Video: Looking Back On 7 Years of RAAW

Oct 4, 2023 at 9:48
by RAAW Mountain Bikes  

Press Release: RAAW Mountain Bikes

Seven years have gone by fast, but so much has happened since the inception of RAAW in 2016.

Dan and Ruben look back at what we’ve learnt in those seven years of making bikes, how the journey started, what racing taught us, and how we try to not lose focus.

The Madonna was our first bike and has come a long way, evolving into the current V2.2. But something new is on the horizon.

Everything we’ve learned will be released in the all-new, but all the same, Madonna V3 on November 9th. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified first.

For all things RAAW, head to

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RAAWMountainBikes avatar

Member since Mar 27, 2018
31 articles

  • 48 0
 Oh thank God, my heart skipped, at first I thought this was an announcement of closing down shop. RAAW Bikes have always been some of my favorites, so sick
  • 4 0
 I absolutely love their design/ethos.

As a guy who isn't a privateer racer, but just a guy who works a full time job, and a family with little kids who also likes to ride, I really appreciate it when companies take the time to make a bike easier to work on (and also why I make a lot of comments about how I hate headset cable routing), or just need to be worked on less (giant bearings, bearing shields, etc).

By their own admission, Raaw bikes are pretty straightforward, but its that focus on making it last/be easy to work on, combined with good performance and aesthetics, that really does it for me.

I ended up on a Banshee Titan due to availability/etc during Covid, but there may be a Raaw frame in my future yet.
  • 23 0
 Flip Chip to swap 27.5 or 29, Reach adjust, Chain stay adjust, Progression Adjustments pretty please?
  • 7 0
 They have been pretty consistent on their full 29 commitment. We'll see though.
  • 3 0
 There already is with the option rocker isn't there?
Mx option and HA adjustment would be good.
A teeny bit lighter would be nice too.
  • 4 0
 @pisgahgnar: I wonder if they’ll stick with that after seeing that almost all the racers are on mullet, or so it seems from the “bike check” articles I see. I set my Yalla up as a mullet and it works great. Tried it as a full 29er and it seemed to roll a bit quicker but not as good in corners, and I like not worrying about hitting my butt on the rear tire.
  • 3 2
 As long as Dan Roberts is in charge of engineering, I feel like the implementation of mixed wheel compatibility is very unlikely. Altough I hope I'm wrong.
  • 4 2
 Wanted a RAAW went with a Patrol for this reason
  • 6 2
 @VelkePivo: Don't forget that according to RAAW the Madonna is meant to be a privateer's enduro race bike first and foremost (as opposed to an allrounder or a play- or park bike). Above all else it's meant to be fast between the tape. And in enduro racing, contrary to what's happening in DH, most of top racers seem to have switched back to full 29. Maes, Moir, Melamed, Rude, Rudeau and most of the other regular top-20 guys run full 29er setups.
  • 4 1
 @Muscovir: I’m far from knowledgeable on the subject, but I don’t see why they can’t have a mullet option. Re the racers, I was thinking of a recent DH bike check article rather than enduro, so you may have a point there
  • 3 0
 This. I had the V2 and the 29er rear wheel was taint-tickler on the steeps. Since, went to a mullet set up on a different brand but if they made it so you could run it as a mullet I'd come back when it was time for a refresh. The V2 was so sick.
  • 1 0
 If they don’t add the MX option to the Madonna, pretty please bring it to the Jibb. Now that would be a fun bike…
  • 4 0
 @Muscovir: sound arguments, but all this question sounds a bit hollow when a simple flip chip would solve the "issue", no?

If Raaw still doesn't give the option with the V3, it sounds like "we know better than you do, you don't need a mullet".
  • 4 1
 @VelkePivo: No, you're right. Having the option to switch between 27.5 and 29 would be great. It's just that it's super hard to get the kinematics and shock tune right-ish while providing the option to run both wheel sizes. It's always gonna be a compromise.
  • 1 0
 Seems to run counter to the ethos of simplicity and durability, no?
  • 2 1
 @Muscovir: I believe this was their rationale for 29er only on their DH bike. They can optimise the kinematics for the 29" wheel, rather than having to make a compromise to suit both.
  • 1 0
 @VelkePivo: Did you do anything to allow for the smaller wheel, or did it just work?
  • 2 0
 @ljblk: Raaw themselves recommend different links according to rider weight, or if you want to put a longer stroke shock.

I absolutely cannot believe that the "perfectly optimized kinematics" are so sensitive to small changes (a flip chip) that it has to be used in the "one exact configuration" they designed it...

It all this was accurate rocket science, they'd have to make rocker links for 50, 55, 60, 65kg riders etc... Not just 2 sizes. Same as brands affirming "perfectly balanced geo on all sizes " and then make just 1 or 2 CS lengths
  • 2 0
 @Muscovir: yes, "compromise" is the key word here.

And for many people, having their preferred rear wheel size is more important than getting the exact bike behaviour Raaw designed (btw nothing exact unless you use the exact same suspension and susp settings that Raaw intended to use).

Just one example: the Spindrift review where the guy said his preferred model is the full 29" (longer CS) with 27" back wheel (ghetto setup, no flip chip --> big impact on geo), rather than the specific mullet frame
  • 1 0
 @Malenfant: RAAW has a lot of adjustment options, so I got the short chain stay dropouts, got the higher bottom bracket adjustment and got the headset that shortens the reach a bit and steepens the head angle. I also got Hope 155mm cranks. I had a Canfield Jedi 29 before the Yalla and for me it was a bit too much. I wanted something more playful and the mulleted Yalla gave me exactly what I was looking for. It’s fun but I also feel invincible on it.
  • 13 0
 Marks on the headtube ... adjustable headset incoming.
  • 11 4
 im hoping for a reach figure around 470mm, so i can finally buy one that might fit me Smile
  • 9 0
 Man I'm excited for the V3! So stoked that they still stick to the same no-nonsense ethos that made the company and their bikes so good in the first place. As for the V3, the V2.2 was already pretty damn close to perfection. Add a UDH, the same adjustability found on the Yalla and possibly MX-compatibility and you've got a winner. In any way it looks like I'll have to hold off my decision which long-travel bike to buy until November 9th.
  • 2 1
If I’ve got to choose, I’d go for:
Making the kinematics a little more poppy
Increasing reach by 10 or 15mm (so that I’m no longer between sizes)
And steepen the seattube by 1 degree.
Than it would be perfect - for me.

Mullet compatibility?
Why not.
  • 9 1
 If only the RAAW YALLA had a flipchip/mallet option, or even better full 27.5” wheels version…
  • 2 0
 I run mine as a mullet and it works great. 155mm cranks, shortened the chain stays and steepened the head angle. Love it.
  • 3 0
 I'm a fan of the Madonna but the price is really too high, also to get a 4,2kg frame.
I know that durability is prob as good as can be, but my experience of 5 years in park parks on and AL enduro frame, and not needing any bearing swaps... tells me that this can be achieved without that price or weight (radon swoop 3,2kg).

I don't know where Madonna is manufactured, maybe they don't have access to the latest and greatest manufacturing methods? For example Giant has been making very good Al frames for like 10y now
  • 3 0
 Made by Genio (Taiwan)
  • 3 0
 V1 owner from the first batch sold here. Would love to upgrade, but the v1 is more reliable and durable than my body. Even after my last crash that made me pause for almost a season, all I had to do was swap the hanger and count some more dents. Madonna lives forever. Best, most durable and longest owned MTB I ever had. Easy to work on. Swapped a few bearings, lots of hangers, derailleurs, cables, brake lines. Major bearing swap “on a whim” (creaking was bad) on a Thursday evening, went riding again on Friday (super silent).
  • 7 0
 Raaw dawg.
  • 1 0
 RAAW Vocado
  • 4 0
 oh its just a new seatstay with udh. haha i'm not sure i need anything beyond that from my current madonna. maybe better cable routing, but once set they are ok.
  • 4 0
 I was told by raaw that where will be a replacement seat stay with udh for the v2.2
  • 3 0
 Been on a V2 for 3 seasons now. The only thing I'd change is to shave some weight off. I've been eying up the Steezl as a replacement but not because of any dislike or issues at all with the RAAW, it's been a great bike.
  • 2 0
 nice video, well put together and makes you exited for what's coming. Never ride a raaw but this video makes me want to try one.
  • 3 0
 Should I buy one, the raaw madonna looks so good and it is not at a terrible price point either.
  • 5 0
 Have one, considering swapping for a new frame. But only because I now have two young kids and my riding for the next few years is going to be infrequent and not as gnarly. It's really heavy, 8.6lbs without a shock. But it is a beast downhill and the fastest bike I've been on. If you want a full on enduro bike it is one of the best. It's just not the do it all I need for the next couple years.
  • 1 0
 @pisgahgnar: exact same boat as you. Easily the best bike I’ve been on. Such a beast. I get compliments and questions about it everytime I ride it. But with a kid showing up any day now it’s too much of a bike for my new daily driving. I would highly recommend anyone buy one though, especially if your trails point downhill.
  • 1 0
 @scubasteve278: Congrats! My second is technically not here yet either, but will be within the week. Good luck! It's tiring and fun as hell.
  • 8 0
 It's such a good bike. I got the v2 when it launched and it's the longest I've ever had the same frame. And still with no desire to replace it. At least I told myself I'd never replace it until a new Madonna was released... So crap, I guess we'll see Wink

I use it for everything - dh days, all-day rides of 2000m+ of climbing, alpine hike-a-bikes, and anything else requiring a reliable, capable, fun bike. I still routinely finish laps on it and think "holy shit, do I ever love this thing".

I get that it's heavy, and I've done everything in my power to make it even heavier (heavy, durable parts, dh tires, etc.). But I have no issue pedaling the bike all day long. It's worth it. I'd rather be forced to get a little bit fitter than sacrifice the reliability and capability that comes with the Madonna.

It also doesn't hurt that one can appreciate the ethos of a company like Raaw. We take part in an industry that is all about pushing consumption for consumption's sake. Always trying to sell you on the next big gimmick. It's refreshing to deal with a company that prioritizes durability and sustainability in their frames. You can buy a v1 Madonna today and it'll still be a fantastic bike that will last you years and years.
  • 2 0
 UHD on its way thank god,the current alloy mech hangers are made from cheese,bent 4 in 4 months for no apparent reason,now using the steel option against my better judgement.
  • 2 0
 Exactly the same situation. I’ve got original AXS and it felt like just riding along was bending the hanger from the weight. Now reluctantly using a steel hanger… it’s scary
  • 1 0
 Did you guys try the 7-series aluminum one? Noticeably stiffer than 6-series. An AZ "baby-head" found my derailleur, loud bang. Derailleur was fine, 7-series hanger was bent. Tried bending back, cracked.

I'm back on 6-series with mechanical GX just because they are bendable. My Abbey HAG goes everywhere with me now.
  • 2 0
 @BigHerm: Yeah I was using the 7 series, tried the north shore billet version as well and I think I bent it on day one. I emailed with Dan about it and he suggested switching to steel.
  • 2 0
 @BigHerm: yeh tried the 7 series, bent 2nd day when the bike fell over on the grass.It’s not the alloy ,it’s the design of the hanger,it’s very thin at the dropout.Had the same hanger on my previous bike for 4 yrs.Deffo a design flaw,that’s why Raaw introduced the steel one.
  • 2 0
 I’m soooooooo looking forward to v3!!
  • 1 0
 it's the 9th of November .... where is it? where is it????

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