The Diamondback Podium Optum can be summed up in one word – FAST. The bike ridden by both the men’s and women’s UCI Continental Optum Pro Cycling teams this year, the Podium Optum is a lean, mean, racing machine.
Out of the box, the Podium Optum is so light it is not even UCI legal. With my pedals and sensors mounted, the 54cm bike weighs in at 14 lbs 8 oz. The carbon fiber frame is built using an Advanced Monocoque Molding Process (AMMP) with a plastic bladder to shape the frame, helping it to come in at 900 grams.
Stiff and extremely responsive, power transfer is excellent, particularly noticeable on the flats. Sprinting on the Podium Optum is what I imagine it is like to drive a Lamborghini- you can go from simply rolling along to really crushing it in a matter of seconds.
The frame is not so stiff, however, that you feel like you are riding a jack hammer – an important thing on the notoriously awful roads of Marin. After long rides and riding multiple days in a row, I do not feel as if I have been beaten by a stick.
The lightweight nature of the bike is helped in the speed department by the HED Stinger S4 Carbon SCT tubular wheels that have been paired with Schwalbe Ultremo HT Race tires. This combination results in a fast spin up and comfortable ride. While testing the Diamondback, I have continued to crush PRs on Strava, where on one ride I set 42 PRs and shaved a minute off an 8 min category 3 climb time.
The Team Podium Optum is complemented by a full SRAM Red 22 Group – the lightest standard road group out there. The crankset is a standard 53/39t, and it is paired with an 11-26t rear cassette. This gear ratio is a little aggressive to say the least for Northern California riding.
If I were to buy this bike, I would probably change out a couple of things. First, I would go for Ultegra Di2 instead of SRAM to make the house mechanic happy (we are an all Shimano household) – yes this will add some weight but it will be minimal (2075.5 grams vs. 2459.7 grams). In addition to crisp Shimano shifting, this will also provide me a compact crankset that is more appropriate for riding in Northern California.
Second, I would switch out the wheels. Although the HED Stinger are super fast and light, 46mm rims are suboptimal in crosswind heavy Marin. A lower profile and carbon clinchers (easier for flat changes) might be more appropriate for my type of riding – like ZIPP 202s.
Bottom Line: Just as riding with a more skilled partner will make you a better cyclist, this bike will continually push you to go faster. Get ready to crush some Strava PRs and earn some QOMs.
The Diamondback Podium Optum retails for $7499.95 and is available now. The Diamondback website features a great comparison between the different Podium bikes on offer. Note- the Optum and Equipe SRAM 22 are the same bike, just different paint jobs.
UPDATE: I ended up buying this bike and the only configuration change I made was switching out the crankset for a compact. I couldn’t be happier.