Mondraker is well known for long frames, short stems and drool-worthy bikes, and its latest offering, the 2021 Podium Carbon, is aimed squarely at the cut-and-thrust world of cross-country and marathon racing.
It’s claimed to offer the lightest production mountain bike frame available at just 775g in a size medium.
Weighing up the claims
Is this the lightest production XC frame? Yes, sort of, maybe… Mondraker
Weight is clearly still a huge deal in the eyes of XC racers and the 775g figure is the lowest number we’ve seen officially claimed for a production frame.
Specialized quotes a ‘positively porky’ 790g for its S-Works Epic hardtail – the lowest claim we’ve seen up until now – though the Californian company also hinted the true figure could fall between 760g to 790g due to manufacturing variance.
Specialized’s Epic HT is definitely in the same ballpark weight-wise. Harookz
It’s important to take claimed frame weights with a serious pinch of salt. Quoted frame size, manufacturing variation and what’s included in the claimed weight (paint, axles and bottle cage bolts are often omitted for the sake of quoting a better number) can make two numbers incomparable.
Apparently, in Mondraker’s case, the 775g figure includes paint but no other components such as the axle or seat clamp.
Few racers will soberly pick one bike over another for the sake of 15g, and even fewer will strip their bike to check the frame weight for themselves, but having “the lightest production frameset” will no doubt hold a psychological appeal for some.
In terms of full-builds, the lightest Podium offered (the RR SL) has a claimed weight of 7.8kg, which matches Specialized’s S-Works Epic exactly. Again, this is based purely on each manufacturer’s claims.
Mondraker Podium geometry
Obviously weight is far from everything, even for an XC bike. Geometry is a bigger concern than ever with cross-country courses getting more technical in recent years.
Those who are familiar with Mondraker’s Forward Geometry trail/enduro bikes may be expecting something revolutionary from the Podium’s geometry, but while the numbers are bang-on-trend, they’re still very much in the XC-race-bike realm.
The 68.5-degree head angle is relatively relaxed but still “racy”. Mondraker
The head angle is pretty slack for a race bike at 68.5 degrees, and bikes are equipped with (now common) short-offset forks, which are intended to calm the steering feel even further while keeping the wheelbase short.
The effective seat angle sits at 74.5 degrees, which again is very modern and upright for a cross-country hardtail. It’s still significantly more laid-back than the 76-degree angle on Yeti’s new Arc hardtail. Although the Arc isn’t a true race bike, that doesn’t seem to bother Jared Graves.
Mondraker designed the bike around what it calls XC Forward Geometry. The Forward Geometry concept involves a very long reach and correspondingly short stem for stability and predictable handling. But, while the reach numbers on the 2021 Podium are long by traditional XC standards, they’re similar to the Specialized Epic mentioned above, along with a few other cutting-edge XC bikes.
The stems measure 60mm in the small and medium bikes, 70mm on the large and 80mm in XL. Again, these numbers are short compared to cross-country bikes of old, which should help to keep the handling responsive and predictable, but similar to a few other recently released XC bikes.
Short stems and long top tubes are the hallmark of Mondraker’s Forward Geometry concept. But in this case, at least, rival brands are catching up with the trend Mondraker pioneered. Mondraker
As an aside, I’ve never understood why taller riders on larger frame sizes are given longer stems. In fact, I’d argue that with a higher centre of mass a larger stem exaggerates handling problems.
Mondraker Podium frame details
The Podium is, as you might have guessed, designed around 29in wheels and, for now at least, the frame is full-carbon only.
It uses a high-modulus carbon fibre weave and a new layup, which Mondraker calls Stealth Air Layup. It’s single-ring only, uses a 148 x 12mm Boost rear axle and has space for two water bottles.
SRAM’s UDH is something we’re cautiously optimistic about. If it becomes popular, it should be cheap and easy to replace at any bike shop. Mondraker
The internal cable routing features a hidden cable housing guide which should make it easier to replace cables. Handily, it uses a BSA threaded bottom bracket and SRAM’s new “universal” derailleur hanger, which should also make finding a replacement easier when needed.
The 27.2mm seatpost diameter will fit the new breed of XC/gravel-specific short-drop dropper posts.
2021 Mondraker Podium models
Four full build options are available, all of which use the exact same carbon frame and 27.2mm fixed seatposts with Maxxis Ikon 29 x 2.2in tyres.
Currently, we only have pricing for the UK market.
Mondraker Podium Carbon RR SL
SL stands for Super Light, naturally… Mondraker
Fork: RockShox SID SL Ultimate RL 29, 100mm
Drivetrain: SRAM AXS XX1 Eagle, 12s
Wheelset: Mavic Crossmax SL Ultimate Carbon, 25mm internal width
Claimed weight: 7.8kg
Mondraker Podium Carbon RR
Mondraker’s Podium RR weighs a claimed 8.4kg. Mondraker
Fork: RockShox SID SL Ultimate RL 29, 100mm
Drivetrain: SRAM GX / X01 Eagle, 12s
Wheelset: Mavic Crossmax SLR Carbon 29, 26mm internal width
Claimed weight: 8.4kg
Mondraker Podium Carbon R
The Mondraker Podium R gets a Fox rather RockShox fork. Mondraker
Fork: Fox 32 29 Float FIT4 EVOL Step Cast Factory Kashima, 100mm
Drivetrain: Shimano Deore/XT M8100 12s
Wheelset: DT Swiss XR1700 Spline 29, 25mm internal width
Claimed weight: 8.9kg
Mondraker Podium Carbon
Mondraker’s cheapest Podium Carbon in the range weighs a claimed 9.3kg. Mondraker
Fork: RockShox SID SL Select RL 29, 100mm
Drivetrain: SRAM NX/GX Eagle 12s
Wheelset: DT Swiss X1900 Spline 29, 25mm internal width
Claimed weight: 9.3kg