I know the weather for many locations doesn't support riding your big bike, but we are fortunate enough to not be in one of those locations . I have been riding the Podium a lot more lately. Spring is near and soon everyone will be dusting off the big bikes.
I am constantly tinkering with my bikes and this is not always a good thing. I can fool myself into thinking that a certain product will improve the bike's performance and ultimately into my riding (which is the goal after all). There are products that make a difference, but there are a lot products that don't. MTBR is good in that you can seek out information on products which hopefully avoid wasting money. However, the honest good reviews in my opinion has declined, because of big brother watching, reps, etc so extracting useful relevant info can be difficult.
My Delirium is dialed and fits me like glove. This could be simply related to the fact that I ride it the most, but I believe that there is a certain magical aura associated with it! This is a Podium review, not a Delirium one.
Let me start off by saying that the new Podium is awesome, but it required some work to get to this place. I owned the original Podium and struggled to get it to feel like a natural extension of me when riding. The original Podium was long, low and fast and had a certain swagger to it. I rode the original Podium all of over the NorCal, Pacific Northwest, and Whistler. The more DH build of the Podium gave me confidence to try bigger things that the Delirium didn't instill. With the Podium, I conquered some big features! However, I would fight the Podium in certain situations and I wasn't 100% comfortable on it. Because of this, I was always trying to dial it in better. I started with a Fox 40 and RC4 shock. I sold the RC4 and got a CCDB and then I also got a Vivid Air. I sold the 40 and got a Marz 888. These were not upgradeitus purchases - I was trying to dial the Podium into toward my complete liking. I found that I liked the Vivid Air and the Marz 888 combination the best, but this combo only worked well in a certain situations. Something about the Vivid Air allowed me to jump better, but it suffered in rough sections and big drops hurt a bit. The Marz 888 was more lively and ate up the chop better, but could dive into its travels at the worst possible times. The CCDB ate up the rough sections, but didn't work as well on the jumps and lacked a lively feel.
Now Dominator owns an original Podium and he is completely comfortable on it. His comfort and enjoyment of the original Podium always made me want to dial mine in. Though our styles are different, we tend to appreciate similar components.
After trying all of these options and adjusting suspension settings, I accepted the realization that it was time to get something else or just change it up. I was loosing money between buying and selling components and I knew selling the Podium frame would be another financial loss. Therefore, if I am going to loose money, I want to get the "right" frame to match my riding style.
To keep an open mind, I considered all possible options. I read MTBR, ridemonkey, NSMB, online and the magazine reviews. I also contacted a number of MTBR subscribers. I was also considering just sticking with the Delirium and its bigger build for the shuttle/park days, because I liked its playful nature. However, I knew that I really enjoyed having more travel on a dedicated DH oriented bike that I can grab instantly. The frames that I considered were the standard ones that always get mentioned - new Podium, Jedi, DHR, Phoenix, V10, amongst others. MTBR user "Errr" was a wealth knowledge and provided a lot of useful insight.
In the end, the new Podium had the geometry etc that piqued my interest. At the time, this seemed crazy to sell the original Podium for a loss and my comfort issues with it to purchase the newer version. Owing to the craziness of doing this, one last ditch effort - I purchased the AVY shock for the original Podium. However, the season was ending, parks closing so I tested the AVY on the local trails by pushing back up the hill. It wasn't a good enough test, but I needed to make a decision. I decided to go for the new Podium. In addition, the Knolly insiders are a very convincing bunch.
I have had the new Podium for a few months now. I have ridden and tinkered with all 3 shocks on the new Podium - AVY, CCDB, and the Vivid Air. I like the AVY the best, it has a nice balance in all situations while remaining lively. Craig really does make a good product. I sent the Marz 888 to Ronnie Dilan to adjust the shim stack, add more oil, and remove the volume air adjuster to reduce the diving. Whatever he did works perfectly. The Marz 888 now rides higher in its travel. It is a little harsher, but much more in control. I am able to go faster with more confidence with Ronnie's modifications.
The Podium is now dialed This is such a great feeling. I can confidently say that new Podium is the right bike for me. Though it was a journey to get to this point, I am now satisfied. It is more playful but remains a DH animal. I am not fighting the bike. It is very comfortable. I think it is a combination of things - the new geometry is an improvement and Noel's suspension adjustments, the AVY shock, and the mods to the Marz 888. I have been shuttling the new Podium on some very rough trails and playing on the jump trails and the bike is working great on both.
At times, I briefly miss the longish chain stays of the original on some of the the steep rough sections and the fast sections - it was a uniqueness of the original Podium (this is where its swagger came in). But it is brief, because the new Podium is better fit for me. There is different balance to it than the original. Riding position is shifted back a tad. This combined with the shorter chain stays make getting the front end up easier. I like this attribute, because it makes quick drops and jumps more appetizing. It is still stable with its 47in wheelbase. It rails corners. I found the headangle to be slightly slacker than specs, it resides more at 63 degrees and this is with a zerostack. This is not a bad thing. I also like the Knolly full seat post, riding to and from the jump trails or here and there when you have to - it just nice to raise the seatpost to a good pedal position.
One Last thing, based on the geometry, etc and my desire for a more playful bike, I thought that I would enjoy running the new Podium with a single crown and the Vivid Air. This was pre-purchase thought. However, I have found the new Podium in DH mode to be perfect and that desire isn't there anymore. Those that want single crown set-up, the new Podium can be made to do it nicely.
In summary, the new Podium is a better product that translates to the riding which makes the experience more fun. I highly recommend getting one.
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Thread: Podium - updated review - dialed