Staff Ride: Brian's '10 Year' RAAW Madonna V2 Project Bike

Mar 16, 2021 at 12:34
by Brian Park  
Raaw Madonna V2
Photos by Devan Francis


STAFF RIDES

Brian Park's '10 Year' RAAW Madonna V2 Project Bike


"What bike would you get if you had to keep it forever?"

We're unapologetically into new, exciting tech, but sometimes that cycle of new-new-new for its own sake doesn't sit well with me. Bikes are expensive, have environmental impacts, and should be awesome for many years. Forever is a long time, but over the last few years I've been thinking about what I'd build for the long haul.

For this project I approached the challenge of building what I’d want if I was going to be forced to keep it for 10 years. A decade seems like a reasonable amount of time. And no, I should come clean off the bat, I'm not going to keep this bike for 10 years—I've had it for a year, and I'm definitely going to run it for another year or two at least, but eventually I'll pass it on.

Maybe I'll make it a condition that whoever gets it from me will need to agree to check in once a year about the bike, what's failed, what's working well, etc...
Brian's RAAW Madonna V2 Details

• Intended use: Enduro-ish
• Travel: 160mm rear / 170mm fork
• Wheel size: 29"
• Frame construction: Aluminum
• 64.5° head angle, 440mm chainstays
• Weight: 36.5 lb / 16.6 kg (size M with pedals)
• Price: I don't want to talk about it
raawmtb.com

Basically my approach was to only choose things I believe would survive 10 years of hard riding, not including wear items. I did pay attention to those wear items and didn't choose anything totally disposable, but wasn't going to compromise by running hard compound tires or anything silly like that. I originally made a "no carbon" rule, just for giggles, but recently noticed that the seat shell is carbon, so I'm sorry to have failed you all.

Anyway, lets move on to the build...





FRAME

For the frame I went with the RAAW Madonna V2. It's an absolute tank of a foundation, massively overbuilt with enormous pivots. Mike Kazimer's review was titled 'Ready for the Apocalypse' so it seemed the perfect fit. It's definitely not light at over 9lb (size M, with Float X2). By comparison, mainstream carbon enduro frames are ~7lb, and there are plenty of lighter options out there. Despite the heft, I love RAAW's design ethos of being utterly no-nonsense, and I love that their V2 of the much lauded original design was iterative and subtle, rather than throwing everything out and doing something new for newness' sake. If I'd had the choice I'd have gone with the raw aluminum colour to stick with the theme of longevity—raw just hides wear so well. Unfortunately raw had a crazy long lead time.

A smashy 160/170 enduro bike is definitely overkill for what I like to ride, but after some shoulder and arm surgeries I'm pretty sore these days, so I made the decision to over-bike. I don't mind carrying some extra bike around if it's going to make me more comfortable and safe.

The geometry is modern, but not silly. I thought about getting something slacker, but decided to get more wheelbase out of its 455mm (size M) reach than thinking about its fairly neutral 64.5° headtube angle too much. The Grim Donut is really fun and I do think elements of it are the future of race bikes, but I'm already overbiking with this thing so I didn't want to end up with something unmanageable.

Raaw Madonna V2
The original setup with the Fox 38. Damn I needed to cut my lawn.
Raaw Madonna V2
The current setup with the EXT Era.

SUSPENSION

For the rear shock I went with a Float X2, and it's been great. It's taken me the better part of a year to have the time and energy to do enough back-to-back runs that it's dialled in now. But on the fork I cheated a little bit. I had a Fox 38, which I really enjoyed, and then Kaz sent up that EXT Era for a second opinion, and well, I like it more. I didn't realize how much I liked it until I took it off, and then immediately put it back on. I've largely been avoiding this writeup because I am hoping Kaz has forgotten about that fork. I'd really like to cut that extra steerer tube down...

It's worth noting that the recommended settings for the EXT Era were bang on for me. I bracketed in either direction a little, but ended up going back to their original recommendation. Super impressive on their part.

Raaw Madonna V2
Stupid power.
Raaw Madonna V2
Intend BC's prototype Aero 223mm rotors are the best looking rotors ever.

BRAKES

I went a little bit insane with the brakes. Trickstuff Maximas are already the most powerful brakes out there, and then I paired them to some prototype 223mm rotors that Cornelius at Intend BC had made before he cancelled his brake rotor project. Those rotors are some of the best looking rotors I've ever seen, and the theory behind them (many little holes rather than a few big holes = smoother braking, less pad wear, more surface area for air to cool) seems reasonable. They've worked amazingly, but I ended up taking them off because I want to save them. I know, I'm broken. Now I've got utterly pedestrian Trickstuff Dachle HD 223 rotors on there (jokes, just in case...).

Anyway the brakes are mindblowing. They've ruined all other brakes for me. Stupid power, zero issues (except for that one time I forgot how to install Goodridge lines—cut me some slack, I hadn't done it in 15+ years). I'm firmly in the you-can't-have-too-much-power-I'll-modulate-with-my-fingers camp. You have to work for a whole year to afford these brakes, and then wait another year to receive them, but I guarantee that these brakes will give everyone else brake envy for at least ten years.

Raaw Madonna V2
Home brew brake routing, complete with inspirational message.

I struggled a little with brake hose routing. The Goodridge line was too thick to route where it was supposed to go between the BB and the swingarm, plus that routing pulled a lot of housing as the bike went through its travel. To fix that, I 3D printed a guide for the chainstay and a plug for the main pivot axle that has the housing go right through the middle of the pivot. Shout out to Matterhackers for help with the 3D printer and their excellent NylonX carbon fibre filament.

This way it pulls virtually no hose, requires less of it, and simplifies the routing a lot. I hope RAAW incorporates something like this for V3. And while they're at it, the shift routing could be simplified as well—maybe running under the chainslap protector.
Raaw Madonna V2
Ruben please don't sue me for appropriating your brand.

DT Swiss 240 EXP Hubs
The venerable DT Swiss 240 EXP hubs.

WHEELS

Wheels were a conundrum. I knew I wanted to build something up because I've missed wheelbuilding the last few years, and I knew I wanted to use those new DT Swiss 240 EXP hubs. After a lot of waffling I went with a full DT build: J-bend Competition Race spokes, Prolock Squorx Prohead Alu nipples, and XM481 rims. For those of you counting, yes, I committed the blasphemy of 28-hole rims. I forgot to write the exact weight down, but the wheelset is well under 1800g for a pretty robust aluminum wheelset. To be honest, the 28-hole decision was mostly to see if I could get away with it. I hope I'm not cursing myself here, but so far I've gotten away with it. The rims have had a pretty rough life, but tires still seat just fine, the spokes stay tensioned, and they still run straight.

Originally the tires were Maxxis Assegais with EXO+ casings, because this is more of an overgrown trail bike than a enduro smasher for me. At least that was the idea. Anyway they had tons of grip and I love how predictable they are, but I did get more pinch flats than I'd like so I went with Schwalbe's Super Gravity casing on the Magic Marys I replaced them with. Why not Maxxis again? Well I haven't ridden anything other than Maxxis on my personal bike in years, and that's silly, but also because I like their skinwalls. I'm vain, but I think it looks badass now.

I was running 28 psi rear, 26 psi front with the EXO+ Assegais, but I may drop a few psi with the Super Gravity casing Magic Marys.

Raaw Madonna V2
The original setup with Fox 38 and Assegais.

DRIVETRAIN

I went with an XT drivetrain, because I thought something a little more workmanlike than XTR would suit this build, but then I threw that blue collar nature out the window and put Cane Creek eeWings cranks on it. They're still a lot of money even if you amortize it over 10 years, but I don't think there's a lighter all-metal crank out there that's rated for any sort of aggressive riding. I've got the crankset in Cane Creek's Hellbender BB, which also makes some bold claims about bearing longevity so I figured this would be a great application for it. The setup has been as flawless as you'd expect.

I put on an AbsoluteBlack chainguide/guard and an oval chainring, just to try. While I can't say I notice any dramatic difference in oval vs round chainrings, it's been just good—no issues backpedalling or shifting or dropping chains.

Raaw Madonna V2
Newmen cockpit, Trickstuff brakes, and S&M Hoder grips. Not a combination you see every day.

CONTROLS

The cockpit is a 40mm Newmen Evolution SL 318.4 stem and Evolution SL 318 bar. The stem is pleasantly normal with a standard four-bolt design, but it's very light at 90g and has no weight or use restrictions. The 9° back and 9° up bar is really interesting and I like that position. Having that much upsweep almost feels similar to the 12° and 16° backsweep SQ-lab bars I've tried on my hardtail; all of them just feel a little more natural to me than the usual 9° back and 5° up bars out there. I've got S&M Hoder grips on there, which are so long they run right up to the brakes. It's a bit odd having that much grip, but they're a great balance between the softness of my usual favourite Animal Edwins, the tackiness and thinness of Renthal push-ons, and the cushion of ODI Longnecks. I think they're made by ODI as well, they have that feel anyway.

Pedals are Syntace NumberNine2 Titans (size L) because they're light, have a massive platform, and a grease fitting for easy maintenance. I also tried the Pedalling Innovations pedals for a while last year, and while I think there's something to their long platform foot position, I didn't notice a huge change when I went back to the Syntace ones.

Raaw Madonna V2
Set up with the Vecnum Nivo. The mechanical feeling is a bit different after riding so many smooth feeling cartridge posts, but the action is excellent and it's been super reliable on this bike and now on my hardtail.

I had a Vecnum Nivo 212mm dropper post on the bike originally. It was awesome and super light, but I moved it over to an XC-ish hardtail build I'm working on. I switched to a Fox Transfer, which has a history of great reliability, but the return speed was just too slow for my tastes and I wanted a little more drop. Finally I went to what's probably our favourite all-round dropper right now: the OneUp Dropper v2 (210mm version shimmed down to 200mm). I'm using Shimano's non-series SL-MT800-IL dropper post lever and I think it's the best feeling one out there. The saddle is a Specialized Power Arc. I get along with it, the stubby shape works for my position on the bike and the raised back is nice for pushing into on climbs.

Raaw Madonna V2
The Kaz-inspired 'Nano Bracket' I designed and 3D printed for holding a tube. If you want to print your own the STL file is here.

DETAILS

Other details include a ti King cage because I'm fancy, a OneUp EDC tool in the steerer, NSB fork cable guide because the 6mm Goodridge lines don't fit in the stock one, Stans sealant, and a 3D printed "Nano Bracket" tube strap holder I designed to hold a Schwalbe Aerothan tube. I've also been messing around with the idea of making a cover for the other side of the main axle void and using that as storage. I haven't quite got the design sorted out but we'll see.

Raaw Madonna V2
Details...





LESSONS LEARNED FROM A YEAR ON THE MADONNA

One year on and I've had a great time on the Madonna. A lot of bikes feel pretty tired after a year—creaks that are impossible to track down, roached bearings, etc., but not this one. After a quick refresh a few weeks ago it feels brand new.

Riding the bike has been amazing. Now keep in mind, I'm not a tech editor and haven't ridden every enduro bike out there, but damn if this thing isn't a revelation. It took a few days at Big White for my brain to get over the crash I had the year before, but I did eventually get up to speed. It's composed, it corners insanely well, and I feel right at home with its geometry. The EXT fork is a work of art, and this bike paired with the Float X2 is just magic.

Moving back to longevity, what wore out? Not much. Although I'm mostly a weekend warrior these days, I did manage to get through a set of Trickstuff pads (Power compound), a set of Maxxis Assegai EXO+ tires, and some Renthal Ultra Sticky push-on grips.

The hubcap-style seals do their job. I preemptively got some Enduro MAX style bearings to replace all my pivots, but after a year of riding, when I went to replace them, the frame's bearings literally looked brand new—even after being ridden a bunch on sloppy winter days, put away wet, and then eventually pressure washed with reckless abandon. Same goes for the Cane Creek BB. I'm going to have to save them as spares for the next owner.

The brakes have ruined me for life. They're so good. I still don't believe that nobody else can make brakes this powerful. It's just leverage after all, not magic. I want Trickstuff to succeed, so this is a bit selfish, but I hope other brands figure out what Trickstuff is doing and get their own brakes sorted out ASAP.

On the topic of brakes, I have a nostalgic soft spot for the Goodridge lines. Can we have those back? Is there a good source for them in North America? I had to raid Levy's stash to find some 20-year-old hose in order to run a longer line when I built the bike up.

Finally, I love how quiet the bike is. The DT 240 hub has an understated, bright-sounding buzz, but otherwise there's zero clattering around.

Okay, let's talk about some issues. The nitpicks are that the cable routing was a little annoying until I made the guides, and you need about 9 different torx and hex keys to work on Trickstuff brakes. A slightly bigger issue is the rear axle's tendency to come loose. It may just be a consequence of non-bridged seatstays, but some Loctite did fix it.

The most significant negative is the weight. Even with what I think is an insanely nice, lightweight build, it's pretty heavy. At 36.5lb it is probably ~4lb heavier than what it could be if I hadn't been choosing overbuilt stuff and avoiding carbon. Are those 4lb the price of longevity? Probably.

Across The Pond Beaver 2x2 Cycles Rack
Can't wait for summer. The 2x2 motorcycle bike rack was super fun last year.





FINAL THOUGHTS

I get tired of the keeping-up-with-the-jones bike builds on Instagram. While there's nothing wrong with buying new, exciting bike stuff when there's a performance benefit, buying less and better things helps me put aside some middle class guilt about my recreational consumption.

The Madonna ticks all those boxes for me, and puts a smile on my face every time I take it out. This was a super fun project, and I'm confident the bike will provide many more years of service. What a beast.


261 Comments

  • 156 5
 Builds a bike meant to last a decade -> Puts aluminum nipples on the wheel...

*Inquisitive face*
  • 25 7
 DT Squorx are pretty damn good though
  • 26 0
 Agreed... would’ve figured brass given the bike is already so heavy and who cares sort of attitude.
  • 11 0
 I've just rebuilt my wheels after running them for 6 years with Sapim Polyax aluminium nipples. They went through 2 bikes, several alps trips, dozens of uplifts, 10s of enduro and DH races and countless all day rides without a single failure. Not even one rounded from re-trues.

Unfortunately the rebuild took me from old WTB KOM i25 rims to KOM "Tough" i29s which have not just dented but flat spotted after the second ride. Once again though, the nipples are fine!
  • 8 0
 @HookDesigns: I've got a set of 2 year old e-thirteen wheels where half the nipples are seized. I don't really ride in harsh conditions either. Aluminum nipples can last that long, but they are less likely to.
  • 5 0
 learned my lesson with two sets of road wheels. Won't make that mistake again
  • 17 3
 Yea but with 28 spokes he knew he'd be rebuilding those wheels soon anyway... Smile
  • 6 1
 He kind of hinted in the article that the wheels weren't quite in keeping with the 10-year theme... going with 28 spokes was also a longevity fail. If he really wanted the wheels to last as long as possible, they'd have 32 spoke, 3-cross lacing pattern, and brass nipples.
  • 18 2
 @srjacobs: You guys are so critical of 28-spoke wheels. In reality if they're built right, 28-spoke wheels will hold up just fine. Though in my opinion as a wheelbuilder, being "built right" doesn't include using alloy nipples for MTB.
  • 3 0
 @seraph: I bought a dt E1900 wheels with 28 spokes. They came loose after 6 months, I have damaged alu nipples because of out of tolerance key trying to straighten them. Recently I have shown it to the best builder I know. First thing he said after working on them is that next time I come to him, he will get rid of those shitty alu nipples Wink
  • 6 4
 There's absolutely no reason a 28 spoke wheel is less durable than a 32 spoke one. Just less room for error when damage already occurred. But then why aren't we riding 50 spoke ones?
  • 4 0
 I just assumed wheels were filed under "wear parts". Smile
  • 9 0
 @number44: filed "underwear" parts???

OUCH
  • 5 0
 Looking at today's job on workbench- 4 broken aluminum nipples on one wheel and a broken spoke from a 28 hole wheel.
  • 30 3
 I guess I just don't ride as hard as all you hardcores. Smile Time will tell if I made the wrong call...

With all the suggestions in here (brass nipples, 32h+, Saint cranks, etc etc.), at some point my already heavy enduro bike would be 40lb. It all adds up.
  • 3 0
 @brianpark:

I want my Madonna V2 to be sub 30 lbs but it ain’t happening. I gave it carbon wheels a few months ago and it’s still heavy AF. The price to be paid for durability in general.
  • 9 0
 @brianpark: I just wanted to fine the most minor and inconsequential thing to nit-pick. This is the internet after all Wink
  • 2 0
 @tgrummon +1 for using aluminium/aluminum instead of "alloy"
after all brass is an alloy too, and even more so as far as spoke nipples go
  • 1 0
 not to mention 28spoke and J-bend
  • 4 2
 @SickEdit: it has been proven, over time, that 32 spokes is an ideal number when it comes to strength and weight for the bulk of riders. While more spokes (than 32) does technically make a stronger wheel, that extra strength is superfluous, so 48 spokes (50 wouldn't work) is unnecessary. 28 spoke mountain bike wheels are just fine for certain types of riders, but to say they are just as strong would be incorrect; however, they are strong enough for light riders, and riders who are typically not hard on wheels. The difference in strength between 28 and 32 becomes quite obvious under hard riding. There is too much stress on each spoke to provide the support that the rim needs. 4 spokes doesn't seem like much, but it's the ability to spread the loads over more spokes that makes the difference.
  • 2 0
 @tgrummon: e-13 != DT Swiss
  • 6 0
 @rcybak: It was proven by who? Forum engineers? And yet perhaps the most durable wheelset on the market uses 28 spokes F/R, 27.5 and 29, and here comes the shocker, butted 1.65mm spokes and aluminum nipples. Weight limit is 125kg system weight, I don´t know about you, but that is not what´s considered light weight even it the USA, let alone rest of the world. www.pinkbike.com/news/review-newmen-evolution-a30-wheels.html
  • 1 0
 @srjacobs: yup. There’s some parts you know you are going to just have to replace over a period of time. Rims/ nipples being some of them. A rear derailleur and wearable drivetrain parts being others. While I think 28 spokes and aluminum nipples are a little crazy considering the build, it’s not that crazy, he at least used durable hubs. It’s not like anyone is expecting his fork seals to last more than a season.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: I have been running 28* rims for years without issue and I am pretty abusive to my setups. It is outdated to think that someone needs 32 or 36 setups for strength. Only difference is I run SC Reserves and WA1 Strife's.
  • 1 0
 @srjacobs: I have a mate who recently built up some @proofwheels with DT240 Hubs with 28 Pillar spokes in each. He's been running that combination for years with no problems. He's not a very big guy though but he does ride very fast/hard. Just a mention. I wouldn't do it though.
  • 1 0
 Just had to replace all of my nipples after sealant corroded them and they started snapping. Still went al Be doing it again in two years.
  • 138 3
 "I get tired of the keeping-up-with-the-jones bike builds "

Also I put an EXT fork on it, eewings, and trickstuff brakes.
  • 16 0
 Fair comment, but he might have just been editing one of those Dangerholm articles.
  • 52 7
 @chakaping: dangerholms builds are amazing. I’m talking more about the generic dream builds from influencers.
  • 3 0
 Yeah, but you can justify putting some top level parts on your bike by the fact that you'll not want to replace or upgrade them down the line (if you know you're the sort that would get the itch to do so!)...

My first couple of bikes I spent loads on upgrades which, when you price it up at the end, meant I could have got a better bike in the first place. I don't do that any more.
  • 5 0
 Agree, excellent concept bike. In a world of dangerholms the idea of a bike that’s built to last you 10yrs is very cool in a sustainable vibe. But then to put £1000 cranks on it sort of contradicts it. I get it, they may last longer, better investment and all that (probs not though right?) but my initial enthusiasm was dampened.
  • 6 0
 @brianpark: His bikes are like the Platonic ideal of a bling build though. Other "dream builds" are usually tiresome marketing toss.
  • 16 0
 "I get tired of the keeping-up-with-the-jones bike builds "

Also I put an EXT fork on it, eewings, and trickstuff brakes.

THIS ^^^
Don't get me wrong, VERY cool build. And I appreciate it being shared. But me thinks testing 10 thousand dollar bikes for a living pushes the idea of what "not keeping up with the jones" is like... Smile
  • 13 4
 I get where you're all coming from but I'd still argue that this bike is not top end all round. It was built to a (admittedly high) budget and the choice has been made to spend extra on a few components that are important to him. You could easily add thousands to the build of this, with carbon wheels, top tier drive chain and the like... I get the impression that the "keeping up with the Jones's" comment is a little bit tongue in cheek and perhaps related more to the fact that Raaw doesn't do traditional model years (iirc?) - 2 years down the line nobody will be thinking he's riding an 'obsolete' bike... The frame is hardly cheap but nobody seems bothered by that?
Also, as he works in the business, I'm quite sure he gets some stuff cheap or free as a result. He probably also samples a lot of stuff and gets to work out where to spend money to get the best value.
No, its not a budget build but I do think that he's met his build criteria and has a build that should last a long time and not need any money spending on it beyond routine servicing.
I'm not sure why it's making some people so cross?
  • 4 0
 (and some €300 pedals)
  • 5 0
 and for contrast to those exotic parts: a "workmanlike" XT drivetrain
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: what is it exactly that made you swap the 38 for the EXT fork?
  • 26 0
 ""I get tired of the keeping-up-with-the-jones bike builds "

Also I put an EXT fork on it, eewings, and trickstuff brakes."


You misunderstand. He meant that he was tired of keeping up with the Jones and instead opted to nuke them from space.
  • 17 1
 I think "keeping up with the Jones" means buying new stuff whenever a half a revision comes out. This build is "buy some nice stuff once and you won't upgrade". Different things.
  • 2 0
 If you really want to have a bike be usable in ten years, don't put expensive exotic stuff from small companies on it. The ext's and trickstuffs of today are the Mavericks (Hanebrink, 5th element, etc etc) and Grimecas of tomorrow. If you actually ride the bike and have to find a replacement lever for your Diretissima or get your EXT serviced ten years from now, good luck. Ask me how I found this out.
  • 1 0
 @dave-f: I get what you're saying and this is an excellent point, but I feel a little queasy comparing this Era to a Hanebrink... Anyway that's the only actual "exotic" thing on the bike. Eventually I'll have to give the Era back to Kaz to finish testing and it'll get the 38 put back on.

I'm moderately confident Trickstuff isn't going anywhere, other than maybe getting purchased by someone bigger for their IP. They've held slow and steady growth for years and have a well established niche. Plus, I have a boatload of spare pads, seals, adapters, and small parts, so I *should* be okay for the long haul. Maybe I'll pick up a set of spare levers just in case...
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: I hope you're right about trickstuff, I REALLY want to try their brakes.

@dave-f WHy did you have to remind me of Maverick! Such a good bike company. First practical dropper post. Amazing fork. Amazing bike.
  • 21 0
 @hamncheez:
@dave-f:

We have been around since 2003 and we still offer service for every brake we have made. We even keep producing spare parts If necessary. No worries.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: yep - Ext are on solid ground and probably have better planning and experience re spare parts than most mtb brands.

For Trickstuff Can’t quote, but have read a comment on them still holding parts for their first ever brakes. since long term sustainability is one of their core principles I’d say your more likely to be able to get spare parts from them in 10 years than any other brake realised in 2020.
  • 67 0
 Is this bike the reason why Mike Kazimer remains an unpaid intern?
  • 62 1
 If a 160/170mm, 64.5° bike is enduro-ish what's an enduro bike then?
  • 161 0
 I just mean that I built it as a long travel smashy bike, not for racing enduros. I desperately try to avoid using “all mountain” because that would mean the Mikes have won.
  • 9 0
 Cheaper?
  • 10 14
flag DaFreerider44 (Mar 18, 2021 at 8:20) (Below Threshold)
 @brianpark: This thing is clean as hell. That said, if you want an indestructible crankset I feel like Saint would be a little bit better. Just my opinion. Don't know how a DH crank would work with the enduroish stuff though.
  • 11 1
 @brianpark: "long travel smashy bike," I like the way you think!
  • 13 1
 @DaFreerider44: stronger than a titanium crankset? That must be some burly alloy
  • 2 0
 A TW200.
  • 2 0
 @Bm1117: It's rumored that no one has collected on the life time warranty ever. Could just be a myth though. Like I said it's just my opinion. It's definitely better cost wise.
  • 9 4
 @Bm1117: not sure your aware of Shimano's forging prowess. But Id wager they are stronger than a welded titanium setup. Also due to the thickness of the materials involved the aluminum cranks of a similar weight will be stiffer.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: what is the actual cost?
  • 4 0
 @jmtbf: If he told ya, he'd have to kill ya!
  • 3 4
 @Lokirides: um ok? Nothing there changes the fact that if you had a piece of aluminum and a piece of titanium the same length and weight, the aluminum would be thicker wall and stiffer.

I'm not saying that the eewings aren't stiff enough as I haven't rode them. Just that when you go thin wall and ti stiffness goes down.

Also when you weld titanium any oxygen contamination makes the weld prone to failure
  • 5 0
 @Lokirides: don't see them comparing Saint DH cranks there...?
  • 1 0
 Canyon's enduro bike is still at 66°
  • 2 1
 @englertracing:

Design/shape may change things, but comparing material to material, titanium is stiffer than aluminum.

And materials aside, wall thickness doesn’t appreciably change stiffness, OD of tube has far greater significance.
  • 2 0
 @stiingya: Still worth it just to see lab guys awkwardly presenting. I like the emphasis on random words
  • 2 1
 @stiingya: Point is just that these things are ridiculously strong. Not "strong for the weight" mind you, just strong af. I have a set, and I have bashed and beat them so hard and there isn't a mark on them, not a dent, not a ding, nothing. This is about 4000 Pisgah miles according to my Strava, and they are flawless. Not saying your Saint cranks wouldn't hold up too, but these weigh half as much and look twice as good. Yes, they cost me, but they are outlasting the current bike (just cracked the frame...) and I expect they may outlast a couple more as long as I stick with boost spacing.
  • 3 0
 @AckshunW: I always thought aluminum was stiffer. Supposedly it hasn’t been the popular material for lightweight road bike frames because it’s not a stiff enough material and it saps up wattage. That’s why roadies prefer carbon or aluminum over titanium.
  • 43 2
 There's something special about building a bike part by part, especially when you have the time and patience (and resources) to consider every tiny detail. The bike becomes as much a reflection of your personality and character as anything. This is a fantastic build tip to tail, congrats.
  • 5 0
 Perfectly said. : )
  • 3 0
 So true!

Even on a budget its a blast. Hunting for that lightly used part for less than 1/2 the original price makes the end result feel pretty rewarding. Don't get me started on "new old stock" parts... They're the best. Break something or don't life it? The hunt is back on!
  • 2 0
 True, thats why I buy a 10.000€ Yeti off the rack to suit my peesonality.
  • 26 6
 So a ten year build on a bike you only intend on keeping for another 3 years? Tired of keeping-up-with-the-jonses bike builds but show one of the most trickstuffed-out builds you could imagine? A fork that costs more than a lot of people's rides just for a weekend warrior? Why shouldn't such well engineered bike with such well engineered components last ten years? I suppose I don't really get it.
  • 39 12
 This article is just nonsense. Many bling parts for no reason that have no durability added over less expensive parts. It just follows the trend to show insanely high priced bike builds we keep seeing on instagram. The 38 is a great fork; could’ve kept it or gone for a zeb. The madonna is made in the same factory as the 161 but is priced significantly higher. The 161 got a bad review only on pb because of problems that were most inherent to the shock tune. XT is the exact same thing as SLX. Brass nipples could’ve been used with 32h rims. The cranks... I mean it’s a nice bike but I don’t see the point in this. And to top it off the author says he has no intent to keep the bike for more than 3 years. So all this « keeping my bike to save the planet and stand off this new bike every year trend » mantra is bs.
  • 6 1
 If I had that bike I'd definitely ride it for 10 years. I plan on keeping mine for at least that long
  • 2 0
 @Forest-Gnome: Also made in the same factory as the Bird AM9 which is unbelievably good
  • 10 0
 @Forest-Gnome: Also he says about using XT as seeing it as more durable than XTR, but that's an XTR cassette, you can tell by the 3 black aluminium cogs. All silver=Deore, 1 Black=SLX, 2 Black=XT and 3 Black=XTR. There is very little weight loss, or performance gain by using XTR over SLX, SLX with a XT shifter surely is the sweet spot of the Shimano range.

However I think what he wanted to do here is create a bike made of durable parts that would all last 10 years, which I don't see why they won't. Brian never said it was going to be cheap, I think his comment about not keeping up with the Joneses is that this isn't hugely flashy, there's no glossy carbon or super lightweight this or that, yeah the cranks are ridiculous and the brakes too, but apart from that I think it's ok.
  • 22 0
 @Forest-Gnome: As someone who has a 161 and who has a friend with a Madonna. The Raaw is the objectively nicer bike. Everything from chainstay protection to tolerances to paint is a cut above. The Privateer is definitely better value and I prefer the geo, but saying something is made in the same factory so is the same quality grossly oversimplifies the process of designing and manufacturing a bicycle.
  • 20 3
 @Forest-Gnome: It's literally explained by @brianpark in the second paragraph, that it's in response to the question of a 10 year long hypothetical build.

"I approached the challenge of building what I’d want if I was going to be forced to keep it for 10 years"

"Building what I'd want" - That answers your question about durability, as it throws in the personal choice being a factor.

"If I was forced to keep it for 10 years" - That answers your question about not keeping it, as he's not actually being forced to.


It's an article on a bike website. These things are as much for entertainment as they are for anything else.
  • 3 0
 @GSuperstar: I agree with your points, putting in that way sure does makes more sense. Instead of ranting I could maybe propose to do an article with such a build, but 10 years later ? Since mountain bikes have reached a plateau since a couple of years, it'd be nice to see how the bike would hold up mechanically and also geo-wise.
  • 3 1
 @Forest-Gnome: leave the Min-Maxing to Andrew Major at NSMB - he's the master. I tend to agree with you. I've got a set of Zee cranks that are nearing 10 years and I bought them used for £40 on ebay. I'd love a pair of eewings but there's no way I could justify them.
  • 4 0
 @GSuperstar: if you're going to the effort of building a bike for 10 years and preaching about it, then do it and don't talk of selling it.... seems hypocritical to me.
  • 3 0
 @fartymarty: plus it would be a worthwhile experiment. I think a bike can remain competent for easily that long even if it takes a lot of tweaks. But there is a lot less progress remaining to be made than there was 15/20 years ago, so this Madonna should last longer if we discount fatal frame failure or the invention of a 1.75in steerer standard.
  • 4 2
 at the end of the day matey, its not your bike, so you should put a sock in it and let the man ride what he wants
  • 3 1
 Yeah... the concept is cool and different, so thanks for that, but that's where the novelty stops. Someone who says they want to build a "10 year bike" says so to convince themselves that the initial expense of high end parts will be distributed over a 10 year period and thus its OK to overspend.

Aside from the aforementioned novelty of a "10 year bike" concept, a few things really stand out to me...

1) Great looking bike!
2) Why would you want to commit 10 years to one bike? You don't know for sure how you will like it.
3) Trends, and standards will certainly change over that 10 year period.
4) This $10-12k bike will be nearly worthless in 10 years... so you have sunk those funds and will ultimately have to do it again from the top.
5) That weight is just a non-starter... 36.5lbs! That's why he's talking about selling it already!
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: Yeah they are pretty good at aluminum fullsus frames. I 've heard that Nukeproof is also made there
  • 16 2
 Prick Chores are what my wife probably calls the things I do around the house.
  • 1 0
 is it "frick" or "prick" chores @brianpark ?
  • 3 0
 @vhdh666: Frick.
  • 4 0
 @brianpark: A little bike on bike action there at the end.... you nasty.
  • 13 0
 Sweet writeup and sweet bike. The tan sidewalls are perfect for the frame. Question -- that "Frick Chores" cap -- can I get a .stl file for it?
  • 11 0
 Yeah for sure. You have a Madonna? It won’t fit anything else.
  • 11 0
 @brianpark: No, but I have SolidWorks! I'm hoping to change the back end to fit into my bike, as my cable also glides right over my suspension pivot bolt.
  • 5 5
 @iliveonnitro: "No, but I have SolidWorks!" ... so draw your own up? I can't imagine saving much time using a file made for a different bike.
  • 6 0
 @brianpark: Sweet, thanks! I don't have a deep opening there on my Remedy, so I will use the 8mm hex opening. Had to re-design it since the zip tie would no longer work in the center, but was able to borrow from your design: www.pinkbike.com/photo/20302577
  • 10 0
 @Ginepiece: I did, but I was able to re-use his material thicknesses, loft angle on the plug, zip tie slot dimensions, and cable clip dimensions. Less guesswork, less trial-and-error, and less time.
  • 10 0
 So many grouches up in here! Sheesh! @brianpark decked that thing out. He works in the industry! Doesn’t pay full price. Do people want a build article that reads like a stock bike?! Love the Hoder touches. Those grips are great. (Should’ve gone up +1lb with a Profile Elite CS though ; )
  • 8 0
 I had a 2008 Rocky Mountain for 11 seasons. I still have the bike at my parent's house and ride it when I'm visiting. I just built myself a Privateer 141 very similar to the one in this article with the goal of keeping it for at least 10 years. I probably will.
  • 7 0
 A few observations @brianpark :
1. That's a very nice looking bike.
2. I like the premise - and as a former serial bike swapper, I have thought myself maybe I could keep my current MTBs for 10 years. Geometry is sorted now, suspension works really well and hub spacings even seem to have settled down recently.
3. I hope it's not going to be 10 years until we get that EXT fork review though.
  • 7 0
 Man, I love everything about this bike. Understated and utilitarian at first glance but flexes hard where it counts (eeWings, Maximas). And is Brian P. an MMA aficionado with the "Frick Chores" cap?
  • 2 0
 I try to live my life by the imagined wisdom of Sage Northcutt.
  • 6 0
 I get tired of the keeping-up-with-the-jones bike builds on Instagram. While there's nothing wrong with buying new, exciting bike stuff when there's a performance benefit, buying less and better things helps me put aside some middle class guilt about my recreational consumption. Hilarious.
  • 7 1
 The author wants the other brake manufacturers to step up to trickstuff? Just use trickstuff pads and rotors and a Saint or MT7 will brake just as hard and eat pads just as fast.

"hard rotors, soft pads" is a design choice the others did not make. Therefore the others brake less good but the pads do not melt like butter in the microwave as the Trickstuff pads tend to do.

Not trying to diss, I use Trickstuff rotors and pads on all my brakes for this very reason.
  • 1 0
 Is that really it? My Zees will get cranked up to 11 if I just put TS pads and rotors on? That would be amazing and you've massively tempted me to try.
  • 10 2
 sheeeeesh didn't realize pb paid like that lol
  • 16 0
 He's head of editorial, has been at it a long time, and pb is a big operation now. I'm sure and hope he makes a decent living. And as a result of his position/contacts, prob got a few deals along the way. Still, it's a gucci build for sure!
  • 4 0
 @gemma8788: gucci indeed
  • 4 0
 Ok Brian, you've inspired me to buy a 3d printer (thanks for including the STL file, btw). There are so many times I wanted to make a little "problem-solver" as you have done with the cable routing and tube holder. I really appreciated all the details in explaining the build. Let me know if those Maximas end up being too much for you, and I'll swap you some Saints :-)
  • 7 0
 Gotta plug the Matterhackers folks. Dave the main guy is a mountain biker and their NylonX filament is impressive. The pedals I printed a few months ago are still going strong on the Dadmobile. Having a printer solves so many annoying little problems around the house or on bikes.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: can't live without one.........
  • 1 0
 While nice to have your own printer, especially for iterative designs, you also have lots of options for online 3D printing services. Quick quotes, reasonable shipping a lot more options for different materials from professional level machines. Depends on your budget, volume of parts, material choice etc. but worth looking into. I have had good luck with Shapeways, and I'm sure shipping within the US would be even faster.
  • 9 2
 *10 year project bike* *no I am not going to keep it for 10 years* ????‍♀️
  • 7 2
 Cool project. 10 years is like many lifetimes in the world of actions sports.
Just @brianpark: didn't you just do an E-bike commercial? To me, E-bikes are the epitome of disposability.
  • 3 0
 Don't expect any kind of consistency here. Commerce trumps ethics nine times out of ten, no matter who it is.
  • 1 0
 @TheLoamDeranger: Absolutely. Also that is a shame at the end.
  • 3 0
 Ebike ad? Are you talking about my commuter dadmobile in Alicia’s non-MTB article? First off, not an ad, nobody paid us to show anything—we clearly label sponsored stories. Second, it’s my commuter bike to carry my kid around and pull a trailer. If something I like more comes along I’ll get that, but commuters see a LOT less turnover than high end mountain bikes. And finally, perfect is the enemy of good. If someone is trying to reduce their impact in one aspect of their lives, that’s a good thing. Even if they still drive, or eat meat, or don’t adhere to whatever your personal ideal is.
  • 4 1
 Reading through Brian's description of a 10-year bike build, I do think the extra lb.s make sense. I could live with that easily, but the 28 spoke wheels would probably make me lose some sleep for a while. No db spokes, or aluminum nipples, please...
  • 2 0
 I totally agree with you on the aluminum nipples and to a degree in the 28 hole but given that spokes almost never fail in the middle (where the butting is) why don't you like butted spokes?
  • 6 0
 No db? If I'm not mistaken, double-butted is more durable than straight gauge. Spokes break at the ends, and the skinnier middle of double butted spokes flexes more to reduce the amount of force that goes through the ends of the spokes. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
  • 3 0
 @cedrico: Also butted spokes are actually butted by being forged, which makes them stronger.
  • 3 0
 Very sweet bike and very cool build! I totally agree with most observations - I've been riding a Madonna with Trickstuff Direttissimas for the last two seasons. It is heavy, but it has some serious magic going!

One thing you definitely should try is the DPX2 shock with the DM56 or DM55 Madonna tune. It may sound strange, but I absolutely prefer the DPX2 on the Madonna. I have extensive ride time on both shocks and if you are not above 80kg, you'll love the DPX2. It offers a more lively feel compared to the X2 and in my experience also more grip. And it makes the bike a lot more snappy, especially with the firmer climb modes. If you pedal your Madonna a lot, you MUST try the DPX2 =)

It really feels very different and it is stupidly easy to set up just perfect. The X2 is really only a bit more controlled around bottom out/rebound at the end of travel.
Ruben and Fox just nailed the DPX2 tune...
  • 4 1
 Beauty, but lets dispel the myth. Rotors with holes in are no more effective at cooling than those without, in fact they are worse. We see it all the time on dyno, conventional solid rotors with more mass pass stringent high load and thermal fatigue tests and the same rotor with holes in always crack, because we have taken a perfectly good rotor and removed mass from it. These are based on passenger vehicles but the same principle has to apply here, it's very pretty snake oil.
  • 1 0
 I mean I have never seen bicycle rotors crack except in event of a crash. It seems to me that having more surface area would dissipate heat faster. Are you saying that the reduced thermal mass outweighs the increased dissipation.
  • 3 0
 You're right. I'm sceptical as well. More holes in the internal venting (exiting the disc radially) helps, but cross drilling doesn't help cool automotive brakes - just look at pictures of an F1 brake.
There might be advantages in terms of bite, and degassing of the pads (perhaps at the expense of consistency) from cross drilled pads, but since nothing is forcing the air to go through those cross drilled holes, I suspect the loss in thermal capacity, and hence increase in peak temperature will outweigh any cooling advantage.
That said I haven't had a bike brake on a dyno, so this is speculation!
  • 2 0
 Even on cars most people concluded slotted rotors are the way to go, because drilling makes them weaker.

I never thought the holes on a bike rotor are for performance beyond "nothing weighs less than a hole". Feel free to run 300g solid steel, ill keep my holes. It isnt snake oil, the holes just have different purpose. I've never cracked a rotor, so I'm not going to criticize strength since it hasn't been an issue for me.
  • 3 0
 Is anyone making MTB rotors without holes though? I think this battle is between many little holes vs a few big holes.

The suggestion that the many little hole versions wear pads slower seems plausible. Less room for the pad to get pushed into the hole.

As for the idea that more surface area = more cooling, I don't see how it wouldn't help. Not that I'm taking his word on it, but IIRC Cornelius at Intend did a bunch of heat testing and for whatever reason those Aero rotors did cool more effectively.

Smarter people than me please argue it out!
  • 3 0
 web.archive.org/web/20200814072406/www.intend-bc.com/tech/rotors found the old Intend article that'd disappeared since they don't do rotors anymore.

Not saying I blindly accept this result, but would be curious to hear why the many-small-holes approach isn't a good idea.

Mostly though the Intend rotors look sick, which is the most important thing.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: interesting report for sure, would be good to see back to back with a solid rotor, there’s other places manufacturers could save weight (if that bothers people). Do we need a spider to the friction ring with so much mass? I dunno, I may even cast one from iron at work and mount it to a 3D printed spider
  • 2 0
 I think the function of the holes is for degassing the pads: gas and friction wear material from the leading edge of the pad effectively lubricates the trailing edge of the pad and reduces the friction coefficient.
Holes give this debris somewhere to go, so the pad is more effective. That's why I think solid discs aren't used - they might have less friction.
In terms of hole size, going too big is bad - anyone who has tried the galfer wave discs knows that you can feel the massive vents pass through the pads and cause judder, and the wear rate is crazy.
Going smaller on holes will have diminishing gains, until at some point you're just giving a lot of your hard earned cash to the machine shop!
I don't think the cross drilled holes are there for the cooling benefit. With braking it is the peak temperature that is most damaging, and the best way to avoid that is to have more mass in your rotor.
It would be cool to try a soild disc. My money would be on lower brake µ, but there might be benefits in terms of consistency.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: It's an interesting experiment, and I agree with their logic about wear and cutting of the pad, but I don't trust the experimental temperature results presented.

The temperature profile can be simplified into two effects:
1) During braking there is a rapid increase in temperature. This is dominated by the power input (brake torque * wheel speed), and the heat capacity (mass) of the disc.
The duration over which braking takes place (e.g. 3sec) is so short that the cooling that takes places is not a significant factor in determining the temperature rise that occurs.

2) After braking there is a long duration over which the cooling takes place. There is no power input into the disc, and the shape of the graph is dominated by the cooling.

I'm sceptical about the graph because in phase 1) the temperature increase during braking is smaller for the aero disc. The most likely reason for this is less power input into the brakes. To trust the power input, they should have logged brake pressure and wheel speed, otherwise there is no proof that the braking power is the same.

The other reason I'm sceptical is because if you compare the cooling gradients where both discs start from a similar temperature, the aero brakes do not appear to cool any quicker.


Their logic does make some sense: many smaller holes does improve surface area over fewer larger holes, but it remains to be seen whether this has a powerful effect on cooling or whether they're chasing expensive diminishing returns.
Going bigger on rotor size would be a far more cost effective way to improve the heat capacity and cooling area!
  • 3 0
 I’ve definitely been toying with this idea myself. Buying quality components that will last and are rebuildable. And unless gearboxes somehow take over the market I feel like the current standards and level of refinement has gotten to a where the rate of change and new standards will plateau. Which means instead of buying an entire new mid-tier bike for $7000+ Every couple years. Sell off the frame and try something new for $2k or less out of pocket, swap the components over with fresh set of tires, bb, headset, new bearings in the hubs and pedals, service the suspension and you’ve got a top end bike ready to go again for thousands less and just a little bit of satisfying hands on wrenching.
  • 6 0
 S&M BMX Grips. This guy knows where it's at.
  • 6 0
 My old technique was to spray your bars with clear lacquer, slip on the grips and they won't budge...then just cut them off to replace!
  • 3 0
 @terribleone1982: hair spray was the go to over here lol
  • 2 0
 @makripper: Yeah I used to use hairspary, but after too many rainy grip slippages I stepped it up a notch!
  • 3 0
 @terribleone1982: I like Renthal’s grip glue.
  • 1 0
 @terribleone1982: oh yeah I remember those throttle grip rides lmao
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: didn't even know that was a thing!! Lol.
  • 5 3
 bike looks sick!!

regarding your "middle class consumption" guilt, try not to beat yourself up too much. the only individuals with enough power to do anything about e.g. the climate crisis is the leaders of industry and government. divert that pressure and stress away from yourself and toward those motherf*ckers!
  • 2 0
 This is damn near a dream build for me. Was really trying to get my hands on a madonna V2, but it didnt sound like I would be able to get one until at least June, and ended up pulling the trigger on a new Nukeproof Mega. I absolutely love it so far, and I think I'll keep it for a long time, but I'll always have a little soft spot for the Raaw.
  • 2 0
 Come on Brian, a ten year bike build you only plan to keep for maybe 3yrs, what's up with that? Others have already given you gruff over the 28 spoke wheels and how bout those three dropper post choices? I challenge to see if it will stand you for 11yrs!
  • 2 0
 The Madonna brake and cable routing is the only compliant I have with the bike - too much cable growth and too easy to mess it up and bottom the suspension onto the housing. I like your solution @brianpark - wanna sell me some?!
  • 2 0
 www.dropbox.com/sh/a8wi440pv2xj6yo/AADlhIJ1Q3XiXkQdADX_WERca?dl=0 I'm still making sure my solution doesn't get knocked off or something (it's been a few weeks and so far so good), but you can print your own if you like!
  • 4 0
 The bike is cool but I am stuck on the tw200. I regret selling mine, but good god could yamaha build a 350cc version already?!
  • 4 0
 @brianpark "I'm firmly in the you-can't-have-too-much-power-I'll-modulate-with-my-fingers camp"
This. 1000 times this
Love your build.
  • 7 2
 How long is left on the two year warranty? :/
  • 4 1
 "but I guarantee that nobody who uses this bike in the next 10 years is going to have brake envy."
Maybe that didn't come out right?
  • 4 0
 Brake envy of anyone else. Definitely unclear. Maximas = the best, for anyone confused.
  • 5 0
 Nice write up, love the thought behind everything, and every part. Kudos!
  • 6 0
 Frick thats dope bike
  • 3 0
 Despite this bike undoubtedly weighing in around the 35 lb range it seems like you may have taken some cues from dangerholm. Clean build!
  • 4 0
 Looks amazing, but why would you give it up after a couple of years? Doesn't that defeat the whole point of the project?
  • 3 0
 I feel a decade is the minimum amount of time needed to become one with a bike and learn to ride it using unconscious thought.
  • 2 1
 @brianpark Love this build and the careful parts choices. It certainly doesn't look an iota Instagram cookie-cutter. One thing that I'm curious about is the wear and tear you described using the oval chainring. You said it has been problem-free, which is very encouraging, but I'm curious if that extends to the clutch, too? Any service look at the locking clutch yet? With the previous generation XT, I ended up having to do a clutch service sooner than expected after running an oval ring. My working theory is that there may well be something - at least with that generation of clutched derailleurs - to the idea sometimes expressed by riders that oval rings in the (locked) riding position put more stress on the clutch cam because of the constant effective size change during pedaling. It's obviously not much stress and clutches are designed to take stress, but it's a virtually constant minor stress load. Just curious to get your thoughts here. Hopefully you haven't experienced that issue and won't, because there's a number of positives in oval setups. Great-looking bike. Cheers!
  • 3 0
 Interesting! Something I'll keep an eye on.
  • 2 0
 the clutch on my SLX derailleur got sticky and stopped shifting after about six months. But then I just did two rides with the clutch off and it sorted itself out and now the clutch seems to work again. I will probably switch to a SRAM shifter and derailleur and keep the excellent XT cassette if the issue becomes a long term pain.
  • 2 0
 I just replaced my Absolute Black ring, it lasted yery long. On my 3rd headset, 3rd BB, 3rd chain and just replacing it.
  • 2 0
 @mtb-thetown: Interesting feedback, thanks. There seems to be a number of experimenters right now with that concept - SRAM Eagle mech, Shimano cassette/chain in 12-speed. Obviously an unofficial combination, but for tinkerers it sounds like a compelling thing to try. My understanding is that the ability to shift under load with the new Shimano groups is almost exclusively driven by the cassette and chain construction - even as drivetrains, otherwise, are system-based concepts.
  • 2 1
 It's a good thing servicing a clutch on a Shimano derailleur is hilariously easy. I can do the entire job in less than 5 minutes with no special tools. I don't understand why people are upset that they have to service a part of their bike that is meant to be serviced. It is more difficult to change a tire than it is to grease a Shimano clutch.
  • 2 0
 @HogtownWheelsmith: Definitely the way to go. I've got an HG+ chain and cassette paired with my axs derailleur and the shifting is so good now
  • 1 0
 @timbud: Very cool...nice setup!
  • 2 0
 @HogtownWheelsmith: Honestly the shifting smoothness doesn't make that big of a difference, but the gear spacing on the Shimano cassette is what I strongly prefer. I don't like the big jump from 42 to 50 tooth on SRAM, which is only 46 to 51 on Shimano.
  • 2 0
 Thinking of the slow-mo videos of standard chain slap, I wonder if oval rings are really a significant amount more cycling on the clutch than just riding uneven terrain already is?
  • 1 0
 @WoodenCrow: That's certainly a fair observation. Would be fascinating to get a serious study on this. I would assume with SRAM's stuff it isn't a significant factor - since they officially offer an oval ring for Eagle setups. But you never know. It would be interesting to get empirical data for both SRAM and Shimano 1 x 12 with ovals.
  • 2 1
 This is an awfully fancy build. It would be cheaper/easier to just get a fresh bike every 1-3 years.

If you’re going to claim that the reason for the very expensive bits is a decade of hard use, put in a decade of hard use.

I’d love to see the results-will the stanchion anodizing wear off, even with proper maintenance? Will the brake system take air as the seals wear out?

If the claim for super high-end bits is significantly improved durability, I’d like to know.

Otherwise, I’ll keep buying “mid-priced” 3-5k bikes, wearing them out every 1-3 years, and selling them for a grand.
  • 1 0
 Or........make it the village bicycle. Have all the Pinkbike editors who fit the bike put miles on it for 3 years.

Either way, there is no substitute for a lot of hard miles. Decade bike? 20k miles, minimum.
  • 2 0
 In between sizes again..really want this frame but at 5'9 with a 6 ' wingspan I think the medium is a tad to small and the large is a tad to big.. anyone out there ride a large that's 5,9ish..how tall is Brian..
  • 2 0
 5'7" and Medium is about right. Sorry.
  • 1 0
 I love this article because it reminds me of me! I have always had the mindset of buying a bike that is more than I can afford but then not replacing it for 10 years. Bought my first bike in 1990 (Brodie Soverign), replaced it in 2000 with a full suspension (Kona Mokomoko), in 2010 (RM Element), and got a Ibis Ripley last year.

Only problem is that I can retire in 2028 and that has to deserve a new bike???!!!
  • 1 0
 Dear Brian's boss: Defintely make Brian keep this bike 10 years, buy it if you have to. That is a really interesting and relatable story for alot of folks who don't turn thier bikes over all the time. And reporting on how long stuff lasts and what happens to it is great.
  • 1 0
 Can we talk about tire psi? It's a size medium frame which means you're fairly under 6' so unless you're a bodybuilder those are some rigid tires. Why so high? Why not lower psi and throw in some inserts? It's a curious setup and I'd love to know how you got here.
  • 1 0
 Cool and well thought out build, excellent piece of written work. The only piece that was missing is how to convince your significant other (aka the minister of finance) to release the funds to follow through on such a project.
  • 2 0
 A fork from a smaller, low production company that may or may not have spares in a decade, and prototype rotors from a discontinued project... Yeah, really good choices for a "10 year bike".
  • 1 0
 Very nice build but (sorry for being that guy) can we please stop calling tan sidewalls “skin walls”? I once worked at a bike shop in south Chicago and was rebuked kindly about this very error on my part. I’ve learned my lesson. Unnecessarily offensive.
  • 1 0
 Hey Brian, love that you have a Tdub. But you have got to get rid of the Death Wing front tire.
Best tire for that bike is a Kenda K270 Dual Sport Rear Tire Sz 5.10x18.
Changes that bike like you wouldn't believe, smooth enough on the pavement, and amazing on loose gravel/wet etc.
  • 4 3
 Summary:

I justified some fancy assed parts because I'm going to ride this bike for 10 years. just kidding, I'll ride it for a couple. You know, less than average of most of you readers, but a little longer than most of us industry folk... bet some of those parts will last ten years tho.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark Loved reading about this build. Nothing against the tech editor reviews which I also really enjoy, but there's something different and cool about personal builds. I know you've got a Cotic SolarisMax too. Please do a similar write up on that.
  • 1 0
 Just throwing this out there. I bought a Gary Fisher Sugar 3 back in 2000. Paid $1250 for it. Is it a big hitter? No. But at the time and coming off a fully rigid Raleigh it was a whole new world. Fast forward 18 years, I picked up a Niner R.I.P. for $1400 from the LBS swap. Helluva deal and again a whole new world. I have to mention that I have put the same set of Shimano SPD pedals on all three of the bikes. Am I keeping up with the Joneses? Hell no. Am I keeping up with the guys I ride with? Hell yeah. Sometimes I even manage to drop em. Ha! End of the day the more time you spend in the saddle the stronger a rider you will be. Keep you drive train clean and lubed wash your bike after a dirty day out and any decent build should last longer than your car, especially if you live in snow/salt country.
  • 3 0
 I'd be happy to submit a yearly performance review were this bike "passed on"
  • 3 0
 I don't belive you gonna sell the bike including fork, brakes and cranks Big Grin
  • 4 0
 I volunteer to have this bike once you don't want it next year.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark it would ve awesome if you treated us to a video of how you 3d-print some of your parts. I know next too nothing about it, but I'm intrigued! It's so cool
  • 2 2
 Was lucky enough to get my hands on one of these and relieved the Megatower I was just not getting along with. Bought with the same mindset that I could keep it for 10 years and it will take a damn good bike to come out to make me even consider something new. Bike absolutely rips and is bulletproof.

Another positive - I pocketed $1200 after building this out and selling the mega. Kept the Reserves too. Consider it my protest to these insane bike prices. I encourage you all to try and get your hands on one of these! You will not regret it
  • 7 0
 The bigger protest would be to stop buying new bikes and keep for as long as possible. prices would be forced back down.
  • 5 0
 Ride more, buy less.
  • 3 0
 It looks like the valve caps have fallen off; looks like he'll have no choice but to buy a new bike...
  • 2 0
 @brianpark I literally just gave a buddy a few rolls of Goodridge lines (silver and carbon) plus my tackle box of fittings. Message me and I'll hook you up.
  • 1 0
 Oh man, I might just have to take you up on that!
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: I've been hanging onto the stuff for years (you can imagine.)

When I finally got around to using it a few weeks ago it turned out to be a huge pain in the ass. The braided SS lines ruined the blade on my hosing cutter and overall it was just too much effort. Coincidentally it was going to go on my own Armageddon bike: single speed, coil spring fork, not a second tier part and way overbuilt for local conditions. It's been going almost 20 years without any failures.

No big deal if you want the Goodridge bits.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: shimano also used braided hoses. You can still find it. Just use clear hear shrink and it's close to the same as goodridge.
  • 1 0
 At least I'm not the only one anymore running S&M Hooder grips on my enduro bike, haha. I'm going to build up an Raaw Madonna soon. Planed to put the fox 38 on but thinking now if I should go for the Ext era fork
  • 2 1
 Both are sick. The EXT is just on loan, I'm not sure I'd spend the premium on it over a 38 or a Zeb. But it is really, really good.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: With European fox pricing the EXT isn't that much more expensive than a 38
  • 2 0
 @jonasstadler: absolutely!
Fox 38 1650€, EXT Era 1750€

100bucks more for the ERA? Any day!!!
  • 3 0
 Good lord man that's beautiful!
  • 1 0
 As an American, I feel weird saying “bang on,” kind of like if I call a friend “mate.” Doesn’t sound right with my accent.
  • 2 0
 Sexy for sure. But, as it has been said already, I would demand 32 spokes per wheel!
  • 4 0
 I think crankbros has the right idea with their synthesis wheelset. 32h rear with a slightly narrower stiffer rim and 28h front with a slightly wider more compliant rim. I used the idea when I built my custom DT wheelset - 32h ex471 in the rear and a 28h ex511 in front. I love it.
  • 1 0
 I really like the choice of components on this ride. Looks great!
One question @brianpark, are you running the stock 36T in the 240 hub?
  • 1 0
 In case nobody else comments on it, I just wanted to let you know that I picked up on the "Disciplined pursuit of less but better" reference there at the end.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark did you fit a Direttissima cover to the Maxima to get it in black?
  • 1 0
 Nevermind. Just saw it in one of the pictures:-)
  • 1 0
 I've actually listened to the Pinkbike podcast often enough to read the article in Brian's voice. Anyway, really nice bike, looks beautiful and seems very well put together.
  • 1 0
 I've never seen a Fox shock lasting 10 years without having to rebuild the officially non user serviceable assembly (nitrogen chamber...)
  • 1 0
 So, you are taking this out riding too, or is it just modeling on your -way too neglected lawn-? Or in short - when r we taking this baby out together?
  • 2 0
 Basti you know I just pose. Let's ride this weekend!
  • 1 0
 Thanks for writing that, hopefully some of the other people who work at Pinkbike learn that modulation is in each person's fingers.
  • 1 0
 I’m 18 months in on my V1 Madonna, just had the suspension serviced and it’s running like new. See you back here in 8 and a half years!
  • 1 1
 Certainly "just trying" a whole lot of things on a supposed "10 year bike", that's kinda silly. Does the 10 years reset if you decide next year the oval chainring doesn't suit you?
  • 1 0
 the oval ring will get replaced when it wears out. Smile
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Should have gone with the WolfTooth stainless...
  • 2 0
 "Yeah just wanted it to be not all fancy"


Looks down sees 1000 dollar cranks looks up and nods
  • 2 0
 Every bike I’ve had has been a “ten year build”, it’s called taking care of bike........
  • 1 0
 It just needs a better motorbike attached to the front of it and you’re set!
  • 1 0
 How do you fit that XT shifter on the Maximas? They have told me they dont have the shimano EV adapter thing yet.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark, pretty sure Goodridge have discontinued their MTB line, so you're out of luck!
  • 2 0
 Best looking bike ive seen all year
  • 1 0
 @brianpark still got that 38 kicking around? I'll gladly take/purchase it off your hands to make some room for more EXTs.
  • 1 0
 Didn't think I'd see a mma fighter quoted on Pinkbike. Frick Chores is great though.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark you call it a beast, so spend your beast some superlight & superstrong stuff of @beastcomponents
  • 1 0
 I'm more interested in Moto bike rack review rather one more top of the like 4 bar bike that weight a ton
  • 2 0
 Do you have the 3d print file for the brake cable guide?
  • 1 0
 I have a madonna V2.. any chance i could buy one of those plug/cable holders from you?
  • 2 0
 Can you get Newmen parts in Canada? I love their stems
  • 2 0
 Don't know but Syntace is pretty much the same since Michi used to be part owner of Syntace/Liteville. You can defintiely see the Syntace DNA in the Newmen stuff.
  • 1 0
 Sweet ride. And kudos for getting a Madonna because they are sold out. And also TrickStuff brakes which are a 1 year wait.
  • 2 0
 Where is the downvote button for the tan walls?
  • 1 0
 All it needs now is an EXT Storia rear shock and a set of less ridiculous cranks.
  • 2 0
 In 2022, I'll be looking for this bike in the classifieds.
  • 1 0
 I thought the 240 EXP were having star ratchet issues? Has that been resolved?
  • 1 1
 Got bored of the bullshit and wankerteering, bought a Geometron/Nicolai G1, won't be swapping it out for anything.
  • 1 0
 Same with me. I figured that I keep bikes for a long time and that I'm better off getting fitter than losing a bit of weight off the bike. Yes it was expensive, but the suspension on it is sublime (Ext) and good god it is fast...

I like it a lot.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark, so these rotors cannot be ordered and bought, is that it???
  • 1 0
 Can buy look alike 223s from brake stuff. R2-bike has the best deals on them I believe. Silly expensive though compared to something like centerlines
  • 2 0
 I believe they were made by Brake Stuff and designed by Cornelius. IIRC the Brake Stuff ones are a little thinner than the Intend ones.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: from what i see about Brake Stuff, the 220 and 223 rotors are either 2.1 or 2.2mm thick - the present 223mm Trickstuff UL rotor is just 2.0mm (which is better cause most brakes can only take up to 2.0mm thick rotors, to my knowledge). Smile
  • 1 0
 @hitarpotar: with a little careful sanding you should be able to fit the 2.1s in most any brake. Could always lap the rotor down as well
  • 1 0
 @hmstuna: yeah, on R2 the Brakestuff is even more expensive than Trickstuff’s rotor. By a freakin 30euros a piece... i wonder if it’s really worth it for either one when a Centerline 220 is 3 times cheaper than the Trickstuff and 4 times than the Brakestuff...
  • 1 0
 @hmstuna: that's right, and the intend rotors were produced by brakestuff, too.
  • 1 1
 I can't even get an aluminum rim to last me 10 months with tough casings and 30psi. 10 years is impressive
  • 2 0
 Looks like a Cube
  • 1 0
 i can never get my bike that clean.
  • 3 0
 Woodchip/granite soil polishes your tires and virtually falls off the rest of the bike when dry up there.

People like us visiting from places with clay dirt that are used to spending as much time scraping mud off with a chisel post-ride as we did riding are gobsmacked.
  • 1 0
 The moto rack setup looks ready for wheelies.
  • 1 0
 this guy has all the toys!
  • 3 3
 "Something negative about the article/author, because this is a pinkbike comments section."
  • 1 0
 A good-looking and hearty machine. Thanks for the article.
  • 1 0
 Could you share ALL the STL files for 3D printing? Pls...
  • 1 0
 It's posted above in a couple replies.
  • 1 0
 Great bike, great frame, brakes, fork, shock, dropper etc. DT hubs? WTF
  • 1 0
 Actually though, I want that bike, it looks sick.
  • 1 0
 > "Keep it forever"
> No gearbox
  • 1 0
 Man, I'd love a Raaw, but they are so heavy!
  • 1 0
 Incredible and beautiful.
  • 1 0
 28 spokes? Aluminum spoke nipples? Hmmm.
  • 1 1
 May it not become venerable as rapidly as its EXP hubs
  • 1 0
 those sidewalls.
  • 1 0
 I give it 5
  • 1 3
 This is a story about nothing come back in ten years then it’s has a reason.
  • 1 4
 Hopefully he can pick it up if it falls. That’s heavy.
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