The Story Begins Here…
The Diamondback Podium Equipe’ is our top of the line carbon competition road racing machine. When we first set out planning this project we all agreed that the goal was to create the ultimate road frame. From the aggressive carbon shapes to the latest internal cable housing design, we made this product with no expenses spared. Some of the highlighted features include its sub 900 gram frame to the newly designed tapered Continuous Fiber Technology full carbon fork with integrated carbon crown race.
The Podium will surely continue its legacy of winning races at the highest levels of the sport.
The process began with many discussions on how to make a carbon road bike more user and performance friendly not just for the top racers of the world but also the weekend road warriors that ride thousands of miles a year.
At the same time we strive to maintain the ride quality that is a trademark of Diamondback Podium bikes. We looked at the handling, feel, weight, geometry of each frame and each size so we can make sure every product has our signature Diamondback feel. We then do conceptual sketches, 3D Modeling, and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and then refine it some more before we even make the first steel mold. We set clear and concise goals to make the Podium a world-class frame and we strive to make an already incredible product…better. That is the Diamondback Design Philosophy.
Carbon is what gives Diamondback the flexibility to make frames have load specific regions. This means certain areas where the structural demands are greater can have more material due to the strength requirements while other places that aren’t stressed as much can have fewer fibers as the loads are not as great. Consequently these sections can have less material without sacrificing the structural integrity. The Diamondback Podium is handmade using our Advanced Monocoque Molding Process (AMMP). AMMP ensures that each piece of carbon ply is laid precisely where our engineers want it. These carbon plies are hand-wrapped around a polystyrene pre-form core, using a plastic bladder in the shape of the product. To achieve a precise mold during this layup process, we surround the emerging product with a plastic cavity, which guarantees a perfect fit. Silicone mandrel shells are then used to reinforce critical joint areas so as to create smoother overlapping fibers at these vital junctions—such as the head tube and the bottom bracket. Each silicone shell is joined together prior to placing the product in the steel mold. In this final mold, we use a proprietary coating for optimal fiber adhesion.
Fibers are rated by their tensile strength and their modulus which is what is used to denote their stiffness. High tensile strength fibers don’t always equate to high modulus and vice versa. The Podium uses the latest MR60 and HR40 fibers produced by carbon fiber leader Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd. and also the industry workhorse T700 fibers by Toray Industries Inc. Diamondback chooses to use only these fibers to produce the latest Podium. These higher strength fibers are actually harder to manipulate and more precision is needed to accomplish this but they allow us to use walls with thinner thicknesses to reduce weight. It definitely requires a more skilled workforce but at Diamondback we feel that this is the only way to produce something that we can call our own.
The Carbon SL frame featured on the Podium Equipe’ is a lighter version of our Carbon Competition frames (Podium Vitesse and E’Tape). The difference is the addition of higher modulus material which is stronger with greater elongation and tensile strength. Adding these properties makes frame thinner while maintaining and increasing stiffness because of the additional material properties. Because it’s thinner, it’s lighter… 100 grams lighter to be exact.
The other critical material is the resin used to bind the fibers together. Our signature Optimized Resin Compound (ORC) is used to bind the carbon fibers together with precision alignment during the heating process. Using too much resin makes a frame feel heavy and sluggish. Too little resin can result in fiber separation and frame failure. Optimizing our resin-to-fiber ratio allows us to enhance our ratio of material weight-to-strength. The result is an exceptionally impact-resistant frame as the ORC not only bonds the fibers together but also reinforces the strength of the thin carbon walls from collisions.
Unlike other companies that buy pre-impregnated carbon sheets with resin from a supplier factory, Diamondback chooses to make all of our carbon sheets in house. Why? Because we demand full control over the quality and consistency of how much resin is applied onto each piece of carbon ply. We would then cut each one to specific shapes and sizes that we need. This gives us the advantage of having complete control of the carbon from the point that it’s in yarn form to the lay-up process. Only the highest quality of carbon is used as it cures in a low-heat oven and then stored in a temperature and humidity controlled storage space to maintain optimal quality until it is needed. Most companies cannot say they do the same and at the same time have such complete control of the material manufacturing process. It is quite tedious, expensive and requires an extremely meticulous labor force but that is necessary if you are building one of the best frames in the world.
Clean Core Technology ensures a clean inner core devoid of rough edges or excess material. When the product mold goes into the heat press, the air bladders are pressurized within the polystyrene pre-form core. This fills out the interior crevices and forces the fibers to conform to the shape. The heat softens the carbon plies making them malleable to the mold, and the excess resin is forced out. This makes for a product with light and consistent weight throughout, and produces a smooth surface—inside as well as out. Many companies will actually have a cosmetic surface weave to mask the terrible interior of their products but Diamondback is perfectly confident showing the Podium to the world.
After the layup process we take the separate formed pieces such as the front triangle, chain stay and seat stay sections to be bonded using our own dynamic co-bonding technique. After the frame is removed from the curing process, it gets cleaned, drilled, polished and painted. Now we are ready to test ride for road feel by moving into the prototype phase. This part is one the most crucial steps in our process. We ask our pro riders to test all of our products and give valuable feedback. The beauty about using carbon fiber is that we can easily manipulate the carbon plies to find the right balance between stiffness, strength, durability and comfort in every area of the Podium. We can fine tune that “feeling” down to the last carbon ply to obtain what we consider is the signature ride quality of the Diamondback Podium.
We release our products only after countless hours of 3D modeling, testing, remodeling the original concept, and even more testing. Only when we feel we have combined the right mix of carbon fiber plies with the appropriate layup schedule do we believe we have found the right balance of stiffness, strength and durability. We feel that only after going through all these long, tedious processes that this is the only way for us to create a high performance racing bicycle worthy of the Diamondback Podium badge.
For 2014, this entire process has afforded us a frame with the following:
- Continuous Fiber – Diamondback’s Continuous Fiber Technology uses full-length carbon strands to manufacture the fork that extend from the top of the steer tube to the bottom of the drop outs. Using that same AMMP technology employed in the Podium frame, we’ve created one of the stiffest forks available. With a lower integrated crown race that’s completely carbon, we’ve eliminated the need for a separate aluminum race. This makes the overall system lighter, stronger and more responsive.
- Tapered Head Tube – 1.5 Tapered head tube provides front end torsional stiffness for precise steering and control.
- Compliant Stays – Seat tube and seat stays are designed to work together to produce an optimally compliant ride.
- Pressfit 30 –An oversized BB shell coupled with a larger down tube and chain stays provides increased rigidity for out-of-the saddle-sprinting, maximum acceleration, and optimal efficiency.
- Closed Circuit Cabling – Closed Circuit Cable routing provides a clean, uncluttered, and sleek finish to the frame.
- Replaceable Front Derailleur Hanger – lightweight and easy to mount in the correct position… every time.
The Podium Equipe’ comes with a SRAM Red set up. SRAM Red cranks, derailleurs, shifters, cassette, & brakes offer the very best money can buy.
HED Stinger 4 FR carbon tubular wheelset offers a relatively wide, stiff and exceptionally light ride while an Easton EC90 SLX3, 31.8 Carbon bar and a DB 7050 alloy stem finish off the cockpit with ergonomic elegance. And to top it all off a DB ODC (optimal density carbon)seat post proudly cradles a DBR Competition Road saddle with carbon rails offering a light yet comfortable package.
Let the new King be crowned for there is none higher… the 2014 Diamondback Podium Equipe’ Competition Road Machine.