We recently trundled up to Nottingham to have a shufti at the Diamondback 2004 range. And mighty fine it looks too. Here’s some highlights…
DB’s hardtail range kicks off at a penny under two hundred quid with the M10. The 7005 alu frame is loaded with higher-end accoutrements, including an integrated headset and rear disc mounts. Bolted to it is a selection of robust budget components including a Suntour fork and crank and Shimano EZ-Fire shifters. There’s also a women’s version with shorter, steeper geometry.
From there it’s a logical progression up through the M20, 30 and 40 with incremental upgrades to the frame and components. The £549 M50 swings a bit out to left-field with a bulging downtube and pierced seat tube giving a fairly unique look. A Manitou Six fork and Deore/LX transmission complete the mix. The M50 comes with rim brakes, but the Shimano hubs are disc-ready for a relatively painless upgrade should you feel the need later on.
Top of the hardtail range is the M70 (with an M60 featuring about where you’d expect). It’s quite a racy beast, with an 80mm Manitou Skareb fork and actually rather scary-looking Maxxis Flyweight tyres. Your £1399 gets you XT hydraulic discs, XT/XTR transmission, FSA finishing kit and a splendid-looking textured matt paint finish.
Looking for full suspension? Diamondback has a full range of vaguely Kona-esque “faux-bar” bikes (plus a couple of sub-£200 single-pivot bikes). They’re neat-looking machines, with asymmetric chainstays and tidy forged linkage plates. The linkage bikes start with the S10 at a mere £200 although you have to work a little higher up the range to get something with a proper damped shock.
The £999 S60 uses a slightly different design reminiscent of Rocky Mountain’s Element, with the linkage-driven Manitou QRL shock under the top tube. The S60 also gets a rear pivot on the chainstay rather than the seatstay, although whether you’ll notice the difference is questionable – the ’60 is an XC race-style bike with only around 3in of travel. A Manitou Axel Comp suspends the front, FSA splined cranks and Deore/XT bits make it go, Deore hydraulic discs make it stop and FSA supply most of the bits you hang on to.
Top of DB’s suspension tree is the freeridey S70, with a beefed-up front end and extended linkage giving 5in of rear travel complemented by a Manitou Black Super Air up front. Big Hayes HFX9 discs fulfil stopping duties, and you get an XT crank and LX/ST transmission. For one pee under fifteen hundred pounds it’s pretty respectable looking.
On the subject of aerial antics (not that we were, but plough on, no-one’ll notice) Diamondback also has a couple of jump/slalom bikes, the £299 D20 and £199 D10, and a brace of sorted-looking trials bikes, the 26in wheel T10 (£449) and the 20in wheel T20 (£349) both with distinctively flattened top tubes.
Completely new for 2004 is a trio of road bikes (which happen to share that flattened top tube look). The R10 is what appears to be increasingly known as a “fitness” bike, that is a road bike with flat bars. It’s also got a triple chainset and a £349 price tag. The other two bikes are compact geometry road bikes. The £399 R20 runs Shimano Sora with STI levers, while the £1,099 R30 gets a lighter frame, carbon fork, 18 speed Ultegra transmission, FSA splined cranks and Shimano R540 wheels.
More information at www.diamondback.co.uk or call 01773 532600 for catalogues, stockists and all that stuff.