JUNE 2012 IN THE PRESS
ON THE ROAD WITH DIAMONDBACK: VIDEO
This spring, I had the chance to get back out with the Diamondback crew for the annual team trip. The main point, or excuse, for the trip is to shoot photos of the DF5 team riding the new bikes. The unintended result of the trip is always the same though, hang out, ride some bikes, make some jokes, mock each other, and generally just act like idiots; it is your basic testosterone driven mountain bike trip. Good times for sure. We spent 5 days in Bend, and 2 days in Hood River riding Post Canyon; and experienced all types of riding conditions along the way. It rained, it snowed, the dirt went from moon dust to snot slick mud, it was cloudy, then there were more clouds, then a 5 minute window of light, it was hot, then cold, then hot again. In a nutshell, it was Oregon. We had a good time, got a ton of photos, and were able to ride some of the best MTB trails in the northwest. Nobody got seriously injured, nobody ended up in jail, and nobody got any speeding tickets. The trip was a success on all fronts.
DOWN RIVER | A BIKE ADVENTURE
Built on a butted 6061-T6 aluminum frame, the 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Sport is no slouch! It was specifically designed to make short work of rocks, roots, and mud... in-fact the engineers over at Diamondback use words like "behemoth" and "beast" when asked to describe the true awesomeness that is the Overdrive. Overdrive Sport Key Features:
Angle of Attack - Larger wheels decrease your angle of attack by allowing you to roll over obstacles easier and faster. Bigger wheel = smaller obstacle. Momentum - A larger wheel enables one to carry momentum easier though obstacles. Surface Contact - 29"wheels are less prone to sinking in soft material such as sand and mud due to the larger contact patch causing lower ground pressure. The longer contact patch increases cornering and straight line traction. Stability - The relative position of the bottom bracket/cranks to the axles in the wheels also means that your relative center of gravity is lower. This results in a feeling of riding "in" the bike rather than on top of it. Tire Clearance - with more tire choices than any platform, the 29"wheel easily accommodates off road as well as commuting tires. Taller Riders - 29" bikes tend to offer taller riders a more "natural" frame geometry.
Value: (9 out of 10) With only a small amount of research you’ll quickly find that the 29’er mountain bike market wasn’t built for people on a budget, though Diamondback appears to be breaking the mold this year. The Overdrive Sport weighs in a just less than $800, not exactly cheap... but it does come standard with extremely high quality parts from Shimano, Tektro and Suntour. A package like this is easily worth $900 to $1000 in our opinion. The Bottom Line: We had an absolute blast testing this mountain bike. It's fun to ride, has some serious style, and is extremely functional for a wide variety of terrain. If you're a budget conscious rider who plans to spend considerable time off-road and are looking to upgrade to bike that will stop on a dime, shift properly without fail, and is capable of taking some serious abuse, then we highly recommend you investigate the 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Sport 29'er mountain bike for yourself. We're confident you'll come to the same conclusion we did... this bike is totally bad ass! Price: $770 or go to: Diamondback.com
THE BEST $500 MOUNTAIN BIKE:
DIAMONDBACK OVERDRIVE It is virtually impossible to find an authentic mountain bike for less than $500, but the Overdrive ($600) comes pretty close. This 29er hard tail sports the same aluminum frame as the Overdrive Pro, a $1,750 bike, but it depends on cheaper parts to hit this budget price. The result isn’t a perfect bike, but it’s plenty fun on smooth to semi-technical trails and it would be hard to get more bike for the cost. THE FRAME We were impressed with the Overdrive’s geometry. The riding position is lower than most bikes in this realm, which had us nicely stretched out and well centered over the wheels for fast cornering and surprisingly nimble handling. Unfortunately, though the frame is aluminum, when you add up all the lowerpriced (read: heavier) parts, you get a pretty hefty bike at 32 pounds. THE PARTS Let’s start with the gripes: The Tektro brakes were decent, but not as as grabby as we’d like. (A 180mm rotor up front—as opposed to the 160 that’s spec’d—would help.) And the wheels are pretty heavy. But, considering you can spend thousands of dollars on brakes and wheels alone, neither one is really that bad. It’s the SR Suntour XCT 100mm fork that we had real issues with. The preload dial, which is meant to change the stiffness of the shock, didn’t work, and there’s no rebound adjustment, so the fork simply rockets compression off bumps right back into you at full speed. We understand that the market dictates the inclusion of suspension forks, but we wish that more companies would stand their ground and offer bikes at this price with a rigid fork, which would be cheaper, simpler, and much more fun to ride. Now, onto the pleasant surprises. In spite of the plasticky feel, the SRAM X4 shifters powered the SRAM/ Shimano drivetrain smoothly. The cockpit, with low-rise bars and short stem, was surprisingly comfortable. And the WTB Wolverine tires are some of our favorite all-rounders, cutting a great balance between durability, weight, and traction. THE BOTTOM LINE You might not guess it from all those complaints, but the Overdrive is a good bike for the price and is miles better than similarly-priced bikes from big-box stores. On buffed-out singletrack, it carves quite nicely and holds speed very well. And we were perfectly able to keep up with the crew—some of whom were on bikes that cost 10 times as much—on evening spins. The Overdrive would be a great starter bike for those who are just dabbling in the sport, with the caveat that if you decided to carry on mountain biking you’d want a new fork and probably wheels within a year. Another option would be to upgrade right off the bat to the Overdrive Comp ($980), which rides much nicer and will last longer.
T H E 7 B E S T MOUNTAIN BIKES O F S UM M E R 2 0 1 2 BEST FOR: Rock crawlers, tech lovers, step droppers. THE TEST: Diamondback’s KnuckleBox suspension may look unwieldy—“It seems to defy physics,” noted one tester—but the Sortie delivers a surprisingly nimble ride for such a big bike. With 4.7 inches of travel and 29-inch wheels, this is the evolved trail bike we’ve been waiting for. We were able to low-gear up almost anything, and on downhills we felt like bulldozers. On Santa Fe’s most technical trail, we cleared tight corners and steep washouts, never once unclipping on the ass-on-the-tire steeps. Too bad Diamondback discontinued the top-shelf Black model, which would have brought this bike into a much more reasonable weight range. THE VERDICT: A powerful linebacker that could use a diet. 31.1 lbs CLIMBING: 3.5 DESCENDING: 4.5 Through-axles, which replace standard nine-millimeter quick releases with threaded, bigger-diameter, hollow shafts, are becoming standard. Given the inherent flex of big wheels, the added rigidity is especially helpful on 29ers.
My dad taught me how to ride a bike. And then promptly hollered at me for riding through a puddle. (Little did he know I’d be riding through much worse than puddles as an adult.) Throughout my childhood, I distinctly remember Dad rounding up my neighborhood friends and myself for weekly 10-mile bike rides. Back then 10 miles took a good portion of the afternoon, and I’m pretty sure there was lots of whining from us youngsters on every slight incline. But, y’know what? I never could wipe that post-ride smile off my face. Chances are if Dad loves to mountain bike, he’s lusting over a 29er mountain bike. You’re in luck. DiamondBack is all about 29-inch models this year. Their hardtail option—OverDrive Pro—offers disc brakes, a FOX Float front fork, Shimano Dyna-sys crankset and an overall burly build for $1,750. Not looking to spend quite that much? DiamondBack also has three lower pricepoints of the OverDrive model, offered at $980, $770 or $600.
How do you prove yourself worthy? Simple. Go to the contest page(www.diamondback.com/the-draft-contest) by June 30th, fill out the form and download your two best rides as recorded on Strava. Don’t worry if you’ve never done the Strava thing—it’s free and, if you don’t own a Garmin, you can use a smart phone to track your rides and download the data to Strava’s site. The whole process is about as complicated as making toast.