The first thing you notice about this Madonna V2.2 is of course the yellow color accents. The second look reveals that no expense was spared in the build. And the third look reveals the one or other rather exotic components from European brands and a lot of attention to detail. We present you the RAAW of the Month in July in detail.
Neil, rider and owner of the fancy bike, is 45 years old and in his youth virtually witnessed how the sport of mountain biking gradually emerged on the scene and also built and rode a number of mountain bikes during this time. But when he moved to London to pursue his studies, mountain biking had to give way to road and track cycling.
It wasn't until 5 years ago that his old love rekindled and he started riding a rather moderate MTB with 115mm of travel. After a vacation in Morzine, where he borrowed a long-travel enduro for a few days, the desire for more suspension travel quickly took shape: “My next purchase was a 135mm trail bike, which is great and I love riding, but as I got better I wanted to go faster, and I wanted to ride bigger terrain - I also started racing Enduro this year.” Neil describes his development, in which some of you will surely find yourself.
After some research, a list of five bike candidates quickly emerged “Unfortunately, I could only test ride one of them once and so I ended up going on the reviews I could find, of which Pinkbike’s review of the Madonna was very influential. I also really liked the engineering and design philosophy of the RAAW - it showed that a huge amount of thought had been put into every single element of the bike, which swung it for me alongside Mike Kazimers review.”
Well, see how his decision turned out here:
“ The bike went together very easily, and at each stage I continued to be impressed at the attention to detail - the shock hardware for example is beautifully thought out and made. ” is how Neil describes the build process.
With a height of 187 cm, Neil rides the Madonna V2.2 in size XL. This way it has the same reach as his beloved trail bike. In terms of suspension, he relies entirely on Öhlins: his shock of choice is the TTX2M model with steel spring (502lbs), while the RXF 38 suspension fork with 170mm travel performs its work at the front. He was able to order the rear shock directly through our configurator, but to find the desired fork somewhere in stock was quite more complicated according to him - we honestly do not envy anyone who has to build a bike in the current supply chain situation! When the puzzle of individual parts then finally comes together, the the work and anticipation is worth all the more, we promise!
In this context, it is perhaps less surprising that Neil has chosen the noble Santa Cruz Reserve 30 carbon wheels rather for pragmatic reasons: “I chose these because I intend on riding the bike in the Portes du Soleil area as much as I can, and if I break a wheel Santa Cruz have a show-room in Morzine where I might be able to use their warranty!” We keep our fingers crossed that the Michelin Wild Enduro tires (Kudos for aligning the logos to the valves!) protect the rims sufficiently so it doesn't have to come to that!
For the drivetrain, Neil combines two manufacturers. Cranks, chainring, chain and cassette are from Shimano's XTR series, but SRAM's wireless XX1 AXS is used as the rear derailleur. "I also run the same combination on my trail bike and find it to work perfectly - Shimano’s “under-load” performance with the wireless convenience of AXS. I put a spare battery in the tool-pouch." he explains this setup.
The cockpit, on the other hand, was not combined across brands: Grips, stem and the handlebar itself come from Renthal. The fancy brake levers on the Magura MT7 brake are the Root Levers from Oak Components, which not only look good but also offer a larger adjustment range and more adjustment options and are also produced locally.
Even if no wireless AXS seatpost is used (so far), Neil has invested some work to make the cockpit as clean as possible: The Wolf Tooth Remote for the Fox Transfer seatpost is mounted directly on the brake clamp, in addition, the two cables to the brake and seatpost were merged with heat shrink tubing.
As with the brake levers, Neil has chosen a small brand for the pedals, which produces with a focus on sustainability and durability: The Pembree RV1 pedals are certainly not the lightest, but super robust, well maintainable and nice to look at.
Of course, we also asked Neil about the contents of the small tool bag on the top tube. In the Wolf Tooth Minibag, he always carries a few Stans Dart Tyre Plugs, a CO2 cartridge with attachment and the aforementioned spare battery for the AXS rear derailleur, in addition to the high-quality Silca Torque Ratchet Tool Kit.
Here is the complete spec list of this build:
|Frame||Madonna V2.2, raw, size XL|
|Fork||Öhlins RXF38 170mm|
|Shock||Öhlins TTX22M Coil/ 502lb/in|
|Wheels||Santa Cruz Reserve 30|
|Tires||Michelin Wild Enduro|
|Headset||Cane Creek Hellbender 70|
|Handlebar||Renthal Fatbar Carbon Lite|
|Brakes||Magura MT7 with custom Magura lever covers and Oak Components Root levers|
|Discs||Magura MDR-P 220 front/ 203 rear|
|Derailleur||Sram XX1 AXS|
|Seatpost||Fox Transfer Performance Elite 200mm with Wolf Tooth lever|
|Tool Storage||Wolf Tooth Minibag|
|Saddle||Ergon SM Pro S/M|
And how does it ride, Neil? “I was blown away. I was semi-expecting a ride like the Megatower that I’d hired a few years ago but this was a different league. Put it this way - I was sprinting uphill out of the saddle because it was fun and rewarding to do so, absolutely not what I’d thought would be a strong point! Needless to say I set (and continue to set) PR’s each time I go out on the Madonna, on trails I’ve ridden for years and hadn’t realized could yield so much more speed. I’m going to race the Madonna for the rest of the season, and will be trying to fit in at least a couple of weeks in the Alps, if I can.“
We at RAAW put a lot of effort into ensuring that all our frames are durable, easy to maintain and produced as sustainably as possible. Therefore, we are pleased when this thought is also taken up in the construction of the bike, as Neil has done with this RAAW of the Month.