FIRST LOOK: RAAW’S DOWNHILL BIKE – THE YALLA!
Raaw's time and energy spent to make their perfect DH bike; the Yalla!
Raaw doesn’t take bike development lightly. They’ve gone through a painstaking process of research and development since 2019 to finally come out with a DH bike they’re proud to release to the wide world – the Yalla. This bike shares the DNA of it’s two capable siblings but is by and large the most sendy of the 3 available models. Raaw chose to make the Yalla a dedicated 29er with size specific chainstay lengths to keep the rider centered no matter their size. There are 3 sizes available – M with a 455mm reach, L with a 480mm reach, and XL with a 505mm reach. A 63.7 degree headangle seems a little steep for they typical modern DH bike, but Luke Williamson managed a 23rd place at the most recent World Cup in Fort William, so it’s obviously capable at speed. The Raaw team has slaved over the kinematics of the suspension most of all even developing their own software to predict possible problems, so you know they’re serious about this design. The 4-bar linkage system with the Horst Link allowed them to optimize the suspension design to handle exactly as they desired. The goal in making this bike was to be adjustable to the point where the rider can make the bike into anything they want with the flip of a chip or by swapping out a simple suspension piece. The Yalla is available as a frame kit only in the US at $2,690 but doesn’t include the shock. This bike looks like a hoot and the perfect bike for the tinkerer ready to shred a different track every weekend.
See the full length bike details video here:
Product development can be attacked from a few different angles. For some, the direction
comes from focus groups. For others it comes from developing the best product that aligns
with the trends at that time. But for us, we’ve always just gone about developing a bike that
we’d want to ride, that we’re stoked about and will prop against the TV stand to savour it just
that little longer before it gets covered in mud.
Developing a DH bike has been a seed in the minds of us at RAAW since almost day one. We
grew up absorbing the bikes and culture of DH racing. Many years later, we still see it as the
most exciting expression of mountain biking. And even in the small world of DH, there are so
many different expressions of what a DH should be.
Performance and adjustability, all wrapped up in a durable package, is how we see a downhill
bike. So we set to it, developing our own DH bike with those drivers in mind. And after over a
year of riding, racing and tinkering, we’re over the moon to finally release the culmination of
our DH Project – the RAAW Yalla!
The RAAW Yalla! is a bike built for sending it down the Champéry World Cup track, a place that
we hold very close to our hearts. There’s no messing around there, no fuzziness in the intended
use. Every decision in the bike followed that crystal clear idea and results in a bike fit for
tackling one of the most demanding courses to be raced on, again and again.
And while not World Cup racers ourselves, we knew that developing a bike fit for tackling the
wild World Cup track in Champéry could have what it takes to compete at the highest level of
downhill racing. And that a lot of the philosophies that we live by at RAAW, like durability and
being easy to work on, would also lend themselves well to a racing environment.
2022 was a year full of learning as we embarked on our first year of World Cup racing. But in
just our second race at Fort William the Yalla! not only qualified for the finals but came away
with 23rd place under Luke Williamson. His wild run was the stamp of approval that the Yalla!
is instilled with the speed to be right up there with the best.
And throughout a whole season of relentlessly challenging tracks it continued to solidly
perform where many others fell apart. Durability is a huge part of RAAW, and to have frames
that can take a beating like that all season long and come back asking for more takes away a
lot of the worries that a racer, or just rider, might have in their equipment.
Race and ride the Yalla! hard, put it away dirty and do the same thing next weekend. It’s not
made of sugar.
Adjustability – A Toolbox for the Rider
The RAAW Yalla! is designed around our toolbox concept. While a DH bike is a very focussed
tool for a specific job, sometimes that job can change. Different riders and racers jump on
board, the tracks vary from race to race and conditions can change at the flick of a switch. So,
having a toolbox to delve into to meet all those demands is useful to have when you’re up at
the ragged edge and still pushing for fractions of a second or for the maximum thrill.
That said, if you’re not into tinkering, then no worries at all. The middle settings of each
adjustment option, which the frame comes delivered in, are something that we thought long
and hard about. You can leave it there and never worry about it, instead just focussing on the
riding. And the simplicity and solidness of the adjustment parts mean that they will just go
about their job silently.
But, we have endeavoured to make sure that the Yalla’s adjustability is simple to use, so that
anyone can do it. After all, if an adjustment is easy to change then it encourages more people
to use it and play around.
We encourage you to experiment with the adjustments and learn what works best for you in
your terrain. None of the extremes of the adjustments will make the bike unrideable, and if you
learn along the way how different adjustments change the bike feel then you’ll be better
equipped in the future to turn a bike into your bike.
Geometry & Specification
The Yalla! comes in three different sizes from M to XL, all with 29” wheels front and rear. The
three sizes cover riders from 167 to 199 cm and are equipped with a great number of
adjustments to find perfect setups for different tracks, conditions and riding styles.
The riding position on the Yalla! is roomy and very similar to that of the Madonna, with an
identical reach for the same sizes. This firstly results in a very familiar position between the
same sized Yalla! and Madonna and makes you feel at home on the bike as soon as you jump
We’re big fans of low bottom brackets and our bikes attribute a bunch of their characters to
this. This love is carried through to the Yalla, with the BB dropping 26.5mm, giving a BB height
of around 345mm. This came from extensive real world tyre measuring as well as tying it into
our supportive suspension design, meaning that you have a dynamic position in the bike,
rather than perched atop it, and bringing stability and confidence when cornering hard.
We didn’t just choose the same suspension design as the Madonna and Jibb to look the same,
but it did come from all the same reasons as why we chose it for them too.
The four bar layout gives us the freedom to manipulate the suspension characteristics, the
long link lengths give naturally favourable curves, production tolerances have less of an effect
when going from 3D models to the real world, and the layout is efficient on material while
being naturally stiff. This layout does exactly the job in hand in the simplest and most efficient
The Yalla! has 198 mm of predictable travel, avoiding really high leverage ratios and
progression amounts to strike a wonderful balance between suppleness and support. It also
avoids pushing anyone into a corner with their setup, instead creating a usable range of shock
adjustments and plays well with both air and coil shocks.
A nice dollop of anti-squat means a direct and driven feel when you push on the pedals and
accelerate, and it’s delivered in the travel zone that you’re most likely to be pedalling a DH bike
in. The suspension offers the same direct feel in all gears and is designed around today’s
common 34T chainring.
The influence of braking is designed to be very constant giving a predictable balance between
combating the effects of load transfer when braking and remaining active in the suspension
feel. This characteristic remains the same no matter the lower shock mount you choose,
keeping the number of things to think about to a minimum when adapting your bike to the
track and conditions.
Durability is at the core of RAAW. We want bikes that can be ridden hard and put away dirty
and that will last year after year or owner after owner. We choose aluminium not just for its
recyclability, but that it’s a wonderful material that can be formed, forged and machined into
shapes that fit the purpose of a DH bike so well.
While the Yalla! is as durable as we can make it, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll need to
give it some TLC. For that reason, we wanted the Yalla! to be as easy to work on as possible for
the home mechanics out there as well as the World Cup mechanics. Cable routing is external,
you only need a few common tools to completely strip the bike and you don’t need four pairs
of hands and a degree to put it back together.
The areas of the frame that will see an onslaught of mud have been designed in a way to leave
few anchors. The back of the seat tube and chainstay bridge is as close to one vertical surface
as possible. Forgings are hollowed out from the inside, leaving no hidden pockets. And the
seatstay bridge is knife-like to cut through the spray from the rear wheel.
To protect the frame, we’ve got stick-on soft rubber protection pieces on the underside of the
downtube, covering the edges of the tube, chainstay protector, which is also ribbed to silence
chain slap, and on the inside of the seatstay. We also offer a stick on guard for the upper end
of the down tube, protecting when shuttling with the Yalla! or if your local lift hooks under the
With the addition of nine tenths of naff all weight, why not have some added storage for some
spares or a banana on your DH bike? If you don’t want it, no worries, it’s nicely hidden away
out of sight. All gear straps fit and maybe even the odd data acquisition system too with a nice
3D printed bracket.
All external routing makes working on the bike a doddle, especially in a rush at a race, while
keeping the cables secure, tidy and not looking like a bird’s nest. The upper cable guides on
the main frame double up as the fork bumpers and are designed to provide protection for all
the range of different fork offsets available today.
And as much as possible, hardware is shared with the Madonna and Jibb. This makes it easier
for you to keep spares between bikes and get hold of replaceable parts when the time comes
for some maintenance.
Options, Pricing & Availability
The Yalla! is in stock and available to purchase as a framekit right away. The framekit without
shock, including rear wheel axle, headset and all hardware is available for €2,990 in the EU
and for $2,690 US / $3,611 CAD / 2,495 CHF / £2,244 outside of the EU. Shock options from
Öhlins are in stock and Fox options will ship at the end of March.
Pricing in the EU will depend on the VAT rate in your country, and pricing outside of the EU will
depend on exchange rates.