a flat again so let me strap this tube right here! My tire levers and the pump? They are at the bottom of my backpack of course!
I just... whatever. I have to let this go.
Cool bike regardless!
  • 1 0
 Finally a bike made to be ridden not stared at. Cant wait for a review with this alongside the privateer 161
  • 3 1
 Its blody sold out already!
  • 1 0
 It's only January! Give them a minute....
  • 1 0
 Both of the full build options were sold out within a day, but the frame should be still available right now
  • 8 6
 Video transcript please.
  • 4 0
 Just watch with CC on. I'm as excited about the Ramadan as Kazimer is!
  • 4 2
 Would be nice to not have to open the video in the first place. In case I'm not the only one, here's the ride impression transcript. You're welcome. Wink

I only
have a few rides in so far in the
ramadana but I've got to say I'm kind of
addicted I head out to my shed grab a
bike they want to take out to test this
the one that keeps calling my name
there's something about it just got a
nice need for speed so you hop on it
stable it's planted but liveliness I
hadn't really expected you know like I
said it's not the lightest bike but does
feel especially this DP x2 they can
really hop in and place it where you
want to that kind of blend of stability
and liveliness is really fun as far as
climbing goes I did mention the way it's
not the lightest bike out there but the
climb position is super comfortable that
it's deep seat tube angle to keep going
on about it's there you know you're in a
nice position you might have to deal
with some pedal strikes especially if
you're in rocky or terrain the bottom
rack it's pretty lower the ground so
it's something to think about but that
low broader bracket when it does come
time to descend it's pretty amazing
cornering on this thing I think that's
one of the reasons I keep grabbing it
just it's nice and low
you're centered feels nice and balanced
to the chainstay length versus the front
center length you just really rail
around turns like I said still early
days and testing this bike and keep
putting the miles in on it we doing some
comparisons of this for some other bikes
in the same travel bracket but overall
my first impressions it's an impressive
offering for this small brand from
Germany they have it that's a closer
look at the ramadana v2 stay tuned for
more detailed ride impressions once I
put some more miles and on this machine
  • 2 0
 @gafoto: What's the Ramadan? (sorry, I listened while working and must have missed it...?)
  • 3 0
 @stiingya: The Closed Captioning voice to text picks up RAAW Madonna as Ramadan.
  • 5 0
 @gafoto: that's how jihads get started...
  • 1 2
 If I'm not mistaken, this thing weighs a whopping kilo more than most of the peers' alloy frames without shock. What's the deal?
  • 2 0
 To sum it up in a single word: Durability.
More material in critical key areas vastly improves overall strength and (more crucially) fatiguing propterties. Love a bike thats built to last, even if its a bit more on the heavy side. Also, the frame is more like 500g heavier than its competitors and lets be honest, what difference does even a kg make, if its sprung, non-rotational mass? Like, you could always just go work out a bit more...
  • 1 2
 Those fork ends on the dog bone links of the rear triangle are anything but "burly". Look more like they'll last a year before needing to be swapped out for new.
  • 1 0
 I thought Mike was describing himself during the first 30sec, lol
  • 2 1
 Riding pinned on this may still be less dangerous than riding Madonna raw.
  • 1 0
 wheres part two on the grim donut!?
  • 1 0
 RAAW DOGG V1 coming in the second half of 2020
  • 1 0
 Pretty sexy...
  • 2 2
 GRIMMM DOUGHNUTTTTT. Grimdoughnut. Grimdoughnut. Grimdoughnut.
  • 2 2
 really interested until I saw it was 3800$ cad before shipping and customs
  • 1 1
 Wow..a long, slack, heavy 160mm 29er with a steep STA. Something new!
  • 2 2
Can you please compare it to the Yeti SB150?
  • 1 1
 Interesting bike, too bad they don't make a 275. Next!
  • 2 3
 Anyone else not a fan of steep seat tube angles?
  • 1 0
 Serious question: why would someone not like steep seat angles?! Do you like leaning over like on a road bike? For real, I want to know. Thx.
  • 1 1
 @mybaben: After riding a bike with a steep seat tube angle for a year I developed a bad habit of keeping my weight towards the front of the bike, even when descending. It may just be me, but I feel fine climbing with a slacker angle and it seems to help put my body in a better natural position when I drop the post to descend.
  • 1 0
 @GAdirt: Are you sure we're talking about the same thing? A steep STA helps for seated pedaling. It does keep you more forward on the bike, but also more upright. You shouldn't be leaned forward too much at all. And when descending you're standing, so you should be able to take a nice neutral position on the bike, and weight both wheels. Does that make sense?
  • 1 4
 The only thing nice on this bike is the stand of the inner tube on the frame...
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