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  1. #1
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    2013 Knolly Podium cheapening out?

    Just throwing this out there.

    My new Podium should be ready for pickup on Saturday with new headset, BB, cranks and chainguide. But in comparing to every 2010 model, it seems every effort has been made to get rid of any CNC machined parts. The rear end is a perfect example. The model I have seems "cheap" by comparison and I am sure the price is the same. Now, I love Knolly, always wanted one, but does anyone else think the same? I am a detail whore and notice stainless hardware, lots of CNC'ed parts... but it seems Knolly has almost gone "Ellsworth" in the quest for cheaper ways of getting things done. The rear end is 157? Not 150 which most have? Now I have to shim my rear hubs.

    Not a complaint but an observation. Anyone else?

  2. #2
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    Pretty sure there's still plenty of CNC goodies on the Podium. Pivots, dropouts, linkages. They're just not sandwiched together with stainless steel bolts anymore, and they're all the same color. Stainless does weigh more than aluminum and a mechanical joint just leaves room for loosening and failure. I'd bet the manpower that goes into that rear end is much greater than the 2010 rear end. And it's lighter.
    So definitely not cheapening out

  3. #3
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    There's more going on with that frame than Tony Ellsworth could imagine on a good trip on strong ecstasy. Look at the tubing and chain stay yoke for one. I mean two two things alone are HUGE.

    And alot of DH bikes are going to 157 rear ends, that's not a Knolly thing, it's an industry one. Noel just jumped on it sooner than most, along with Santa Cruz and a few others I can't remember off my head.
    If jackasses could fly this place would be an airport.

  4. #4
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    157? It is basically a wider version of the 142mm standard, and takes the 150mm thruaxle and gives it easy drop in alignment. I would be surprised if you see any new bikes built with a 150mm rear end after next year.

    As far as the rear end goes, I bet the single piece chainstay it is a far more expensive piece to manufacture than the older design, and at the same time drops weight. The frame also adds bump stops, which are not free.

    Knowing Noel as I do, he will put an expensive part in if it improves the bike, and his first priority is function, not form or cost.

  5. #5
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    No way - the new Podium is a work of mechanical art and then your ride it and are further amazed by the characteristics. It is a win win all the way around. The bike is stiff, solid and fun.

  6. #6
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    When one is in the mindset that "heft means quality", then any modern bike is going to feel cheap compared to it's predecessors. But the truth is that making frames lighter is not "cheapening out". It's the opposite.

    Where practical, every weight-conscious industry is moving away from CNC machined aluminum parts to composites (e.g. carbon fiber), exotic metals (e.g. titanium), or hydroformed aluminum parts. With hydroformed aluminum, like you find on all the new Knolly bikes, you can get the same strength (if not more) for less weight. Whenever you see a curvy or non-symmetrical tube on a bike, its designed that way to retain strength while reducing weight.

    The truth is: you cannot build a frame as light was the new Podium frame using CNC machined parts without compromising the strength. To get lighter, but retain the strength Knolly had to change it's manufacturing process.

    Hope this helps.
    "sounds like you need to find a better mechanic..." -- Calhoun

  7. #7
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    I kind of agree with the OP, My podium came with paint chiped near the BB, There were bits of CNC'd metal Inside the BB... :/ Its a knolly, i know its going to ride great, i hope i will be happier when i build it up...

  8. #8
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    The new Podium is the most innovative and expensive(to make)frame we have ever designed and brought to market, period. Namely, the one-piece tubular wrap-around chainstay, is an innovation you won't see on any other bike. This design feature saves weight and adds strength. Most people see that part of the bike as a work of art, noticing how many times the shape of the tube changes, and how elegant the curves are. The 157mm rear spacing is a leading edge standard that most DH bikes will end up with, which mates better with the 83mm bb shell standard, and also helps soften the curves of the chainstay tube.

    Our move away from modular rear-end dropouts was a simple decision.... lighter, stiffer, stronger. Fewer bolted on CNC parts means less flex, much stronger, and zero user maintenance. Nothing to tighten, nothing to strip, nothing to replace. This is why you see fewer CNC parts on the rear of the bike, because welding will always be lighter and stronger than bolts.

    Something else that I don't see people mention very often is the custom titanium fasteners found in the linkage of the frame. These are designed and crafted only for the Knolly Podium.

    Basically, Noel spared no expense and cut no corners when designing the new Podium. This usually becomes apparent once the bike is taken out of the parking lot and onto the trails. Enjoy!
    Global Director of Sales: Knolly Bikes

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Bottoms View Post
    The new Podium is the most innovative and expensive(to make)frame we have ever designed and brought to market, period. Namely, the one-piece tubular wrap-around chainstay, is an innovation you won't see on any other bike. This design feature saves weight and adds strength. Most people see that part of the bike as a work of art, noticing how many times the shape of the tube changes, and how elegant the curves are. The 157mm rear spacing is a leading edge standard that most DH bikes will end up with, which mates better with the 83mm bb shell standard, and also helps soften the curves of the chainstay tube.

    Our move away from modular rear-end dropouts was a simple decision.... lighter, stiffer, stronger. Fewer bolted on CNC parts means less flex, much stronger, and zero user maintenance. Nothing to tighten, nothing to strip, nothing to replace. This is why you see fewer CNC parts on the rear of the bike, because welding will always be lighter and stronger than bolts.

    Something else that I don't see people mention very often is the custom titanium fasteners found in the linkage of the frame. These are designed and crafted only for the Knolly Podium.

    Basically, Noel spared no expense and cut no corners when designing the new Podium. This usually becomes apparent once the bike is taken out of the parking lot and onto the trails. Enjoy!
    The original post is shocking to say the least...This bike SCREAMS quality! Yes, the rear chain stay is the first I've seen and is obviously a well thought out and designed piece of art. The titanium used in the linkages is simply gorgeous. Also, 157 is the new standard. On the trail, this bike is nutty! Have fun on it! This bike isn't quiet, it's SILENT...You won't have these thoughts for much longer blackfly.

  10. #10
    my member
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    I clicked on this thinking there was some sort of sale: (EG was the first 1 pc I've seen, seatstay though)*and just look at the hardware from BB on up the downtube...
    Last edited by Deerhill; 04-05-2013 at 02:41 PM.

  11. #11
    Yebo Numzaan
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    Jeepers...when Noel showed me one of the first production bikes...i was amazed at the level of pride he exuded. He was super proud of the wrap around one piece chain stay and pointed out so many features he was super stoked on. Dont know where the OP got his impression from?
    I support EMBA

  12. #12
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    Thank you all for the replies. I am not an engineer but I have been around bikes (especially high end ones) long enough to know the finer details. I am aware the chainstay is a one piece modular design; I know welds are the weakest part (except perhaps 853 Renolds Tubing which, I am told, gets STRONGER as the weld takes hold). It just seemed to me that in DIRECT COMPARISON to older models I noticed more "simplicity" if that is the fair word. I am use to equating lots of CNC'ed parts to high quality, so excuse me if the OP is out of line.

    But make no mistake, I take possession tomorrow. Anodised black, medium, with CCDB and Ti spring. The bike will have a new Chris King HS, new Saint BB, new RF Atlas Cranks, new Chromag bar and stem, and my old ****: Monster T's, Hadley hubs/Mavic rims, Thomson seat post, Hope Mono 6 ti brakes. And of course, old school all way, the XTR reverse derailleur and Suntour XC pro shifters (8 speed). I might go 1x11 later, but right now I am looking to get on the road as the weather is good, and frankly the outlay is already "high" but certainly not unreasonable considering what I get, and it is exactly what I wanted. In stock too. Just my luck.

    I am happy to be a member of the Knolly family as I wanted a V-tach 2 years ago. I guess I had to "settle". Yeh, right.

    Tomorrows build will be fun!

    PJ

  13. #13
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    Trust me blackfly, you're not "settling" for anything. The new Podium is a work of art in my opinion, and it will ride the wheels off a V-tach. I have compared my 2nd gen Podium frame side by side with a 1st gen, and as nice as the originals were, the new frames blow them out of the water. The Linkage is more refined, the tube shaping is pure artistry, and the welds are better quality. The CNC-d BB section I loved on the old Podium has been replaced by a hollow-formed box section that may look "simpler", but is cleaner, stronger, and stiffer. Don't equate refinement with cost-cutting: I really do think you're going to love this bike.

  14. #14
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    Well gentlemen, considering I am writing this at 4:00am since I can't sleep (bike shop opens when?) although a bad cold/cough doesn't help. Even if I get the bike together today I doubt I can ride it until next week, at least. Talk about torture.

    I have owned 2 Flys, 2 Ellsworth Dares, 1 Intense and with my riding partner had time on Mountain Cycle, the extruded Specialized FSR DH, an Ellsworth Rogue and an Intense M1. Suffice to say I know quality when I see it and I know that Knolly does not disappoint in this regard. In fact, I had only 2 choices, and it was made for me (helps the bike is in stock, my size, colour etc) so I have a fair bit to compare to. My personal expectation is that this one will be the best: 4 bar link rear end (excellent braking), good angles, good pedalling (don't laugh, I still try to earn my right whenever I can, although Old Buck might be brutal this summer). I might look into a 1x11 gearing: I saw one with a 32 front and 42 rear. Might be the ticket.

    Tom Petty said it best: the waiting is the hardest part. I haven't been this excited in a long time, to be truthful. Hope nothing went sideways in the ordering; I haven't been called so that should be a good sign.

  15. #15
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    If that is your sample to compare the Podium to, be prepared to have your mind blown.
    "Mi amor Nuevo Miércoles!"

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfly View Post
    Intense M1. Suffice to say I know quality when I see it
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  17. #17
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    Agree with the OP

    Not a complaint but an observation. Anyone else?[/QUOTE]

    I agree with the OP, at least in part. In 2009 I bought a new Delerium T and it was like a jewel, or something produced by NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. All the lines on the linkage were crisply sculpted with heavily evident machining marks everywhere. About an hour ago I got my new Podium, and in contrast, the linkage on the Podium looks like it was forged or pressed. The edges are dull and unevenly rounded, with myriad little imperfections. It looks very ordinary. The linkage on my Yeti 66 looks considerably better, and the linkage on my DT was WAAAY better looking than that on the Yeti.

    Frankly, it's quite disappointing. There may be sound business reasons for going with cheaper machining processes, maybe the dollars are now directed toward lightening efforts, but the exquisitely tooled look that I associate(d) with Knolly seems to be gone.

    Having said that, the rest of the frame looks first-rate and I'm sure it will be a great riding bike that will last a long time.

  18. #18
    Perpetual Hack
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    The Podium Takes It!!!

    I currently have in my possession a Delirium T Mk 5 - this is a late 2009 model.
    In addition a 2010 Delirium Mk 6, and finally a very early 2013 Podium Mk. 2
    I have also owned but no longer in my possession an earlier Delirium-T as well.

    By putting the 3 all side by side, what I see that strikes me the most is -

    A progression from industrial to elegant - in both form and engineering.

    And this is from a guy who still wishes he had adjustable wheel-base as well as HA.

    Regrading the CNC parts, (Podium) mine are all well finished with the edges nicely broken (I am a retired machinist, so know a little bit about what I speak)
    As for the rockers, the move has been from an industrial overbuilt but aesthetically pleasing design with works looking machining marks.
    Now on the Delirium, we loose alot of the heavy work, and the rockers got cleaner with a more contoured shape. Sometimes more work looks like less.
    The Podium just takes this a step farther, but this time we are not as focused on the machine work as we are now using formed tubing when possible and leaving the cool looking, but material and time waste-full, weaker but cool looking CNC work to the minimum.

    The only partial concession I will give you is that the Mk 2 Podium does not look quite as trick from a distance even though it has better lines, things like the machined sliding dropouts, moving shock shuttles do catch you attention -- but get up close and it is another story all together. Take a real long hard look at all the frame tubes from all angles and you will shite yourself when you realize how much tube manipulation has been done, there is a lot there, some very subtle, ya gotta look close to see.

    Even check out the welding, you will notice different welding techniques being employed in differing places depending upon need, not just one size fits all like in the old SAPA days.

    The Podium is a master-class in metal manipulation.

    michael
    A Dirtbag since 1969.
    A Knomer since 2007.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeB-66 View Post
    Not a complaint but an observation. Anyone else?
    I agree with the OP, at least in part. In 2009 I bought a new Delerium T and it was like a jewel, or something produced by NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. All the lines on the linkage were crisply sculpted with heavily evident machining marks everywhere. About an hour ago I got my new Podium, and in contrast, the linkage on the Podium looks like it was forged or pressed. The edges are dull and unevenly rounded, with myriad little imperfections. It looks very ordinary.

    Frankly, it's quite disappointing. There may be sound business reasons for going with cheaper machining processes, maybe the dollars are now directed toward lightening efforts, but the exquisitely tooled look that I associate(d) with Knolly seems to be gone.
    I think I can add some info to speak to your impressions / concerns. fwiw, I've been designing machinery for a couple decades. Not bikes mind you, but a lot of principals are transferable across industries.

    In the simplest terms without specific context a forged or formed part will be stronger than the same part machined. Sometimes a lot stonger.
    There's a false perception that NC machining is the zenith of manufacturing processes. It's not. Admittedly it creates a cool looking part and it's extremely flexible in terms of geometry, but it is often chosen not because it's stronger or better but because it's the less expensive fabrication method for smaller quantities and/or where fixtureing to ensure tolerances/alignments is a challenge for a comparable formed and/or welded assembly.

    Having looked at the podium tho, that back end is pretty amazing. Specifically the contiguous formed chainstay tube tied in to the machined yoke looks to my eye to be pretty bombproof versus the typical machined yoke with separate chainstay tubes butt welded on. I expect that while it looks simple, the forming dies and fixtures for ensuring accurate forming then alignment during the welding were not cheap.

    That said, your preferences are your own. If you really dig the machined aesthetic that's cool. Form, function and finances aside, these are ultimately just expensive toys and so the requirement that they are appealing visually is very real. Just don't think that because it's not rife with tool path markings that its a lesser quality.

  20. #20
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    I owned a Podium Gen 1 when they were made by SAPA. I bought a gen 2 last summer that was made over seas. I was a bit disappointed seeing "Made in Taiwan" on a Knolly box. I was a bit unsure as well comparing the frames side by side . At first I thought they had cheapened out. Once I built it up and put it on dirt , my mind was absolutely blown. The newer podium blows the old one out of the water . Corners better , jumps better, stiffer, everything is better . I promise Noel would not jeopardize the quality of his bikes in anyway. The manufacturing process over seas is far superior to that in North America . Way more invested over there . Also, everything on the frame is completely snug and tight like day one and I ride the **** out of my bikes. Hope that sheds some light .

  21. #21
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    Hey all:

    When I first saw this thread, I was quite surprised because I had invested serious time and effort in the Gen 2 Podium: more so than I have into any bike before or since.

    Mykel, Kark and nomad8604 have the manufacturing bang on in terms of both the real world and also what's happening between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Podium frames. To put this in perspective, the tooling required to make (only) the chain stay tube used in the Gen 2 Podium was almost double the cost of all of the tooling required to make the Gen 1 Podium. The Gen 2 Podium's total tooling cost is about an order of magnitude greater than the Gen 1 Podium and frankly for not a lot more money, we could tool up for carbon frames. Some fun facts: the current Podium's chainstay tube is also bi-tapered (like a handle bar) and also quad butted: it's thicker in the middle where it welds to the yoke and on the ends where it welds to the clevis pivots. It is quite a ridiculously difficult and involved part to make once you factor in all of the pre-forming tooling done before the final stage of hydroforming...

    I know big chunks of CNC machined parts are sexy - we certainly built our first bikes on using them! But they are heavy and are not the best way to support a load: tubes are the best way and that's why we have manipulated the tubing on this bike beyond anything else in the industry. And, where we have done CNC work, it is extensive and complicated, though we're polishing some of the parts more now to give them softer corners and to make mated parts flow together more nicely: examine the machining on the swing link as an example. The Gen 2 BB shell is hollow compared to the Gen 1's I-Beam design: the current design is lighter, stronger, stiffer and provides a better weld interface for the down and seat tubes but is also significantly more time consuming and difficult to manufacture. And I haven't even mentioned the four custom Black Ti fasteners that we custom CNC machine from bar stock 6-4V titanium and then anodize.

    Please let me know if any of you have any other questions.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by knollybikes.com; 04-24-2014 at 03:45 PM.
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  22. #22
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    First of all, thanks everyone for your input. I learned a few things.

    Accepting as true what Noel has said, I am sorry that what I wrote was/is upsetting to him. Also, I'm in no position to argue with any of the designers and/or machinists here regarding which generation or type of linkage construction actually is better. I'll happily accept that the linkages on my new Podium are at least as good as on my DT and possibly even better. Nonetheless, my impression of the quality, visually, remains the same. In addition to what I described earlier, there is now also no "Knolly" on the linkage, and the cable guides on the bottom of the linkage are gone. I loved those on my DT. Petty criticisms? Perhaps.

    Now knowing what people here have said, I'll try to look at the linkage with new eyes and appreciate it more, and/or just ignore it and focus on all the other positive aspects of the frame.

  23. #23
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    Hi SeB-66:

    You don't need to worry about upsetting us: we're a business and as such, have pretty thick skin You're a customer and your opinion is as valid as anyone's!

    Re: the two points that you bring up, I'm happy to address them:

    • "KNOLLY" on the Linkage: the Gen 2 Podium push links are not symmetrical: they're tapered as you have probably noticed. This means that if we laser etch them, then we would have one part that became two parts, simply due to cosmetics. We actually DID discuss this exact situation in depth when we designed the Gen 2 Podium and ultimately decided that we would NOT laser etch the linkages because of this. So, the part got sexier, lighter and stronger physically (i.e. tapered and also if you look at it from the top down, you'll see that the outside face is convex whereas the originals were flat), but this was done at the expense of laser etching.
    • Cable guide on the bottom of the rocker link: Yes, we did this on the Gen 1 Delirium T frames. However, we found that in some situations the flanges would rub against the cable housing. We have designed the linkages without this feature for a while now, but are starting to incorporate a new style of rocker link cable mount in to our most recent frames: this will be introduced on the soon to be shipping Warden frames which have a bolt on cable clamp incorporated into the rocker link.


    Cheers!
    Noel Buckley
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  24. #24
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    Let me quickly add that none of this would ever have even come up if the older Knolly's weren't so damned amazing looking (to me) I don't want any potential buyer of a Knolly bike to be swayed against the purchase based on anything I said. There's not a thing "wrong" with the linkage on the Podium; it just doesn't please me as much as the older kind did.

  25. #25
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    Ok, so we've established that I'm shallow and fixated on things like laser etching and machine marks

    I'm very happy to be wrong about all of this, and also to be back in the Knolly Knation. I never had a bike feel so "right" on the first ride as my DT did. It was love at first ride. I'm sure the Podium will be the same.

    Thanks again for all the thoughtful comments/explanations.

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