Optum Pro Cycling and Diamondback launched their 2014 season in Oxnard, Calif., this past weekend. We were on site to talk to the team and ride their official bike, the carbon Podium Optum.
Diamondback made waves in the road bike scene this year by sponsoring the Optum Pro cycling team, its first move to the road after being known for years as a BMX brand. (See our initial coverage, “Top Pro Road Biking Team Picks Diamondback For 2014 Race Season.”)
I rode the Podium Optum with the team to test the race machine. Miles of pavement disappeared as I pedaled effortlessly along the costal California road.
Optum Pro Cycling finished 2013 as number one in the USA National Racing Calendar. Both the men and women’s teams see Diamondback helping them push for the podium again this season with one of the top new road bikes on the market.
“I’m most looking forward to the season because Diamondback, being a U.S. brand, is always close by,” said racer Tom Soliday. “They really care and are super quick to help out.”
Diamondback sells the Podium Optum model online — an Optum team fan or any serious road racer can buy the bike now for around $8,000.
With the exception of the cockpit, saddle, and seat post, the “consumer version” Podium Optum is almost an exact replica of the team’s racing rig.
The feathery-light frame has a weight of less than 900 grams. And like the pro bike, it is ready to race with SRAM’s latest RED 22 group.
Out of the box, the bike comes with speedy HED Stinger 4 FR carbon tubular wheels, which are rarely seen as a stock item. I could really feel aerodynamic benefit of these wide-profile rims as I spun on flats, maintaining a brisk pace with little effort.
Beyond the bike, another highlight of the weekend was seeing that Optum is equally focused on its men and women’s teams. They are one of the only leading teams to have a UCI-official women’s team riding the same bike frame right along side of the men’s team.
With the sponsorship from Diamondback and the dynamic relationship of the team, I’m looking forward to watching Optum as they compete on the road this season.
—Amy Oberbroeckling is an assistant editor at GearJunkie.com