RAAW Deep Dive: Madonna V3 Hardware, Cable Routing, Dual Crown
It’s been a little while now since the Madonna V3 was released and there has surely been a lot to digest. The V3 has been the biggest overhaul we’ve ever launched. There are hundreds of details that we’ve worked on that create our most capable, adjustable and durable bike. The feedback we’ve received from you has been amazing, but it also prompted us to dive a little deeper into some of the new features of the V3.
In the first two deep dives, we took a closer look at our Toolbox Concept, the reasons behind the UDH Seatstay and the different wheel size options.
In this third and final deep dive, I chose to take a closer look at the hardware, cable routing and dual crown compatibility.
We’ve always been very careful with changes to the hardware of our frames. We like compatibility between the hardware of our three bike models, but we also like to keep the amount of individual parts to a minimum. It makes both your and our lives easier while allowing us to keep stock of spare parts for all the frames we’ve ever made. We never want to forget about the previous generation Madonnas out there in the wild, and want to keep them rolling for a long time to come.
So for us to make a change to the hardware it needed a good reason. The main pivot design has been unchanged since the very first frame we made. At one point, we changed the design of the sealed caps and added a split wedge, like a headset, but then went back to the original solid design. With time spent riding and chin scratching, we also started to gather a list of ideas on how to fundamentally improve the main and rocker pivot’s hardware design, as these are the two main connections from the rear end to the mainframe.
One goal was to increase the durability of the bearings. We wanted to use bearings with a higher load rating as well as simplifying the hardware design to have less dependency on the stack up of tolerances in order to reduce maintenance to a minimum and have a silent and smoothly operating bike for a very long time.
For the bearings, we stuck to single row deep groove ball bearings but increased the width for both the rocker and main pivot bearings. Instead of 7 mm wide, we’re now working with 9 mm. The main pivot bearing outer diameter has actually decreased a little from 52 mm to 47 mm. But, because of the increased width, they are 25% better at dealing with the loads compared to the Madonna V2.2’s main pivot bearings.
The rocker pivot bearings also not only grew in width but in diameter too, from 28 mm to 32 mm, which has increased their load capacity by 27%. Bigger bearings for an even longer lifetime.
One thing we definitely wanted to keep was the sealed pivot hardware concept. Like we’ve always had, the bearings are sealed away from the elements by additional lip seals. What has changed though is that these sealed caps no longer sit inside the inner races of the bearings. Instead, the axles simply run straight through the whole pivot and directly contact the inner races of the bearings.
With that change in hardware design at these highly loaded pivots, the sealed caps no longer play a role in the radial stack up of tolerances at the main and rocker pivots.
So what’s the takeaway here? Compared to the Madonna V2.2, we now have bearings that can take even more of a beating, making for a longer bearing lifetime, and a simplified hardware design that will ensure a quiet and smooth working bike for many seasons to come. The sealed pivots are still a central feature, like we’ve always had, and when the time comes for some maintenance, it’s easy peasy.
The cable routing on the Madonna V3 remains all external, except for the short section of dropper post cable entering the seat tube behind the shock. We’ve always stuck with external cable routing simply because it’s more functional than internal routing. It’s easier for maintenance, there are no chances for rattles or other noises and we’re able to route the cables in smooth lines devoid of kinks or tight bends.
What’s new on the cable routing of the Madonna V3 is that the gear cable and the brake hose now run on top of the chainstays instead of under them. By doing this it’s not only even easier to route the cables when assembling your bike, but the paths for the cables are even smoother and the growth in cables as the bike goes through its travel is reduced, meaning less chance for rubbing.
The gear cable is routed through a channel in the new chain stay protector, keeping it well protected from chain slap and three zip-ties keep everything securely in place.
Another detail in the cable routing is the mix of bolt-on cable clamps and zip ties. The zip tie mounts are very easy to use and can sit in tight spaces where there isn’t much room for bolts and clamps. The bolt-on cable guides keep the cables and brake hose exactly where they need to be and avoid any movement or rubbing.
The different cable clamps we offer also allow for clean routing for different setups. No matter if you’ve got your rear brake on the left or right or use a wireless dropper or derailleur, there is the perfect clamp combination to keep everything clean and tidy.
Dual Crown Compatibility
Generally speaking, dual crown forks are used on downhill bikes and single crown forks on trail and enduro bikes. Dual crown forks may offer more travel, stiffness and precision but single crown forks offer more versatility and a look we’re all used to on trail and enduro bikes. The Madonna certainly isn't a full-on DH bike, but it is damn capable on downhill track and in bikeparks, so we simply wanted the Madonna V3 to be compatible with both single and dual crown forks.
My first recommendation would be a 170 mm single crown fork, like a Fox 38 or Öhlins RXF38. But you also have the options to bump up to 180 mm of travel in the fork and now also run a dual crown fork. Personally, I wouldn’t want more than 180 mm of travel up front because it will be out of balance with the 160 mm at the rear. But, a 170mm or 180 mm dual crown fork is a very interesting option for those with a lot of descending in their sights.
If you’re looking at a dual crown fork for your Madonna V3, be sure that the axle to crown dimension doesn’t exceed 597.7 mm. However, because most dual crown forks come with a shorter axle to crown compared to the same travel single crown fork, you can usually run a dual crown fork without changing the bike geometry much at all.
For the Madonna V3 frame to be compatible with dual crown forks, we had to design and test the frame to different load scenarios due to the additional crown on top of the head tube. We also wanted good protection for the frame in case the fork would smash into it. The solution is that we use the exact same fork bumpers from the Yalla! on the Madonna V3.
This has been the final deep dive on the Madonna V3 and I hope they’ve answered some of your questions. A lot of riding and tinkering went into the Madonna V3 and ultimately there is not much you need to know other than just jump on it and ride. I’m sure you’ll love it.
But I hope these articles went some way into giving more insights into the reasons the Madonna V3 is the way it is. And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!