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Diamondback Enlists Optum Pro Cycling Team to Help Redesign Podium Road Bike

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Diamondback Podium, full shot Way back in 1978, Diamondback Bicycles was born into the early days of BMX racing. While the brand stuck with 20” bikes for some time, they have more recently pushed into road, hybrid and full-suspension MTB territory. This year, their Podium competition road bike has been completely redesigned from the ground up, resulting in additional stiffness, significant weight savings and greatly improved aerodynamic efficiency.

Extensive computer modelling, wind tunnel testing and real-world ride testing with the Optum Pro Cycling team were all employed to find areas for improvements. Opportunities were discovered and Diamondback ran with whatever produced the best results, even when their findings were contrary to prevailing industry opinions…

Diamondback Podium, action shot

The new Podium’s frame is constructed using Diamondback’s AMMP SLP process, a monocoque molding technique that uses high modulus carbon to create very light, thin tubes. A mix of carbon laminates is strategically employed around the frame with unidirectional 40T carbon in the straighter sections and less brittle 30T and 20T for more shapely areas and where compliance is important. Diamondback says partly due to the large, stiff downtube and round seat tube, they’ve accomplished an ideal balance between vertical and torsional stiffness. The revisions are quite noticeable versus the Optum Team Replica model we checked out last summer.

By using a unidirectional carbon weave wherever possible with some woven sections for reinforcement they’ve optimized the frame’s weight, stiffness and strength. The new frame is 100g lighter, yet notably stiffer and 50% more aerodynamic across all yaw angles than the outgoing version.

Diamondback Podium vs. Serio comparison
Diamondback spent a lot of time and effort developing their current Serios Triathlon/Time Trial frame, and some of what they learned about tubing shapes, airfoils and tuning ride quality carried over into the Podium’s development. The Podium incorporates similar curved seat stays, airfoil shapes and a wide and deep downtube, but each are uniquely refined for their new application. For example, the trailing edges of the Podium’s airfoils were trimmed down to just under half the length of the Serios, which DB says saves weight and increases stiffness in the frame.

The company has partnered with the Optum Pro Cycling team to gain crucial feedback regarding real-world performance, and they’re already seeing results. Racer Phil Gaimon won the Redlands Classic and several stages of the Tour De Gila riding the newly improved Podium. While Diamondback values input from their pros, they’re also keeping the average consumer in mind. The Podium is designed to excel at anything from short training rides to lengthy mountain race stages, and it’s reduced weight, improved stiffness and aerodynamics provide a benefit to riders of all levels.

Diamondback Podium cable routing Diamondback Podium dropouts  Diamondback Podium fork

Other frame details include Diamondback’s ‘closed circuit’ internal routing which completely hides your brake and derailleur cables (mechanical or Di2) but leaves easy access for servicing where they pass through the bottom bracket shell, and carbon dropouts with replaceable aluminum hangers. The fork was also redesigned to be highly aerodynamic, but Diamondback stuck with non-integrated brakes to keep it simple and serviceable for the consumer.

Three complete models of the Podium are available at different price points- the E’Tape (105 components, $2700), Vitesse (Ultegra, $4500) and Equipe (Dura Ace mechanical, $7500), plus Diamondback is offering a Podium Optum frameset for $2300.

Diamondback Podium frame geo chart
diamondback.com

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DonJ
DonJ
7 years ago

Start by closing the company and starting a new brand

SPG
SPG
7 years ago

All that R+D and they came up with a bike that still uses rim brakes and QRs? That’s kind of like designing a new VCR.

Jeff
7 years ago

@spg, really? I’m all for disc brakes on road bikes, and I’m sure DB, as well as most manufacturers have such bikes in design, current UCI rules don’t allow disc brakes so you’ll see some new bike designs with rim brakes, even after disc brakes become standard, you’ll still see rim brake versions, even in the high end for probably about 5-10 years into the future.

mudrock
mudrock
7 years ago

spg – it was designed with input by a race team. Discs and TAs aren’t there yet.

Craig
Craig
7 years ago

This new road bike looks awesome. Well done Diamond Back. Being a DBR fan from the mid 1990’s, when it comes time to buying a new road bike I will be checking out your bikes.

I went out on my road bike yesterday and found 1 finger braking with my Campag Athena brakes no issue at all.

@Jeff – Agreed

Xris
Xris
7 years ago

You know what, screw it. Kudos to Diamondback. At least they’re trying to progress from the under performing company that they were. Slow clap for a good looking, and hopefully riding, bike.

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
7 years ago

@SPG – I feel you. Discs and TAs _are_ the near future of road cycling, but if they want to field the bike next year, they need to have a rim braked version. Perhaps it *is* designed with dick brakes and TAs in mind, or they have that model in the queue, ready for limited release next year.

But using historical examples, you constantly need to look for ways to really innovate. In the late 1800’s, you don’t build the best icebox you can, you build the refrigerator. In the 1970s, you don’t build the best dot-matrix printer you can, you build a laser printer. If you only seek to optimize current technology, you WILL fail as a business.

Dave
Dave
7 years ago

@Eric, I haven’t heard of them before, but the “dick” brakes you refer to strike me as a dubious idea at best. This is either a highly specialized braking system focused on a particular, and quite personal, aspect of the rider or a questionable means of applying braking power to a bicycle wheel. Either way, I for one am in ho hurry to adopt this technology.

Grammarnazi
Grammarnazi
7 years ago

When would thru axles ever make sense in racing? Goodbye wheel changes.

the_contrarian
the_contrarian
7 years ago

@Dave – I’m pretty sure the ‘dick’ brakes that @Eric mentioned were originally conceived of by Mr Garrison for his now defunct ‘IT’ unicycle. Fortunately the company was closed-down by the government in order to save the failing airlines, and by coincidence, our arses!

Darryl
Darryl
7 years ago

Grammarnazi, I can flip my disc brake 15mm through alxle MTB wheel out and in quicker than my QR equipped road bike.
With lawyer lips on forks you are likely to have to flip the lever a couple of times to get the clamping force right, the through axle just needs winding up and flicking as it holds it set value.
The through axle also guarantees location whereas a QR wheel may be put in crooked in a hurry.
I’m not buying a new road bike unless it has through axles front and rear, hydraulic disc brakes and the ability to run fat aero rims with 28mm rubber rear at least.

Bob
Bob
7 years ago

@Darryl – I’ve always heard them referred to as lawyers tabs, lawyers lips somehow seems way more appropriate. And I agree, spinning the QR leaver and getting it right isn’t always the fastest job.

That brings me to a question, do racers have to deal with lawyers lips or do they modify their forks to remove the tabs?

And companies can reinvent themselves for the better – take Harley Davidson, my 2001 HD Superglide was an awesome low maintenance motorcycle, but nobody wants an 70’s AMF Harley. A 70’s Triumph Bonneville is neat but requires a lot of maintenance, my 2010 Bonneville is a great bike, just change oil & tires when needed and ride.

I’d ride a Diamondback, looks like they are on the right track for a comeback.

Jeb
Jeb
7 years ago

@Bob, for a years after lawyer tabs became standard on production road frames race teams just filed them off or ordered the team frames without them. The UCI put the Kaibosh on that a few years ago so to speed up wheels changes pro mechanics use a tool/jig to properly space all the wheels (spares) out just enough to clear the tabs for fast wheel changes. Works for the rears too even without tabs. FYI, you will not see Disc as the standard setup in road racing (pro or amateur) for at least three more years.

Nathan
Nathan
7 years ago

DonJ: they have lots of other brands. Raleigh and Lapierre probably the most well known in the states. Not sure why they keep trying to push a brand they sell in big box stores.

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
7 years ago

@dave and others: It is not my responsibility to educate you on idioms surrounding bike culture.

bub
bub
7 years ago

Qrs being faster for wheel changes is a complete myth. If anything, thru axles are quicker…

Jeb
Jeb
7 years ago

@bub, no way. Watch a good pro mechanic do a rear wheel change in a race. Never going to be able to do that with the current style thru axle. They’ll surely come up with something better like the Focus RAT system for pro road racing.

Kyle
Kyle
7 years ago

I have a podium 7 with SuperRecord. Great bike, with a few limitations. They didn’t seem terribly reliable. I know two people with them including me and both failed. My friend had an additional problem in that DB told him that he’d voided the warranty by racing it (the seat stay broke in a Gran Fondo.) Going lighter is kind of worrying.

Cable routing was a nightmare and created a lot of friction, which was a particular problem for the Campy stuff. Hopefully, they’ve corrected that. At the very least the Shimano der. spring seems a bit stronger.

It’ll be interesting to see if discs go big on road bikes. Wind tunnel tests are showing a significant increase in drag for not much benefit. As far as thru axle goes, I’ve never gotten dropped because my axle wasn’t stiff enough.

Psi Squared
Psi Squared
7 years ago

With winds within the normal angles of attack seen (0-10°), the increase in drag with disc brakes is on the order of 1-3W. The funny thing is that all the riders with disc brakes will see the same increase in drag when everyone is racing disc brakes.

Kyle
Kyle
7 years ago

This article says up to 10 watts and an average of one pound. This would, of course, depend on speed.

http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/11/bikes-and-tech/the-torqued-wrench-12-road-disc-questions-answered_308954

Also, let’s not forget the problems posed to people with various wheelsets.

So basically, the industry is telling me to spend $10k replacing my bike for one that costs me watts on the flats, is a pound heavier, and is a headache to wheel swap.

If you’re like to go out on the weekends and pedal around with your friends and talk about how you’ve got the latest greatest thing, that’s fine. If you spend your rides on the rivet or race regularly, I don’t see the appeal.

Now, a 40th bottom bracket standard–sign me up. For sure that will make me faster ;-).

Jack
Jack
7 years ago

I have two bikes one with rim brakes and one with discs.
For road riding I have to say rim brakes are far more practical and serviceable than discs.
I really think the “Discs for road racing” thing is industry hype meant for selling bikes.
My disc brake bike has constant problems and even the slightest bump can warp the disc and make them downright annoying.
My rim brakes are easy to adjust and service and function well even when the wheel may be buckled.
My disc brakes work well in the wet but demand constant (weekly) readjustment. Even my LBS had to admit rubbing discs are a source of constant complaint from customers. The tolerances are just too small.
Along with all the stuff said above I can only conclude that the properties that discs bring to MTB or CX are great but just not needed for practical road racing bikes. Let the abuse begin.

Scotty
Scotty
7 years ago

QR wheels are way faster in wheel changes. Back when I was a mechanic, all the spare wheels will have the QR adjusted (pre-lawyer tabs) so all you have to do is close the lever after a wheel change.

Post-lawyer tab, you would adjust the front QR to be just barely wider than the tabs. Then one of two things happen, close the lever 1/3 the way and spin the nut till it hits the dropouts then close the lever. Or you predetermine the number of revolutions you need to spin the lever before it is at the right tension.

Disk brakes also slow down the wheel change since there are no guides to guide the disk into the slot unlike the guide fins on rim brake pads.

Tim
Tim
7 years ago

Disc brakes with thru axles are pretty finicky to align in a frame after you’ve had to remove the wheel. Even with these clutch type derailleurs the reinsertion has to be clean. For road races I can’t see the point of disc brakes since rim brakes already allow for more braking force than necessary. the inconvenience and weight coupled to the required dishing of the wheel is going to require wider front axles then ……etc

eventually everyone will be riding MTB’s on the road

Tim
Tim
7 years ago

oh sorry, the point of the thread is to talk about the Diamond Back. Nice to see hem back with a few awesome looking bikes. Would like to see what they do on the MTB front isnce my first proper race bike was a DiamondBack AXIS XT

threadedheadset
threadedheadset
7 years ago

All these complaints about road disc brakes could have been applied to indexed shifting, threadless headsets, full suspension, tubeless tires, Di2, etc.

– it’s a little heavy
– it’s slightly inconvenient
– my current bike isn’t compatible
– pro racers aren’t using it / “don’t need” it

Of course a brand new technology is not absolutely as convenient, or lightweight, as an extremely refined technology like rim brakes. It takes a long time to get to Dura-Ace or ee brakes, but you get there.

Technologically, how hard would it be for someone to deal with the “quick wheel change” problem? You design a slightly difference axle interface, and you’re done. Market competition will solve this.

Have all the doubters ridden the new disc bikes, and compared them to carbon wheels on big mountain descents in the rain? Anyone who has disc brakes on their mountain bike should know the benefit is not absolute power (already decent with v-brakes), but modulation.

I used to have a sweet titanium hardtail with anodized cantilever brakes, but I like my current bike better.

Francis
Francis
7 years ago

I think if you look carefully at this frame you will find it is very like a lapierre. Same company. Accell group. I sell raleigh and lapeirre but pay no,attention to db. I too am puzzled as to why they would invest marketing a higher end road bike for a brand whose habitat is mostly discount sporting goods stores. About eighty percent of volume rolls through dicks, scheels etc.

Patrick
Patrick
7 years ago

These are pretty good looking! Nice work Diamondback! I rode a 2012 Podium a little and it wasn’t bad. I own a 2015 Sortie and it’s a blast.

While I love thru axles and disc brakes for off-road and cx, I don’t feel like they make as much sense for road bikes meant to be raced. I wish they had gone with the Shimano Direct Mount brakes though. Those things GRIP the rim.

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