Coming back from Interbike this year I was greeted with a shiny new Knolly Podium frame. I knew that this frame was coming for a while and had assembled all of the parts for the build, but was elated to see that the day had finally come to build up this amazing downhill machine! Thanks a lot Noel and Kevin from Knolly!
Reminiscing on the "Grave Digger" monster truck I decided to go with a black and green theme. I knew that the bike was going to build up pretty light for a DH rig, but I wasn't expecting 36.8 lbs. with pedals on a large frame! Oh yea, did I mention that it looks great as well! Noel Buckley's attention to detail shines on this frame. From the titanium frame hardware to the unique shock mounting hardware that integrates into the frame to the one piece chain stay that makes a U-shape which dramatically increase rear end stiffness. This frame is packed with well thought out details that make this one of the finest downhill frames I have ever seen.
I decided to go with the new M820 Saint rear derailleur as I have been very impressed with the Shadow Plus clutch system on the M985 XTR derailleur I have been running on my Chilcotin. Man, is the shifting crisp and precise! It is so quiet going down rough terrain that it really allows you to focus more on riding . Covering the crankset and chain guide, I went with Race Face's new 83mm SixC carbon crank arms which are super stiff and very light (also been very happy with these cranks on my Chilcotin), a MRP G2 SL chain guide for reliability and to keep the green theme going a Chromag 37t chain ring and Chris King bottom bracket.
Knolly uses a patented Four by 4 linkage that is truly amazing! I was blown away on the first ride I took on this bike, I didn't realize how plush 8.4" of Four by 4 suspension could be. Furthermore, the bike pedaled really well. It is pretty awesome that a bike that tracks this well and is so plush in the rough stuff can also pedal so efficiently.
Tried and true, Fox DHX RC4 with a Titanium coil spring. I really like that this shock allows high and low speed compression adjustment. It allows me to dial in the suspension to my exact preferences.
At the cockpit, Race Face's new 785mm SixC bar feels perfect when coupled to Thomson's direct mount stem. A Fox 40 takes care of the front end and keeps me out of trouble. We call those close calls that you make it out of "40 moments". This fork rocks! Keeping the green theme going with a Chris King Inset in green as well.
Shimano's new M820 Saint line is phenomenal! Obviously next to the rear derailleur, their brakes are their crown jewel. The Shimano Saint M820 brakes are lighter than the M785 XT brakes and provide enough stopping power to slow down a 747 jet! They provide an incredible amount of confidence and actually make you a faster rider because you know that you can brake at the last second. The new Shimano Saint M820 I-Spec shifter bolts very cleanly onto the brake lever and has a great new ergonomic paddle for the upshifts. Keeping the green them going with some Twenty 6 gas caps that they custom made with the Wrench Science logo. Very cool!
A close up of the massive M820 Saint brake caliper and finned brake pads. These brakes were silent with metallic pads even under heavy braking.
Immediately after building the bike I left on a long awaited road trip to the Northwest. The Podium saw action in Ashland, OR and here at Post Canyon in Hood River, OR on this trip.
In conclusion, I am very impressed with this bike! From its light weight, amazingly plush suspension, great pedaling characteristics and a very neutral geometry that makes you feel confident the minute you sit on the bike. This bike wants to be ridden fast and I look forward to opening it up again here in the near future.
If you have any questions about the new Knolly Podium, please contact our Knolly specialist:
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