Raaw is pushing the limits of aluminum trail bike design with extensive tube shaping across their new 29er Madonna enduro mountain bike. With 160mm of travel the bike is ready to bomb down any trail you get it to, but is just as happy to do a bit of pedaling up as well.
Raaw Madonna, 160mm aluminum 29er enduro mountain bike
The Madonna’s goal wasn’t really to make an affordable enduro mountain bike in alloy instead of carbon. But rather, Raaw wanted to see what was possible with the trusted durability of aluminum. Opting for an alloy known for its impact strength and long fatigue life, the balanced trail bike hopes to shine in all sorts of technical terrain.
Designed for technical trail riding, the Madonna gets a modern long & slack geometry for fast & stable handling. In fact Raawgives the frame its name from one of the most well known technical tracks in Finale Ligure – the Madonna della Guardia. The limited size run still should fit a wide range of riders from 165-200cm (5’5″-6’6″). And while Raaw kept head angle & BB drop fixed across the range, each gets its own unique chainstay length, seat angle & reach to deliver the same balanced feel at all sizes.
Aluminum design & manufacturing
Raaw didn’t want to use tube shaping to just create some swoopy designs, but rather to allow them to stick with mostly straight lines while building in smooth tubing transitions and added functionality.
The Madonna was uniquely designed in southern Bavaria at the foot of the Alps, down to the custom bearing caps. Raaw put a lot of attention to detail even into the smallest parts, making pretty much every pivot, hanger & brake bolt stick with a standard 5mm hex to keep maintenance simple.
Manufactured in Taiwan, Raaw is actually quite proud of their production partner and happy to give a shout out to them – Genio Bikes. They even put together a nice story about one of their most recent trips to the Taiwanese factory.
The bike starts with a bunch of custom hydroforming and forged parts before they get another step of CNC machining before dropping into the jig for hand welding. Then, the 6066 T6 alloy frame moves to the oven for heat treating. Out of the oven and a final machining sets bearing seats and component contact points before final paint.
The Madonna uses a fairly standard high pivot Horst-link four-bar suspension design with a big rocker. The frame features a custom tuned, trunnion mount FOX DPX2 Factory shock with high initial leverage and proper ball bearings at the shock mount pivots for a smooth coil-like ride.
Pretty much the only off the shelf parts on the bike are bearings. And even there, Raaw opts for 10 oversized 28mm sealed bearings throughout, with the main hollow pivot getting massive at 52mm to try to eliminate any chance of worn out bearings.
Raaw calls it ‘gear integration’. The Madonna has a large indentation in the downtube just ahead of the BB. It makes space for out-of-the-way semi-external cable routing around the suspension, plus room to strap a spare tube. The shock itself even dips into the cutout near the end of its travel.
The two-piece toptube design features a tapered pocket in its horizontal section, which gets a small tool bag held in place with a magnet. In it you can stash a mini tool, a CO2 cartridge, and a couple more small items, rattle free. On top of that each frame size fits a full size water bottle higher up in the main triangle so you can ride without a backpack.
The 29″ wheeled AL 6066 T6 enduro mountain bike sports 160mm of travel at the back. And it pairs with matching 51mm offset, 160mm forks.
The Madonna gets Boost spaced, with a DT Swiss X12 x 148mm bolt on rear axle. It is 1x drivetrain only, with up to a max 36t chainring and rear clearance up to a 29 x 2.6″ tire. The frame uses a standard 73mm BSA threaded BB, a 31.6mm seatpost, and a removable 180mm post mount rear brake (160 & 203mm will be available separately).
All cable routing stays external (except for stealth dropper routing into the seattube) with modular mounts that will also let you run a shock lockout if desired. Total frame weight including all the hardware but without shock claims 3.6kg (7.9lb) for the smallest size M.
Pricing & Availability
The Madonna enduro mountain bike was just officially announced last week. So, it is still in an early pre-pre-order stage. It will be able to pre-order soon as a 2690€ framekit in either this matte black, a gloss red, or a raw finish covered in a matte clearcoat. That kit includes the frame in one of three sizes (M, L & XL), the Fox DPX2 Factory shock, an Across headset, DT rear axle, a toptube tool bag, and the downtube stash strap for a spare tube. First framekit deliveries slated for March 2018.
Raaw is shipping worldwide at the launch with the exception of NOT to the US or Canada. Oops, sorry North American readers. Raaw says they are working on getting the bike to you, but don’t have a concrete timeframe for delivery to the US & Canada yet. We’ll update when the pre-order goes live, and on any North American delivery news.